Friday, April 1, 2011

Gods Own Lake

But what about the new deadlines? What of my friend visiting me from half way across the globe? What of my roomie’s broken heart?  I can’t just GO. How would the world function without me running the show?

I cancelled my flight ticket to Delhi.

The very next day I was back on the travel site. Ohfuckit! Me going! I bought a  last minute ticket to Delhi.

My wallet groaned in such agony that I failed to notice that the greatest love story of my life had just begun.

Delhi to me is long drives around the Lutens, Raheems Barra Khababs, exotic movies with Prasad, jhola talks with Dunu and Leena, late night tea breaks at AIMS.  As the night grew silent it was time to leave the bustle and plains of Delhi to head for the mountains.

Between tea breaks, bribes and bhangda blasting from the blaring audio system in the Qualis taxi; we covered Ghaziabad, Meerut and Roorkee. Through the cobwebs of sleep I recall passing Haridwar and its crowded ghats of spiritually and shit.

Rishikesh dedicated to the Lord of the Five Senses (Vishnu), found the six of us finally waking up. There was collective stretching, yawning and demands for our quota of
masala chai, paratha and dahi.  We continued our journey up the foothills with glimpses of the Ganges sparkling in the morning sun.

As the hours rolled by the scenes got more picturesque. All of us dropped conversations and stared out at the view. Everyone else was acquainted with the Himalayan foothills ,still they sighed and pointed at views that caught  their fancy – a different colored hill, a sudden bend of  the river, distant rock faces, villagers working in terrace fields, kids running. I, who had never been up here sat wide eyed, open mouthed. Either I was tripping on the Tibetan Chantings or that river was truly holy. I felt lighter, at ease and surprisingly quiet.

The air grew crisper, cleaner, the views more spectacular and vibrant. The mountains loomed larger, the fields greener, the river bluer.

We passed two of the five holy confluences of the Ganges. I watched  Alaknanda and Bhagirati merge to form the Ganges at Devaprayag . Later we then passed the town of Rudraprayag where Mandakini gushed into Alaknanada.

“Are we there yet?” We had already passed a many spots that would have been a perfect break from the city. Powdery river banks that would have been perfect for camping, hills that would have made a memorable trek, remote villages, shepherd huts beside distant meadows, secondary pine forests. We were growing restless and hoping our destination would arrive sooner. “Are we there yet?”

Next pause in our route was Okimatt and finally the village of Sari. After a late lunch we started our 2 hour hike up to the lake where the Gods (Devas) bathed – Deoria Tal.

Deoriya Tal is also the lake where Yudishtra, the eldest of the Pandavas answered the philosophical riddles posed by the spirit of the lake.

After being cooped up in a cab for the better part of the day, the hike up was exhilarating. Green grassy hills bountifully dotted with white flowers, the evening sun, cold breeze from the Himalayas.

Do I write about Deoria Tal or shut up and post some pictures?


The campsite by the lake
 

Deoriya Tal and the Chaukhamba Peak 

Green Green Green

Light green meadow circled the sparkling green lake; a dense green forest circled the light green meadow.  Blue, blue skies up above, mighty white and grey Himalayan peaks. Om Shanti Shanti Shanti while sipping masala chai.

The night sky was even more spectacular.  A band of stars splashed across the blue black sky. Silence. Space. Solitude. I lay beside the lake looking at the sky. I looked at the reflection on the lake. As above, so below.

I thought of Yudishtra standing by the lake, answering the spirit of the lake
“contentment is the greatest of all pleasures..mind is faster than the wind.. heaven resides in truth… health is the greatest blessing…breath is the mantra… mind is the altar…” my eyes grew drowsy.

 
Next day we woke up early and hiked the hills. By noon it was time to reluctantly trek down to Sari. Enroute there there was something for the wild life lovers.




We spotted a King Cobra at the altitude of over 2200 m.  Not sure what it was doing at that height and that temperature. Possibly the snake was thinking the same, what is this girl from Kerala doing all the way up here in the cold.
 



We corkscrewed our way down to the foothills. High on my wish list was a dip in the Ganges.  I got it.

I loved it. Loved it so much that I missed my flight back.

My wallet once again groaned. However this time the groan it was not loud enough to drown the euphoria of the greatest love story. I love Himalayas. Now and Forever.




Some wow pics of Deoriya Tal from flickr

12 comments:

  1. Shibaji, Debo, Chinti - YES it was a King Cobra :)

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  2. Much fun with your blog.
    Your pictures are wonderful, so is your writing.

    Cordially greetings from Germany....

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  3. Thanks Ursula. Will keep posted.

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  4. Good piece.....thanks for bring back the Himalayan memories.

    To Himalayas!!

    Sonu.

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  5. Thanks Sonu... missing the mountains... and i still havent done the valley of flowers

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  6. Thanks Saurabh...The place is spectacular

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  7. Good one !!!!
    given urge to me to visit rishikesh :P
    but does network problem still persist over there ...
    would be gr8 to have ur reply

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  8. Thanks SunnY

    The spot is a bit off Rishikesh, more towards Rudraprayag, Ukhimath.

    I do recall another group of trekkers who had come and were talking LOUDLY on the phone :)

    Personally prefer to be in places minus the network

    Cheers n light

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  9. dont go to valley of flowers during the 'season' - its too full of other people, particularly those going up to the gurdwara. go just before the season - it is spectacular!

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  10. Beautiful writing Nu, look forward to more!!

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  11. Very nice writing, well i used one of your image i my blog, hope you don mind :)

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