So as I casually roll out of my bed at 4 am, I am thinking why did I sign up for this. I mean its 4 am come on, go back to sleep woman, I say to myself. After snuggling back up in my blanket, I’m briskly woken up by my roommate asking me to wake up and get ready. “Don't you want to go and see the sunrise at Kunjapuri?” she says.
I had already been wanting to do this activity since the time I got to the hostel (which was a week ago) but kept on postponing it because I never woke up on time. So this time I had no excuse as this was the day and with the help of my roommate, I was up and ready. We rushed ourselves down hoping we weren't late and met the rest of the group who were coming with us. After quickly drinking some strong chai to keep us awake #livefreechaiisthebest, we all coupled off and set off on scooters to head into the mountains. Depending on preference and the number of people in the group, you can choose to either take a taxi or rent a scooter from the hostel to go to Kunjapuri Devi Temple. The ride from the hostel to Kunjapuri is about 28kms through lush green forests and beautiful views of Rishikesh. Riding a scooter was our preferred method as it’s a bit more adventurous and you can really become apart of the journey. As we were riding and breathing in the morning fresh air, the sky in the horizon started going from dusk to dawn and the mountains started showing their sheer beauty. The journey was pretty surreal as we headed into mountain terrain, the city lights started fading away in the distance and all of a sudden we were encapsulated by nature. The whole ride to the temple was a pure adventure. The scooters were racing one another, roads started to get bumpier and interesting, the passengers on the back trying to take videos and photos, it was crazy.
When we finally reached the temple we parked our scooters and started making our way up to the temple. There are some stairs you have to climb before you actually reach the temple, so be prepared to warm up a little.
Just as you enter the temple there is a big bell that you ring, this lets the gods know you have arrived. I like this explanation along with every other explanation that Hinduism has to offer behind its rites and rituals. The Kunjapuri Devi Temple is believed to be a sacred temple of immense importance in Hindu religion, it is said to be one of the 52 shaktipeeth temples in India where the chest of burned Sati (Lord Shiva’s first wife) had fallen. Hence the name Kunjapuri was given to this temple as kunja means chest and puri means resides in Sanskrit. I really do find that India is full of mysteries and history that sometimes your mind can’t fathom. So I switched off my mind off and just went with the feeling and vibration of the place. The temple not only has its religious and spiritual significance but also offers amazing panoramic views of the snowcapped mountains and peaks of the Tehri Garhwal District of Uttarakhand.
The first thing we did was head straight to watch the sunrise as it was 5.30am and the sun slowly started to come up from behind the mountains and above the clouds. It was one of the best sunrises I had seen in a while, the picture really doesn't do it any justice. The mellow blues and dusky pinks blurred the sky and there rose the fiery orange ball, shining its rays to light up the world. A warm cosiness started arising within me and my eyes filled with new hope, that today will be a perfect day. Why is watching sunrise an ethereal experience? Maybe because there are some things that are just so perfect that you cannot explain to them, you just have to believe them.
After the sun had rose and a gazillion photos later, we made our way to the temple. The temple is very small compared to most temples in Rishikesh, however, the energy and vibration of the temple is definitely something out of this world. I went inside the shrine and sat with my eyes closed, to realise that 30 minutes later I was nudged by my roommate telling me that we are ready to go. There was something there that made me feel like I didn't want to get up and I felt a complete sense of calm and peace in my body and mind. Most of the people I went with just walked in and out of the shrine, but for some reason or another, I couldn't bring myself to leave. It is very rare to have experiences like this, that leave you feeling in awe of the place. So I agree that temples like this are of utmost importance due to their spiritual and religious beliefs because they do have special powers. #faithornofaith
After receiving blessings from the Goddess, we started to make our way back down and stopped for some breakfast as everyone was hungry. There is a small restaurant on the temple premises that sells tea and snacks and the best Maggi, hence why its called Maggi Point.
However, be careful and guard your food as you might find some hungry little monkeys trying to steal your food #indianmonkeysarecrazy. With breakfast done, we climbed back down the stairs and sat on our scooters to head back to the hostel. The hostel also organises a trek on the way back from the temple, where you can walk through local villages, wild forests and cascading waterfalls. However, as we chose to go by scooters we didn't trek back and to be honest I was too lazy to walk back.
I could just imagine how nice it would be to trek back as the scenery was insane on the scooter, so walking through it would be even better. If I get a chance to come back here again then I would definitely choose to do the trek, as you get to stop off at Neer Gargh waterfall too. The whole experience of the sunrise, the temple and the journey was much more then I expected. It is one of those experiences that you cannot stop telling anybody and everybody about because it was so special to you. Also, it makes it more enjoyable when the group of people that you with get on and have laughs and jokes with. The owner of the hostel who took us on scooters to Kunjapuri was lovely and very friendly and without him, the whole experience wouldn't have been the same. Thank you, Arpan! #livefreetravelsrock