For 10 - 12 days I was vacationing with my husband in ‘Chickluoha’ district Lalitpur U.P. Why? Because he is now posted there, where BHEL is to set up a power plant. All men including my husband are living in single room quarters. There are no families living here as this is ground zero. There are no markets, schools, hospitals or doctors. The land is rocky and barren. I could only see jungle berries and bamboo bushes. Palash trees gave some colour to the otherwise barren brown terrain. Even the roads were forged by the tires of heavy vehicles.
So last Saturday we went to Khajuraho which is 160 km from this place. The driver told us “Relax sir! The roads are very good once we cross the U.P. border.” That fellow told us about a temple name Jata-Shankar - a shiv temple. Me and my husband strongly believe in Lord Shiv. So we decided that if got time we would go there but for the time being, we would only be visiting Khajuraho. This is a magnificent place on earth. For artists or lay men, these temples give you a life time experience. That is however a different story.
On the next day, when we were returning from Khajuraho, the driver asked “Sir! Jata-Shankar jayenge kya? (Sir! Do you want to visit Jata Shankar). We said “Yes.” We started from Khajuraho at 10’o clock in the morning and by 11:30 we reached Jata-Shankar. The road was very good. On the way km after km there was no village. A few small farms were visible from between the rocks. But when we reached near the temple there was a small market. Many private buses and cars were parked there. The temple was up the hill. We purchased some sweets and incense. It cost Rs. 50. My husband pulled out his purse to pay, but the shopkeeper said “Pay me when you come back.”
We started to climb up the stairs. I saw 50 - 55 steps and I thought that could climb it easily. Few steps later, I saw a woman was sitting with fresh flowers. I bought some and asked her “Where do you get such beautiful flowers?” She told me the name of the village which was not to be found in an India’s map. So with full energy I hiked the steps, and from there I saw another 50 - 55 steps. I took a little rest and started again. At the last step I again saw another set of 50 - 52 steps. Now my speed had decreased. We reached at a veranda. On one side of it was a huge kund (water reservoir). Hundreds of men and women were bathing in the kund. There was a natural water fall and families were bathing together. Teenager girls also took a dip in the kund and pronouncing ‘Ohm Namah Shivaai’. We rested there for some time and started to hike another 50 - 55 steps. Here I saw that the hill was made of lava rocks and from the cracks of the rocks, water was flowing in narrow lines and meeting at a place that made a water fall. Some Banyan trees that were growing through the cracks had water dripping from its aerial roots. It appeared as if the water came out from Jata (hairs of shiva). But where was Lord Shiva? I could see another 50-55 steps more. I gave up. I could not climb any more, but my husband encouraged me and I started again. This time my own body weight was too heavy for me to bear. When I arrived at the last step, I saw another 100 steps. Now I could not climb anymore and thus I sat down under a tree. One sadhu was sitting there who pointed towards the remaining flight of steps and said “Bus yehi khatam (that is the end).” We started again. Half the way I sat down (again), my lungs were working very hard. At this point, not a single tree was there and the scorching sun hit us. My husband gave me support (again). With his help I reached at the top (Finally).
On the top there was a mini market. Some sweet shops, cold drink shops and one or two dhabas were there. My husband asked someone “Where is Shiv-ji?” The man replied “Down stairs, near the kund”. I asked Shiva, “What kind of joke is this?” Then the man told us “This is a Radha Krishna temple and a Nandi is living here.”
My husband purchased some sweets to offer. This was a small temple and a beautiful Radha Krishna was there. The Pujari (Temple priest) showed us the bull called Nandi. It had three horns and an eye like impression on its fore head that appeared as if the Nandi had a third eye like Lord Shiv has. We were really amazed to see and experience this uniqueness of nature, and it washed away my fatigue.
I drank a lot of water and came down on the varanda. Here we offered our puja to Lord Shiv. We were the last ones there, and after we came out from the temple it was closed for 4 hours.