Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Uttarkashi is the quaint capital city of Uttaranchal otherwise called Uttarkhand
The char dham circuit of pilgrim centers are ( Yamunotri ,Gangotri ,Kedarnath and Badrinath ) situated in this mountainous state ,Many here take up the Army as a profession and even the Chief minister was a retired army GeneralThe Hemkund Sahib a famous Sikh pilgrimage was reached after the famous valley of flowers.
The state is majestic with mighty hills snowcapped peaks pristine forests and roaring rivers ,Both the river Yamuna and the Ganga originate here .
The Alaknanda ,Baghirathi ,Mandakini and the elusive Sarasvati roar down to form the Ganga of the plains .
This post is about a small trek we took off Uttarkashi town
After our arduous but successful Yamunotri trek we had driven down to Uttarkashi for our well needed rest in sublime surroundings ,
We were a group of tourists led by Swami Sandeepanand Chai Tanya from Trivandrum
Talking of Swamiji he was in his youthful forties with a great sense of humour he was a good organizer too only then could anyone take more than 80 people of differing age groups and temperaments to these places .
So he thought of this small trek up a forested hill to reach a solitary lake on its top called Natchiketha Thal which means lake.
This was more than 2500 mts a steep climb off a village 29 km from Uttarkashi town.
The place had great mythological significance and was mentioned in many ancient Puranas ,
Saint Nathciketa was supposed to have inhabited a cave by its side and sat penance for years in its silence.
Nathicketha had asked the lord of death as one of the three wishes granted to him by Yama the secret of immortality and was finally told
He, who sees all beings in the Self, and the Self in all beings, hates none -- Isha Upanishad
Today too the lake has a sanyasin in a nearby cave living all alone.
It was raining while we started and it was late afternoon, the rain was gentle and the thick canopy of trees were a natural umbrella,the path was wet but not slushy filled with leaves and occasional branches it was soft but the climb was steep at times and made us breathless but the sight of many amongst us who were old walking ahead with the dare of the faithful gave us courage to carry on
The aroma of nature filled our nostrils ,the pleasant smells rising from the blooming flowers the slushy earth and the towering trees was almost discernible it filled our inner beings with a warmth difficult to explain
Olfactory sense triggers endorphins in our brains and fills us with deep satisfaction
To capture these exotic smells and bottle it in a cask would be the best perfume in the world
Godrej Aera is one example of such a perfume I think
As we moved on There was a great fallen tree on the way and we had to climb on it and crawl to the the other side
At times the forest cleared to give exotic views of the country below Rhodedendrons and pines grew tall and majestic
Dusk was fast in its coming and by the time we were at the top more than three and half kilometers it was dark
We could hardly see the lake which was said to be full of fish, ignorance was bliss as we jumped into its icy coolness for a quick dip
Some ladies went into the cave of the resident swamiji who courteously came out allowing them to change their dress inside after the bath,one of them leaned against a convenient rock in the darkness of the cave but found it moving slowly she shrieked in surprise to find out she was leaning on the swamijis pet bull who also stayed inside the cave
We hurried back in batches as it was pitch dark and the way down was treacherous if we missed a step we could go down in a hurry, seven of us were together with one torch and one of our brave heart lead us with a knife in his hand pointing ahead and all the while we thought he had a torch with him later he would laugh and say he had that for moral support
He saved us!
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