Yamuna is mentioned in mythology as the daughter of Surya Dev and devi Sandhya, and as sister of Yam (The death God). It is said that she still lives in the form of a river which in our culture has a sacred place just like Ganges. I had made an image of Yamuna river in my mind till I first went to Delhi years back. I was shocked how this historically revered river have met such a fate? But with more travelling, I got to see the sparkling side of the river too, it definitely brought some peace.
Development has an ugly side; and every creature (living or non-living) has to bear that.
Yamuna is the second largest tributary of Ganges. Today, I am going to take you along the bank of River Yamuna. By that I mean some places visited by me which are located on the banks of Yamuna and some untold tales from these places. (I’ll be excluding Delhi-Noida)
City on Yamuna Bank: Paonta Sahib
Paonta Sahib is a city in Sirmour district of Himachal Pradesh. There is a famous Gurudwara on Yamuna bank. Built in the memory of tenth Guru of Sikhs; the Gurudwara holds very high significance among the followers of this religion.
The ambiance inside a Gurudwara is marvelous. There is a palanquin made up of pure gold. I wasn’t aware of their ways and entered the Gurudwara bare-headed. One of the turbaned man shouted, “o bibi” “o bibi”. I turned to him only to realize it was ‘I’ he was addressing. He asked me to cover my head in a way that no hair should be visible. It was interesting and I followed his instructions. I want to say that Sikhs are the most generous people I have come across till now. Jo Bole So Nihal Sat Shri Akal.
City On Yamuna Bank: Yamunanagar
Yamunagar is a city in the state of Haryana. This city has got its name from the river Yamuna itself. It is an industrial place and is a hub of Plywood units. Places that I can suggest people to see in Yamunanagar are Kalesar Wildlife century, Chaudhary Devi Lal Herbal Nature Park, and Hathini kund. Hathini Kund is a concrete barrage on Yamuna River. The water of river is diverted into two canals here.
The barrage results in the formation of a reservoir which looks beautiful and serves as a wetland FOR MANY SPECIES OF BIRDS. The Nature Park is actually a nice place to spend a weekend. In addition to variety of medicinal plants the park is adorned by beautiful cottages on the banks of artificially carved canals.
The Summer heat becomes less effective once inside the park.
Cities On Yamuna Bank: Mathura-Vrindavan
Every Indian child at least till our generation, is aware of the twin-cities- Mathura-Vrindavan in North Indian State of Uttar Pradesh. Located at a distance of 145 km from the Indian Capital Delhi, these cities on Yamuna bank are related to Krishna, his early life.
Mathura- Vrindavan: When We Met
When we put our step in this sacred place, I was in search of those narrow streets, where Krishna used to play with his cowboy friends 5000 yrs ago. The place does have a unique feel in it. The air is saturated with the cattle odour. We were shown a pillar where mad at Krishna’s mischief, Yashoda, his mother would tie him.
Tales From Krishan JanamBhoomi Temple (The Baby Krishna Temple)
A funny incident took place with us. While entering a temple of baby Krishna. We were told to sit down and crawl all our way to the main point and chant “Paiaan Paiaan-Krishan Kanhaiaa!” We followed the instruction, laughing. I admit it was not at all done with devotion or anything like that. We were a group of 20 people. When we gathered in front of a panditji, he pointed towards squarish bare ground (it wasn’t cemented like the entire temple). He said, “sit on this spot one by one and see Bal Krishna for yourself!” I was convinced for a second, seeing the confidence in his voice. “Is he telling the truth?” I wondered.
Only way to find it was by sitting where he said! So one of us sat there with folded legs and Panditji pulled the curtain to give us the glimpse of an idol of Bal Krishna! He again closed the curtain. Then he asked for Dakshina. “I showed you the powerful lord. Put 501 Rs in the bowl,” he demanded. We were reluctant! He continued, “Put the Dakshina or God will never forgive you. Something…” we were gone before he could say more ill words. This was our first experience in the current land of Krishna.
Tales from Banke-Bihari Temple
The curtain raising and pulling down continued in other temples as well; it kind of looked strange. Even in the main temple of Banke-Bihari having human size idol of Krishna! The temple remained closed till 4.30 and people kept assembling. Every single spot on the streets or the stairs was taken. I was not feeling comfortable from the beginning and this experience taught me one of the important lessons for life-to avoid crowded places at any cost.
The moment the temple gate opened, people went in a fit of hurry as if they want to win some first cum first basis competition. They didn’t mind pushing, pulling or ignoring the fallen people. I don’t understand this kind of human behavior till date! I decided to stay back. But I also was aware the crowd can go crazy anytime. I felt my tummy tightening and I’ll admit for a moment I did curse myself for coming to such a crazy place! I preferred looking at the smiling figure of Krishna from distance. With the help of some dear friends, I could make a safe exit.
Tales From Nidhi Van
One more interesting and mysterious place that we visited in Mathura- Vrindavan was Nidhi Van. It’s a mini forest amid habitation. There’s temple inside. In contrast to the usual concept of a forest, the floor here is super clear. There is only one type of plant (or mini trees) which are twisted around each other in strange way. Some people said it is Tulsi. I don’t know! They are in pairs. The mystery of the place is that no one can stay or look at this place after the evening Aarti. Now why is that?
It is said that Krishna actually performs a Raas Leela here with gopis every night. After Aarti, a bed is made, and some stuff is left beside the bed (A water utensil, a Datum, a Paan). All the things are said to be found used in the morning. Many adventurous people are said to have tried their luck secretively to solve the mystery of Nidhi van but it is said that in the morning when they were discovered, they had either lost their sight, mind or life!
Locals tend to avoid the place altogether in night. Even the houses surrounding the forest have closed their windows with bricks etc. Who knows what energy is making rounds in Nidhi Van?
Other than this, we also visited Yamuna Ghat, Prem Mandir, Vaishno Cave.
City On Yamuna Bank: Agra
Agra is also a city in the North Indian State of Uttar Pradesh. It is around 206 km from the National Capital Delhi.
Agra: When We Met
Who goes to Agra when Summer is at its peak? We did. A tempo traveler was hired and we reached Agra early morning of late May. We got freshened up in a Gurudwara and then headed for one of the seven wonders of the Modern World-The Taj Mahal. The Sun was literally burning us. The first glimpse of Tajmahal was breathtaking. The monument is aptly called a wonder. Overlooking Yamuna river, the ivory-white colossal structure is absolutely stunning.
The beauty of the monument is so captivating that for a moment, I completely forgot that it is actually a Tomb!
If you don’t want to stand in queue for full day, reach early and enjoy the premises at your own luxury. After Taj, we made a swift trip to Fatehpur Sikri, the city of Victory built by Mougal Emperor Akbar. The most memorable part was to look up standing under the gigantic Buland Darwaza.
This is all for now. I hope you enjoyed the journey down the Yamuna Lane.
Here is the previous Oriental afterglow travel tale: X-perience Shillong