The Sardars of Shiv Khori

The depression of losing the world cup last night had now gone away and I had to move on from my abode in Chail towards the village of Kuniyaar, where I wanted to see the famous Shiv Temple and the Shiv Khori which is a Guffa with a Shiva Lingam in it. On my way to Solan, I stopped over to courier my passport for my Tibet trip but first things first. I reached Shiv Khori in the late afternoon and, as usual, got off the car with my camera lens all ready to shoot this den of wonders – The den of Shiva. It was a walk downhill for a while as we approached the temple complex. On my way down, I saw a group of Sardars passing by who had just finished worshipping at the Shiv Khori.

I stopped over to chat to them “You all come here to pray? It is wonderful to see Sardars in a Shiv Temple.” I said folding my hands in a namaste “Yes sir ji, the Lord is only one, He has many names and many roopa, but He is all one and truth is also one. For us, it makes no difference whether it is Shiva or Nanak, They are all one and we respect all Dharmas.” I was amazed to see such a broad through on theology by a group of rustic Sardars, wearing only a vest, torn shirt and trousers. Even at this level, their thought was so profound and really touched a chord. I felt happier and peaceful as I approached the temple. I went into the Guffa that leads from the temple. It was cool with a soft wind blowing, right in the middle was the Shiv Linga. A few ladies were sitting around it trying to meditate with a group of men on the other side, head bowed with respect and devotion. As I ventured into the temple complex, I was invited into the kitchen for some food or prasadam. We sat down to have rice, dal and vegetables. At the end of the meal, kheer was served which I ate to my heart’s content. I walked back to my car full and nourished for my journey ahead. My night stay will be in a frugal guest house costing only Rs 1200 a night with a dinner of butter chicken and chapatis. It seems like my journey around the fabulous state of Himachal has just begun.

But today, I bow my hat to the feisty Sardars of Shiv Khori who are a burning symbol of religious tolerance and love for all humanity and religious equality. Even when places in our world burn out of religious hatred and bloodshed in the name of God, the Sardars of Shiv Khori are leading us all from darkness into light.

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