8th Day of Nanda Raj Jat: Bhagoti to Kulsari

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May-June 2016

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Stepping into Her Husband’s Territory

August 24, 2014 Sunday

Yesterday Bhagoti was abuzz, although it was dark when we reached. The devotees awaited in long queues for a glimpse of the ram and parasols because of weekend the devotees had more leisure. A maddening mélange of sounds fell on our ears. Space for camping was tight in the village. So, many locals allowed the visitors to camp on the terraces.

But the Sunday morning saw a bright sun and many pilgrims were drifting away from the pilgrimage. The open spaces were freed from the pilgrim pressure. The terraces suddenly became empty and lighter because of wounding up of the camps. The vendors started displaying their wares along the road to profit from the pilgrimage. There I spotted a truck that was transporting Vadilal ice cream carts.

But the mood was melancholy at the bridge spanning the Kevar, a tributary of the Pindar River, and linking her natal and husband’s territories. The tears were no more a privilege of girls and women. The tiny tears also enjoyed a temporary place in the masculine eyes. Because the devotees – even the representatives of the priest community who successfully hid the pain due to walking barefoot on sharp stones, thorns, burning trail- could not bear the pain of separation from the dear daughter. Another story of courage was narrated by a blind devotee. The crowd that was emotionally charged up could not deter the blind pilgrim who stood confidently at the bridge to experience the separation and seek blessings of the goddess.

Police at the bridge monitored the pilgrimage traffic until the goddess entered into the husband’s territory.

At Hans Panti, locals simply hurled water bottles in the air. So anyone could catch them and quench the thirst. The folks from the first village of her husband’s territory took a risky route to show their generous side.  This was slightly different than other village folks who also served free food and drinks without chucking it in the air.

A short distance before Kulsari, local women in traditional dresses awaited the pilgrimage. Many onlookers occupied terraces of the buildings along the road connecting the temple in Kulsari and the entry point.

A man from Patalsi (I did not find this village name on the map. Does anybody know the location?), Surinder Singh, brought a personal parasol unlike other devotees who shared the parasols and joined the pilgrimage at Kulsari. The shared parasols represented entire villages or communities. A selected group of representatives from the village looked after the village-specific parasol throughout the pilgrimage.

Ranjana Guest House on the main road, probably the only guesthouse in Kulsari, was full of pilgrims. No one had time to answer the enquiries about the guesthouse without any reception. However, the big-hearted Pindar offered its huge sandy flat bank for camping. The Pindar kissed wind reduced the impact of the steaming sun but the native insects tested reflexes of the new neighbors. Relatively big village bazaar had fruit shops, an ATM of State Bank of India (SBI), and a big ration shop. But Parachute oil, the national brand of coconut oil, was missing.

Check highlights of the 8th Day of Nanda Raj Jat 2014.

 

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