Trip To Vaishnodevi -I
Day 3 started with the renewed enthusiasm of exploring places close to Vaishnodevi. I had already inquired about some including Dera Baha Banda Behadur, Aqhar Jitto, Nau Pindian, and Dhansar Baba. My mother was still down with the pain of the strenuous journey but I convinced her to come along. I booked an auto rickshaw and told the driver to cover all the major places nearby. The auto driver was accompanied by a relative of his.
As I admired the scenic beauty my mother started chatting with the driver about the nearby tourist spots, their daily lives, their subsistence etc. Dhansar Baba, situated about 10 kilometers from Katra and 17 kilometers from Reasi was the first place we visited. A flight of 90 stairs led to the holy place. The driver and his relative doubled up as guides for my mother and me. They elaborated on the story behind the name of the place but I was so engrossed in viewing the scenic beauty that I didn't hear them. When I reached there, I was really astonished to see a natural waterfall beneath which was a small temple. A huge spring emerged from the rocks in a thick grove of trees and formed a number of small cascading waterfalls before ultimately flowing into a rivulet that merged with the Chenab river. A naturally-formed Shivling was another attraction. Droplets of water fall on it at a constant rate all the year around. The place was perfect for a solitary soul like me where I didn’t need anyone and just relaxed in the lap of nature. But at the same time, I felt sad when I happened to see the amount of plastic waste strewn around the temple.