Ajit has been asking me to come to Madhavpur for the longest time. I always found a new, very urgent assignment to avoid the trip. Well, not so much avoid it, for the thought of spending a week at a faraway beach village at a commune did seem pretty exciting to me, but the lethargy of train travel did get to me quite so often.
When his birthday approached and he suggested a getaway to this south west of Gujarat with his lovely wife and he, I could hardly resist. So post an unusually busy Friday evening at work, I packed two changes of clothes into my overnighter and set off to Rajkot, and then to Madhavpur. I was looking forward to my hours on the train, to switch off from the digital distractions and tune in internally. And if that reception was poor, then I was armed with a good book, a few episodes of The Office and some great music. So I was all set.
The purpose of the visit was to get an initiation to the Ashram life, to just be. The plan was that there was no plan. It was literally a weekend getAWAY.
When we started the drive towards Madhavpur from Keshod, the temperature dropped drastically, the landscape got lush and abundant. We passed by beautiful boulevards of trees and passed by lazy camels, lazier cows lining the roads. Beautiful birds followed us a little along the way. One we hit Madhavpur, we had the sea lining one side and the backwater on the other side. You could see colourfully dressed women, and bare chested children playing along the road. Goats and cows still lined the roads and not much traffic passed your way. A curious biker every 10 minutes would pass you by.
Quaint seaside village: Of Course the first thing you notice about the town are the massive waves of the Arabian Sea. The beaches are laden with crushed coral and the sudden elevations and descent on the beach will make you realise the power of the waves. There is a spot on the shore where the river meets the sea, and thats where we spent our entire evening, watching the sunset and floating almost out into the sea, immersed in the warm drifts of the river while mixing with the cool drifts of the sea. It was nothing short of spectacular.
We stayed in a modest house with two bedrooms which faced out to the sea where we slept to the sound of the waves and woke up to it too. It’s a good life when you get to wake up to views like these. Catch a sunrise or a sunset, the adjacent land of the village is fertile and laden with banyan trees and coconut groves. Lush green scrapes or blue ocean waves, you get to pick!
Cultural significance: the village is important from a cultural perspective, according to folklore Krishna married Rukmini here after kidnapping her. Thus a temple was also built in its commemoration, but that was torn down centuries ago by invaders of the land. Due to this a big fair is held in village during ram Navami over 4 days. It’s a hoot to be here then.
Food: good wholesome vegetarian Gujarati fare awaits you in this village. You can come here just to eat. Small road side stalls or a few errant restaurants or a thali at the commune ,if you are registered.
Beautiful people: Friendly shy smiles will greet you everywhere. Locals were super helpful and everybody seems to have a strange kind of peace that is quite infectious.
Time at the Osho commune: This remains my highlight of the stay there. You can stay for 24 hours, a week, a year or 36 years as a lady I met there did. You can do a breathing course at 630am, or attend a discourse/sermon by the resident guru, volunteer at the kitchen, help out in various tasks around the ashram or in general community outreach programmes. The ashram is a beautiful estate for a walk, and when you see the quaint bungalows in which the residents live in, you will leave a little bit of your heart behind. Amidst butterflies and twittering birds, you hold puppies and cuddle their siblings and marvel the beautiful bloom of the petunia. Somewhere right there, I realised that life is so good right now, right here.
My trip to Madhavpur made me realise that indeed small is beautiful and how even a tiny getaway like this can leave you refreshed. I wouldn’t have made this trip without Bapi’s (Ajit) insistence, and am happy that I gave in, and that he did not give up. I am definitely going back for a week at the commune, perhaps you should come with me!
How to get to Madhavpur: fly to Rajkot and take a 105 km journey to this seaside village. You can take the road, drive down, take a bus or take a train and reach Keshod. If you want to try the Indian Railway adventure, then trains leave daily from Mumbai to Rajkot, you need to get a train that goes to the Veraval extension.
” And its all, for the sake of arriving with you” Jack Johnson