We reached at around 3pm to Trayambakeshwar temple. This was quite some time back and there was not much commercialization around the temple. There was only one math of Akkalkot Swami Samarth at the entrance of the temple town. We alighted from the tempo trax and beheld a sea of humans. My heart sank seeing that never ending serpent like that achieved by an advanced player in snake xenzia (I hope you remember the game from our Nokia feature phone days!!!). The line measured the inner perimeter of the temple twice and had spilled over and filled the front yard of the temple with its crisscross pattern made by wooden barricades.
Driver in a feeling of disbelief said, "Oh! minimum 7 hours and there won't be any special darshans. You want to give it a try or should we head to Nashik?" I protested, "C'mon!!! let us try, coming all the way, how can we go without having darshan." There were some rumblings in the group and I sensed that they don't endorse my view especially after that charged description of Nashik by the grandpa.
Driver said, "Ok, try your luck till 5.00 pm, after that we have to leave at any cost if you want to see Nashik and want to head back to Shirdi before midnight." He added a caveat, "I can't reach Shirdi beyond 11 pm, I am answerable to my malik." In right earnest, I went and added to the length of this serpent and strangely, seeing my enthusiasm the other 13 led by the grandpa joined the line. This grandpa looking at that majestic black edifice of faith and joining both his hands said, "At least, let us have the satisfaction of standing for your darshan for a couple of hours, darshan or no darshan is in Your hands."
Tryambakeshwar temple is an enchanting edifice made of black stone. This temple uses the Hemadapanthi Style of architecture where lime is not used. This style makes use of the local available raw materials, main constituent of it being the black stone, which is found in abundance in this part of the country. This style was conceived by Hemadri Pandit who was the Prime minister to the Yadav Dynasty kings.
In the ensuing confusion, we forgot to note an unexpected development which is very usual in Tryambak. Menacing black clouds were fast approaching the temple from the western horizon and the silhouette of the verdant brahmagiri against the canvas of the dark sky was a sight to behold. One local pilgrim in white clothes and the traditional gandhi topi, in front of me said in anxiety, "Oh, the rain is approaching, don't know whether we will withstand its fury and have darshan?" Out of curiosity, I enquired, "Why do you say that bhai?" He said with an all knowing smile, "Just wait and watch!"
In the Tryambak temple sky is the roof till you enter the sanctum- sanctorum. If the rain gods decide to pound you there is no way to escape. In the next ten minutes strong winds banged us, depositing dust and dirt in our eyes and sending everyone helter-skelter. The Brahmagiri was obscured from our vision. This sweet and pleasing smell of rain heralded its arrival. Rains gods were relentless and battered us with full fury. As the rain was unexpected, none had an umbrella, leave aside a rain coat. After some half an hour into the incessant rains, patience of many pilgrims broke. People left the line in hordes- young, old, men, women, children alike. I turned back and saw our grandpa had kept his herd intact with his steely resolve and his encouraging words, "Don't worry, this is a blessing in disguise, He will give us darshan, this is just a test of our determination. Don't give up." I got a fresh dose of energy seeing his tenacity.
So true, might be Lord Shiva heard our prayers and wanted to give us darshan but you know- test is His taste. Perhaps, he wants us to go through some 'sadhana' to give a reward. In the next half an hour, we were just a dozen in the line just before entering the temple complex. The villager with the gandhi topi was still in front of me. He turned back and said, "Face hardships, accepting it as His will and see He carries you through." He added with a dose of excitement, "Can you imagine, we are at His doorstep in just half an hour! Where is seven hours and where is half an hour!" Then he shouted- Jai Bolo Bhola Baba Ki. Few of the remaining ones responded with an exhausted Jai.
Drenched in the copious grace of Tryambak Shiva, we were in the garbha by 4:30 pm. There was no line as there were no one to make the line. We spent nearly half an hour in the temple, something one can't imagine at such a peak season. Had the darshan from the mirror on the top, not once but continuously. Tryambak as the name suggests is three faced lingam comprising the trinity Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. The shiva lingam is in a kunda and one can behold the lord only through a mirror kept on top of the kunda.
Big clock on the temple wall showed 5'o clock and we came out satisfied after an exhilarating darshan. The incessant rain became a gentle drizzle and wading through few inches of water, we came back to our tempo trax. Our driver said with a twinkle in his eyes, "I never thought, you will actually have darshan in the time frame suggested by me, where is seven hours and where is two hours."
Seeing our wet clothes, he said with a chuckle, "You all have got drenched in a torrent of His blessings today."