Thursday, October 15, 2015

Himalaya Yatra 1: Uth Sangeya...

Uth, Sangeya...

So I’ve been on this pilgrimage. Not the first time in my life that I’ve set out to go to temples: in the course of my travels, I’ve seized any handy excuse to go haring after shrines of energy and significance. But nevertheless, my first pilgrimage. Train, bus, by copter, pony and on foot... all that to go to a particular place. Why does one do it? Because even the arduous journey alters us. Because human beings before us have left something some significant aspects of themselves there, in energy form, for us to tap into. Because these places touch and influence us in ways we cannot understand.

What a revelation it was! Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath are together known as the ‘char dham’ – four pilgrimage destinations of the Himalayan region. On our itinerary were three of these; we left out Yamunotri.

I knew academically, of course, of the vastness, of the largeness of the Himalaya – and I have been in the Lesser Himalayan region before – but this was even more experiential. To traverse these mountains, wind up and down on slender shelves hugging the walls, to see other buses in the distance, looking so puny against the giants they were crossing... this is the first time I’ve looked so closely at the map of Uttarakhand.

The gigantic (and controversial) Tehri Dam

Snow-laden peaks in the distance

So this is a small series, till I’ve exhausted what I want to say.

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