This was my first foray into the Himalayas wielding a camera. I find that not having a camera slinging on your shoulders enhances the ability to enjoy the journey and also not look like a goddamn tourist. But as fate would have it, just before this trip I got a camera and I thought I might as well use it. Also I had a travelling companion for almost the entire duration of the trip, a break from travelling solo.
What is the tangible result of undertaking a challenging trek in the Himalayas ? What can you expect to show friends and family when you head back home ?
Here it is and it's definitely not a pretty sight !
|Not a pic from the morgue but a foot selfie depicting 3 busted nails|
I'm sure you're dying to know where I have been and what I've been up to after seeing this selfie. So let me begin the tale..
After a tearful parting (from her side) from the the Poha Maniac I left Rishikesh for Rudraparayag early morn on an empty jeep. An uneventful journey to Ukhimath from Rudraparayag barring a 5 minute spat over Rs.5/- between a passenger and the conductor. I jumped off the bus a couple of kilometres before reaching Ukhimath at the beautiful GMVN Guest House.
|View from GMVN Ukhimath|
R, who had already checked in early morning was chilling out with chawal, dal, roti discussing the intricacies of sthithaprajna with the Manager. Let me introduce R , my travel companion for the weeks ahead, a Tamil Iyer settled in Bangalore, a Type A personality who delves into disscussions on the Gita, Yoga and other unmentionables at the drop of a hat to anyone remotely interested. He's a genuine seeker, unlike yours truly , who meditates regularly and takes his sadhana quite seriously. But apart from all that , he's basically a nice guy.
|Our hut for the night !|
If you ever get to go anywhere near Ukhimath make sure you spend at least a night at the GMVN Guest House. You can sit on tha lawn and just gaze unendingly at the mountains. It's in a quiet area with breath taking views of the Himalayan peaks and walking distance of the famous Omkareshwar temple.
|First kiss of the sun|
|Kedar mountain range visible from Ukhimath|
When we visited the temple in the evening, there was already a family from Kerala inside the premises. A panda took them inside the math in the temple premises. We followed close behind. In the shrine room of the Devi, he proceeded to ask them for 'oil money'.
'Give me money for oil for worship of the Devi and I'll pour it in your names!'
I have noticed that remarkable funny things happen inside temples. History was repeated as the head of the family(HOF) was forced to dish out a sizable amount by his Devi fearing wife.
After pocketing the cash, the panda then told them to leave as it was time for arti in the main temple. As they were leaving, the incredulous HOF remarked to the panda that he had not asked for their names.
'Ah, Yes, I forgot! Tell me your names !'
Before they could finish telling their long South Indian tongue twisting names he rushed them out.
'But wait you didn't ask my name..', one of the group members spoke up bravely, 'It's Unnikrishnan'.
'Maalum hai Maalum hai, ab aap aarti mein jao' . They left us in the room with the bemused Devi.
The main priest of the temple is from Karnataka, a tradition from the times of Shankaracharya. He was the main reason R headed to the temple. R with his inexplicable talent for extracting useless info had found out that the priest had two daughters of marriageable age . But alas, he was unable to get their darshan. The temple's a quiet charming place with the unique presence of having a prowling guard who looks as old as the temple carrying an equally antique gun ...
|The flute playing divine cowherd on the temple wall|
|Inside the temple compound|
|Old age charm|
|Dilapidated math building inside the temple|
|Main tower of Omkareshwar temple|
|GMVN garden. Just to balance the gross effect from the 1st pic ! ;)|
To be continued...