Last weekend, I spent my time driving, walking and driving. Yes, you read it right, walking and that too bare foot. Actually, I was on a religious trip to Goverdhan and completed Goverdhan Parikrama with family. It is real fun to have all your family members around on a trip. For the uninitiated, I want to clear that Goverdhan is the same Holy Goverdhan hill, which Lord Krishna held on his little finger to save the town from wrath of the god of rains, Indra. Devotees are supposed to encircle the entire hill and the journey is called Goverdhan Parikrama. The entire parikrama is around 21 kms long and is divided in two parts. First is the main parikrama of the hill and second one is of Radha-Kund, 13 kms and 8 kms long respectively. Being Lord Krishna’s place, this place is famous for milk sweets, Lassi etc and we enjoyed everything on our way. There are some differences I noticed between this trip and our Vaishno Devi trip. Though Vaishno Devi carries a far bigger place in devotee’s heart, this place does have no less. Below are some points that I have noticed:

1) At Vaishno Devi, you have to climb up a mountain so that is more tiring and time taking but here is a plane walk. Still, it's not easy coz you are supposed to walk bare feet and these guys made a full concrete road only to increase your pain. My brother got his feet blooded as he did already have some allergy but still he showed great enthusiasm and didn't give up.

2) In Vaishno Devi, you can't find any shop selling articles of personal interest but here, there was a shop at every 20 steps selling ciggis and tobacco. I was surprised when I saw a restaurant on the way with a board "THANDI BEER UPLABHADH HAI".

3) As I have mentioned here, at Vaishno Devi the spirit of devotees for making jaikaras were missing, but here it was on full show. Also you can not find a place in the way where you can't here the sound of Bhajans coming out of shops.

4) Vaishno Devi has been commercialized a lot over past few years. Brands like CCD have already marked their presence there but here it is still missing.

5) At Vaishno Devi, you will hardly find a beggar but here you will certainly loose your count if you start.

So these were some differences but the power of bhakti has no comparison anywhere. Overall, I enjoyed here, the walk, the bath at Mansi Ganga, the food, the drive (500 kms in total) and on the top of that the presence of everyone.

PS: I would also like to share my earlier experience at Goverdhan. I, my brother, Mom and Dad were there. I and my brother were walking too fast and left Mom n Dad miles back. But when we were almost at the finish, we got a call from Mom that she is missed and there was no info from Dad's end. Finally after a lot of chaos, we all were able to meet. So this time, all of us made sure that everyone would carry his/her cell and we will walk together :)