Kaal Sarp Puja at Trimbakeshwar
Based on an advice from a family astrologer I planned to make a visit to Sri Trimbakeshwar in Dec 2011 to perform a Kaal Sarp Puja designed to take away the ill effects of the planetary positions that were being reflected in my horoscope. Having been out of luck for some time I was ready to take this step in the hope that it may have some positive impact and if nothing turned out it was still a visit to a holy place and there was nothing to lose.
Since I had some work in Mumbai I was able to combine the two trips into one and make it both a business and personal trip. The dates for the Kaal Sarp are taken out by the pandit and each month has different dates and is performed 3-4 times a month. The trip from Mumbai to Nasik took about 2 ½ hours by taxi ( I believe there are regular buses plying too) and since I had my transport I could head directly to Sri Trimbakeshwar without having to enter Nasik city. Sri Trimbakeshwar is about 25-30 kms off Nasik city and comes before reaching Nasik.
We stopped a few times in the town of Sri Trimbakeshwar to ask for the address of the pandit and he definitely seemed to be well known in that town. The arrangement with the pandit was a cover charge of Rs 2,500 which included overnight accommodation and the puja expenses. The room was extremely basic and just let you have a nights sleep on a sharing basis. I had to buy a new kurta pyjama and a new towel from a nearby shop as part of the preparation of the puja.
The next day was an early start at 0600 hrs and with a quick bath (no shower) we all assembled at the courtyard downstairs. I was surprised to see a gathering of about 50 odd people who seemed to have come from all parts of the country. The puja is conducted in a hall with row seating of about 7 people each on the floor and there is a small table in the front with all the samagiri for the puja. The puja lasts from 0800 hrs to 1200 hrs without a break and one needs concentration on following and repeating the mantra’s and at the same time doing various acts such as washing the idols, offering flowers, applying tilak etc.
The only respite was at about 1200 hrs when we were asked to walk out of the hall and go to the nearby kund to sprinkle some water on ourselves. After 15 minutes it was back to the hall where the used plates and offerings had been cleaned up and were replaced by fresh one’s. Then began another marathon which lasted about 1 ½ hours. Post the puja of about 5 ½ hours with a 15 minute break the group was asked to assemble in the courtyard where there were about 10 havan kunds placed and with a random seating of 5 people per kund and then began a relatively short havan of about 30 minutes. Finally at about 1400 hrs the pandit declared the puja as accomplished.
All the people went to their respective rooms for a bath post which the fresh kurta pyjama worn for the puja was discarded. A small lunch was organized (covered in the puja fees) and the troupe went off into different direction of the country as they had come.
It was quite a unique experience and I hope that the above information is useful to all those who have been advised by their family pandit / astrologers to perform a similar puja.