– Dr A Pranesh
The original name of Mahavatar Babaji, is not known even to this day. The name Mahavatar Babaji was given by Lahiri Mahashaya and his disciples. They had met Babaji somewhere between 1861 and 1935. These meetings were described by Paramahamsa Yogananda, in his book titled Autobiography of a Yogi. Yukteshwar Giri, the guru of Yogananda Paramahamsa, also mentioned his meeting with Babaji, in his book- The Holy Science or Kaivalya Darshanam.
Nobody knows about Babaji’s birth, childhood, family and even his age. It is believed that he is more than 500 years old and some say more than 1000 years. Mahavatar Babaji had given darshan to Lahiri Mahashaya, in a Cave near Ranikhet. This cave is now called Babaji Caves.
Babaji Cave is located in a place called Kukuchina, which is about 5 kms from Dunagiri. Dunagiri is about 60 kms from Ranikhet and 19 kms from Dwarahat and Ranikhet is about 370 kms from New Delhi. The drive from Ranikhet to Dunagir is Picturesque.
Drive 5 kms from Dunagiri to reach Kukuchina. The first building we see is Joshi’s tea shop. It is not only a tea shop but also a restaurant, where simple hot food is served. Recently he seems to have added couple of rooms on the first floor.
Most of the time, the travelers are greeted by Sri. Joshi himself. Even otherwise it is better to enquire at Joshi’s tea shop, whether the Babaji Cave is open or locked.
From this point, the cave is about 3 kms. We can drive a kilometer on the mud road and reach a hut. The lady of the hut sells tea and also accompanies us as a guide.
The 2 km. trek starts from behind the hut. The route is not steep. It is quite comfortable to walk at one’s own pace. One will be greeted by beautiful scenery on the way.
After trekking for a kilometer, we come across a small stream, in which Mahavatar Babaji is believed to have taken bath.
We were accompanied by the tea shop lady along with her dog Sheru to the Caves. Sheru is a very friendly dog and is good at driving away the monkeys, which are found near the Caves.
Further half a kilometer from the stream, we come across a small building, which belongs to Yogoda Satsang Society. It is open during programs. The trek continues further uphill adjacent to this Yogoda society, for another 200 meters.
After trekking for 200 meters, we reach the most sought after Babaji Cave. There are about 10 steps to the cave, which is not steep. The steps lead to a small platform and also to the entrance of the Cave.
The cave is well ventilated. It is quite roomier to accommodate about 6 to 8 people, who can sit comfortably and meditate.
There is nothing in the Cave. It is just empty. Yogoda society has put a mat on the floor for the people to sit. The entrance of the Cave has the name plate of Yogoda Satsang society.
The whole atmosphere around the cave is serene and beautiful. It takes about 2 hours to go up and 1 1/2 hours to come down. A visit to Mahavatar Babaji caves is a wonderful experience and is worth visiting for those who adore Babaji.