I'm gonna write an account of my trip to Shegaon, Maharashtra. It's 556 kilometers away from Mumbai.
My mom always wanted to visit Shegaon, only because of the temple of Gajanan Maharaj. My maternal grandmother was His devotee and she had had an amazing experience. My mom had visited this temple 24 years ago, and was yearning to visit again.
We travelled by a Howrah Mail while going and returned in an Amravati Super Fast Express. We had booked the tickets in December, thanks to the Indian population; it is very difficult to book a ticket and get one on the spot. I was just praying the dates don't fall on any of the important events. Luckily, my college's two-day conference was on 19th and 20th February, and we were boarding the train on the 20th.
I left my college at 5:45 pm on the second day of conference. After resting for some time and having dinner, my mom, brother, and I left for the station. I caught the train from one of the suburbs of Mumbai.
We took a second class ticket and were already pissed because the crowd in second class can be indisciplined, indecent, or sometimes, cheap. After entering the train, we saw three men sitting on our places. We told them that those seats belonged to us, and they said okay, and shifted towards the window-side. We were a bit uncomfortable and took some time to adjust.
My brother was reading Dongri to Dubai by Hussain Zaidi and I was browsing through social media. Next station arrived, and to our happiness, a family entered our compartment. Those three men got up and moved somewhere else, and in our company, we had a chubby little baby, his parents, and his two young uncles. We were so delighted to see his moves and the way he tried to destroy the dinner the family was having!
Shortly, I went up on the upper berth, and my mom and brother, on the opposite side's middle and lower berths respectively. I had set an alarm of morning 5:00, as we were to reach by 5:30 to Shegaon. I had heard a lot about Shegaon's beauty, and was imagining the same.
We woke up and packed blankets and other electronic gadgets that were lying on our berths. We got down at the station, and it was pretty serene, at 5:30 am. I was wondering how stations in Mumbai would be at this time!
We got down the stairs to see auto drivers desperately trying to win passengers. We had heard that near the Gajanan Maharaj's temple, there is a place to live, known as 'Bhakt Niwas'--direct translation being 'Devotee's Abode'. We could get a place to live in one of the rooms there, and that the stay was not an issue. Therefore, we asked the auto drivers for this temple, and one of them took us there for Rs. 50. In Shegaon, the auto-rickshaws don't run on meter, but on seats. So, the seats could be Rs. 10 or Rs. 20 per person, varying from auto to auto.
We reached the Bhakt Niwas, but all the rooms were full. In fact, 200 more people were in the waiting list. We searched for other hotels nearby, and found more two to be full. Finally, we came on to one, but it looked too shady--one of those hotels where illegal things take place. That's what I assumed that hotel to be. The rate of that room was Rs. 1000, and my brother refused the offer immediately.
Adjacent to it, there was one with the name Rajashree Palace. The room was for Rs. 1,200. Though it was more expensive than the previous one, this hotel looked decent and the room was big too. Honestly, we needed a place to shower, as we cannot enter the temples without having bath.
As soon as we reached, we slept for an hour and half, and woke up feeling fresh. We had shower and changed ourselves in a pair of fresh clothes. I was in a Kashmiri pink kurta I had purchased from Dalhousie, blue Forever 21 jeans, and a pair of golden jhumka. I was also wearing a navy blue coloured bindi, brown leather watch, and my black Ray-Bans.
We left for Gajanan Maharaj temple. We walked towards the temple, and on our way, we stopped at a restaurant for tea and breakfast. I took a masala dosa, my mom took an onion uttappa, and my brother was having a spicy plate of misal pav.
We walked further and entered the temple. We were surprised to see the beauty and the way it was managed; brilliant work, I must say! After the darshan, we had maha-prasad, which was a tasty lunch.
We purchased a frame of Gajanan Maharaj, to place it in our Pune home. We also purchased prasad to distribute to friends and family. It was too sunny on our way back to hotel. We reached our room at 1:00 pm and woke up at 3:30 pm.
We had to pass our time somewhere until our train, which was at 9:00 pm. So, as recommended by my mom's friends, we went to the nearby Anand Sagar gardens, and did not regret a bit. (I'll write a post on it soon.) I had worn my morning's pink kurta, and was half-sleepy while I wore it.
We took an auto to this garden. The garden was impeccable and a must-visit if you're in Shegaon. It's clean, beautiful, and green. By 6:30 pm, we left for our room, again by an auto. We packed our bags, and checked-out of the hotel at around 7:30 pm.
We walked towards the temple, and had dinner. I was quite full so I thought of eating just the famous Shegaon Kachori, and my mom thought the same. My brother had a masala dosa, while we went ahead to hunt a store that sold fresh kachoris. My mom and I went to a restaurant, but the kachoris were not hot. So we ordered just one and gulped it down our throat somehow.
We went to another local store, that sold only these kachoris. The name was 'Teertharam Karamchand Sharma-Shegaon Railway Canteen's Original Kachori'--in case you visit Shegaon and want to know where we had them. The kachoris were delicious, and we ordered two. We also took two as parcel and I'm craving for some more right now!
After this, we had ice cream in Radhakrishna Ice Cream Parlour and took an auto to station. We reached there at 8:30 pm, and unlike morning, the station was full of tourists. Our train came at 9:00 pm and we got into our compartment.
The scene inside the train was happening and I loved it. Though it was a second class, people were decent and cheerful. An office group was sitting in our compartment and they were having fun. We slept at 11:00 pm, and woke up in the morning at 4:45 am. Actually, our station was to arrive quite later, but due to few over-prepared co-passengers, we woke up much earlier, and literally waited for an hour near the door until the station arrived!
We got down at one of the suburban stations and took a train to my home station. We reached our home by 7:00 am, and slept. I woke up at 12:45 pm, and got such a peaceful sleep.
(Sorry if there are any grammatical errors or an error in the syntax of the sentence; I'm too tired for good English.)