Girl At The Window Seat

Blessed And Blissful – Road Trip To Ahi-Kshetra Jain Temple

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Serendipity, serenity, and self – three magical words that solely defines this journey that redirects you from our-worldly illusions to inner peace and self-discovery. We all were remotely taught a word called “Almighty” but were never taught about how to find that being. Well, turn inwards. It’s in you, or it’s you.

Travel to Calmness
A place of faith and travel, a combination that is guaranteed to attain a goal one set for. A few months back, during a long weekend that encountered our busy lives, my family and I thought of missing Lucknow’s peace and discover our own away from Lucknow. We decided not to waste time here in Lucknow visiting the same old shopping malls and engaging in a meaningful traffic jam caused by sane Lucknowite, we arranged our own journey as I had already cleared about this “travel bug” biting each one in my family. 

And if you think finding a sensible place around Lucknow is a cakewalk, you should have it daily. We looked and searched for many places but couldn’t really reach anywhere. When we decided to visit Mahaveer Ji near Delhi-Haryana border, we got to know that Jat Agitation has got many roads blocked (Amazing isn’t it? So much for the community and nation). Finally, we zeroed down on “Ahi-Kshetra Jain Temple”; although after wasting a day.

Ahi-Kshetra Jain Temple
Temple? I am sure many would stop from here, but this anyway isn’t for them who connects temple with religion but not spirituality.

Located in the village of Ramnagar, district Bareilly. A visit to a spiritual place might not sound exciting, however, the road trip was more tempting. It was we were flying once we left the Lucknow boundaries and hit the 4-lane highway – the road trip came into its real worth. 

The tall and broad trees on the sides of the highway were inspiring. The lush green fields on either side were providing much needed cool to the eyes. Mild breeze and soil smell in the air filled the heart with happiness we were missing in Lucknow. The splash of wind through the car windows and music – for all those moments I was in the parallel world. I brought back to this world when we realized that heavy Bareilly traffic made us take a wrong turn to aimless travel for another 25 kilometers. Finally, our car entered into a huge complex encompassed by Ashoka trees and floral arrangements on compound walls.

Silence is Bliss
“Silence is beautiful” – my mind told me once before attaining a calmness as soon as we entered the premises of the Ahi-Kshetra Jain Temple. It wasn’t merely an architecture, but a complete art in its form that mesmerized me. The sharp curves on each pillory, the razor cuts on the foundation of the temple stones, and the entire environment had turned into me in no time.

Spread on a huge area, the temple has its own Dharamshala. We got a room booked and after a few hours of the rest, we went for the evening Arti. While entering the temple, I was told the story about the Mulnayak statue of “Teerthankar Parshavnath”. As I could pick the anecdotes,  It is during the revolt of 1857, the temple was destroyed by people and then a gardener took the statue and hid with inside the well.

The Anecdote
It is believed that the water of the well became sacred and cures skin disease thereafter. As people believe, if one takes a deep in the well, the waters purge you of all impurities. Isn’t this exciting? It made me too. The mystic stories of such kind always attract me to take a look at it at least once. Since it was late in the evening after the Arti, we decided to visit the place in the morning.
At the first instance, it sounded strange to me even. Being a follower of one of the most scientific religions, indulging in such mythical connotations makes no sense. Well, but for the first time, I was not asking the questions but merely witnessing what was before me, regardless of stories. The morning was early and was blissful. The tranquility of the place has already resided in me.

We went to pay the morning reverence in the temple complex. It has three temples equally-distanced from each other at a few meters. One of the temples has all 24 Tirthankara statues established with a huge Parshavnath statue in the middle. There is a pond in front of these temples that naturally creates an image of the massive waterfall – the delight in itself.

The Uniqueness
The point to note here is the Ahi-Kshetra is a Jain Temple; however, it is not restricted to Jains. Any human being is allowed to enter, visit, and stay within the temple. This fact made me proud, especially after hearing the stories of some temples prohibiting the women entries and some temple do not allow certain castes to enter.
Neither there is a restriction over who should enter the Bhojanalay and who shouldn’t. Everyone is entitled to free breakfast in the Dharmashala. For a delightful lunch that stays on your tongue for long, you won’t mind paying 40 bucks, would you? Despite having a buffet system, the Bhojanalay remains neat and clean almost 24 hours a day – a unique character of any Jain structure.

The Return to Reality
Do you think it’s easy to quit such places of peace and profundity? I expressed my desire to dad if can stay one more day despite knowing that it wasn’t possible. Like they say, traveling is the sole element that helps you connect with the self, at Ahi-Kshetra, I experienced the silence in which I heard myself loud and clear.

I saw huge doors of the temple complex getting closed as our car moved out and I heard a loud noise of a truck horn passing by. I realized the difference between two worlds in two days.

Want to know what are the things we forget to carry along while traveling? Wait for my next post on Sunday!

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