The temple itself is quite small. But there is an air of serenity about this place as it rests ledged on the banks of the fast moving Ganges. It has a small entrance. As you enter the small temple you can see an image etched on the rock face, of Guha ferrying Rama Sita & Lakshmana in the boat across the Ganges. The image itself in the temple captured the emotions of the moment beautifully – of Guha's pain and responsibility in ferrying his precious treasure across the river fully aware that he would have to part from them soon.
Guha prayed Rama to stay with him. He said there was honey, servants, flour/dough and Ganges, so Rama could stay there comfortably. However Rama refused to stay with Guha. He told Guha that only when there is suffering and separation, will there be joy in uniting back and that Rama will meet with Guha during returning back from the 14 yr exile. This promise is called 'Guha sathyam' - the promise made by Rama to Guha. It is only until this spot that Sumanthira came. Rama crossed the river, then went to Bharadwaja Ashrama, and as suggested by Bharadwaja, left to Chitrakoot mountains.
After the funeral rites were over Vasishta asked Bharatha to assume his role of king of Ayodhya to which he replied that he would not do so and he wanted to go to forest and bring Rama back and told the minsters and the whole retinue and army to get ready to go to forest to bring Rama in style.
The whole army and the ministers, courtiers along with the three queens accompanied Bharatha to forest and they reached the realm of Guha near the bank of Ganga and Bharatha wanted the army and the animals to take rest for the night so that they could cross the river the next day.
Guha on seeing the great army and also the flag of the the king of Ayodhya knew that Bharatha had come there and he suspected that Bharatha had come to kill Rama so that he could rule the kingdom without fear. Guha instructed all his men to stand ready to destroy the army and Bharatha if he had come with an evil intention. He said Bharatha and his army would cross the river only if they had come with goodwill towards Rama.
So saying Guha as per the protocol to receive a king went to Bharatha with presents. Seeing him Sumanthra informed Bharatha of his identity and said that he could show them the way to the place where Rama was. Bharatha welcomed him and asked him to tell us the way to the hermitage of Bharadhvaja and also to provide them means of crossing the river. Guha said that he would be glad to help them and expressed a doubt whether Bharatha meant to do any harm to Rama upon which poor Bharatha was pained and exclaimed that what worse could happen to him than the friends of Rama suspecting him and told Guha his real intention. Guha rejoiced at his reply and praised him that no one could equal him in sacrifice and love for Rama.
Rama never differentiated anyone based on status. In 3 places he revealed it - friendship with Guha, Sugreeva and later with Vibheeshana. Verse on this is as below:
guhanodum aivar aanOm munbu; pin, kunRu soozhvaan
maganodum aRuvar aanOm; emmuzhai anbin vandha
agan amar kaadhal aiya! Ninnodum ezhuvar aanOm;
pugal arum kaanam thandhu pudhalvaraal polindhaan undhai
Because of sending Rama to the forest, Dasaratha has become the blessed father of seven sons.
Ram Chaura Ghat or Ram Sayya:
From the place where we are in Sringaverapuram on the banks of river ganga, we should travel around 1.5 KM through the green forest. The path to reach Rama Saiyya is just walkable by a single person surrounded by green fields. A beautiful shrine for Rama parivar is here. Rama and Sita slept here one night. The mattress/mat (Pai in Tamil) in which they slept is still here. The place name itself means "The place where Rama slept for one night".
That was the night on which Rama and Sita were for the first time having their nightly rest in the jungle. Rama slept on a bed of straw while Lakshmana stood guard, remaining wakeful throughout the night. Guha stood by his side. His kith and kin stood like a herd of elephants close to him. His bow was bent and drawn. His mind was boiling with anger and was full of sorrow too. Valmiki shows a bit of a touching conversation between Guha and Lakshmana.
'I will stand guard here. You may have your rest, offers Guha. "As such I shall with my kindred guard in everyway, bow in hand, my beloved friend, Sri Rama reposing with Sita. Nothing in this woodland is unknown to me, wandering (as I do) all the time in it. We can (also) undoubtedly get the better of surpassingly huge and exceptionally mighty army consisting of the four limbs viz., elephants, chariots, horseman and foot soldiers."
'I cannot sleep when my brother is lying on the grass,' says Lakshmana. "Being protected by you who keep your duty alone in view, O sinless Guha, we all are not (the least) afraid (of any) in this land. But so long as Sri Rama (Son of Dasaratha) remains lying down on the ground with Sita, how can sleep be had by me, much less nourishment intended to keep the body and soul together or amenities of life? Behold him, who cannot be withstood in battle by all the gods and demons (put together) fast asleep with comfort on a bed of straw with Sita!"
That was a quality that was ingrained in the nature of Rama. Guha requests Lakshmana to take rest, duly expressing his readiness to guard Rama and his consort by keeping awake the whole night. Lakshmana expressed his unwillingness to lie down in the presence of his elder brother and sister in law and preferred to remain awake. He spends night talking with Guha, voicing grief for his royal father as well as his affectionate mothers.
When Bharata decides to request Rama to come back to Ayodhya, he goes to the forest, with his army. Guha, seeing Bharata, presumes that Bharata has come to harm Rama. So he orders his men to arm themselves and to get into boats, so that they can go and fight Bharata. When Sumantra tells Guha the purpose of Bharata's visit to the forest, Guha is ashamed that he had suspected the intentions of one so devoted to Rama.
He wants to make amends for suspecting such a true devotee of the Lord. So he does what would please any true devotee. He talks to Bharata about how Lakshmana is serving Rama in the forest. A true devotee will be happy to hear of the service of other devotees to the Lord. Hence Guha tells Bharata, of where Rama slept, of how Lakshmana washed His feet, of how Lakshmana fanned Rama and Sita, as they slept. When Guha points to the spot where Rama had slept, Bharata weeps. All these incidents is said have taken place here. We all left Shringiberapuram with heavy heart and stared our journey towards Allahabad Triveni Sangam and Bhardwaj Rishi Ashram.
Triveni Sangam or Tirthraj Prayag:
Triveni Sangam is the "confluence" of three rivers. Sangama is the Sanskrit word for confluence. The point of confluence is a sacred place for Hindus. A bath here is said to flush away all of one's sins and free one from the cycle of rebirth. This is the holiest among all Sangamams. It is also known as “PRAYAG RAJ”. Kumbh Mela once in 12 years and Ardh Kumbha Mela once in six years takes place at this place. The sangamam is about 2 kms from the shore. During summer, as the water level decreases, one has to take a boat to go to the Sangamam whereas during monsoon, it would be at walkable distance from the shore. Blue Ganges flows from north, blackish Yamuna flows from west and Saraswathi is antarvahini (cannot be seen). While the Ganges is only 4 feet deep, the Yamuna is 40 feet deep near the point of their nexus.
When Vedavyasa started writing Mahabharata, it seems Saraswathi ran with great noise. Vedavyasa ordered her to run beneath the ground and that is the time when she went underground. After the confluence here, Ganga mixes with Bay of Bengal after crossing Calcutta in a place called 'Ganga Sagar'. This 'Prayag Raj' is the queen of all the 33 crore sacred rivers running in India. Devout Hindus from all over India come to this sacred pilgrimage point to offer prayers and take a dip in the holy waters.