Friday, August 30, 2013

A Trek to Dev Bhoomi for the Devas –part-4


Diminished or vanished snows on mountaintops and valley, thin forests on hill slope  and dried up fountains indicated a relative rise of   temperature as compared to my last visit, about ten years back. However, a partly melted and slided huge ice capping at the road attracted the Yatris. At about 3 Km from Kedarnath, the Arati of the falling setting Sun rays on the Snow capped mountains kept us spellbound. I told her the Folktale about Kedarnathji. We were very eager to Visit Kedarnath us but unaware of the shock and disbelief waiting for us.
(links to other parts 1to 8 are given at the bottom of the page)

With two backpacks on our shoulders and sticks on our hands, we started climbing up the narrow road with hair- pin bends from Gourikund to Kedarnath.

The traffic jam from Rampur to Gourikund delayed our planned start off from Gourikund by four hours.
Although failed to manage incoming vehicle parking, the state govt. made nice arrangements of prepaid Horses, Palkis, and Dollis ending all the bargains. 

Depending on the weather clearance, there are regular helicopter services throughout the day, which takes about 14 minutes to reach

Like our population, every other thing on this road such as the no of Pilgrims, Horses, Palkis, tea shops etc increased exponentially since my last visit on the same road about ten year’s ago. However, the width of the road remained the same because of slope cutting restriction.
Keeping in mind, the altitudes, and the total climbing distance on a hilly road of average gentle gradient, we planned our halts at every 1.5 Km with fruit juices, dry fruit, and Biscuits and occasional coffees.

We plan in a similar way while exploring for minerals on a hilly terrain and I worked in both the Eastern and Northern Himalayas.
Susmita accompanied me on those trips and we both were used to climbing up for longer distance in tougher Himalayan terrains.
However, this time the plan based on the entries of my own diary failed badly as the entire set up of climate changed abruptly.

To make up the loss of time we skipped two halts but compelled to take rest beside a semi dried up hill spring. Our light woolen garments and the raincoat were wet not by the usual occasional rains of early May, but by our own sweats. We kept them in the backpack in a plastic bag and wore Jeans and T- shirts.
 We trickled into Zigzag ways amid  the crowds to walk faster but the incoming and outgoing Horses coming continuously along with the smell of their urine and heaps of stools made the traverse     real uphill and tricky task.
We reached Ramwara, just at the middle of the trek, before our expected time, wiping out the loss of time. This place with no. of restaurants, Dhabas and few Hotels appear as a small town.   
Unlike other Pilgrims, we avoided any lunch but consumed only a pack of date, roasted cashew nuts, and coffee to keep us fit for the remaining trek of six Km, steeper than the rest.
Just lifting my head from the map I did not find Susmita and a cold wave ran in my spine. The valley side here is very unstable.
She called me before I could yell. She was there, about 50 m up, just near a culvert on a tiny hilly tributary. A big hard icecap from the mountain probably rolled down the slope few days ago and became standstill just before that culvert. The ice melted partly and now appeared as several ice caves. 

When I reached there, she was already inside the cave and busy taking snaps.
I had to remind her that till then,  we were doing excellent progress and only if we keep it up we might reach before the evening Arati at Kedarnath.
The last words as if brought her back to reality and she said “Arati at Kedarnath! We must see that.  Let’s move then.”

Completing the last steep part of Garud choti, we both looked at the watch and felt comfortable.  Kedarnath is just a Km away.

We were in a valley surrounded by snow-clad mountains on all sides. Within another hour, darkness would set in.  The flow of Pilgrims reduced to trickle making the valley silent enough to hear and enjoy the resonated duet sound of, cold wave blowing from the Ice capped mountains, and the flow sound of Alakananda.  

Covering us with woolen garments and Jackets, we sat comfortably on a culvert for the last two cups of coffee. Susmita picked up a bunch of wild flowers and I tucked it on her long black hairs.

Right then the dim sun rays appeared for a moment. The snow-capped peaks changed color from white to Pale orange red but we maintained the silence, clasped hands of each other, and saw the Arati of the nature.
As we started moving towards the bridge on Alakananda she broke the silence with a mild voice “Dear Pundit ji, Tell me something about Kedarnath Temple
I said, “I know very little, mostly from the Kathak thakurs narrating Shivpurana through their lyrical performance and something from the Net.
It is so said that Bhimji of Mahabharata was meditating hard for a darshan of Shivji who appeared in the disguise of a Buffalo and disappeared at Kedarnath. Bhim ji could only touch his divine curved shoulders. That Divine part is one of the “Jyotirlinga” The original temple of Pandavas were reconstructed by Guru Sankaracharaya. The temple is located at the foot of Kedar parvat and Kedar Dome from which the chorabari Glacier came down. A part of the melted water got trapped in a depression forming the Gandhi Sarovar at about 6 KM up from the Kedarnath temple.( This lake flooded by cloudburst triggered the Flash flood of 14.6)”
We checked in at GMVN’s Devlok lodge, took a refreshing warm bath, and left for Arati darshan at the Kedarnath Temple.
Possibly, there is an invisible halo of divine attraction, the moment you see the top crest of the Kedarnath temple and many persons including us felt it.
We were unaware that at the same place shock and disbelief were waiting for us. 
links to other episodes from 1 to 8 are given below.
For Part 1

For Part 2

For Part 3

For Part 4

 For Part 5
For Part 6
For Part 7
For Part 8

1 comment:

Indrani said...

So far so good. Great pics too.
I am glad about the prepaid dollis...