The snow soaked whitest peaks of the Himalayas are the nature’s splendour and wonder to the eyes of the mankind. The world’s highest peaks, including the Mount Everest (elevation: 29,035.44 ft. / 8,848 m.) and K2 (elevation: 28,251 ft. / 8, 611 m.), are located in the Himalayas mountain range. The deep valleys, the high rise range of infinite view of peaks, the roaring rocks, the lusting lakes, the glowing greens, the flowing, falling lines of whitest water streams, the whitest flower-like showering of the purest snows, the glowing light emanating from the whitest peaks and pits, with an aroma of the chilling but soothing and healing breezes dashing around, are indeed a sight of instant ‘nirvana’ for a tiny man in the Himalayas. Here is the place where he suddenly finds his ‘ego and garbage’ bag suddenly missing from his head at least for a fraction of second.
Recently (during the fourth week of October 2010) we made a voyage and visit to the Himalayas covering Haridwar, Rishikesh, and finally Kedarnath (elevation: 3, 584 m.) and Badrinath (elevation: 3,133 m.) – the much revered holiest pilgrimage places in the Himalayas.
Thanks to modern technology and inroads of well-built tar roads along the sloppy lines of the peaks of the Himalayas, a taxi can take you rounds and rounds up to the point just 14 km away from Kedarnath. From that point you can either walk the 14 km stretch or take a horse ride (horse services available) to reach Kedarnath. One of my friends and me made a ‘sankalp’ (holy determination) to walk both up and down Kedarnath and we did it with all joy and pain. My other friends half way walked and half way took horse riding to reach the place. At the starting point of this 14 km stretch there is a place called ‘Gouri Kund’, a natural hot thermal spring lake, where naturally the hot water flows and the pilgrims take a bathing dip in it. We relished our ‘holy dip’ in the flowing hot lake, both while going and returning. This natural hot water has its natural healing and medicinal value, apart from being holy, it is believed. In the vicinity of Badrinath temple also there is a hot thermal spring lake facilitating the pilgrims to take a dip or bath in the holy spring before visiting the temple. (In the belt of the Himalayas, there are quite a good number of these hot thermal lakes located at different points, and incidentally one or the other temples may also be found around there to bless your holy hot dips in the lakes, amidst the biting cold weather surrounding there.)
To reach Badrinath (the abode of Lord Vishnu) is easy, as the taxi can take you directly up to that point, no strenuous walking is needed.
‘God men, Gods, the Holy Shankaracharyas have absolutely nothing to do with the Himalayas there. The snow-clad peaks and the splendours of the Himalayas stand there absolutely bereft of Gods and God men – the stand that is absolutely cute, mute, vibrant, and eternal.’Incidentally on the days of our visit to both Kedarnath (Temple of Lord Shiva) and Badrinath (Abode of Lord Vishnu), we witnessed huge snow falls – a splendid experience. In the night we stayed at Badrinath and when we woke up at 4 in the morning, we could see only snows and whites everywhere up down far near in the entire infinite peak ranges there that our eyes could see and reach. We could see almost 3-4 inches deep layer of snows formed every where around us on things, places and paths there. We played with snow flakes there like kids in the biting morning.
But all things said and unsaid, I have to make a note from the depth of my core feeling or sense that I felt amidst the Himalayas there that: ‘God men, Gods, the Holy Shankaracharyas have absolutely nothing to do with the Himalayas there. The snow-clad peaks and the splendours of the Himalayas stand there absolutely bereft of Gods and God men – the stand that is absolutely cute, mute, vibrant, and eternal.’