Monday, September 2, 2013

A Trek to Dev Bhoomi For the Devas –part-5

We were shocked to learn that it was possible to avoid the long queue for the Darshan and Puja provided we were ready to part with some money illegally. We declined and waited for our turn to enter the temple for Puja and darshan. Why this holy place is at such a difficult place?  We overheard the most possible rational and convincing reply from a team leader which is very similar to our recent learning at the Pamarth ghat of Rishikesh.
   LINKS TO PART 1 TO 8 ARE GIVEN AT THE END.                         
                                      At Kedarnath

We stood in the long queue, about half a Km away from the main entrance of the temple. The queue with intermittent stoppages was advancing less than snails speed.

It was 7.30 PM, and to be very optimistic, we would be near the main entrance not before 10.30 PM.
Two well-built persons whispered something in the ears of a group of elderly persons in the queue and whisked them away.
A thin person came to us and whispered in fluent Bengali “Uncle, May I help you to have a quick darshan?”
He signaled me to come out of the queue. He did not look like a tout but proved soon.
As I came out, he said, “I am known to the Pujari. Why should you stand in queue with Aunty for hours together after this daylong walking when I am here? Uncle, just pay only four thousands for both of you to that Shop owner. He shall give you a ticket and show it to my friends at the gate and your darshan and Puja shall be arranged.”
Hiding my anger, I managed to say, “Is that a special darshan ticket?”
He replied, “Do not bother about that.”
 There are no special darshan tickets from the Temple authority side. The temple authorities should have arranged that. At least the money would have been spent for the temple but not in the pockets of few persons through their touts.
To lure me further, the tout fellow said, “You spent so much, just spend a little more few thousands only and see the Maha Arati, otherwise you may not be able to enter, before midnight.  After half an hour, the temperature would go down to very cold. Choice is yours; I only wanted to help you out as you are from Bengal
I pushed him away and joined back the queue. By that time, another person was negotiating possibly in south Indian language to a big group of south Indians in the queue.
 I do not know whether these persons are connected by any means to any Pujari of the temple but this is certainly a racket running trouble free and   successfully.
The touts could convince many others and many temple visitors, standing behind us in the queue, superseded us.  This activity kept the otherwise standstill queue moving and it was a tricky game similar to booth jam technique during elections.   

We were unable to see the Arati but went inside the temple and amazed to see the ancient work of sculpture, temple architecture and a Puja much to our expectation.     

At early Morning, the snow capped mountains look different. The road was calm. Possibly  the horses, Palkis, dolis and persons on foot for up and down journeys were yet to start. 
But few people like us  could not keep themselves indoor but preferred to enjoy  the festival of Holi.

This is the Holi of the Nature and we saw the white snow tops of the Kedar Mountain were smeared with Aabir by the morning Sun rays.
It took us only two and half hours to walk down to Ramwara and with a comfortable margin time we decided to have breakfast with hot fresh Pakoras, Roti and coffee.
A group of young men and women sat ahead of us centering an elderly man (called by them as Bade Papa) possibly the family head who was replying to the queries of the member.
An young lady of the group said “What if could Bhimji could have seen Mahadeva at Rishikesh and then this temple would have been there. We would not need to do so much walking up and down the Hilly tract.
People in her group giggled and before they start teasing her, Bade Papa rescued her in his baritone voice “Can any of you answer her query?”
 White trouser, Kurta, and shawl clad Bade Papa with a tall figure, French-cut beard, and a baritone voice resembled like Amitabh Bachhan.
The baritone voice continued, “ Kedarnath ji Temple at the Foot of Kedar mountain  enlightens the Yatris to know about both the Rudra and Meditating “Roopa” of Mahadeva with illustrations from the surrounding nature.”
The group was listening to him carefully and an young man said in a low voice” I am afraid, if you may clarify further”
Bade Papa turned to him “You must have noticed that some part of the trek was hot, some place was pleasant with shades of tall tree and cool breeze. Some stretch was steep with broken hill slope and some was very cold with cold waters from freshly melted snow. These are the various “Roopa”s of Mahadev Shiva as found in nature. Yesterday at the onset of the evening all of us saw him.” People in his group were now surprised, but before they could speak out, his baritone voice was heard again, “Did you not see him when the sun rays of the setting sun were falling on the white Kedar dome? The entire white Kedar dome appeared to me as Mahadeva and   the pale yellow color at the top of the dome was his tangled hair.”
We kept on walking along with that group and after some times, Bade Papa invited us to join his group with warm welcome from others of the group.
Discussions and walking down to Gourikund continued simultaneously. If you love nature, you may feel God. So, do an act against pollution. That is the actual “Puja” of God. 
We learned similar things from the small but thoughtful talk at the Arati of Ganga at Parmarth ghat of Rishikesh.
For Part 1

For Part 2

For Part 3

For Part 4

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


Indrani said...

No end to harassment by touts. Nice description of the discussion among the pilgrims.

Pradip Biswas said...

Thank you for your comments and patience to read upto this. Hope to see your critical view of the entire episode at the end. You may also communicate to me only.