PUCSC organized a 3 day trip to Golden Temple, Amritsar and Vaishno Dev, Jammu from 9-11 October,2015 for the University and its affiliated college students. My love for travelling instigated me to go for it and I was able to convince another friend of mine to join me for this relgious trip. We were supposed to reach the Gandhi Bhawan at 8 p.m. on oct.9 and were told that buses will leave as early as possible. We rushed with our backpacks and were there by 8:30 p.m. The premises was flooded with students who have gathered from different colleges and departments of P.U. The place was bustling with selfie lovers, gossipers, posers, foodies,etc. Soon, we made ourselves comfortable as well. Everyone was waiting for the buses to arrive. Finally, they indeed arrived after like 4 hours and were jam packed within few minutes. We all heaved a deep sigh of relief as the journey began at around 12:30 a.m.. Most of us were either famished or sleepy, so we soon passed out in our seats. On the way we got to know that there were around 15 buses and each bus almost had an average of 50-60 students. Woo ho! That was a huge number to handle well. We reached Amritsar around 5:30 a.m. By now, we were a group of 6 girls (me and 5 others). We took a tonga ( my first tonga ride!) and reached the Golden Temple around 6:30 a.m. On arrival, I was spellbound by the beauty of the glittering Golden Temple. One could see its picturesque reflection in the holy water. I could feel the positivity of the serene atmosphere. Although all the students were together, but small groups were scattered around busy in posing for photos, clicking selfies, taking dips in the holy water, having ‘Langar’,etc. We were back in our buses by 12:30 p.m., all tired but satisfied that we have done our part of praying. We were all strangers when we first stepped into the bus but by that time we had already started cracking jokes upon each other! As we set out to Jammu, our bus had become like a small India (read unity in diversity) with the passing on of water bottles, kurkure packets, biscuits, etc. to each other. We actually had a group of girls who were sitting aloof in the driver’s cabin (as if they belonged to some isolated part of nation; Like J&K maybe?) From playing Antakshari to cards to Dumb Charades, no game was spared to make our journey memorable. After feeding our taste buds with different foods from a variety of ‘Dhabas’ and our driver’s ‘cigarette breaks’, thankfully we reached Katra around 11:30 p.m. (our bus being the last one to arrive). The ticket counters were closed so we were supposed to wait till the morning for our turn. Everyone was ordered to gather at 4 a.m. at the counter, following which the groups rushed to their respective rooms (after all we needed to sell our horses and pass out!). We booked beds and charger points, ran to washrooms, went out to grab a bite while some others were already busy dreaming. Finally, after performing all the tit-bits, we gathered at the counter and started our trekking cum spirit feasting trip to Vaishno Devi at 6 a.m. Some opted for the easy horse rides while others like us took our very own bus no. 11 (i.e. our legs!) for the journey. The trekking seemed easy in the beginning but with time as we moved higher, it was becoming more and more difficult. We became a group of 5 and weren’t bothered about others as long as we were together. As we moved on higher and higher, we were convincing each other of a safe landing back to our bus stop. Thanks to the supply of hot coffee, maggi, chocolates, cookies, ice tea, etc. that kept us going. From ornamented horses to picturesque landscapes, nothing escaped our selfies. Taking short ‘bench breaks’ in between, we reached the ‘Bhawan’ by 1 p.m. After a long process of the ‘Darshan ritual’, we decided to move along to ‘Bhairon Temple’ to further quench our spiritual thirst. Though it was only a few kms. higher but by the time we arrived there, we all went weak in the knees literally. We held hands while climbing up as somehow it gave us a warm mystical energy to move on. The view of the mountains down the valleys from the temple was breathtaking, we were all awestruck. The feel at that moment and the scene was out of the world, as if nothing else existed beyond it. We could see clouds drifting away sleepily in front of our eyes. After admiring for some time and capturing it in our phones, we resumed our journey back and began stepping down. On our way back, we were confronted by mischievous monkeys who apparently didn’t look much friendly to us. We decided to take stairs for the sake of our legs and also for saving time. After having a little snack time, we strolled down as if our legs were moving involuntarily. At 10 p.m., we were back in our buses (in single piece!). The bus set out for Chandigarh at 12:30 a.m. This time the lights were off, the weather was cooler, the wind more chilly, the roads more tricky, the eyes were all shut, heads all down, the students were lost in their own tired slumber. We were awaken by the pleasant and much needed sunshine from outside as Chandigarh welcomed us with a warm cozy hug and lush green beauty. Woolens were dropped as the temperature soared up. We entered our beloved P.U. back at around 9 a.m. After a short session of farewells and contacts exchange, gradually all groups dispersed while giving away smiles and taking memories with them.
“Eyes were tired, pains screamed but Hearts were delighted while souls were cleaned”
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