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Showing posts from July 29, 2013

Himalayan Memoirs: WTF! (Gauri kund-Kedarnath)

I had already made this trek once and the experience from last time made me consciously savor every step along the way. It was somewhere during this day that I remembered that all the days of walking till now was towards this. The anticipation of meeting Kedar filledme. It was not an anticipation filled with love alone. It was an anticipation filled with love, rage, joy, madness, gratitude, dance. There was a part of me wanting to die in gratitude there. Gratitude for so many things: the rain, Maamaji, the old sage who was walking beside me barefoot etc etc. I was also very angry with what was happening in my life. I was angry about all the drama, the betrayal, the lost paradise, friendships severed, the frickin’ uncertainty which loomed in front of my life. I wanted to say a word or two to Him about all this. So many things were played out in my mind as I was inching closer to Kedar. Till now, I had just walked sometimes even forgetting where I was walking towards. The wild can do t…

Himalayan Memoirs: At His feet (Triyug Narayan-Gauri kund)

Left triyug Narayanan at first light. The walk was a steady descent till we reached the National highway. We met the NH at a point where there was bridge across the raging Mandakani river. Crossing the mandakani, it was a climb along the road. At one of the several hair-pin bends, there was a bandara set up by UP traders. It was raining in torrents and I was shivering severely. I had long given up on trying to keep myself dry. I had one rain coat but it was not meant for this kind of rain. Somewhere before Triyug Narayanan I figured out that I was running a slight temperature. But taking a break and rest for a few days was just not an option. We pushed on and suddenly Maamaji stopped and pointed to a temple on the left side of the road high-up up the hill. He mentioned that this was the place where Shiva playfully cut off the head of Ganesh as he was on the lookout for intruders while Parvati was having a bath in the Gauri Kund. (Incidentally it was at this point that I realized that…

Himalayan Memoirs: A Little Bit of Heaven (Panwali-Triyug Narayanan)

The night at panwali turned out to be quite eventful. We shared the hut with 15 other garhwalis who were Maamaji’s friends. The night was filled with bhajans and occasional dancing. That was till a few fiery and hungry Delhites gate crashed into the party. They had a lot of trouble reaching panwali and were overwhelmed with hunger and cold. The Shepard told him that he does not have any more blankets to give them. That’s when an over-zealous man in that lot said he will pay double of what the garhwalis were paying. That started it. All the men who were dancing to devotional numbers charged at the delhites for their unwarranted show of moneyed arrogance. A melee ensued and once it was over (the folks from delhi were hounded out of the hut) the discussion became very political. Talk of ‘outsiders’ exploiting the sons of the soil…Taking the daily morning bath in panwali was a prospect I dreaded the entire night. But even that did not prepare me for the coldness the next morning. Brr…Aft…

Himalayan Memoirs: Gothu-Panwali Pass

Very strenuous hike uphill. It was raining heavily and the forest path was infested with leeches. It was cold and I was soaked to my bones. There were just too many elements to work against: the cold, the rain, the inability to find sound footing, leeches trying to suck our oxygen starved blood and of course the gravity straining the lungs. Just one rule seemed to work in such situations. Whatever happens, don’t stop. Because if one does stop, the elements get you mentally. And once that happens, it will all be downhill from there. After endless climbing, presently the forests cleared and the meadows started. That’s when the first of the valley of flowers could be beheld. Would have been an ideal muse to Williams Wordsworth. The entire valley was covered with thousands of petite delicate flowers, all intricately colored swaying to the gentle mountain breeze. Panwali was supposed to be the place where we are going to stay the night and it was magically perched on top of rolling meadow…

Himalayan Memoirs: Baethi Nanda devi-Atkuni-Gothu

From Baethi, we started walking on the forest path. Occasionally the canopy of endless greenery would clear up and reveal small settlements. One such settlement was Atkuni: a small hamlet which had an ancient Bhairav temple. After some time the forest path ended and we came into a small town. We had to descend a mountain whose entire valley was under paddy cultivation. It was quite tricky. The greenery of the endless paddy was almost blinding. After the endless paddy fields we came across an auxiliary road which will take us to where we intend to stay the night: Gothu. Once we reached Gothu, Maamaji told everyone that tomorrow’s trek would the most difficult one so we better get some good sleep. Nevertheless, I decided to join maamaji for the sathsang that he was supposed to convene at the nearby temple. He openly admired and approved my peity. Sathsang was fun with the now familiar Garhwali tunes and impromptu dances by 70 year olds. Gothu was also incidentally the last place where …