At the age of eleven years, three months and one day, on Samvat 1849 Ashadh Sud 10 (Friday 29th June 1792), Lord Shree Ghanshyam assumed the guise of the sage, Shree Nilkanth Varni and left His home, leaving behind all but the necessary possessions.
He only carried: a munj-mekhla – a grass waistband; japmala – a rosary; a kamandalu – a water pot made of gourd; a bhikhsha-patra – a small bowl made of wood meant for eating food; a Shaligram – a small round stone worshipped as an idol of God; and a gutko – a small booklet containing extracts from Hindu scriptures.
His aim was to embark on a forest expedition (van-vicharan) to bestow salvation upon innumerable souls. During His journey to all the pilgrimage sites throughout India, Shree Nilkanth Varni travelled over 12,000km by foot. He performed acts of strict austerity, such as standing on one foot in the intense cold during constant snowfall. He plunged Himself into fast flowing rivers and let their current carry Him away. After a remarkable journey lasting seven years one month and eleven days, on Samvat 1856 Shravan Vad 6 (Thursday 21st August 1799), Shree Nilkanth Varni reached the village of Loj, where He went to live at the ashram of Shree Muktanand Swami.
On Monday 10 May 2010, the last Ekadashi of the auspicious Adhik (leap) month, the sants in Maninagar adorned Shree Ghanshyam Maharaj just as He gave darshan during the forest expedition.