1 hour ago
Omkareshwar is well off the radar for many traveller's to India. It is in Madhya Pradesh, literally in the middle of nowhere, so to say, if you look at the map of India. It is a place of pilgrimage for many Hindus and Sikhs - one of the twelve Jyotir lingas is there. This is not what attracted me there though. Omkareshwar has an island in the middle of Narmada River, and before the dam was constructed, the shape of the island reminded of the holy symbol OM. Plus I heard that this island was known as mini Varanasi, and I liked Varanasi. So that's how I ended up there.
To my mind, the place is a fusion of Varanasi and Rishikesh yet missing the overpowering energy of those places. It has got a much softer vibe; the island itself feels very peaceful. Many sadhus live there and there are countless shrines including fairly well-preserved remnants of the 13th century temple and one Shiva temple of the same time period in very good condition. I did the parikrama, i.e. circumbabulation of holy places to imbibe their special energy, around the island. It was a really pleasant walk that I started at 7.30 a.m. - it was simply the only time to do it because during the day the temperature rose to +39*C Obviously, the end of March is not the right time to visit the place: I'd say during the monsoon or right afterwards when everything should be blooming with greenery. During my visit the island and nearby places were very dry. I did also pay a visit to a shrine that is the main site of pilgrimage. Woah, it was kind of intense: waiting in line only to be literally elbowed out by the devotees who were praying in front of the Jyotirlinga. People are quite poor in this town and especially so on the island itself. They don't get many foreign visitors there, so I had to turn down endless "One selfie, please". I faced the looks full of sincere curiosity and sparkle in the eyes similar to those when explore something new. With given boiling temperatures, I survived there for 2 days and gladly left the place.
I love India because it is raw. Well, Omkareshwar is as raw as it gets. Apparently, these days I prefer it a bit less intense.