Intrigued beyond reason by history and mythologies, of not only India but also Greek and Latin lands of the far west, ascending Chitrakoot was inevitable for me. The serpentine road, laden with impeccable greenery due to consistent showers, however, this day was bright and rays of light filtered through leaves, ushered me into the mystical Chitrakoot to plunge me n history; how I looked forward to the place: of paramount significance in the ‘life’ of Gods.
From the exile of Rama and Sita to the incarnations of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh, Chitrakoot had been a venue to manifold incidents in legends, yet it never trespassed its charming tranquility and remained submerged in quietude.
Commencing my sightseeing of the local spots the next day, I visited Ramghat with the first ray of infant Sun gleaming on the horizon. Lining the river Mandakini, Ramghat unfolded before my eyes like a grand canvas draped in religious hues. Sages in saffron robe took sacred dip in the river, chanting holy hymns. Several holy men sat either meditating with a bunch of devotees or dispersing wisdom to other pilgrims. Finding it too picturesque from afar, but having no notion of pursuing either due to time constraints, I hired a boat to traverse the waters of Mandakini.
As the day reached its adolescence, I drove to the renowned Sati Anusuya. Situated fifteen km from Chitrakoot, shrouded by dense woods, the ashram, according to the legend, was the home of Anusuya, the most pious woman who brought river Mandakini on earth through her ‘tapasya’ or prayer. Also, she is believed to be the mother of Dattatreya- the incarnated form of the triumvirate, Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh.
The ashram had spiritual vibes. Surreal peace pervaded one’s being soon upon reaching there!
India treasures myriad of legends. They’re sublimely astonishing soon as you place your belief in them.
Post a light lunch and substantial amount of liquid intake, I trekked to Hanuman Dhara. I expected it to be steeper from what I had heard. Atop a hill of several hundred meters, Hanuman Dhara is a stream that was created by Lord Ram to calm Hanuman when he had returned setting Lanka afire.
This spot presented before me a mesmerizing, panoramic view of Chitrakoot!
The evening was spent calmly walking in the local streets of the town. Thereafter I retreated to MPTDC bungalow and indulged in a delectable dinner that was served warmly.
The next day began with Ramghat again. This time I sailed two km to Janki Kund by boat. Janki Kund was a charmingly serene avatar of Mandakini in the lush lap of nature. The boatman insisted me to trek a few kilometers ahead and see Sphatik Shila. ‘Shila’ implies hillock or large mass of stone. This ‘shila’ had a sacred imprint of Rama’s foot. Numerous birds’ chirp added music to environment. I melted in the moment slowly, quietly, without restraining!
At last every traveller leaves Chitrakoot but Chitrakoot doesn’t leave him. They keep coming back; the affluent images of holy men bathing, the faith in pilgrims’ eyes, thick forests, serene waters and above them all undeniable evidences that once upon a time the Divine walked the earth.