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A Ride to Mukteshwar Dham

A view of Mukteshwar Dham on the banks or River Raavi

                                   After My Mani Mahesh Trip on Bike, It had been quite some time that I went on a bit longish ride. My Partner in crime and an avid biker Gaurav Chopra was also itching to go on a ride. He shared his idea and suggested this place Mukteshwar Dham Near Ranjit Sagar dam and approx 200 km from Ludhiana. I believed in Gaurav Chopra's selection of spot and we were on. The trip was to happen on Monday, which is an off day for Gaurav, but a working day for me. So It was decided that we will start early morning and will be back by 12.00. So far so good.

                                 On the ride day, we left Ludhiana at around 5.00 a.m. with a small prayer for a safe journey. Roads were empty. Gaurav was Leading and he being a fast rider, we were cruising at 100 - 120 kmph and enjoying it. As soon as we took a turn towards Pathankot from Jalandhar, it was misty all around. We felt as if we were on a hill station and riding in the clouds.

                                    Winters were already over and it was almost spring season. The clothes we were wearing were also as per the spring season only. A light jacket and normal gloves. The mist started to wet our clothes. Soon the jeans I was wearing was wet at a lot of places. We kept on riding. Soon I found that the jacket I am wearing was also wet and the water had seeped in.  After some time the wetness made it feel like a sheet of ice. I was wondering if Gaurav was feeling the same way. Yes, he was he waved me to stop and asked shall we go and have a cup of tea at the dhaba which we had just crossed. I suggest instead of going back, let's move ahead and have tea at next dhaba. Agreed. So we started moving. After some time we stopped at a Dhaba. The Dhabawala had lit a bonfire outside the dhaba and some truck drivers were enjoying the warmth of the fire. 
Our rides parked at Roadside dhaba while we warm ourselves with woodier and tea.
                                                                Our rides at the Dhaba.                                       P.C. Gaurav Chopra

                           We parked our bikes and ordered tea and sat near fire to warm ourselves. we received a barrage of questions from the people, who were sitting around fire and when they came to know that it was a fun ride, in such a weather, they were astonished and I know they must be thinking what a pair of idiots these are? Never mind. Gaurav was busy clicking pictures.

Gaurav Chopra busy clicking selfies on way to Mukteshwar Dham
                              Trigger Happy Gaurav Chopra ji -              P.C. - Gaurav Chopra

 After some time the tea was ready. ठंड ने अंदर तक हिला दिया था।  Even after finishing our tea I was not in a hurry to leave even though I knew that I will be late for office. 

                Anyways The name of the game is to keep moving and so did we. Now things were better and as the Sun was coming up, the mist was dissipating. When we were about to hit the hills, Sun was shining bright and the beautiful valley welcomed us.

 The first view of the valley

                        The first view of the valley made me forget the hardship of biting cold and we were happy to choose this place. Soon we were racing towards our destination of the day.  A small road branching out from the highway and passing through a beautiful village led us to Mukteshwar Dham -

                                                                                                                                           P.C. - Gaurav Chopra

                  As per the legend, this temple dedicated to Lord Shiva dates back to Pandavas, who stayed here in the twelveth year of exile. They worshipped here in the five caves, which have Shivlings in them.  


                   
                 The temple is on the banks of river Raavi.  After parking our steeds, we started towards the main complex. A steep flight of stairs takes you to the temple complex. 


                          There are three main caves which have a single entrance

                     First thing first. After removing shoes, we went to the cave temples. Firstly to the caves with one entrance. Enjoy the panoramic view of this cave.

                  The left-hand side is named as Yudhishthar Dhoona and has a small Havan Kund.


Yudhisthar Dhoona

                          In the same cave on the right-hand side was Bhairavnath ji. Then another way led to the Garbh Griha, where the sacred Shivling is there. The walls of all the caves were very raw and unfurnished. However, some modification to old structure had been done such as a chimney over dhoona, Tiles on the floors. The only place which had been carved properly were two pillars on the entrance of the cave leading to sancrum sanctorum and the small entrance to it .
Slight finish has been given to the pillars at the entrance of the third cave

The gate leading to the Garbh Griha.

Holy Shivling

                     After offering our prayers, we came out and started toward the fourth cave, which is a standalone cave. The board outside this room says पांडव ध्यान कक्ष  - meditation room of the Pandavas.

The fourth cave.

                The fourth cave is a two-room structure, with pillars carved to support the roof.

The outer room with supporting column at the centre


                            The inner room or the Garbh Griha has a Shivling and a few Photographs of Lord Shiva were there. The roof of the cove temple had an interesting design carved out.
                          
The roof has an interesting design

Holy Shivling

                     After coming out I started wondering about who and why. Who created these cave temples and why? The cave entrances are too high from the ground and how was this place chosen. How did the carvers use to access the cave? With a lot of unanswered questions in mind, we were admiring the beauty and serenity of river Raavi flowing past majestically.

River Raavi

                        A small bathing ghat was also there for devotees to take bath. We were neither equipped nor in a mood to take the dip, so we just went up to the ghat and started back.


                A parting shot with River Raavi and cave 4 visible, when we start going back



            Now it was a steep climb back to the parking area. 

Gaurav Taking a selfie on his way back

Our steeds waiting


            Soon we were moving back towards Ludhiana. We were feeling hungry, but found a good dhaba only near Pathankot. The taste was okayish, but the loaction was good. Having Aaloo parantha sitting in a lawn in Sun and with an amazing company like Gaurav, the okayish parantha also tasted heavenly.  We had a longish breakfast breakand reached Ludhiana at around 2.00 p.m.

A small video of Mukteswar Dham






This was one of the short, but enjoyable ride.


             

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