Dark clouds hiding the sun behind…a few drops of rain here and there…wind sending chill down my spine. The
I didn’t wish to miss the sight of my friends Gurupriti and Mihir getting married to each other in Delhi – they were the first ones in my friend circle to say ‘I do’ or rather a Vedic hymn of that meaning, so that is how the whole plan materialized. Having an employer who grants 30 annual leaves, I thought of turning it into more than just attending a wedding. I planned to visit
I saved the evening for Taj Mahal. Passing through a long queue, when I first looked at the Taj, my first reaction was “Wow!” This is the mausoleum Shah Jahan built for his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. Grief-stricken Mughal emperor kept his words given to his dying wife. Sitting at a side bench in front of the Taj, I wondered what might have gone through the emperor’s mind. In his Mughliya style, he would have asked chief designer Ustad Ahmad Lauhari and his team to erect a white marble architecture, obviously inspired from the other Persian monuments of those days. 21 years down the line, when he had first looked at it, he might have tears rolled down his eyes. The Taj, ageless, timeless, love in marble and minarets, as immortal as love itself.
The next day I went to
I caught a bus for Hrishikesh(the Sanskrit word meaning lord of the senses, Vishnu) the next morning. Hrishikesh, the gateway to Himalayas, is a city in Uttarakhand where holy river the Ganges parts away with
Joshimath was my next destination, actually a base camp sort of place for tourists who go to Badrinath,
From here onwards it was trekking for next 3 days. By now I was feeling lonely and praying to God for some company. For once he answered my prayers. When I got into jeep for Govindghat, I saw a couple running towards us. As they got into jeep, the man asked if anybody was going to Ghangaria for trekking. I was on the same path as they were. They were a Spanish couple, Joan and Maribel, on a long vacation to Indian sub-continent. From Govindghat, we started ascending to Ghangaria. We talked a lot on the way – about them, about me, about
Hemkund trek is very steep and difficult. The 5 km trek takes one from 3049 meters to 4329 meters of altitude. Hemkund is a holy place for Sikh people. Hemkund Sahib is the world’s highest Gurudwara. There is a
Though I didn’t plan it in my original itinerary, since I had an extra day, I went to Badrinath after trekking down from Ghangaria to Govindghat. Because of a landslide, I had to wait for 2 hours on my way to Badrinath. One of the most holy places of Hindus, it is located between Nar and Narayan mountains at the height of 3415 meters. I started my way back to Joshimath the same day.
The next day was spent in traveling back to Hrishikesh. That was my last day in the
A year after, what remains of the trip is a lot of fond memories. I am not the same as I was before the trip. I am enriched with a little of the Himalayas inside me, and a drop of the Ganges. The memories will live on, forever.