It was through the grace of Mahavatar Babaji, that our family of 4 members were blessed to make a pilgrimage to Babaji’s cave. There were many reasons why it was thought to be a mission impossible. Our youngest kid was only ten-year-old at the time of travelling. One of the members had health issues. It was with this background that we were sceptical about the possibility of this somewhat strenuous journey. Nevertheless, when an invitation came from a couple of our fellow devotees in Singapore SRF (Self Realization Fellowship) group to join them on their trip to the cave during Chinese New Year holidays in February 2013, we seized on the opportunity.
We managed to make flight bookings to fly to New Delhi from Singapore on a Saturday night. Overnight and the whole of Sunday we stayed at Noida YSS (Yogoda Satsanga Society) Ashram. On Monday morning, we travelled by train from Anand Vihar train station in Noida to Kathgodam train station. After 6 hours of journey, we finally reached Kathgodam. We negotiated with taxi drivers at Kathgodam to book a taxi for Rs.2500. It accommodates comfortably 4 people. We had two taxis for our group. After about 4 hours of taxi ride through several Himalayan hills with innumerable sharp bends, we reached the YSS Ashram in Dwarahat. We were provided with a nice room with 4 beds and heater. Hot water was provided from the kitchen. Other devotees were also provided with very comfortable rooms.
Tuesday arrived with the much awaited visit to Babaji’s cave. The ashram had arranged a car and a tour guide for us, who also carried our lunch. After breakfast at the ashram, we rode for an hour on steep rising mountain slopes. There are layers and layers of magnificent mountain all around. Babaji’s cave is at about 1500 feet or higher elevation than Dwarahat YSS Ashram. As we were cautioned that the cave would be colder than the ashram, we were prepared with sufficient woolen wear. After the hour-long ride we were dropped off at a point beyond which there is no motor way available and we have to walk on foot.
There was a tea stall at that corner whose owners greeted us. Their beautiful dog was wagging its tail in greeting and showed us the path forward as we started walking towards the cave. We felt the divinity of the place in the form of a great stillness along the way.
We passed by the site where Lahiri Mahasaya is believed to have rested by the riverside before his initiation. After almost an hour’s walk, we reached the temple which is said to have been built at the site where Babaji materialized the palace to fulfill the past life wish of Lahiri Mahasaya.
After meditating for some time at the temple, we walked up a few hundred feet and there it was: the Babaji’s Cave!
The cave is big enough to accommodate about 10 people to meditate at a time. Our group was just nice to fit in. A half-hour meditation there felt like just few minutes. Against our wishes to stay there longer, we had to start descending, since the day gets quickly darker depending on the cloud. Keeping that in consideration, we were advised by ashram authorities to return by 2 pm. On our way back, we stopped by the temple again to have our lunch of poori with potato curries, which was very tasty there. After the descent, we stopped at the tea stall to have a cup of Himalayan tea. By about 4.30 pm, we were back in the ashram, just in time to have some rest and then to go for evening exercises and meditation.
Wednesday was a day of long hill-side walk in the morning with beautiful views of snow-capped mountains. Then we returned for lunch in the ashram. In the afternoon, our family members went to the bazaar for shopping. Good quality shawls at low prices were available. Swami Nirvananandaji gave an excellent discourse that day at 7 pm, after the evening meditation. We came to know that he conducts Satsangs every week. Thursday was a day of long meditation with Swami Nirvananandaji. On Friday morning after breakfast, we started our journey by car to Kathgodam. We had a train at 3 pm to go to Delhi (Anand Vihar). We reached Kathgodam after about 4 hours journey. We had about an hour to do some shopping for fruits at Kathgodam. Very delicious apples and oranges were available there. We reached Anand Vihar by 10 pm where the cab driver was waiting for us to take us to the YSS Ashram in Noida. It took us a half-hour drive to reach the Noida Ashram. We spent the whole of the Saturday morning in visiting Akshardham Temple (Swami Narayanan Temple complex). It is a beautiful reminder of India’s spiritual heritage and it is a place worth spending a day. One of the couples in our group decided to go to Mathura and Agra the next day while the rest of us returned to Singapore.
We are grateful to both Noida YSS Ashram and Dwarahat YSS Ashram for providing us the accommodation, for assisting us with local travel arrangements and for their overall help. The kids had a memorable experience and wanted to return back.To conclude, we felt that we had visited our eternal home.
– Jai And Latha