October 24th Haridwar to Sidhbari

We were split into two groups for our charter flight from Dehra Doon to Dharmasala airport.  Guruji accompanied the first group and Swami Mitrananadaji accompanied the second group.
The second group had the welcome opportunity to visit the Manasa Devi temple before leaving Haridwar.  We went by Hari-Ki-Pairi on our way to Manasa Devi Temple.  Herculean preparations of cleaning up and site preparations are going on in Haridwar were Maha Kumbh Mela will occur next year in anticipation of more than 1.2 crores of pilgrims.
Manasa Devi is situated at the top of the hill accessible both by feet and by cable car.  We opted for the cable car, it was a wonderful journey and were happy to see how well organized the temple darshan process is.  We did a marathon temple darshan in an hour and returned to get ready for our flight.
After a hearty lunch from our wonderful hosts, we bade goodbye and boarded our charter flight at the Dehra Doon airport. The flight itself was very comfortable while we got to enjoy the regal views of Himalayas as we flew into Dharmasala.
We arrived in Sidhabari, the resting place of our Pujya Gurudev, in the foothills of the Dhauladhar mountains where we were warmly greeted by Swami Subodhananda and the earlier group of yatris.
The valley of the Siddhas, Sidhbari, nestling in the lap of the Himalayas is an awe-inspiring showcase of nature and soul. Swami Chinmayananda chose Sidhbari as a suitable location for a Sandeepany in the Himalayas. Pujya Gurudev must have felt the divine vibrations of the place where Kapila Muni once lived.
Construction began in 1979 but was beset by howling winds which disturbed the construction process. Then, as per Gurudev’s sankalpa, a Veera Hanumanji idol was installed. The imminent arrival of “Vayu-putra” resolved the issues with the wind. The well-known sculptor Sri Kashinath of Shimoga sculpted the cement concrete idol of Hanumanji in Veerasana posture. It is 25 ft tall and rests on a 7 ft granite pedestal. The idol was consecrated on 10th October 1982 by Pujya Gurudev.
Veera Hanumanji is seated at Sidhbari under the milky sky, open to the embrace of his father, Vayu, the Wind God. Hanumanji successfully keeps the damaging winds at bay. By worshipping the deity, one gains strength, courage, fame, alertness, eloquence and wisdom. Once in five years a consecration ceremony (Mahamastakabhishekam) of the idol is performed for which devotees from all parts of the world gather.
This is also the Samadhi Sthala of Gurudev. Devotees from all corners of the globe come to meditate, worship, and bask in the presence of the Master, whose mortal remains are buried under his sculpted image. The Bhu Samadhi of Pujya Gurudev was done on 9th August 1993.
Built in traditional Kerala style, the Samadhi Sthala houses Swamiji’s Ashtadhatu Pratima, or sculpture made of eight metals. Worship and aarti is offered twice daily.
The Samadhi is the most revered and an intense abode of silence and the focal point for ashram residents and visitors.
We celebrated Swami Mitranandaji’s birthday today.
The evening Aarti was at 6 pm at Gurudev’s Samadhi Sthal, followed by Aarti at the Ram Mandir and at the glorious open-air Hanuman. After the evening Aarti , Guruji gave a short satsang. He described the history of our ashram at Sidhbari – although it opened in 1981, the idea had started out a few years earlier envisioning this as a place of retreat. In addition, however, Gurudev also wanted to give back to the surrounding village communities that had served various saints across the Himalayas for countless generations.  What was once a baron windy hillock, with Gurudev’s blessings has now become a verdant and serene ashram visited by many tourists as well as devotees.
It soon evolved to become a perfect Triveni Sangam of Gyan, Bhakti and Karma yogas, with Vedanta courses in Hindi for knowledge, the Hanuman and Ram Mandir for devotion, and various community service projects across over 500 villages, including vocational projects for women. These projects eventually grew in to the Chinmaya Organization for Rural Development (CORD), about which we will hear about in detail.

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