Incidental Wardha

It was another morning when I was at yawatmal, moving around with my friend after a breakfast, trying to figure the place we should visit this day. At 8 am, we decided to go to Kalamb Ganapati Temple, around 18 kms. It was the rainy season, and the best time to travel in Vidarbha, if there are no rains. The surroundings turn lush green, and we cruised at a high speed towards Kalamb, on her activa. About 4 kms before Kalamb, there was a big pothole which I did not see beforehand, and we lost balance, going straight into a pit by the road. After few seconds, we regained composure and checked out what we had lost. My spects were intact, so were our bodies, except for a few bruises. We were driving at a high speed- 80kmph on a bad road, but survived without major injuries. People who came behind us helped us pull our activa back on road, and we proceeded towards Kalamb, thanking God for his grace. Reaching there, we saw the old temple, which is in a good condition, and here, one has to descend stairs in order to reach the temple, rather than going up. The Lord here is named Chintamani, another name for Ganapati. Incidently, it was Ganesh Chaturthi Day that day, and lord had summoned us to his place on his birthday. From here, I got an idea, which has previously led to unexpected places, that we could proceed towards Wardha or Nagpur.


Gandhi Museum

So, we departed for Wardha or Nagpur, still not knowing, and by now, it was 12 noon. By 1, we reached Wardha, and saw a board of Savangi Medical College, went there, and there was a Ganesh Sthapana going on. This is a huge private medical college, and after having a nice modak or laddoo, we went ahead, had some snaks at a tea stall. Already tired due to the accident, and at a new place, it seemed that this day was going to be a struggle. Then I remembered that my friend’s friend studied in Sevagram Medical College, and I got his number and talked to him. It was a holiday, and he gave us directions to reach his college. The Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences, Sevagram is among the good medical colleges of India, and my new found friend welcomed us whole heartedly. All my apprehentions disappeared the moment we met him. He showed us around his college, and from there we proceeded to see the Gandhi Ashram at Sevagram.

The Ashram Observances

Sevagram Ashram, Wardha

While leaving for Dandi from Sabarmati Ashram, Gandhiji pledged that he would not return to Sabarmati till Swaraj is achieved. On request of Jamnalal Bajaj, Gandhiji decided to shift to Sevagram, and an ashram came into existance on land donated by Bajaj. Initially, it was a single cottage, now called Adi Niwas, and later, Bapu Niwas, Baa Kuti and other cottages were made. The place is very calm, and not frequented by many people. The Ashram has a school attached, where the education method is called Nai Taleem. For all those who After that, we went to the Gandhi Museum, opposite to Sevagram Ashram. I was lost in the museum, mentally, as time passed. It depicted the life of Bapu since his birth.

Vishwa Shanti Stupa

The next stop was the restaurant in that campus. We ordered Puran Poli thali, and seriously, that was among the best Puran Poli taht I have had. Puran Poli is a Maharashtrian Delicacy in form of a chapati made of Gud or jaggery and dal, served with plenty of ghee.

Our host treated us well, and even as we insisted, he paid the bill.

Later, we headed to Vishwa Shanti Stupa, which is a big buddhist stupa, 8 such stupas have been made all across India. Nearby was the Geetai mandir. Vinoba Bhave translated the Bhagwat Gita in his book- Gitai, in Marathi, simplified for the masses. For this garden, number of polished stones are brought from different places and arranged vertically in shape of cow and 18 ‘Shlokas’ (sections) of the Gita are engraved on it. The place also houses a museum depicting the life of Vinoba, and here, we realised his contribution towards our nation as Bhoodan Movement. After Independance, Vonoba moved on foot all over the country, urging landlords to donate their land, which was distributed among the landless. In the pre-independance era, land was concentrated in the hands of landlords, the remaining people were just workers. Bhoodan was an example of voluntarily giving up land.

Bhoodan

Vinoba Bhave

Vinoba also established his ashram at Pavnar, where we visited on our next visit to Wardha.

From here, we went to the city, going to a famous lassi shop. By now, it was getting dark, and we had to return. By this time, it was getting very cloudy, but we were still relaxed. After a while, we bade goodbye to our friend, whose name is Dr. Shivprasad, and moved towards yavatmal on the activa. As soon as we came out of Wardha, it started raining heavily. There was nothing that we could do, and we continued. The rain was very heavy, and each drop was coming with great force. Things looked bad, but somehow, we continued. The road was also bad, and lightning at frequent intervals was terrorising both of us.

When it started pouring heavily, we stopped for a moment at a dhaba, but it also looked unsafe. Later, it felt impossible to drive, and we took shelter at a construction site, where a young boy was sleeping in the tent. I said that I was a doctor, and when he saw a lady with me, he wrapped a towel hurriedly, calling us in. I chatted with him for a while, waiting the rain to reduce in its ferocity, and as that happened, we set off. The rain continued, and it was indeed the worst downpour I had been in. Every kilometre was an accomplishment as well as a struggle. On reaching Kalamb, I asked my friend to board a bus, and I would follow, but she insisted to come along. We covered the last 18 kms quickly, knowing that there was not much distance. Somehow, at 9:30, we reached Yawatmal and had a hot cup of coffee. I dropped her, and slept after taking a crocin.

It was indeed a memorable day.

3 responses to this post.

  1. The original name of the river was Varada i.e. Varadayini – the giver of boons. Wardha hosts one University, 103 Colleges, 1053 Primary Schools and 231 Secondary Schools besides institutions of varied disciplines. Read more about the history of Wardha and how a small township, engaged in the business of cotton ginning and pressing, became the epicenter of eventful movements of national independence, a story as fascinating, as it is inspiring.

    Reply

  2. Gitai is The Bhagavad Gita translated by Acharya Vinoba Bhave in Marathi for his aai (mother). Kamalnayan Bajaj commemorated Vinobaji’s eternal work by building a Gitai Mandir at Wardha. The Mandir stands unique as it has no walls, no idol and not even a roof. Enlclosed by granite slabs, each slab has a shloka inscribed on it, covering all the 18 chapters of the Gitai.

    Reply

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