Shankaracharya Temple, the Beginning

For the past few days I have been staring up at the mountain behind the town at a distinct shape in the mist, the ancient temple of Shankarchaya, and the start of my journey. I had decided before the journey that I was going to wait with the start of the run until I got news from home about the birth of my first grandchild. Tamlin, my daughter and her husband Vaughn have been expecting the birth of their first child any day now. I have now received the news that my grandson has been born. Let the journey begin.

“I dedicate this journey to little Loki” The journey can begin.

Early this morning we slowly drove up the road below the path to the temple perched on the top of the mountain, my starting point. Thoughts were racing trough my mind. This massive moment was once again going to unfold in my life, another journey was about to unfold. We had gone a few kilometres up the hill and we were now stopped by the military on the track to the temple. We were body searched, all our cameras and phones were not allowed, just the clothes that we had on.

As I slowly climbed the steps to this beautiful temple built in 500 BC; the emotions began to well up inside me. On reaching the entrance to the last 100 steps below the shrine at the top of the temple; we all took off our shoes and socks. Walking up, instantly I felt the cold of the granite creeping into my feet. I then entered a narrow passage and up I climbed. The higher I climbed the warmer the steps became; it was such a weird feeling as if there was energy flowing into me. I could feel the sun on my back as we walked out of the shadows the heat from its rays were warming up everything around me. There was even a narrower door ahead and then on entering here it opened into a small sacred room of the shrine. I bowed my head as I entered, lowly lit with candles, huge carved images were in front of me, flowers and incense burning. To the left sat a priest who quietly beckoned me over with his hand. I walked to him, once again be signalled that I crouch down, he then painted an orange stripe on my forehead, quietly blessing me, he then handed me a pinch of large sugar crystals, he beckoned me to eat them . I quietly stood there, frozen in the moment staring at the shrine. My mind seemed to empty for a moment, devoid of any thoughts. Then the journey that lay ahead just seemed to cascade into me and the unknown of what lay ahead of me. I turned and took the first step, my journey had now begun, the first step of many thousands.

All four of us, Nick, Andy, Hamish and I quietly stood outside the shrine on the walkway at the top, just staring into space, memorised gazing at the town below. We all agreed that this was such a special moment that we had just experienced. In some way, none of us had any idea that we would all end up on this journey, let alone standing at the top of this temple, thousands of years old being so overcome by this moment

As they say, “Don’t go looking for India, India will find you”.

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