nature


Few days ago I got to spend few hours with this ninety two year old gentleman with varied experiences of life. He takes care of this ages old temple but does not hold a good opinion of so called Sadhus and babas. He prefers to communicate with we grahasth [family] persons, who according to him happen to be more enriched spiritually.
He lived with Sri Govind Ballabh Pant, the first chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, when he practiced as an advocate and Our country was under British rule.He started his first government job with salary of Rs forty per month, did his char dham yatra on foot from Haridwar.He shared lots of memories of the days when entry of Indians was banned in Hazaratganj after four P.M. as that was the time British offiicials and their families used to come there for enjoying their evenings.He also shared how there was scarcity of educated people and posts in government offices, seats in higher educational courses lay vacant for want of candidates.
This temple where he now resides is ages old. He told us that no body knows who built it originally. years ago it lay surrounded by dense forest on the bank of river. Dacoits, bandits and freedom fighters too took shelter here.When he arrived here then also it was surrounded by dense forest and forty to forty five snake couple resided in the vicinity…and why not after all it is an ancient shrine of Lord Shiva.It is said that plastering of the temple structure has been done by the mixture of Urad dal [ black lentil] pulp of Ber [ indian plum / jujubi] and chasani [syrup of Gur[jaggery]

Talking to him was like turning pages of a old history book nay more interesting and enthralling. He created wonderful imagery while narrating his travel experiences of mountains and the underlying spiritual essence provided hope and strength.

 

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All pictures by Sunder Iyer.

From the first floor verandah of Kumainu-Garhwal mandal tourist guest house at Gwaldam, hills beyond the market square buildings were  clearly visible and slowly climbing file of stately pine trees was inviting.  Slightly left to the hills, tiers of mountain and peaks were cloaked in thick grayish white clouds.We were told that on a clear sparkling day the snow capped Himalayan peaks under the blue canopy of sky offer a magnificently divine view from that point but that day we were soaking in the surreal mystique feel.While talking to the locals we gathered that at the farthest tip of pine adorned hills there is a small ,beautiful grass land.We suddenly planned to visit that. We finally could not make upto that point as we had started quite late and it  being a cloudy day the darkness descended earlier than usual. However we enjoyed our  leisurely ascent midst pine jungle.

The cab could take us upto the school building and from there onwards we  climbed in the august company of lofty pines. .A kind of bitter sweet fragrance of slightly moist pine woods , ground carpeted with golden yellow needles of pine,stately pines adhering to earth with all their might yet appearing aloof to things around bearing a saint like equanimity….the conglomerated impact of all these elements of nature somehow takes you to an entirely different planes.The chains and burdens on your being start dropping one by one and sitting there with your back resting against one of the pines if your eyes stroll to the upper most tips of pines, you feel nearer to heaven than earth.

This ridge provides a beautiful view of valley on another side. Kosi river snakes through the valley. it’s silvery band shimmered  midst the green, blue haze.

Pine needles dropped silently while tall, magnificent trees stood  like powerful warriors with golden heart. Their sermons can be clearly heard by a keen ear and dedicated heart.I gathered some pine cones fallen on ground. Some were ripe and dried, some were small green and sticky.perhaps the untimely separation from parent branch caused the raw wound and heart bled .

We roamed around enjoying the picturesque landscape, the sylvan scenes, inhaling delicious fragrance of woods.The evening proved to be a perfect prelude to our Bedini trek.

 

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All pictures by Sunder Iyer

 

 

World of Hindu mythological tales and folklore is very interesting, charming and varied. It is believed that about thirty three crore Gods and Goddesses occupy Hindu pantheon. Quite possible…in a culture where many plants, animals and almost all the elements of nature are worshiped, where every small village, hamlet has it’s very own guardian angle, reaching even that staggeringly high  number is not out of bounds. With every revered place and deity are associated certain folklore and tales.The authenticity is neither questioned nor argued. It is simply accepted.

One of these is Latu devta of Wan. The folklore related to Latu Devta is very interesting and one of it’s own kind. Nanda devi is  one of the most revered deity of Uttaranchal. She is considered to be Avatara of Goddess Parvati and Latu Devta is her adopted brother. Goddess Parvati nee Nanda Devi did not have any brothers. On one occasion she felt very sad about this and wanted someone to be with her at Kailash Parvat as her brother. She went to Royal family of Kannauj and requested the queen to send one of her two sons with her to Kailash. On the way to Kailash they reached Wan and here Goddess decided to take bath in the river Kali Ganga. While waiting for Her on nearby hillock Latu felt very thirsty. He went to nearby hamlet and asked women to give him water. Women folk were in a jovial mood and instead of water handed over the pitcher containing local drink to Latu. Unaware of their prank Latu drank the whole content of pitcher and became unconscious. On her return from river, Goddess became very angry with the women and conferred a boon on Latu that he will be worshiped by the inhabitants of the area but no one will be allowed either to enter the sanctum of his temple or see him.Till date the doors of the temple are opened only for one day in a year and then too neither devotees nor even Pujari is allowed to have a glimpse of Devta. The Pujari enters the sanctum blind folded and lights the lamp. Doors of the temple is closed by evening.

This temple is very different from any other temple. There is this massive Devdar tree at the place. It is the only Devdar found in entire region. Rest are centuries old Surai trees.There is another anecdote regarding presence of that single Devdar tree in the area. However I am not talking about that here as I am not able to recollect all the details narrated by the old gentleman, a retired porter, we met at Wan. So, the abode of Latu Devta is said to be inside the a chamber in the trunk of this Devdar tree.People of the area have great faith on Latu Devta. They visit the premises with their troubles and unburden their heart at His threshold and when the wish is fulfilled, the task done, they return to present a bell. Hundreds of bells hanging from poles are the testimony of people’s undying faith on the deity.The place becomes alive with massive crowd of devotees on the days of fair being organized there. People from far off villages come and stay in tents etc. Bhajans, Kirtans are sung in praise of Lord.

We first heard of Latu devta at Gwaldam.One local gentleman advised us that if we intend to go to Wan, we must go to Latu devta temple.During the day we spent at Wan village we heard His name many times from villagers and children.

While we were returning from Bedini, yashwant and Pushkar trekked upto Ran ka Dhar to meet us.In fact they knew we had to leave by evening and they wanted to spend as much time as possible with us.We too were delighted to have more of their company. With these two kids we went to Devta’s temple.Their enthusiastic company suffused enough strength into our tired limbs to trek upto the temple.

As we climbed towards temple we wished we had more time in hands.The Surai trees dotting the hill along the circuitous path leading to temple left us spellbound. Each one had it’s own tale to recount.They appeared so ancient as if they had witnessed all those mythological events unfolding. It is said that these trees have very long life. Don’t know much about their botanical characteristics but can definitely vouch for the enigmatic impact they imprint on your being. They look like wizened saint, lost in deep meditation.Their towering presence make you feel that they are the dwelling places of divine spirits. The secrets, the teachings, the lessons they have in their heart, one need to tune up to understand. Trees to me are one of the most sacred images of God.

 

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Sonorous sounds of faith and devotion.

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Behind us, under the tree is shrine of Latu Devta and these are the kids who brought us to temple. In fact before going to meet us at Ran ka Dhar they came here and kept incense sticks and match box…all set and ready …to be lighted by us when they brought us here. The little one Pushkar insisted that we should pray to Latu Devta for appeasement of our any wish. He had full faith that our wish will be fulfilled and then we would return to offer the bell. The faith, love and affection of kids filled my heart with sublime emotion. Kiddos, you are the harbingers of our hope and faith in all that is pure, innocent and selfless. We shall definitely love to return at least once.

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This one was clicked by Yashwant, the elder kid, on their insistence ofcourse. That triangle like structure is where incense sticks are lighted by devotees.The outstretched arms of Devdar trees….bless us Lord.

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There is a guest house of Garhwal mandal vikas nigam (tourism department) and another of forest department near the temple, on the hill. During Nanda Devi Jat Yatra, this is an important station for devotees.The time we were there the entire premises was very quiet, peaceful….kind of aura when you can feel nearer to God, more intimate to your best self.

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View of Wan village and valley from temple.

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Boys waiting for us to climb down from temple. They rush down speedily, said that going slow tire them.

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‘A tree says: My strength is trust. I know nothing about my fathers, I know nothing about the thousand children that every year spring out of me. I live out the secret of my seed to the very end, and I care for nothing else. I trust that God is in me. I trust that my labor is holy. Out of this trust I live.’ Hermann Hesse

Pictures by Sunder Iyer

 

 

 

Bedni Bugyal is one of the most beautiful alpine meadows located in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. Bedni and Ali Bugyal are neighbours.At an altitude of about 3500 meters these wide spread meadows on the top of mountains provide magnificent views of Himalayan peaks Trishul and Nanda ghunti.

While walking through the deep woods, trekking towards top in the august company of ages old trees you tune in to your deepest philosophical self. It’s the month of June. The monsoon is yet to set in but some times clouds swirl in the jungles taking you by hand to those mystique lands beyond.The cocktail of wet wild fragrance tug at your sleeves cajoling you to stop for sometime inhaling the existence of unseen . But the moment you reach the top the sheer expanse of rolling lush green meadows as if liberate you off all the baggage. Reaching the destination after a long trek urge you to throw your back pack down and the unhindered green on ground, the blue above invite you to melt in it’s embrace. Such a tiny dot like speck you are up there that you tend to forget yourself and isn’t it the most liberating feeling….being unaware of your own existence. You don’t matter at all. You are set free of all kind of shackles. Standing there at the farthest tip of meadow where it hopped down to deep gorge, valley below, facing the layers of  tree laden hills beyond and sensing the majestic Himalayas behind them, I outstretched my hands and could feel the divine as if absorbing me. Felt so light almost non-existent.

After some time the reverie broke. Voices from tents and ground behind filtered in and I turned towards the tea shoppe. Its strange, new places with unknown people sharing comes easily. There too you strike a chord, instant chord with certain individuals and that’s a beautiful comforting feeling. Vasudhaiv kutumbakam…..While trekking we didn’t feel the chill but on the meadows where the winds danced freely on their nimble feet, we felt a bit cold. Though the scantily clad bamboo tea stall didn’t do much to prevent the winds from entering inside yet sitting beside the earthen furnace soaking in it’s warmth, interacting with different groups provided comforting feeling.

After resting there for sometime we wandered towards Bedini pond. As monsoon has not yet arrived there, the pond didn’t have water.Bedini is an important stop of Nanda Devi Jat Yatra and as local informed us during the Jatra time pilgrims offer Tarpan to their ancestors at the kund.

Behind the Kund sloping green mountains come running down to it while with upwardly stretched hand they hold on to the range of mountains behind them. The gradation of hues from sparkling green to dark green to misty grey and then the mystique white touching the sky is mesmerizing. How magical is natures palette, a soft touch of the golden brush here and there and entire landscape is transformed. We sat there beside the small temple soaking in the silence. Few dots like figures huddled on that slope, a lone tiny one strolling on the ridge of another hill, that twosome at farthest end facing the valley and the far off voices from tents…the world of routine faded away. I felt as if I belong to some other era, some other time.

The day was bright and the evening clear. A bunch of clouds huddled together around Trishul peak were teasing our expectant glances.And then the haloed rays from eternal light house filtered through dispersing the clouds. The cloud glided upwards, rested like a wreath on the tip of peak and slowly floated way , the magnificent snow covered majestic peak stood there solemnly.  The sheer grandeur made us gasp. It was a humbling experience….. Darshana of divine.

That night it rained heavily and in the morning we could meet eye to eye with Trishul Peak once again but how differently the stage was set this time. From the hazy mist of early morning slowly very slowly the peak immersed, the rosy pink blooming from the depth of eternal.

Every time I am far away from the maddening city crowd in commune with silence of nature, I know the experience is beyond the words…..hence I stop here and let you have a feel of place through visuals……..

Now I hand over the stage to Sunder Iyer.……all pics captured by him….bedni_42nw

After the trek, on the threshold of Bugyal.Bells at the temple of nature. ..winds toll

them and flowers smile.

That is my wife...

“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn.”
John Muir,

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“Going to the mountains is going home.”
John Muir

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“We are now in the mountains and they are in us, kindling enthusiasm, making every nerve quiver, filling every pore and cell of us.”
John Muir,

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clouds have their own stories to tell, own journeys to share

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And this last one was clicked by our guide Hira Singh Bisht Garhwali, without a thank you note to him none of our Bedini blog post could be completed.

His contact details…

Hira Singh Bisht Garhwali

Village — Wan

Mobile no.– 07895165848, 09756480219

 

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13.06.2016. At. 6.30 A.M. We started out trek towards Bedni. I am not going to talk about destination here. It’s all about passing through small villages on the way, walking midst the forest wilderness, tuning to the calls of birds, buzzing of bees, gurgling of streams.

At the beginning of climb there are small houses on road sides and we get to meet many people busy in their daily chores yet each of them have enough time to wish the passing tourists. Specially the small kids we met wished us ‘namaste’ with folded hands. If you talk to them, they will stop, leave the work in hand and with smiling faces respond to you. It’s not that tourists are a rare feature in the area. On daily basis  many people pass through their village route yet they never fail to display the welcoming attitude.

 

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These kids were our first encounters en route. They got up from the place they were sitting and came down on the edge of passage to greet us.

 

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She is Manisha with her little basket going to collect leaves for her goat. The basket she carries is made from a locally available plant. Yashwant told me the name of the plant but I forgot, It’s a species of Bamboo but these plants do not grow as big as Bamboo. Manisha goes to school too. She is student of class second. It was time of summer holidays and she was contributing her bit to household chores.

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This group of young girls was going to cut and collect wheat from fields. Heera, our guide told us these girls belong to  his wife’s village, hence they are his ‘saliyas’  sis – in -law. The girls laughed, felt shy, jostled one another, the magic and beauty of relationship brightened the mood and filled the heart with joy……..Right that one is Hira, behind the girls.

The journey on Bedni route is beautiful amalgamation of people and nature. In fact up there both of them do not stand out separately but together they weave a tapestry of lovely hues, colours and depth. They act as supporting forces perhaps as the creator planned it to be.

We met many people on the way, some local inhabitants, other groups of trekkers.There was this duo of father and son.The boy must have been around ten years old. Father was an employee of Uttarakhand co-operative bank. Both of them originally planned to trek upto Roopkund but it was boy’s first trek and he got tired so they returned from Bhekhal Tal.Then there was this young boy from Delhi, Gajendra, the solo back packer. He was returning from Roopkund. How the interest and inclinations are changing, One thing I felt was that people have now started realizing that wilderness is becoming a necessity gradually.

Most of the local people were taking their buffaloes to the top at grasslands. Some leave their domestics for two three months there so that they can feed on lush green grass there. Some of them stay there for two three days and bring back the animals. On the top there are custodians for the animals, who take care when masters return after leaving animals.We met Priyanka and her mother and Deepa with her husband who were on the way to the top taking there buffaloes.

 

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Our first stop for tea and snacks was at Rankadhar.View of valleys on three sides is beautiful .

 

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After Rankadhar descent for Neel Ganga starts. Between Wan and Patal Gairoli Neel Ganga is almost a mid way point. Valley of Neel Ganga is cool, Soothing. One can easily get down to the stream. The crystal clear water flowing above the pebbles, encircling the boulders sing in  honeyed  voice and in between pipes in the birdies sailing on the wind and you get merged with nature. You don’t even have to try, getting one with it flows in naturally.

 

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                                        sunder and Heera at Neel Ganga valley

 

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Nature is God….by the side of river

 

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                                                        The tea shop after Neel Ganga

 

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At Patal Gairoli

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A cup of tea in serene valley of Patal Gairoli….no less than nectar.

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With Deepa from Wan at Patal Gairoli.We met there only and then walked together upto Bugyal with a teacher from Gopeshwiar and a  gentleman from Kolkata electricity board etc.

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This group of boys we met at Patal Gairoli was returning from Roopkund. Had a lively hearty talks with boys.

 

 

There were long stretches midst dense forest when we were alone with nature and then we traveled within, inhaling peace, trying to fathom the depth of the hearts of those centuries old high, very high trees. How many untold stories lie buried deep in their furrowed, wrinkled persona. The sighs, the tears, the joys and happiness of enumerable passers by have they absorbed with equanimity. They must have borne storms, avalanche, harsh winds yet none of them appeared to be discontented. Even when their heart is wide open and bleeding they stand there deeply attached to the ground below. Deeply rooted to the place they were born  they travel far and wide into space of time like meditating sages.

 

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                  Died and decaying still giving life to others, nourishing others.

 

While walking through the jungle sometimes through clearing we could see the view beyond. As if a window opened between the trees and the bright blue sky with floating white clouds and grassy hills suggesting not to be in hurry at all. At every step nature has something new, something amazing to offer. Hidden in the wilderness are such precious gems albeit for those who seek.

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                                                Few Buransh bloomed in between

 

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Nature’s armchair

 

 

 

“No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow.” – said Lin Yutang. I tried to realize it in between the journey too and believe me I did.

 

All the pictures except those of Patal Gairoli are mobile clicks.

 

 

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On twelfth of june 2016 when we started from Gwaldam guest house towards Dewal road, we did not have any fixed plan. We reached Gwaldam with a plan to trek upto Bedni  but somehow the feedback we received there discouraged us to venture on the route. We Got an impression that the terrain is too challenging for our age. So on the morning we set out to reach the last point accessible by vehicle on that route, that is Wan. We drove with a leisurely pace stopping in between to click pictures, to listen to the rhythm of silence flowing through the forest of tall, stately pines.

And then we reached Wan. At the turn of the road was this tiny shop. We parked our vehicle there and inquired whether we could get a cup of tea . It’s Jamuna dadi’s tea shoppe. Here we met Hira. Hira takes trekkers – individuals and groups on trek tours to Bedni, Roopkund and beyond. Few minutes of conversation with him and he convinced us to embark upon the trek to Bedni. Somehow or other the way he took upon himself the responsibility of making this trek possible for us made us free of all worries. Jamuna dadi too with her enchanting smile encouraged us . Ultimately it was decided that we shall spend the day in the village and then next morning start our trek.

 

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  Jamuna dadi, the shop owner

This stay at Wan was totally unplanned but perhaps such unexpected changes make traveling very fruitful and enriching. The day we spent in the tiny village was truly rewarding, Sitting there in the tea shop in salubrious surrounding of green hills we met many new people and listened to various travel tales. There was this gentleman who once upon a time worked as porter and had accompanied many foreign nationals to uncharted paths, untraveled roads on high hills, through dense forests and deep valleys. Now with tired limbs and weakened joints he roams and works within village limit only but he still looks with longing and fondness towards the high peaks and sharing the tales of his glorious, tough travels make his eyes shine with luminous joy. He remembers with fondness his past adventures and conquests but not being able to do that now had not made him bitter at all. This calm acceptance of  the inevitable  patterns and changes in way of life is very endearing….a life long lesson. The real travel is just not visiting new places but learning new lessons of life, developing a new eye to various facets of life.

 

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                             Panoramic views of Wan

Hira took us for lunch to his home. His home was in front of tea shoppe, across the road on a slightly higher plane. His mother and wife prepared the food.  Fresh hot dal, vegetables and salad from fields, chapati and rice with home made chooran was tasty and we enjoyed it a lot. During entire day we visited other houses too, had tea in different courtyards and learnt a lot about local customs, traditions, festivals, fairs, Gods and Goddesses.

 

bedni_12In conversation with Hira and Yashwant, near the river flowing through the village

 

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out of these three pictures, the first one is the stream of river, whose flow the villagers get diverted to run their indigenous flour mill. Second pic is the outer view of their flour mill ,while the third one is the inside view. such praiseworthy effort on the parts of villagers.

 

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bedni_16 Separating grains from plants. I admired the school, college going girls, who study in nearby bigger places but were at home during summer vacation. They participated equally in  all the agricultural activities.

 

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It was time of harvesting wheat. The women folkfields were busy cutting wheat from fields, separating the grains by beating the dried plants.

Meeting the children and interacting with them was a wonderful experience. Yashwant, Deepak, Pankaj, Yashpal, Pushkar etc were in the age group of nine to fourteen. Few of them studied in schools of some nearby bigger places and were in the village during their summer vacations. Awareness level of the children living in those remote places was amazing, from latest mobile technologies to political scenario of state and country to each and every plant, trees of their area, mythological tales, local rites, rituals each of them was very well versed in all these subjects. Very sweet, affectionate kids were they.

 

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They showed us their fields in the valley, introduced us to various plants and their utilities. Narrated the tales and facts heard from their grand parents about centuries old Surai trees and  by their description made alive  the crimson clad valley in the season of Buransh blossoming. Excitedly they invited us to revisit their village at that time. Those lovely smiling faces as if reflected radiant Buransh.

While returning from Ghanti dhar we were caught unaware by a sudden spurt of lashing rain. No cover was available. we had not taken our umbrellas with us, children were not worried about themselves but were concerned that we had to start our trek early morning and we didn’t have any change of clothes with us. A little ahead on the side of road we found a bent, hollow tree under which we tried to get shelter. We tried calling the driver of our cab to come and take us but that too did not work as no BSNL coverage and connectivity is available in Wan and nearby areas and we both and our cabby Prem all three of us had BSNL numbers only. With luck we saw two people coming towards us, Kids asked them whether they had a mobile and then they called their mother to send our driver to pick up all of us. Finally huddling together inside the cab we reached the village, where jamuna dadi was ready with black hot tea to greet us. The entire episode was so fun filled. It revived our childhood spirit and enthusiasm. True, the joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, changing horizons. The simple joys are the most nurturing ones.

We spent the night in a small, low ceiling neat room with mud walls, whose door opened to green high  hill beyond the valley. The bed sheet, quilts and blankets were clean and we had a undisturbed sound sleep. Kaloo, the black, bulky dog sat on rooftop entire night as if on guard.

 

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Next morning we left the place with Hira on our trek to Bedni but we did not leave Wan. We brought it with us. It became a part of us and simultaneously we left something of us there behind. We returned back to our daily city routine but the journey never ended. It keeps rewinding again and again within the deepest and quietest chambers deep down inside us.

 

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All the pictures by Sunder Iyer.

Details of Our guide–

Hira Singh Bisht Garhwali

Village — Wan, Dewal. Chamoli, Garhwal, Uttarakhand.

Phone number — 09756480219[ whats app available on this number], 07895165848.

 

It must have been around 5 oçlock in the evening . We were having our  tea when suddenly our son told us,” çome on we will take you on a jungle trek.”

”jungle trek! at this hour?” we sounded incredulous and confused. His housing society stands few steps off the busy bustling main road.We knew the city stretched miles and miles on all the sides.To reach anything remotely resembling a forest easily could have taken at least two to three hours.How come he is throwing such a proposal. we were visiting our DIL  for the  first time .

”come on .come on. move.”, he smiled and we walked towards lift. Instead of going to basement to take out his car , he started moving towards the back of housing society. We reached a small gate in the outer boundary wall of the society where a guard was posted and we were to  record our entry.  The gate led us to a big patch of green surrounded by high rise buildings,multi-storeyed apartments and row houses from all sides.

There was an adequately big water body with a dense growth of bushes and shrubs at the center of the land. Flock of birds visited and inhabited these bushes. A path encircling the pond and natural vegetation around it was laid. Under the shade of big, ages old trees few stone benches were erected and  a brick boundary wall circumvented the area. Four gates, one from each direction lead to it. The approach to this place was only through the societies surrounding it.

The area is used only by the inhabitants of the societies surrounding it. Entry is allowed for fixed hours in the mornings and evenings. It’s difficult to imagine that so near to the bustling road, screeching vehicles, honking horns lies this quiet, tranquil island in it’s natural glory. Elderly people sitting on the benches facing the water watching the activities of the birds, young kids running around safely getting acquainted with new leaves and birds, one or two budding photographers trying to capture flight of birds and magnificence of setting sun, youngsters jogging and running,  it was really a very cozy and lovely place.

Most of the housing societies and apartments irrespective of the city and state have been constructed by erasing the landscapes, cutting  down the trees and leveling the depths of waters, heights of hills. May be that’s the demand of time, cost of progress, but can we not try to preserve such small landscapes in their natural forms in between. I don’t know whether the builders of the all the four projects consented to keep this patch in it’s natural form to provide this extra pleasure to their customer or any other technical issue compelled them to leave it like that but oblivious to  all the hue and cry of the cities busting at seams such quiet havens  definitely act like soothing balms on over stressed nerves. On weekends to spend some leisurely hours in the company of nature, one does not have to face the tension of driving through the snail speed chaotic traffic .They can enjoy some peaceful moments, quiet,retrospective time at their door steps. To me that spot was like soul inside the bodily frame. A”thank you” note to mother nature. Wish more builders and promoters plan to preserve the nature in it’s original form in between , near to housing societies.

I definitely have got one more reason and a very strong one too for eagerly looking forward to visit my DIL.

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pics by sunder iyer and namita sunder

 

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This time our Bangaluru trip was a short one. We had only one spare day in hand for any outing to nearby place . After much discussion and research we chose Bheemeshwari as our day-out.

Bheemeshwari is some 100 Km away from Bangaluru and if one is residing towards Kanakpura road, it might come to  be shorter.

We started from Sarjapur at about 7’clock. After crossing Kanakpura as we turned left there was some road digging going on. The residents directed the driver towards a round about way through the locality to reach the main road.On the main road our driver took the wrong turn and we drove about 25 km. on the wrong direction. However later on we retraced and reached the turn from where Bheemeshwari was 21 km.

Further on the road there was a check post of forest department where vehicle numbers were being noted, the bus ahead of us was checked thoroughly. beyond that point the jungle engulfed the road. The boards on road side told us that we had entered the area of Cauvery National park. Though it is said that the best time to visit the place is from Oct.to February, I feel October is a better option  than February. Just after the rains the jungle would have been much greener and may be we could have witnessed more streams and brooks running and few of water falls, if not gushing then trickling down.

Well ,it was end of February and jungle catered mixed display of green and dried up trees. The brown, black hills stood bare as backdrop. Billboards of many animals were displayed on the roadside but none were seen by us. However the melodious chirping of various birds welcomed us. Half of the jungle was yellow and brown but the sun filtering through the  branches and leaves added a resplendent charm  to the landscape.

As we drove further we could see the Cauvery running on one side . The river was lost to view in between but reappeared after some distance. Vehicles were parked and groups of people could be seen near the water. Our taxi raced through the jungle till we reached the Jungle lodge. The jungle lodge provides certain adventure sports like walking on ropes, coracle rides. They organize fishing camps too. Anglers come here to fight with the mighty Masheer fish. The camp follows a “Catch and Release” policy. Jungle lodge provides accommodation and food too. One can also opt for spending only few hours of the day here.  The charges of  Rs. 1700 per person appear a bit too much for the lunch, tea and few activities one can be part of during that time.

we did not spent time at lodge but spent our time on various spots at the bank of Cauvery.

The first spot we got down was comparatively less crowded. Rather we were the only strollers at that particular hour. Cauvery flowed silently. The blue sky with white fluffy clouds dipped into the cool waters appeared to take refuge from the bright hot sun overhead. Under the shade of two huge trees, the dried yet damp leaves caressed the soles with a cool refreshing touch. The alluring curves of the river disappearing into deep woods enticed one to follow it but the foreboding looks of jungle and far off sounds dared one to venture.

There were these two big trees, one with white stem and another the black. The thick roots of trees embracing and entwining each other lay open due to soil erosion writing a beautiful ode to intimacy.

While walking on the bank of the river we came across an idol of a God-Goddess, a nandi and other remains of temple strewn around half buried in the sand. There were a few idols submerged in water too. Were they all part of a temple once erect on the banks of Cauvery? Did the mighty, roaring Cauvery of monsoon had destroyed and gulped the entire temple ? It might be so but the red colored powder smeared on the forehead of deity while it was worshiped in the temple still glowed, perhaps waters of river could not wash  the colour of the unshakable faith.

On this spot across the road is a small temple. It appears to be comparatively new. New replaces the old and the cycle of destruction, creation and evolution goes on.

Further down the road we stopped at another place. This place was full of people and their various activities. many people were taking bath, women washing and drying their clothes. kids splashing and swimming. Others were enjoying the coracle ride. On the other bank of river the red sand sparkled in the afternoon sun, a group of youngsters on bikes were having fun on that side away from all the din. Various groups settled down under the shade of trees, mats spread, making fire, preparing food, booming laughter, echoing voices, the mirth, the jest filled the air with a soothing warmth and the ripples of Cauvery nestled close to the boulders to whisper the sweet cooing symphony of ever lasting togetherness.

On the spot we came across a group of people carrying an idol of goddess riding on the lion. The idol was kept on an open palanquin/ palki of bamboos which few men were carrying on their shoulders. The procession came near the river, women of the group performed certain rituals while drummer was continuously beating the drum and then the procession returned. While returning few men were trying to pull the palki back while others were pulling it to front. This too was a kind of ritual. There always are two opposite kind of forces working in nature, in life.

After spending few hours we decided to return from our day out on the banks of Cauvery. It was a day full of myriad shades, moods and emotions. The quiet moments on the secluded bank, in the company of silently flowing Cauvery, tall trees, the distant jungle and the azure sky filled my heart with peace and serenity. Looking at the river made me think that during monsoons the river swells, roars, gushes and destroys too, in summers it shrinks in volume but irrespective of the outward influences it continues to flow. It appeared to give a message of living every season, taking the time as it comes, tasting all the flavours with a resigned equanimity to all outside influences yet moving on.  And then there were people engaged in various kinds of activities– cooking, eating, playing, resting, gossiping and performing rituals. Irrespective of the nature of one’s engagement, solitary or in groups, the continuous murmuring  of the ripples of water , the placid rhythmical flow of the river provide an assurance to everyone. Perhaps we all have a wanderer tucked in inside all of us and the journey of river hits the chord deep within.

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pics- sunder iyer

Date–21.05.12,Lucknow.Our terrace.We have our morning tea on the steps of terrace.At the front end of terrace are two pillars on which are placed pots of water and grain.Sparrows and doves visit us daily but sometimes we are blessed with the glimpse of other birds as well.
On this particular morning, a pair of Bulbul came to our terrace at around 6 A.M.They first landed on the telephone wire running parallel and quite near to our terrace.One thing, I have noticed about Bulbuls, they always come flying in pairs. After a careful watch, they landed near the pot of grains albeit one at a time. In the mean time, the other one was, as if keeping the vigil. Today the pot has two varieties of food–one the usual millet and other Laiya.We saw that Bulbul preferred Laiya while we have observed that sparrows invariably love to feed on millets.
Today morning we had other visitors also.We were not able to click the pics of all the varieties of birds but the morning was filled with different kinds of notes and was musically vibrant.
There was this tiny dark chocolate coloured bird. Midst the crisscross running mesh of electric and telephone wires, this little one would have been almost invisible if not for it’s shrill yet sweet call. She came late, around 7.30 A.M. In fact I was not even out on the terrace but was reading newspaper inside. Her call made me come out. At first I was not able to locate it but later on was able to track it near the electric pole midst the wires. She sat there for few minutes as if calling and waiting for someone then flew away spreading it’s tiny feathers. At a distance she was just like a dot but her voice reverberated through the area for quite a long time.
Early in the morning also came the birds with white and black feathers. I feel they have made their nest inside the tin box installed on the pole by T.V. cable suppliers. Mynas and these white and black birds have some issue of proprietorship over this box or the birds have their little ones in the box and Mynas try to harm them ,is not very clear to us but we often see them fighting near that box. Today also, as a pair of Mynas came and sat on the wire near the box, these birds came flying and tried to attack  them in an effort to move them away from the place.We did not have our camera ready at that time hence could not shoot the scene. The surprising part is that neither that bird nor Mynas regularly come to that place. May be they have some other issues to settle or the birds have zeroed in on that box as their nesting place.We have observed that these birds choose box kind of structure for laying their eggs.Once earlier also, last year when the ground floor of our home was not occupied, a pair of this bird made their home for laying the eggs in the main electric meter box. On other occasions also we have observed these birds frequenting in and out of the boxes of cables on the electric poles.
I have to search for the names of these birds. Today almost every variety which we see in our locality was seen near our home. These winged creatures fill our days with melodies and colours and what an inexplicable joy is to watch them engaged in different activities.They too have their own world full of all kinds of emotions, actions, needs and responsibilities.

White Browed Wagtail…..this perhaps is the name of the bird I refer here as black and white bird .While searching on net I found one picture of the bird similar to the bird I talked about and the blog writer referred it by this name. But we shall try to click the bird and then confirm it’s name.

All the pics by Sunder Iyer. ImageImageImageImage

After two days quite warm weather ,yesterday morning was pretty chill. As I stepped out for morning walk the laps of strong wind hit me with a force. For a fraction of second I felt like retracing my steps and let the cozy warmth of indoor engulf me but then the better sense prevailed and shrugging off the temptation, I walked out to face the wind. It turned out to be quite refreshing.

I have always loved those wee hours of twilight when everything around you is wrapped in a dreamy silence. The harsh realities don’t stand there  glaring at you . The roads without the blaring traffic and chaos spread before you lazily inviting you to venture into the magical vista  of purple haze of dawn. Today was the first day of navratri hence the temples on the way were getting ready to welcome  goddess durga. Bright yellow marigold garlands, the fragrance of dhoop and agar, the music of devotional songs all made the morning holier and more pious.

Invig0rated by my walk as I stepped on my terrace something caught my attention. As if it stopped my movement by holding my dupatta. There midst the green leaves of my lemon plant was this small white bud smiling at me through the misty veil. The first bud of my lemon plant. Oh ..the inexplicable happiness………just like what I felt when my first born showed me his first lower tooth………..

it bloomed today.

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