It is the longest ride I have done on a 98cc Honda engine. Got 60 KM per Litre of petrol. After riding an Enfield, riding the tiny Hero Splendor Pro Classic was an adventure in itself. The plan was to set foot on the Holy land of Trimbakeshwar for the annual festival of Mahashivratri - literally meaning, The Great Night of Shiva. We did a motorcycle 'parikrama' (circular homeage to the Gods) by leaving from Mumbai via NH3 to Igatpuri via mountains of Kasara. Then after the temple visit we completed a circle around the holy land by leaving via the route to Jawhar towards Manor to Thane and back to Mumbai.
Thus was accomplished a homage to the trinity of Gods, Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva by three friends on three plastic motorcycles. I rode the Splendor Cafe Racer (98cc), professional road captain Ashish Pujari rode a Bajaj Platina (125cc) and his brother rode a Bajaj Pulsar (150cc). Our humility was on public display on this pilgrimage, shunning our giant ego wishing for Enfields and Harley-Davidsons - instead riding like true pilgrims on a long uphill road to salvation.
The beauty of Igatpuri and Trimbakeshwar has to be seen to be believed. A British friend compared it to the hills of her native Scotland. It was neither too cold nor too hot. We rode with joyous hearts determined for a glorious sight of Lord Shiva - the destroyer of all worlds. He is also known as Bholenath, meaning Lord of the simpletons - because even if you are an absolute idiot who does not know how to worship or seek heavenly blessings, if you approach Shiva and seek his help - He is benevolent beyond any reason or logic and will bless you even if it offends other Gods or human devotees.
Ancient seals in Europe, Eurasia and Aryan civilisation at Mohenjo Daro and Harappa at Indus Valley show glimpses of Shiva as Lord of all living things with tigers and bulls and snakes and birds all gathered around to follow His command. There is absolutely nothing you can offer to such a God. Neither money, nor gold, nor flowers or incense, nor your soul, nor anything in the universe. He encompasses the cosmos and also is an ascetic who owns nothing at all. So no offering can be too great and neither can the offering be too small. Offer milk or water, flower or wood apple leaves (bael tree) - He will accept you and bless you.
We rode in to find good amount of police security for the grand festival. Barefoot we walked from the parking lot to the temple. Time being of essence we donated Rs. 200 per person for an expedited entry pass to get to the sanctum sanctorum faster than the general queue for ardent devotees. Made entirely of stone, the huge ancient temple is a majestic venue for Shiva. Surrounded by the hills with shapes of his symbolism. River Godavari shining like blue crystal flows from these mountains. Forests and caves nearby are inhabited by mysterious ascetics with miraculous powers, yogis and holy men for whom miracles are normal and normal is maya (an illusion). Such grandeur is most suitable for one of the 12 Holy Jyotirlingas of Shiva in India. At night the villagers celebrate the divine wedding of Shiva and Shakti. Energy and Matter unite to bring life into darkness of the unborn universe.
Shiva represents higher Cosmic Consciousness and Shakti represents Evolution of Energy. Therefore Mahashivratri is a dark night when the Awakening of the Consciousness happens at the material level of existence.
The photos and food were many. We rode back via NH8 and reached home by 5 pm next day. The spirit of freedom lives in us bikers and celebrated spectacularly on the auspicious day of freedom of the soul.