Scouting for bhavanAtha

Kaushal Trivedi
4 min readJan 10, 2019

It has been a couple of years since I wanted to bring the family together, the whole Vadharoda family on my father’s side. This year it happened, probably due to Devyani.

As i write this piece, the effort to exercise memory is bringing another insight — how much it has deteriorated. I can not recollect why was I in gujarat a little before our bhiloda outing, when i went to scout. With some effort its coming, it was to see Girishbhai’s land for which Govind had emphatically called me — ‘hau, aavi jao aa sanivaare’. I’d taken a shatabdi, carrying a little sling bag and nothing much and landed in the afternoon, and took Sunil along to Vadharoda.

Next day morning, it was a sunday morning, Masa had organised a reunion of his family and I had to move out of house early morning. Nikhil had come to give my car which is in amdavad currently , the previous day. As i hesitated between going to Vadharoda, Kalol or somewhere , I took off towards BhavanAth mahAdev some 125km away.

Mild winter breeze blew pleasantly as I passed Dholeshwar — i recollected high praises of the riverside devAlaya — and how unaffected I was compared to my early childhood when I would visit such devAlayas. There was a brief moment earlier on my Dholeshwar visit, when out of taking a wrong turn I had got on a field path surrounded by old style natural thicket and constant bird calls of various kinds. Seeing that I had reminisced my childhood days of moving in the fields along those centuries old natural paths connecting villages, and regretted the loss of that natural beauty because of the arrival of canals and heavy farm implements — the result was , all thicket was gone and so were the birds and little animals. It was all a production flatland now.

With such regrets , which take away a little bit of childhood from me each time i visit Gujarat, i continued along the Gandhinagar highway towards Himmat nagar — google map guiding me as I free ranged in reminisces of previous visit to Mahudi along with some dear one. Little and large regrets form a personal collection of contours of life one navigates.

Along the way, unexpectedly Vineet called and I got off the road, parked aside and found myself a spot in the morning sun in a field, to sit on a little sand hillock. We spoke probably for an hour about a kickstarter clone he was fancying. Later i continued amidst occasional calls from Devyani and others, on the large barren urban slums and vinyl infested smooth highway crossing little towns completely lacking character. Small town contractors with stolen blueprints have erected utilitarian constructions ugly in how they stand.

A respite arrived only as i forked onto Gambhoi road before Himmatnagar, into a smaller and winding roads where land changed to little hills and fields going up to the base of those rocky hills, sometimes with standalone homes or a clutter of old style settlements. Since this seemed ‘backward area road’ mercifully all marketing messages were absent. I felt an uplift, a change in my breathing pattern passing that place. I have rode on such roads in my younger age and it is that to which i constantly calibrate what I see now and get disappointed.

The pleasant drive through backward parts of Gujarat continued until Bhiloda shAka market burst upon me in morning commotion of commerce. I found a little rusty signboard pointing to ‘juna bhavanAtha’ , and a few kilometers of further drive through gravel road surrounded by accasia opened up to a vast flat open waterbody sparkling in the morning sun with low hills far away forming the background of the panorama. In the middle of that, far away i could see the dhwajA of our mahAdev, the road on which I had halted now, meandering ahead with water on both sides — it was a mini rAma setu.

Here appears a glitch in the matrix, as I continued onwards amidst thoughts of reporting a good location to DevyAni, recording video to send back to people, I missed doing something I would have surely done as me of my traveling days. I did not step out of the car. I did not go out to take in the view, breathe the fresh air or go to the edge of water and stand there for some time. Earlier, when I travelled, i could never pass a site like this without giving it a silent half an hour of meditation. Now I just continued.

The mahAdeva setu I crossed lead to a little island with a small opening on the left with few vehicles and on right, samadhis of various mahAtmas and in the middle beyond a little gate was a temple complex flanked by small dharmashala on three sides. The marble square in the middle has a low laying yagyashAla, in front of which stands a small but solid parmara solanki style mandir with three shrines on it’s left — one of which was of rishi Chyavana, a surprise. On the right of the main temple but a little separated and facing east is a Hanuman shrine. Tucked in another corner was a low lying and compact Krishna mandir. The marble square contained a wire mesh enclosure with numerous broken mUrtis of bharava, nandi, kshetrapAla and surprisingly an isolated jina too. Behind the main mandir, in the open space beyond , the vast water formed the backdrop. It could not have been more beautiful as I felt satisfied I had found the spot we will reunion.

It was only once I went inside the mandir, a beautiful and surely an ancient one that I could make out from its ganapati , some inscriptions and the garbha-gruha, that i had a self observation. The one that would set the tone of my later reunion experience.

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Kaushal Trivedi

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