The ever visible shrine could not be seen as we rubbernecked at the crest of the hill. In front of us lay stairs to the hill top. This meant that the foot of the hill where we stood was side yard of the hill for the temple and a 45 degree ‘S’ curved road lay ahead to the Goddess Jivdani. This was an old route abandoned by the introduction of a new one. Yet we saw some passers who preferred it because it was the nearest route to the temple from their residence. Steps kept disappearing in between and joining us back during the journey. The climb wasn’t steep so the missing stairs did not amount to risky trekking.
Commonly, a more direct road is used to get to the temple. The share rikshaws by default take you to this route at the foot of the hill with comparatively straight staircase climb to the temple. It is also roof covered to guard the devotees from rain and excessive heat. A row of identical Prasad shops line up both the sides of street. There is also a ropeway that has proved to be a great aid for the senior citizens and physically unfit people.
Expedition ‘New road to Jivdani’, which actually turned out to be an old route, was not the result of any adrenaline rush, rather we lazy minds were looking for any easier climb. We heard about this route and decided to try it. As you see the beautiful pictures, you know that we did not completely regret it.
We took a rickshaw to the Chandansaar(village) road and stopped at Paachpaayri (stop), for our road to Jivdani. It took us almost one and half hour to the temple which is too much. I attribute the excessive time to the mad clicking all the way and almost zero practice of trekking. We had to capture every color of the sky and we also took countless breaks to catch the breath. When we were planning the trek, we should as well have practiced the staircase of the building to gear up a little.
As the sun set we got to see brilliant view of the city from the top. The city glowed as the markets, buildings and streets lit up. We played some unfruitful guessing game of finding our residential neighborhood from the top of the hill. We have been to the Mandir before but this hike with breezy evening and pastoral scenery is etched in the memory.
Jivdani Mandir is an identity of Virar in true sense. You can see the wonderful edifice built on the top of the hill from any street, any corner of the city. If you can’t because of the increasing towers, be assured the ever protective vigilant goddess can and is watching you! The surrounding hills add an altogether different charm to the city in monsoon. Between the dense fogs the temple gets invisible with the whole hill and there reappears a mystique structure on the lush green background with the grey clouds floating making for a celestial sight.