The sun was glinting gold in the afternoon when I landed a narrow alley where one of the most revered temples of the world dedicated to Maa Durga-temple of Maa Vindhyavasini-is located. Numerous small shops with coconuts, vermillion, chunari, and other sacraments which are offered in the temple traditionally caught my attention as soon as I set foot in the main alley leading to the temple. It was an experience different altogether.
The moment I entered the vicinity of the main temple, I saw a long queue waiting to get inside the garbhagriha-sanctum sanctorum of the temple. After few minutes, crossing the threshold of the first chamber- on the left side was a wall black in color where I could see buzzing flies and realized that that was a chamber made for animal sacrifice. Crossing the second chamber, which was the sanctum sanctorum, I saw or I should better say, was bestowed with fortunate and blessed opportunity to behold the beautiful deity of Maa Vindhyavasini full of maternal affection and love.
Idol of maa Vindhyavasini is of black stone and can be seen highly adorned with gold and silver jewellery as well as embellished garments. Though pilgrims are allowed to worship the deity for just few seconds, it seemed to me an experience of lifetime and after only few seconds I was out of the garbhagriha and was in the temple complex where many chambers with many deities can be seen.
After experiencing this blessed occurrence, I embarked on my way to visit other two temples located on the nearby hillocks to complete the Trikona Parikrama.
Temple of Maa Vindhyavasini is one of the Shakteepeeths dedicated to Maa Adishakti. Located in the Vindhyachal mountain range, it is one of the most revered as well as one of the most visited Shakteepeeths of Maa Durga. But there is not only one temple in this range and there are two other venerated temples on nearby hillocks in the vicinity-temples of Maa Ashtabhuja and Maa Kaali in Kaalikhoh (cave of Maa Kaali). Circumambulation of these three deferential temples is called Trikona Parikrama– worshipping of three sacred points situated in a triangular angle. It is also said that these three temples are in an angle similar to that of Shreeyantra. Also, it is the only Shakteepeeth on the banks of the Ganges.
So my next point was the hillock on which Kaalikhoh temple is situated. Few kilometers away from the temple of maa Vindhyavasini was a hillock on which I was told the Kaalikhoh temple was located. It was quite dreary place unlike the one had just visited. Ascending many steps, I entered a cave inside which an idol of Maa Kaali was installed and only one priest was there for the worship at the moment. After few minutes I left the cave after worshipping the deity of maa Kaali in her fierce yet affectionate motherly form.
But then I saw some more steps leading to the extreme top of the hillock and I could not stop myself from exploring it and within a minute I was there. It gave me an extremely beautiful look of the Vindhya mountain range and the valleys from this point and also, a small Shivling with mysterious yet profound beauty and serenity.
I was in the domain of the temple of Maa Ashtabhuja after some time and was again experiencing the jostling yet composed pilgrims. The cave below the ground was the sanctum sanctorum here where I had to bend double to reach the deity and came out in the same way.
The deity here was also black in color and was beautiful to look at in an affectionate motherly form. There is another cave beneath the ground nearby the cave of Maa Ashtabhuja.
I again had to bent double and almost crawled to the innermost bent where idol of Paataalvasini Maa Kaali was installed. From the bent there I crawled my way back to the plain ground and I realized that my circumambulation aka Trikona Parikrama was complete.
This journey was complete but the experience I had here was lifetime and it had to be cherished forever.
From the great mountains and hills of Vindhyachal range to the milky water of the Ganges from the hilltop, from the appeasing sound of bells to the divine fragrance of flowers and incense, everything here was serene enough to mollify the tension and problems we come across in our day-to-day lives. I would ask anyone who has faith in god or love for nature to visit this place once in life as this one day jaunt is not only soothing and relaxing but it will also make all your sorrows wither away when you will visit this dwelling place of Maa Vindhyavasini.
Pictures courtesy- Except few pictures of deities(from Google), all pictures were clicked by me and some of them are originally posted on my Facebook page Shekhar’s photography-www.facebook.com/Shekharsphotography001/