This post, today.
This isn’t a long post.
This isn’t a travelogue.
It’s just about the mountain air, the clean water, the beautiful sunsets, sound of rushing water, chilly winds and interesting people.
This was during my vacation last month, me and my family were at Uttarkashi where my dad is building a small, cute homestay for tourists. We spent two-three days there enjoying the beautiful air and trekking through beautiful forested hills.
And the day when we were to leave for Dehradun, my home place currently; we decided to go the opposite direction to Gangotri.
Now I’m not going to write much. I’m going to show you.
This was our first stop on the way. The Ganga Yamuna Tea Stall. I am not sure what’s the bhaiya’s name; but what I am sure of is that he makes the most wonderful tea of all times. It takes the exhaustion out of your bones. He has a small area for people to stay a night or two if they get stuck here. He is sweet worded and kind. He also informs us on the news from around the area, road conditions, etc. Always wishing you a happy journey forward, he leaves us with a warm smile. Every time. All year round.
The beautiful roadways, at Harshil Valley. The trees form canopies overhead and soft filtered sunlight comes through and increases the beauty quotient of the place effortlessly. The winds are cold and the air sharp to smell. It is a piece of heaven My favourite stretch ever to travel on.
It looks like I’m in a story book. Maybe Alice in Wonderland. I just popped out from behind the trees and found myself in a vast stretch of white silt and round stones, smoothened by the fast currents of the river roaring at the distance. I see some donkeys/mules grazing along the banks, and I feel happy being there in that memory.
Suraj Kund, Gangotri, Uttarakhand This is a beautiful spot in the small town of Gangotri that many people leave unnoticed. It is down the road to Kedartaal Trek. The sound of water falling from that height and you watching it at eye level is amazing. The force of the river is monstrous there, so much so that it has cut the rock around. The cut rocks look beautiful and remind you a little of the Grand Canyon cuts. The snow capped peaks in the background just add to the surreal-ness of this place. It is quiet and peaceful there, away from the clutter and noise of the main temple complex. You can see many sadhus and nagas in deep meditation around here.
The streets of the town of Gangotri. People inspired and immersed into religion. This is not just a town by a river. It’s Ganga, the holiest river of India, Mother Ganga. And this is her birthplace. Streets are full of merchants selling religious objects, tanks and bottles for filling the Ganga water, beads and necklaces, CDs of devotional songs and what not. Saffron/Yellow/Red are the colours there that won’t be missed. They generally are the holy colours which bring us good luck (Hinduism).
Pandit ji in a saffron scarf going toward the temple. These stairs lead down to the Ganga ghat. The temple of Gangotri, seat of Godess Ganga, is one of the Char Dhams i.e. one of the places you must visit before you die in order to get salvation and Moksha.
People from villages of Himalyas bring their village goddess to Gangotri temple on auspicious occasions such as Ganga Dussehra and Ekadashi for the well being and prosperity. The palki is supposed the carry the spirit of the goddess. It is empty from inside.
They travel from their villages singing devotional songs and blowing horns and dholaks carrying their goddess with them. Sometimes, the goddess possesses one of them, (usually the same person every time) and enables them to do acts like walking on nails and thorns and other such feats. Probably miracles affirm their beliefs and Bhakti.
I saw this gentleman there, on the opposite bank with his small thali of puja items and plain, regular clothes. He was praying to Godess Ganga, and seemed to be quite immersed in the process. From the looks of it, he might be a resident of the town and comes there daily for his puja rituals. Devotion is one thing that amazes me. The power of devotion is something so beautiful and at the same time could be so intimidating.
People and their beliefs. On the left are a group of people who are worshipping a trishul, Lord Shiva’s weapon of choice. It is said that Ganga flows from Shiva’s matted hair. (You can check the story out sometime, it’s quite interesting) If you look closely at that orange hut in the right photograph, it has Om Namah Shivaya ( We bow to Lord Shiva) painted on it. Clearly, to please Ganga, you must please Lord Shiva too.
Saffron along the banks. Two pujaris coming to refill their lotas (round bottomed utensils to carry water) and purify themselves with the holy Ganga water after performing a small puja for a group.
My mother is a huge puja-path fan. She spends most of her time worshipping or listening to relegious T.V. programs. No wonder we spent two hours purifying ourselves and our ancestors and also all the water that we had filled from the river.
The idol of Maa Ganga at the Gangotri Temple. With lights that change colour. 😛
So these were my glimpses of the town of Gangotri this year. I didn’t spend much time there, just a few hours. Enough to cleanse and purify myself for a few years 😛 😀
It is an interesting place, and I would like to look at it more closely. I am sure to visit it again soon, so there’ll be more photographs and stories soon. If there are any stories you have of this place, please do share and inform me about anything new. 🙂
Till then, wait for my next story! 🙂