I went on a journey with 7 other companions to visit a very old Temple called the SurgadarTemple.We were to be taken by a driver for the 3+ hour trip.Directions:Melinda we will leave at 4:30am, so please be ready by 4:15.I had my doubts, but ever hopeful, I was up and then ready by 4am.It was really nice being up so early –before the children were awake and I just sat on the top step enjoying the peace and quiet.I heard other moving around about 4:30 (of course with no vehicle in sight).I then saw Chandra, Monita and Nima moving around down below.Nima prepared the ‘temple area’ so the ladies could have their morning tika –blessing- before leaving.
I moseyed on down around 5:00 and had my tea.The driver pulled in around 5:30 and we (me, Aama, CM, Nirmala and Jaya) loaded up.There was so many bags of stuff, I was curious as to what everyone was bringing?I had made sure the night before that we were just going there and back.As we all climbed in and got situated we were bumping on down the road by 5:50am.We stopped along the road and picked up another lady and her Aama.We then arrived in Ghorahi and picked up our final passenger, Bhola and CM’s sister.Before heading out, we then had to stop to air up the tires and get gas…I held my tongue and didn’t ask why the driver didn’t perhaps do this before picking us up?
We finally headed down the road.Now, I have traveled down roads in Nepal and other countries lacking a large transportation budget, and I soon realized why it would take us over 3 hours to go only 59 Kilometers.I spent the time in the middle of the very back seat trying to keep myself steady as we bounced and swerved while almost hitting large livestock, defiant chickens, and once a small child.We stopped once for tea/breakfast and again for a pee break along the way and then I grudgingly crawled back into the vehicle.I had a dilemma in the back.I needed to sit up very straight or else my knees would hit the seat in front of me, but when doing so, my head would get jolted back and come in contact with an “oh shit’ bar directly in the middle of the back of the vehicle.I squirmed and readjusted over and over, which wasn’t that difficult as many times those of us in the back were airborne as the vehicle hit a large bump or dirt hole.(I was reminded of the time my sister took her VW Bug about 50 mph over a rail road track! –but at least then, she only did it once, not over and over and over for 3 hours).
I watched the countryside as we passed horribly poor villages and people.Up here in the mountain, not much can grow this time of year and many barely survive the 3 months until they can finally plant food again.This is a hug Maoist region and a couple of years ago it would have been life threateningly dangerous for us to go though.We finally arrived battered but not beaten and after dragging everything out of the vehicle, we proceeded UP the mountain.We separated by ability, but would ‘meet up’ every few minutes or so (those of us ahead finding a shaded spot to wait for the others). After the first ‘meet up’ Nirmala and I started up again and (seeing her exaustion) I took Jaya’s bag from her that was sitting at her feet and slung it over my free shoulder. (my own bag held 2 large water bottles).She looked up at me and said “THANK YOU!I LOVE YOU!”We laughed and I told her she is most welcome and that her English was perfect!
We arrived at the temple after the 30+ minute walk and when the others arrived, we entered together.Once inside the gate, I was amazed at the area.I thought it would be a small temple like so many other’s that I have visited, but this seemed to be a whole village.I was told that the vast population of Hindu’s that come to the temple are from India (the border being only about 1.5 hours away).There were cows and people everywhere.
We found a bench to unload and then I realized just what was in the bags!It was like that ‘clown car’ where the clowns just keep coming out and coming out; they pulled more and more things out of the bags.The ‘gifts’ and other supplies they bought were never ending.I watched as the women busied themselves in the preparation and I told Jaya, that I didn't realize just what I had been carrying up that hill!
They just kept adding to the beauty as they prepared to enter the Temple.