Shirdi to Usmanabad
Our ladies have finally entered the third week of their journey. And the biggest challenge they have overcome in last 2 weeks is that they have finally stopped misplacing things. Yes!! you heard me; be it their mobile chargers, dongle, cameras, cell- phones, knee- caps and even the driving license, first 1 hour of every morning and last 1 hour each night were spent in locating one’ s own stuff amongst hordes of other stuff, rummaging through each and every pocket of each and every bag.. the room went berserk in that 1 hour! Only after everything was found, sorted and in its proper place, that our ladies would hit the road … yet again!
The destination for Day 16 was Tuljapur, and our women had all the plans to visit the Tuljapur/ Naldurg fort and the temple. But on this journey plans often change !!
Since there was no suitable accommodation in this town, they decided to head for Usmanabad which was 21kms further down the road. It was around 300 kms of a distance that they had to cover, so they started from Shirdi quite early, at 6:35 am. The drive, fortunately, was smooth. Neeru was driving while the other two prepared the breakfast in the car itself; serving delicacies like sandwiches, poha, upma and chai in no time.
After driving 150 kms without any break, it was time to call onto the field the ‘Third Man’ oops I meant the Third Woman, their back- up driver Sarita. So for the rest of the journey of around 125kms Sarita took the wheel while Neeru and Mona got a chance to take the back seat. They reached their destination, Usmanabad, before noon. Since it is an off-season in South India, most of the hotels were going through renovation. Restaurant was shut for the day, at the hotel- Shrisamarth, scheduled to be open only on the next day.
After the long drive Sarita preferred to take some rest in the hotel while Mona and Neeru went to Tuljapur by local cab.
There is an ancient temple of Devi TuljaBhavani, situated inside a Fort. It is believed that Ram and Sita roamed in the forests near the temple and Lord Shiva and Devi Sati had ‘darshan‘ of the two deities here. Being the festive weekend in lieu of Holi and Good Friday there was a mad rush here too. But today the two ladies were determined that no matter what, they will brave through the crowds to pay their obeisance to the local Devi.. and so they did. A pandit, standing by, saw their plight, came to their rescue.. took them inside through a ‘short cut’, and once they were happy and content from the darshan.. the pandit didn’t shy away from claiming his well- deserved dakshina!
As they walked out of the temple it was already quite late and they had to drop the plans of visiting the Tulja Fort, also known as Nal-durg, which was at a distance of 51kms from the temple and headed back directly for Usmanabad. Well that’s the deal when you are on the road.. You can’t always be everywhere!