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Saturday, November 23, 2013


एक आदमी कब से खड़ा
नगाड़ा बजा रहा है
शायद बाहर मुझे बुला रहा है
मैं अभी गहरी नींद में हूँ
मुझ तक उसकी हर आवाज़ आ रही है
पर आँखें किसी सपने को
बहुत देर से चबा रहीं हैं

वह कुछ देर और चीखता है
बेबस होकर फिर थोडा झींकता है
मैं, अब भी अन्दर बंद हूँ
खुद को महफूज़ महसूस करते हुए
इस शोर से कभी कभी तंग हूँ

यहाँ अन्दर एक सांझ ढल रही है
कालिमां गहराती हुई आगे बढ़ रही है
इस कालिमां के ख़त्म होने पर
कुछ बेबस चलती बातों के कहीं खोने पर
मैं फिर जाउंगी बाहर
पता नहीं तब दिन होगा या होगी रात
कैसे होंगे वहाँ के हालात
क्या नगाड़ेवाला तब भी वहाँ खड़ा होगा
या निशानी के लिए बस एक नगाड़ा पड़ा होगा

मैं फिर कुछ देर सोचती हूँ
पर एक जकड़न महसूस करते हुए
खुद को भीतर रोकती हूँ..

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Almora, Uttarakhand

After spending two good days in Kausani, we started from there to explore Almora. On our way one of our travel mates shouted" wild fox" I was in dilemma whether to take out my camera lens or get a glimpse of that fox. I chose the latter. A red colored little animal with a long broom like tail was crossing the road into the forest. Our driver stopped the car giving us the opportunity to take in the scenic view of the landscape and then guess what we discovered? Marijuana leaves! Since our driver was a knowledgeable man, he shared some insights about that very plant with us-
Marijuana Leaves
The Cannabis plant's leaves share resemblance with the leaves of marigold plant. It is believed to be a native plant of India, where it possibly originated in a region just north of the Himalayan mountains. Interestingly all the parts of this plant are used as different type of drugs:  the female sativa cannabis plant.  Marijuana (weed, pot, ganja, etc.) is made from the dried flowering tops, leaves, stems and sometimes seeds of the plant, often mixed together. Hash is the pure resin separated and collected from the flowering tops of cannabis plants.  Hash, depending on the purity, varies from golden brown to black in color, and can be smoked, eaten or vaporized. The locals also put this as a herb as a garnish in their  food, to help fight the Himalayan cold.

Near Almora, in Jageshwar district, we visited another group of temples which were constructed in similar fashion  like Baijnath Temples in Bageshwar District.

I love the rays falling on the temple building making it looking more sacred and divine
An ancient huge bell outside the Jageshwar temples

A view outside Ramkrishna Mission, Almora
Next morning our plan was to visit Nanital and in afternoon catch the train for Delhi.
Another fantastic morning in Almora.

  The two photographs above are of the same place. While in the first one the valley was covered with a river like trail of clouds, an hour later it was all clean and we could see the houses beneath. It was magical.

Layers of differently colored mountains.
In Nainital, we saw Naini Lake, the mosque, Gurudwara and temple (all near to each other) and enjoyed a brief walk at mall road.
Mosque @ Nanital

The famous Naini Lake- start of boating
Municipal corporation has inhabited these ducks here. They take a round of the lake from time to time in the whole group, their way of greeting the visitors.

Naini Lake @ Nainital

     Curious Cow 
Cities like Nanital, Almora, Kausani, Mussoorie rather whole state of Uttarakhand is a nice place to explore. We missed Binsar, a wild life sanctuary near Almora due to lack of time, you could add that in your checklist.

I hope you have enjoyed the photo-journey of the place.
Keep smiling!

For other posts on Uttarakhand click here:
-Kausani, Uttarakhand- Bheemtal, Someshwar, Baijnath

-Rudradhari, Kausani

-Golu Devta Temple, Almora

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Golu Devta Temple, Almora

The temple of Golu Devta is one of the very intriguing places for a tourist in Almora. Golu Devta is believed to be the God of Justice. People of Uttarakhand have ample faith in their God and instead of talking to him, they make their wishes or complaints in writing. I haven't seen this method of praying anywhere else in India. If you are a devotee this may motivate you to write a letter to God, in your own language be it Hindi, English, Hinglish (a mix of both) or any other. If you are an atheist or agnostic, it can be one of the top 100 things in India that can amaze you. Most of the believers wrote their wishes on the affidavits of Rs. 20/- and hung them in the temple. If any wish comes true, the pilgrim ties a bell in the temple or in the temple's premise as a token of thanks. There were thousands and thousands of bells tied inside the temple and hawkers outside were selling loads of them outside the temple too.

Applications (left) and bells inside temple (right).

One of the application to God (on Rs. 20/- Affidavit)was as follows-

"Hi God,
I want to become a famous singer. Please make my voice beautiful and get me a chance into Bollywood."

There was another:
"Namaste Bhagwaan,
Mere bete ka IIT exam clear kara do. Main chahti hu wo engineer bane."
("Greetings God,
Please help my son through IIT exams. I want him to become an engineer.")

I don't know how well God listens to this but he must be really impressed by the people of Uttarakhand for their sanctified beliefs and sincere faith in him. God bless them all. If you are in Uttarakhand, this can be an interesting place to visit.

For other posts on Uttarakhand click here:
-Kausani, Uttarakhand- Bheemtal, Someshwar, Baijnath

-Rudradhari, Kausani

-Almora, Uttarakhand- Jageshwar Temples, Nanital

Monday, November 11, 2013

Rudradhari, Kausani

For the previous post on Kausani click here!
Luckily next morning at Kausani was beautiful with clouds seemingly performing a show and provided us a new view every ten minutes. A spectacular and mesmerizing view of some of the famous Himalayan peaks- Nanda Devi, Trishul and Panchachuli was treat to the eyes. Mahatma Gandhi termed this place as Switzerland of India- it indeed was beautiful.

Cloud waves rising from bottom

Trishul Mountain Range!

Loved the Sky Above

Our Halt, Sky, hidden mountain peaks and vegetation below!
 I found this bird hunting for small butterflies.
Little Pied Flycatcher @ 7.00 Am

Clock Flower and buds around

After taking breakfast we visited Anasakti Ashram (Mahatma Gandhi's Ashram), House of Late Sumitranandan Pant (famous poet)  (Only for the people who are genuinely interested in visiting it).
Name: Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly
Scientific Name: Aglais urticae
Ubiquitous Butterfly in the gardens of Anasakti Ashram, Kausani, Uttarakhand

The next plan of Action was to trek towards Rudradhari temples and falls (another temple of Lord Shiva). Going by reviews on internet, we were reluctant. According some people it was a disappointing affair while for some it was worth it. Anyway we decided to go for it.
As they say journey is better than destination. So was ours. Went went through dense forest, crossed a thin stream of river seven times. Normally when I see beetles and insects flying before my eyes here I scream petrified. Since it was jungle and insects were expected and common there, I didn't mind any unidentified flying objects. Before I share the photographs, here are somethings to keep in mind before you plan to go there:

-A guide is a must to show you the way, as without him one can not figure out the way in jungle. He can ask you anything between Rs. 200 -400.
- Keep something to eat and drink with yourself as there are no shops inside the forest.
- It is 1 hour track to reach the temple, 2-2.5 Kms approx. (One way)
- There are no mobile networks and no calls can be made once you are inside the forest.
- Falls are not that great as compared to falls in other places of India (especially falls in Pachmani, Madhya Pradesh), though if one is interested in trek, jungles, beetles etc. one should go for it. The temple seemed ancient from inside.

I couldn't locate the name of these...

Into the wilderness

Rudradhari temple

Rudradhari Falls

For all of us, the trek was enjoyable, the journey was wonderful and faces were smiling!
He was our guide Bacchiram, we found him waiting for his customers at the entrance of forest.

For other posts on Uttarakhand click here:
-Kausani, Uttarakhand- Bheemtal, Someshwar, Baijnath

-Golu Devta Temple, Almora

-Almora, Uttarakhand- Jageshwar Temples, Nanital

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Happy Deepawali

Wishing everyone a very Happy Deepawali.
This year instead of one, we had three Rangolis to flaunt. While I was busy in making one, my sister- in her Picasso Fits- created two wonderful Designs. So between three rangoli designs there was scarcity of space to walk but who wants to walk much in an Art Gallery! We all want to savor the artists' works in artists' paradise. Here are the photographs- the way I search for ideas each Deepawali, these may inspire you for the next one.

Happy Diwali
This is what I made this year!

 My Sister's Work
A modern and very creative Rangoli- I wish we had kids at home to really enjoy this one!

The Tribal Art
For last years' Rangoli click here.
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