11th Mar 2019

Strange things happen when strangers meet, worlds collide, expanding your understanding of this paradox called the universe. I am not talking about sadhus and babas, long lost foreign travellers or hippies. I met myself in this journey. It had been a long time since I had time to introspect and channel myself towards on me. Like a mirror for your soul kinda thing.

Well like every journey started with a little mixture of this and that. Giggles and wide smirks.

The bus was ladened with passengers from the neighbouring state Bihar. Clear your prejudice cause I cleared mine. The journey like the drink was a mixture of highs and lows.

Photo of Magic. 1/7 by Sonam Tshering
The first glimpse of the Mahabodhi temple.

We reached Gaya the following day and without any delay made our way to our first destination Bodhgaya. Like every desert has an oasis this was the oasis of wisdom, enlightenment and peace. Even if you don’t attain Nirvana you surely do get a peace of mind. You will not see many smiles and hear laughs however there is this perpetual happiness that grips you and takes you to wherever you want to go. It makes you feel like you were always here and that you had left for a brief period of time. I was back here after almost a decade and I could picture myself chasing my brother and running around the Mahabodhi tree. I was… (There are somethings that you cannot simply express and put into words this is one this is one such moment) euphoric.. Overwhelmed on so many levels and brought down right to the ground.

We made our usual rounds or Kora and offered our prayers. Even though there are hundreds of people lined up and murmering, there is this obnixious silence. Birds chirping in the distant horizon and a sense of belonging for everyone who treads the road to Nirvana. I hope you feel like this too.

There are numerous temples that you can go to, explore how Buddhism spread and immersed itself in different cultures and turned out into a way of life. The Japanese temple, The Chinese, Thai, Cambodian, Myanmar Tibetan and many other monastries and stupas holding importance to people of different parts of this world.

Photo of Magic. 2/7 by Sonam Tshering
The mighty buddha statues stands 80 feet tall.

Let, me not get into the details of the journey. It was exhausting travelling without reservations and delays of train and buses took up most of our time and energy. We even ended up going to places not in out itenary. It was fun and adventurous now that I look back, at that moment though it was full of agony and suffering. Mosquito bites and chilly breeze.

Photo of Magic. 3/7 by Sonam Tshering
Sitting on the doors of the general compartment. The unseen life of everyday people.

Our next stop was Varanasi, Kashi, Beneras and Sarnath. For those of you who don’t know its the same place.. like the areas are different though. Hard to understand ? Go and figure it out for yourself. Zostel saved us!! Literally we reached at 5 in the morning and just crashed into our beds. Told you about the journey! Anyways!

The city where you attain moksha, the city with the never-ending fire and the place where Lord Buddha preached his first sermon. The city has its usually share of hustle bustle and this overpowering energy. Exuberant and filled with life. The streets date back to two thousand years. Everything you see here is ancient and holds a special meaning.

Photo of Magic. 4/7 by Sonam Tshering

We reached the ghat in the evening. It was dense. Exactly like how you see in the movies. Babas and sadhus lost in their own world and translations of this life. People trying to soak all the positive vibes and aura of that place. It was magic. We went for a boat ride and saw the reputed Ganga Arati. the entire river filled with boats and flashlights of cameras. The river was cold and solid. They say the Ganga can never be dirty not the first glimpse of it, I had some concerns and doubts. I filled my bottle upto the brim and all I could see was dirt particles in it I was sure it was dirty. We went to get our blessing and the Prasad and sat down on the banks of the river everything was so calm and serene. The breeze slowly brushing against your face and the rive ever so solid. We went for a round to the different ghats and we ended up in the main ghat. The place where people come to attain moksha it was corpses getting their final rites done. It’s funny how when you see people burning and their skulls caving in bursting you realise the fragility of the human body. Who once was is no more. 200 kgs of solid wood. We sat there grazing at all those who had gone before us

Photo of Magic. 5/7 by Sonam Tshering

We moved ahead and took a round turn down many allies and gullies.

Photo of Magic. 6/7 by Sonam Tshering
The funeral pyres. The fires never go out.

We came back down to the ghat exhausted and silent. We were exposed to many things in this trip and the last of it was death and passage of human beings.. And yes we drank that water that we had filled earlier on from the river and it tasted good. The dirt had settled down and the water was pure. No alum or any other sedimenting agent was not added. The river was pure and will always be.

The Ganga runs deep.

Photo of Magic. 7/7 by Sonam Tshering
The story of the ghats.

Thank you.

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