In Search of Mahavatar Babaji’s Cave, Kukuchhina (Uttarakhand)

Aug 08 2009

Sri Guru Mahavatar Baba

Sri Guru Mahavatar Baba

Last Updated on May 4th, 2014

The following is a count of my journey to Mahavatar Babaji’s Cave (Gufa) in Dronagiri area in Himalayas. I took the trek on 29th of July 2009 along with my Father. After several visions and signals from the Masters, I finally made the trek deep into the Mountains at about 9000 feet.

To view photos from my Trek to Babaji’s Cave, please click here.

Leaving Rohtak for Haldwani
After I could not make the trek to Mahavatar Babaji’s Cave in Pandukholi region during my visit to Almora, Himalayas in 2007 – I had accepted the fact that the time had not come yet for me to visit. During my summer 2009 vacation, I was determined to make the trip and after a small hiccup, it materialized into reality. I will try to be as faithful in remembering the little details as possible and provide you with my experiences during this extraordinary journey that I took with my Father.

My Father and I left Rohtak on Sunday, 26th July 2009 at about 10 AM for Haldwani where we would stop for the night. The drive from Rohtak to Haldwani takes about 7 to 8 hours and is about 340 KMs (337 in our case) if there are no traffic problems. The route is:

Rohtak to Delhi to Ghaziabad onwards to NH 24 all the way through Hapur, Muradabad, Rampur, Bilaspur, Rudrapur to Haldwani. We stopped at Haldwani for the night where an old colleague and friend of my Father Mr. Bisht lives. Haldwani is the last stop in the plains on way to Nainital and surrounding areas and is known as the Pravesh-Dwaar (entrance) to the Dev-Bhoomi Uttaranchal (now Uttrakhand). It connects plains to the Kumaon region of the mighty Himalayas. The next morning was rather hot and muggy as we left Haldwani at around 10 AM for Almora. The drive was scenic as it normally is anywhere in Himalayas. By then we had learned that Monsoon rains had mostly evaded the state of Uttaranchal, but as we started ascending the mountains on NH 87, we noticed raindrops on our wind shield. Due to landslides that had occurred earlier, the normal route (via Bhimtal) to Almora had been closed to public and we had to take a detour and go through Ranikhet and enter from the backside of Almora. On our way, 4 ladies asked for lift to Pilot Baba’s Ashram that was on the way. We gladly accommodated them and dropped them at their destination.

Bhole Baba of Haidakhan

Bhole Baba of Haidakhan

Visit to Haidakhan Ashram, Ranikhet
As we reached Ranikhet, my Father and I decided to pay our respects to Haidakhan Baba and visit his Ashram on the outskirts of Ranikhet at Chiliyanaula. To visit the Ashram, one must enter the Ranikhet Cantonment and take the low road from the Main roundabout beyond the Sadar Bazaar. Here we found another older Gentleman who we asked for directions and we ended up offering him a lift into Ranikhet until the point where the 2 KM slip road took us directly to Haidakhan Baba Ashram. Since it was a cloudy day, we could not see any of the peaks Nandadevi, etc.) that are usually visible from the Ashram on a clear day. We spent about 30 minutes at the Ashram and I meditated for about half an hour. After paying our respects, we left the Ashram at 2:05 PM for Almora in hopes of making the trek to Mahavatar Babaji’s Cave the following day. Little did we know that it was not yet to be. We arrived at Almora at 4:03 PM (odometer 474 KMs).

Fury of Rain Gods
Later that night in Almora, my Father and I both woke up to the sound of raindrops. The next morning turned out to be immensely cloudy and carried dense fog. We could barely see the terrace of the floor beneath ours. The clouds were below us and it felt as if we were in heaven for a moment. At times the floating clouds seemed to enter our hotel room and the very next moment the rain would stop giving us a bleak hope of setting out for Pandukholi where Babaji’s cave is located. The day, however, stayed dismal and rainy for most of the time and by 10 AM we had dropped the plan of making the trek. Later that night, the TV news predicted heavy rains during next 48 hours in the state and my father even suggested that we leave the following day if rain gods continued with their fury. To our relief, rains finally gave way to a light drizzle at about 4 PM. We finally left the hotel room to take a walk on Mall Road and also visited the Almora Market. Before retiring for the night, my prayers seemed to be getting answered as I finally saw the mountains in front of us that had stayed hidden behind clouds for most of the day. The heavy cover of clouds seemed to be saying goodbye to the mountains and I thanked Babaji for keeping my hopes alive of making the trek the next day.

Bright and Sunny 29th, Trek to Babaji’s Cave
Bright sunshine greeted us the next morning as we woke up to almost clear blue skies. We left soon after our breakfast of Poori Bhaaji at 8:39 AM. Kukuchina was 86 KMs of drive from Hotel Shikhar, Almora. To reach the trekking point, one must leave Almora on NH 87 and pass through Ranikhet and continue towards Dwarahat. From Dwarahat, one must bear right towards Dunagiri Temple and continue towards Pandukholi. We reached Dunagiri Temple at 11:25 AM (odometer 557 KMs) and Pandukholi was still 5 more KMs to go. After driving for a few more minutes we reached Kukuchina, which is the last village before the 2 KM walk to Rathkhaal where the trek begins. We had a cup of hot Himalayan tea at Joshi Tea stall. Mr. Joshi, who runs the shop, carries Himalayan hospitality and a welcoming smile on his face. We were surprised that he remembered us from our brief stop from 2007 when I had failed to make the trek. We discussed the conditions and the weather in the mountains and requested him to arrange a Jeep ride along the 2 KM narrow path to take us to the trekking point. My Father and I decided against taking our own Ford Ikon car considering the extremely narrow and hilly path that, in my opinion, should either be travelled on foot or in a vehicle with 4-wheel drive.

Jeep Ride to Rathkhaal, facts about the Area
On many occasions, I thought the right tire of the Jeep would slide and slip over into the Valley taking all of us along and not to mention, I kept murmuring Babaji’s name all through the nerve-breaking Jeep ride. Once the Jeep dropped us at the point where the YSS (Yogoda Satsang Society) board pointed towards the Cave up in the mountains, we chanted Babaji’s name and began our trek at 12:07 PM (Tuesday, 29th July 2009). Those who wish to get an idea of the geography and the trek must understand a few things. Babaji’s Cave is unlike most of the other sacred places such as Badrinath, Kedarnath, etc. which are visited by thousands of people each year. You will even find people in Almora area that have not heard of Babaji’s cave up in Pandukholi area. The area in particular is 86 KMs. from Almora and the trek requires sincerity, strong will, devotion and intuitiveness on your part. YSS (Yogoda Satsang Society) along with others have done a great job in putting up a few boards and laying out a very basic raw mountain path, but one may still get easily lost if not attentive and intuitive.

Trek begins to Mahavatar Babaji’s Cave
As we started climbing the stony and narrow path along the mountain edge, I felt a surge of strange energy and did not feel any fatigue all through the trek whatsoever. My father took frequent breaks while climbing and I went along capturing the extraordinary Mountains around us through the lens of my camera. Somewhere mid-way during our trek, it started raining heavily and we had to take out our raincoats from my backpack. Climbing a mountain path such as this one could be very dangerous especially when it’s raining. Rain along with pine needles along the path can make the mountain surface very slippery as we discovered during our trek. Interestingly, I slipped more than my father. May be his mountain skills acquired during childhood when he used to climb mountains in Kashmir, helped him along the way. After the rains became too heavy, I said a little prayer to Surya Dev (Sun) and whispered Surya Mantra so the sun would shine and rain would stop. Lo and behold within a minute or so, the rains subsided and sun came out. I was grateful to Babaji as it made the climb a little easier especially for my Father.

Mahavatar Babaji Smriti Bhawan
After an hour or so of climbing through the forest, we came to an ashram, which turned out to be Mahavatar Babaji Smriti Bhawan established on the hilltop by YSS (Yogoda Satsang Society) on 25th July 2002. An elderly couple that met us in front of the Bhawan told us that the Cave was further up, about a couple minutes climb from the Smriti Bhawan. We also ran into a group from Andhra Pradesh that was visiting Babaji’s Cave. Their driver gave us the key to the Cave’s door after I convinced him that we would lock the Cave door and the Smriti Bhawan and hand the key over to a keeper that lived in the village down in the valley. Initially my father suggested that he would rest at the Bhawan and I should continue up to the cave, however, I did not think that he came all the way up here to miss out on visiting the sacred cave. After my suggestion, he accompanied me up.

Arrival at Mahavatar Babaji’s Cave

Finally we saw the steps and the door of the Cave. I asked my Father to do the honors and unlock the door. As soon he opened the door, a sudden rush of energy went through me as I saw the interior of the sacred Cave. On first look, one could say that 4 to 5 people could easily sit next to each other in the Cave. We noticed that drops of water were trickling down from the cave top, which we attributed to the recent rain. Although YSS has put up a marker, gate and the steps, the cave itself is natural and could be thousands of years old. I would like to refrain from making any claim on this, however. Since the plastic spread inside the Cave was wet, we decided to spread our raincoats and sit on them. I sat in the Lotus pose (Padamasana) and was immediately lost in a trance. One does not have to try and meditate as it comes naturally where one almost feels being present on a different plane far away from the mundane world. The silence and the grace that prevailed within the cave were unlike anything I had experienced before in my lifetime.

It’s time to leave
Call it the fury of the weather gods or Babaji’s signal to leave – within about 15 to 20 minutes clouds started thundering in the most threatening way and we knew that rains were imminent. I finally opened my eyes and my Father suggested that we get a move on. After taking a few pictures and paying our respects, we locked the door and descended back to the Smriti Bhawan. To our surprise we found that the group of people we had met earlier was still inside the Ashram where we also decided to stay put until the rain ceased. The Smriti Bhawan had 3-4 rooms where one could stay overnight. Since the rains were heavy outside, I decided to sit and meditate inside the Bhawan where a couple of other people from the group were already meditating. Within about 30 minutes, rains gave way to bright sunshine and we decided to leave.

Energy Circles
Later while viewing the photos, I found one photo clicked after another where energy circles could be seen on my right. I discussed this with my Uncle, Dr. Rajeev Kaushik, who is a Sahaj Yogi and has recently published a book with Rupa Publications on Kundalini Yoga describing his experiences and revelations. He explained that such energy circles and usually seen at charged and sacred places where sages have done tapas or establish their presence in astral form.

You are welcome to draw your own conclusion as to what these circles are. I personally do not indulge.

Lahiri Mahasaya

Lahiri Mahasaya

Losing our way in the forest
In a stroke of wisdom, I suggested to my father that we leave the group behind and be on our way. Little did I realize that the descent back to the village would be even trickier than the climb up. Due the rain, the mountain paths were filled with water and we both slipped at a few places. I tried to be more than alert despite handling my camera and capturing the serenity and beauty of the mountains and trees around us. At a sharp turn, we came to a narrow path off the mountain where despite my strong suggestion; we turned left per my Father’s instinct. It wasn’t too late before we realized that we had not come this way during our climb up. Instead of descending the part of the mountain on our right we had confused the surroundings and were actually heading in a totally strange direction. After ascending the mountain and then descending again, we found ourselves headed straight to the valley into deep forest. At one point we could even see a house in front of us at some distance away, however, it was on the other side of the mountain and it was not possible to reach it unless one crossed the forest that lay at the bottom part of the mountain that we were on.

I then suggested to my Father to bring back his mountain-instincts and guide us out of this predicament. As I mentioned earlier, he had climbed many mountains during his childhood in Kashmir, which at that time was full of wilderness as well as animals. He took a moment to study the surroundings and then eventually with some input from me, we headed to our right and started climbing the part of the mountain that lay ahead of us. It was my understanding that it would bring us back to our original path. At some places, we had some serious hiking on the cliff of the mountains that was also wet from recent rains. I was also worried about my Father and his ability to climb at such rough spots.

Himalayan Hospitality
By Babaji’s grace, we went through the rough path and also crossed a small waterfall hidden deep within the mountains and eventually ended up in a small field of Turnips. In front of us – lay a villager’s hut who, to our good fortune, was inside the hut and having his lunch at the time. My father told them that we were coming back from Babaji’s Cave and had lost our way in the mountains and requested him to show us the correct way to reach Rathkhaal and then Kukuchina. Before he showed us the correct way, he stressed more than once that we join him for lunch or tea at the least. We politely thanked him for his generosity and went our way after getting directions. This along with other minor incidents strengthened our faith that people in the mountains were still filled with the hospitality, trust and kindness that has almost disappeared from the plains.

After descending through another rough spot that was filled with water and stones, we reached the 2 KM stretch (Rathkhaal) that would take us to Kukuchina where our car stood parked near Joshi Tea Stop. Earlier we had taken a jeep ride to save time and avoid any fatigue before beginning the trek; however, we decided that it was best to walk back to Kukuchina so we could cherish the beauty and serenity of the sacred mountain.

Guide welcomes us!
On a lighter note, I later pointed to my Father a little incident that had happened earlier while were inside the Smriti Bhawan up in the mountains after our visit to the Cave.
Father had mentioned about the challenges involved in our trek (from the heavy rains to the difficult trek) and I had casually remarked back (almost boasting) “what more challenge can Babaji present us with?” We chuckled later that Babaji indeed gave us another small challenge by making us take the wrong route and getting us lost in the forest. Lord works in mysterious ways to teach us lessons, both big and small in life.
Our trek back became very tiring due to the extra fatigue we had to undergo after losing way up in the mountains.

We took frequent breaks and just sat in silence to breathe in the mountain air. At one spot, we came across a Black Dog who was waiting on the edge of the mountain by a boulder and came running towards us as we approached that spot. Since I have never been close to dogs (that’s another story), my father cajoled him into making him go away. On a very interesting note, the dog stayed ahead of us all the way to Kukuchina and even stopped and waited for us as we took breaks during our trek back on the stony Himalayan path. We both had our own ideas about the dog, which would be later revealed to us by Sh. Netraballabh Joshi at Joshi Tea Stall. The dog, as I found out a year later was taken away by a Leopard.

Arrival back at Kukuchina
After about 55 minutes, we arrived at Kukuchina at 3:30 PM and Mr. Joshi greeted us with a smile. My father was quick to request 2 hot cups of Himalayan tea and a couple pieces of bread to chase away the fatigue of the trek. We also met Shri Netra Ballabh Joshi with whom we held discussion on Mahavatar Baba, Mahabharat, Ashwatthama, and other related topics. Some excerpts from our conversation can be viewed on Youtube in form of Part 1 and Part 2 . He also told us about the dog that had been guiding visitors on the 2 KM stretch back to Kukuchina for a few years now. I silently bowed down to the humble creature for his generous services and we later fed him with Biscuits and Bread as a small token of our gratitude.

The extraordinary day ended when we finally took leave of Joshis, bowed down to the Dronagiri Mountain and Mahavatar Baba in reverence for making this trek possible. It was once in a lifetime experience and one must physically go there to feel the energy, aura and blessings of the Dronachal Valley and Mahavatar Baba.

Arrival back at Almora
We left Joshi tea stall at 3:55 PM (odometer 562 KMs) and arrived back at Almora Hotel at 6:44 PM (odometer 648 KMs). If anyone has any questions about the trip or our trek, feel free to contact me through this website. May Babaji guide us and bless us.

Pointers/interesting observations

  • Where to Stay: Based on your travel plans, you can stay at Ranikhet, Dwarahat (Mayank Hotel) or at Dunagiri Retreat (most expensive option, usually recommended for large groups).
    My personal recommendation is to stay in rooms/cottages run by Girish Joshi | +91-94113-18540 (Kukuchhina) where you will be closest to the trek and also receive the best hospitality. I have visited many times and have formed good friendship with Joshi Ji.
  • If you decide to visit Pandukholi and Babaji’s Cave on the same day, I would advise that you start no later than 9 AM. First visit the cave and then take the steep trek to Pandukholi (about 2 KM uphill). Do sit with Ram Baba there, who is a disciple of Mahant Balwant Giri Maharaj, who was a Naga Sadhu and did Tapasya at Pandukholi for 35 years. The ashram at Pandukholi was established by him and is called Swargpuri. Baba took mahasamadhi on 14 December, 1994. Another disciple of Baba Balwant Giri is Dhanwantari Baba – who is a wandering sage, but can be visited at Sant Kuteer located near Doonagiri Temple.
  • People in the mountains may frequently ask you for lift. This might be considered out of question in the Northern Plains. We were surprised when an elderly mother asked lift for her newly wed daughter!
  • Even the simplest and financially challenged person may turn out to be the most hospitable and courteous. Such is the culture in Himalayas!
  • It is best advised to not undertake the trek during Rainy season, but if you are as daring as us, do not forget to pack raincoats!
  • Lastly, I would quote what I once read in an article. “Leave your cold intellect behind before approaching the sacred and serene mountains.”

Om Namah Shivay.

Gautam Dhar/Anupam Dhar
8th August 2009, Rohtak, INDIA
Trek date: 29th July 2009


In Search of Mahavatar Babaji’s Cave: Photos

Videos of my conversation with (now Late) Shri Netra Ballabh Joshi: Part 1, Part 2

Comments So Far..
  • dhilip 9 August, 2009 at 7:51 am

    hi thanks for sharing your experiences…

  • dhilip 9 August, 2009 at 10:45 am

    hi can you share your feelings in detail when u sat in meditation inside cave..did u feel the presence of babaji? did u see his physical presence?

    • K BHARATH 29 September, 2015 at 2:02 am

      Hi sir ,can I join you to babaji’s cave darshan

  • Piyush 9 August, 2009 at 9:27 pm

    Hi Gautam,

    What a wonderful and descriptive account of your visit to Dunagiri and to Babaji’s cave. It was particularly interesting to see photos with energy circles…i have seen circles in some of my photos of Dunagiri but never investigated them…taking them to be rain-drops or dust-spots.

    Look forward to meeting you on one of your next visits to Dunagiri. 🙂

    with best wishes,


  • vacaspati 14 August, 2009 at 8:26 am

    we had visited the cave in the month of april. the masters of the universe always open the ports for such sacred journeys at the time u physically and spiritually are ready that is why ur darshan happened on ur second outing. what u saw is merely the portico of a much larger tavern which had labyrinths in which mahavatar’s dera resided when it was visited by lahiri mahasaya. the route u have taken shows that u had to follow the path of lahiri mahasaya by approaching the cave through ranikhet. we managed to stay at dwarahat itself not at the yss ashram but on the route to kukuchina, dronagiri called hotel mayank, which incidentally is run by a person who also runs an ashram on the foothills of dronagri just outside dwarahat where there is a shrine for Sai Babaji which is Sai Baba of Shirdi and Mahavatar babaji.

    We had already visited the birth place of Mahavartar in the year 2003 which is in parangipettai (chidambaram dist, tamil nadu) and had to wait for 6 long years for ths special visit to the cave but it happened so fast that images of our visit are so fleeting we can scarce believe that we have achieved this unique journey to the temple as well as the cave.

    in photographs there are patches in corners that occur which are explained by photographers as refractive lens errors however in our almost ten years of pilgrimages and photographies such refractive errors have happened very rarily and in the case of our visit to parangipettai we did notice such errors. cosmic vibrations are supposed to by picked by kirrillian photography using special thermal sensors and there were such vibrations in abundance along the path to the cave which were much more intense in the cave and peaking towards the inner wall. the most important observation is that ur mind seems incapable of thought and u don’t really remember what u felt inside the cave in that sense the cave is a spiritual warp. hope that ur next visit u can stay in dwarahaat itself and enjoy the vibrancy of the dronagiri itself.

  • Jacob 14 August, 2009 at 11:14 pm

    very beautiful dear friend!

  • Gautam 16 August, 2009 at 11:09 am

    Thanks for sharing your count and thoughts, vacaspati.

  • Venkat 17 August, 2009 at 9:55 am

    Thanks a lot for sharing such wonderful pictures and your experiences. Pictures are very wonderful and informative to people like us who are at the other corner of the world.

  • Haresh Pandya 17 August, 2009 at 7:42 pm

    Thanks for sharing your experience. I hope and pray that I be able to visit that cave some day.

  • Gautam 21 August, 2009 at 12:48 pm

    Thanks Piyush Sir. God willing, we shall surely meet there next time!

  • Suraj Prabhakaran 2 September, 2009 at 11:46 am

    HI Gautamji/ Anupam,

    This article was amazing. I have read the Autobiography of a Yogi many times and all the chapters are fresh in my mind! The cucumber story, the tiger swami, St. T. Neumen, the woman who never eats and the university degree to name a few of my fav chapters. This entire journey was more interesting read as it carried the actual beauty of the rubbled path above to our dearest Babaji. Call his name and there would be an instant blessing – Sri Sri Lahiri Mahasya once said and I love following it..You look graceful in the picture and u seem to understand the beauty of the Guru’s teachings and their mysterious help flowing for ages and ages to we characters playing our part! In all they were one of the best to ever come across- this trip. have a great time ahead..God Bless!

  • Anupam Dhar 2 September, 2009 at 8:11 pm

    After reading Sri Vacaspati’s account, I now recall the complete
    sense of vacuum I registered when I sat down after Gautam closed his eyes in meditation. After squatting I had turned involuntarily and was facing the cave when after sometime Gautam got up to leave. And during this period I was oblivious to sound and sight both, as if time had stood still. The torrential and thunderous rain also had failed to register its din. And all along the short period I had not closed my eyes. I did not give it much thought assuming I was too tired by the climb to have felt the way I felt. Maybe Sri Vacaspati has a point there.

  • vacaspati 5 September, 2009 at 5:38 am

    Infact Swami Kebalananda mentions this state of mind to Yukteshwar Giri and though Yogananda has further classified samadhi as per tradition, this is a strange kind of Nirbi kalpa samadhi.
    Babaji’s cave has this vibration, and infact Sri Margabandu SK Singh was is a Kriyaban, went to the holy cave first last year and then guided our journey. At that time too, I had asked the couple individually about it, and they said the same thing that you have mentioned Sir. They too had attributed it to tiredness, thunder and rain and then accepted when I pointed out that on emerging from the cave at a short distance they started having thoughts. I felt at ease, Amanasya or transcendental bliss, is natural in samadhi, but in the cave it is automatic, at attained at great ease. It is almost Sir, like a portal, or like a broad band connection at great speed.
    My brother who had accompanied us sat outside the cave with our daughter for most of the time, and felt this thrill of thoughtlessness, too.
    This gives great credence to the Shketram that Babaji’s cave is, such findings from diverse persons, as in age, ethnicity and upbringing, to find similarity of feelings at the Cave of the Eternal Master.
    If one can capture that state and replicate it whenever one invoke’s Babaji’s blessings then it will be a true blessing to the seeker!
    Thank you Sir for coming forth with your private feelings.

  • Anupam Dhar 5 September, 2009 at 7:50 pm

    Thanks indeed for your participation in our quest for spiritual pathways.
    Your insight into the subtleties of mysterious nature are precious and welcome indeed.
    Thanks again and may Babaji bless you.

  • Hari 6 September, 2009 at 6:12 am

    Thank you so much for putting this up on the net. May God bless you.

  • Dr Milon Mitra 8 September, 2009 at 12:47 pm

    Gautamji pranam,
    After reading yours and others account about the cave, I went into deep meditation with thoughts of God and Babaji. After getting up I became sceptic. How are you sure that the cave belongs to Babaji? Your only way of knowing it was the YSS Boards and their identification/directions. Did Lahiri baba tell his disciples about the cave? What was your source of information?
    Please do not take me otherwise.

  • Gautam 8 September, 2009 at 12:54 pm

    Dr Mitra:

    Skepticism is the engrained nature of human mind, so do not be hesitant in ever doubting anything. You are correct in saying that my source of information is only the deep research I have done over the years, count of Sages I’ve read, locals count of the place, and my interaction with other seekers.
    The place has been mentioned by Lahiri Mahasaya in his diaries, notes, to his disciples and also mentioned in the book “Autobiography of a Yogi”.

    Also, such matters can not be explained by merely using our “brain”. One has to directly experience first-hand and transcend the boundaries of intellect to feel the bliss and grasp the knowledge. All the best in your search! :=)


  • vacaspati 8 September, 2009 at 5:59 pm

    dear Masters
    The human can rise above mumbo-jumbo if he or she listened to a voiceless voice, a source of knowing that is not knowledge or hearsay. This is the source to which a seeker taps into in his/her voyage from the relative to the real, from relativity to reality.
    hence it is said that true knowing is first by elimination-Neti,Neti(not this, not this) and then an inspired moment of pratyaksha, direct perception dawns upon the seeker and throws light on the situation. Science seeks validation of data, so all esoteric experiences of masters, as vividly described in books like Autobiography of a Yogi, are all treated as metaphysics and not physics, but tell me which law of science or theorem is not based on an axiom or supposition? In utter contrast to that, the state of realisation, and the true nature of the self have been commented upon by various sages down the ages, who are not even connected by geography or ethnicity and yet stumbled upon this same startling conclusion about the nature of the human. Hence this is called the Holy Science.
    To the point of Babaji’s cave, there is an account of Babaji being a disciple of Agastya, and belonging to the Siddha tradition who embraced an immortal body, and went north to the Himalayas, and his jaunts and haunts are the hills of Dronagiri which is sacred and associated with the immortal Hanuman. Now through Lahiri Mahasaya, we know also that it is near Ranikhet.
    The cave appropriated by YSS is sealed upto 90% and just this much is suffice to offer the experiences to fellow journey men like yours truly. In this experience of calm and of samadhi, one can testify to the holy, sanctified nature of that cave. South Indian actor Rajnikanth wrote about his trip to this cave, and he and his companions entered from above, and saw a much larger spot according to the travelogue account in a vernacular weekly in 2005. In YSS ashram at Dwarahaat, the present head Swami Nirvananda mentioned that for the actor a special team of Kriyabans had come from their main center at Ranchi and he only heard of their trip. Incidentally the present world wide head of YSS, Dayamata has not been to the cave, not managing the ardous climb, but in her account she says that the Deathless Master informed her that while that was a spot he stayed for long, to seek His blessings there is no requirement to make such a journey.
    Why then do we journey? Do we seek Babaji or his state of deathlessness? Do we seek to cast off duality or retain this form given to us for eternity? Prabananda was a person who had two bodies, and two pensions, and yet chose to cast off his yoke. This is where individual will has mastery over the Cosmic Plan. Beyond all seeking, and knowing there is yet a small, but yawning chasm to be forded, which requires on our individual part a leap of faith. Do you have it in you?
    I hope this has fanned more fervour in the masters, and spurs more enquiry…May The Masters be with us.

  • Gautam 8 September, 2009 at 8:08 pm

    vacaspati ji, thanks very much for your input!

  • Anupam Dhar 8 September, 2009 at 8:54 pm

    Dr Milon Mitra has asked a very simple question. I think he deserves a equally simple response.
    Sri Shyam Charan Lahiri has given a definitive description of his place of initiation.
    I would like to quote a few passages from his biography titled, “Purana Purusha Yogiraj Sri Shama Churn Lahiree”. This book first appeared in Bengali and was later translated into English by Dr Ashoke Kumar Chaterjee. Here are a few relevant excerpts which provide a definitive answer to the location of the ancient cave of Mahavatar Babaji where he initiated Lahiri Mahashaya and finally bestowed upon him Shaktipat.
    ” One day Shama Churn, accompanied by armed guards was proceeding along a hilly forest path carrying official cash. He heard someone calling him by his name. A sanyasin hastily came down a hilly tract and stood before him. He said,’ I knew you would come by this path. I have been waiting for you. Complete your work and come to my hermitage.’ He pointed to the hill top.
    After some hesitation, Shama Churn finally decided to visit the sanyasin.He proceeded along a narrow path leading to the peak. Gasping for breath, he reached the hermitage.The sanyasin touched Shama Churn gently and a electric current swept through his body..He saw his previous birth unfolding and realised the sanyasin was his Guru in his previous birth. He heard him saying,” You pracctised sadhana in your previous birth. This tiger skin and ascetic’s bowl belong to you. I have preserved them. Your
    lifespan ended here while doing sadhana. I’ve been waiting for you now for forty years.”
    This place of initiation was fifteen miles away from Ranikhet in the Dunagiri or Drongiri hills of the Dwarahat mountain range.”
    This narrow path also leads to the famous Pandukholi.

    I trust this brief description would suffice to blow away any lingering doubts.
    Participants desirous of learning more about the subject book may please contact Gautam. He obtained this edition for me.

  • vacaspati 9 September, 2009 at 6:26 pm

    The description of the cave is given by Sri Paramhansa Yogananda in chapter 34 titled ” Materialising a Palace in the Himalayas” in ‘Autobiography of a Yogi’. Lahiri Mahasaya was working in the MES at Danapur when a telegram arrived to inform him that he was required to go on work to Ranikhet. Lahiri Mahasaya narrates this to Kebalananda,” My official duties were not onerous, I was able to spend many hours roaming in the magnificent hills. A rumor reached me that the great saints blessed the region with their presence. I felt a strong desire to see them. During a rambleone early afternoon, I was astounded to hear a distant voice calling my name. I continued my vigorous upward climb on Dronagiri Mountain. A slight uneasiness beset me at the thought that I might not be able to retrace my steps before darkness had descended over the jungle.
    I finally reached a small clearing whose sided were dotted with caves. On one of the rocky ledges stood smiling a young man extending his hand in welcome. I noticed with astonishment that, except for his copper-colored hair, he bore a remarkable resemblance to myself. ‘Lahiri, you have come!’ The saint addressed me affectionately in Hindi.’Rest here in this cave. It is I who called you!’ I entered a neat little grotto which contained several woollen blankets and a few kamandulus (begging bowls)”

    a few paragraghs further Lahiri Mahasaya continues the description which I have picked up at the discretion of descriptive content of this cave…
    ” He added gently,’Lahiri, surely this cave is familiar to you?’ As I maintained a bewildered silence, the saint approached and struck me gently on the forehead. At his magnetic touch a wondrous current swept through my brain, releasing the sweet seed-memories of my previous life. ‘I remember!’ My voice was half-choked with joyous sobs.’You are my guru Babaji, who belonged to me always! Scenes of the past arise vividly in my mind; here in this cave I spent many years of my last incarnation!’

    Subsequently Babaji directs Lahiri Mahasaya thus:
    “‘Lahiri, you need purification. Drink the oil in this bowl and lie down by the river.'”
    This river finds a mention thus, ” The chill wavelets of the Gogash River lapped now and then over my body, outstretched on the rocky bank. Tigers howled near-by, but my heart was free of fear:”
    From his account the Mahasaya mentions his Office imagining him lost in the jungles for ten days and was received by another telegram that directed his return from Ranikhet to Danapur.
    Thus this account was given to Kebalananda and was given to Yogananda in his stead, who mentions this event in his account, an autobiography which is unique in the sense that it was the first such book ever, where a first person account of a Yogi and Master is available to the world.
    The book mentions that Babaji did not stay at one place for long, “dera danda utaoi” and moving with his close band of disciples. Babaji’s sister Mataji’s residence is mentioned as a cave underneath/ near the Dasawamedh Ghat in Varanasi, where a meeting of Lahiri Mahasaya Mataji and Babaji takes place, in which Babaji promised to not cast off his mortal frame. But from this account of Lahiri Mahasaya, this much is clear, that the location of cave is at Dronagiri above the ravine of the Gogash River, where Babaji camped for several decades with his disciples including Lahiri in his previous birth. After his birth Babaji mentions waiting for 3 decades for Lahiri at this very spot, and asks his favorite disciple if the cave was familiar to him. So we can safely say it was his residence for a considerable span of time. And it was not merely a small cave but a little grotto, where several disciples stayed with the Deathless Master.
    This is the source of YSS’s markings. Incidentally, the spot above the cave on the ridgeline, called Pandav Kholi is associated with the Pandavas in their exile, when they awaited the return of Arjuna from his weapon training in Indraloka, a beautiful portion of Kubera’s pleasure gardens. From here the Nanda Devi complex of peaks is at its most beautiful view!

  • Nagu 15 September, 2009 at 3:07 am

    hi, it was a nice article, i am planning to go there if god permits and if its in my destiny, hopefully in january 2010. any advice please. thanks in advance

  • Gautam 15 September, 2009 at 7:55 am

    Hi Nagu, all the best in your journey. Do consider the pointers I gave and give my respects to Mr Joshi at Kukuchina on your arrival!

  • Nagu 15 September, 2009 at 1:31 pm

    hi gautam, thaks for the prompt responce, is january a goodtime is there anything i should take and know during this period. thanks

  • Gautam 15 September, 2009 at 2:22 pm

    Hi Nagu:

    I am very sure that January will be extremely cold. I’ve lived in snow and winters for many years, so it does not bother someone like me, but do make sure you’re comfortable with that weather.
    I’m pretty sure it might also snow there at 9000 ft. I would suggest you check the weather too.

  • K L Arvind 16 September, 2009 at 8:14 pm


  • Gautam 18 September, 2009 at 10:59 pm

    Vinay, April-June should be good. I don’t think you’ll find any rain during that time. Babaji has not abandoned the cave. Do not expect to run into him like you would run into a stranger at an Inn. One must attain the spiritual status and a state of absolute surrender to experience such beings.

    From Haridwar, you would still have to take NH 24, I think, but you may want to double check. There might be another way from Dehradun/Haridwar side, but in my opinion you’d have to take NH 24 to NH 87E as explained in my travelogue and then pass through Ranikhet to Dwarahat to Dunagiri to Kukuchina.

    All the best brother.

  • Vinay 18 September, 2009 at 2:37 pm

    Hi everyone,

    Is april-june a good time to visit Babaji’s cave? Anyways, im curious to know as to why Babaji abandoned this cave? I hear that he still lives in himalayas with a small group of disciples in an ashram shielded from foreign visitors.

    Also, Gautam, please give the ways in which we can travel onroute to the cave… i plan to first reach hardwar, via delhi and could u please tell me how to proceed from hardwar and what means of transport i can take from there….

  • Anupam Dhar 19 September, 2009 at 11:15 pm

    Hi Vinay!
    If you are using pubic transport, make rail reservation from Haridwar to New Delhi and also make a connecting reservation to Kathgodam in Haldwani district. This is the last rail head before you head for the hills. Time your reservations so that you arrive at Kathgodam early morning or thereabouts. From here you have various options to reach Ranilkhet. You can board a bus, share a taxi. Exclusive taxi would cost you about INR 1000/-. The road journey takes 3 hours. There is varied fare available for board and lodge. Choose one that suits your budget. They vary from 400/- to 6000/- per night. In absence of local transport which could take you from one hotel to another, you may choose to stay at the Govt. hotel MONAL TRH. It is just above the bus stand. Tariff 450 to 650/- The phone number is 0941-221527. and rest houses are operated by Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam Limited (GMVNL). You may access You could also make reservation from their office at Haridwar as also seek more information before you proceed. Contact GMVN RAHI MOTEL, Lalta Rao Bridge, Haridwar. Phone 224240. From Haridwar you won’t need the area code, which however is 01334, in case you are using a cell phone.
    If your purpose is only to visit Babaji’s Cave and Ashram, make sure to meet Mr.Joshi who operates a restaurant cum hotel service at Kukuchina. He also let’s out his few rooms with rudimentary facilities of board and lodge. His contact number is 05966-244773. And when you make your enquiries at the GMVN office at Haridwar, tell them you wish to visit Pandukholi in the Dungiri hills. Babaji’s Cave is familiar only to his devotees.
    Dec-Feb is snow season in those areas. It starts thawing and melting during March. You will find it impossible to trace the route to the Cave covered under snow. Even if you go in Apr- Jun and you are alone, ask Mr.Josshi to provide you with a local boy as guide who may charge you a reasonable amount. If you are fortunate, you may find company.
    I think I have been quite exhaustive. If you still need more clarification, you are welcome.

  • vacaspati 20 September, 2009 at 9:49 am

    Disciples of Babaji who are conversant with Tamil Movie Superstar Ranjnikant will be interested to know that Star Vijay TV will telecast a four episode feature of his journey to Babaji’s cave. The time is 2200h/10pm IST from Monday to Thursday- RannIndia is the sponsor of this program titled’ Nadanthathu enna’ (What happened)21 September to 24 September 2009.

  • Vinay 21 September, 2009 at 2:19 am

    Thank you so much Gautam and Anupam……

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