All posts filed under: North India

The Last Journey to Ganga and Scenes from my Ancestral Village : A Photographic Essay

Visiting Grand Parents used to be the only time when the Joy of having many umbrellas multiplied the possibilities of games, laughter and Humour. But one day without any knock, or warning grandmother died an exceptionally unusual death. All those years the perception that I carried of association, I could never feel it again towards my birth home, my birth courtyard, after grandmother was gone. No sense of belonging. My village had started to look congested. May be that was why parents must have left it. In 1982. On the mud terrace of our ancestral home, fragrance of cow-dung cakes still brings to my mind the nostalgia of my grandmother cleaning the courtyard every morning. Even before the sun would rise; while telling me with love to keep sleeping. Upla* are still used for cooking and cleaning. And just last week were also used for lighting the pyre of my uncle. Father’s eldest brother. Death of a family pillar changes a lot of dimension. For one It brings overwhelming, repulsive, abominable silence in homes. I …

The Pond of Saraswati and Meeting With the Brahma Kamal : Nara on a four day trek to Kalpeshwar Rudranath : V

Continuing from FINDING Brahma Kamal: The Divine Flower Seat of Brahma: Nara on a four day trek to Rudranath : IV and The Quest for the Brahma Kamal : On a Rainy night from Delhi to Chamoli : I Pandava Forest and the Brahma Kamal : The Nights of Change in the Himalayas : II Days in the Hidden Valley of Mandal and a Small trek to Ma Anusuyadevi Temple : III : ँ : I woke up and saw two Golden Eagles, hovering above me. But my first thought were not the eagles in the sky but the leeches, what if they were dining on my hard earned blood all night! It was fine. One thing that I made peace with since my teaching days in the Karakoram Mountains was the sleeping bag. Travellers start keeping their Heart in there pockets when there is no coming back home; because their life becomes a home itself. It was a dawn to remember. Cloudless blue skies on a monsoon morning are rare at this altitude. But the wind …

FINDING Brahma Kamal: The Divine Flower Seat of Brahma: Nara on a four day trek to Rudranath – IV

They say, “once you decide what you really want, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” Only in my dream I once imagined myself walking towards one Brahma Kamal in the Higher reaches of the Himalayas, and today it was happening. Continuing from Days in the Hidden Valley of Mandal and a Small trek to Ma Anusuyadevi Temple : III Pandava Forest and the Brahma Kamal : The Nights of Change in the Himalayas : II and Finding Brahma Kamal : On a Rainy night from Delhi to Chamoli : I : ँ : It wasn’t easy to get Pluto to walk. Not because he did not want to, but he had Bhalu and Monkey, two dogs to feed. The play of life is such, that in first place I wasn’t even coming towards Gopeshwar to find my Divine Lotus; I was only going to the valley of Flowers. But Pluto’s presence in the valley nearby bum-steered my belief for a friend’s company. Somehow, ever since I have known Sumanto, and it’s been …

Days in the Hidden Valley of Mandal and a Small trek to Ma Anusuyadevi Temple : A Photographic Essay- III

While studying culture and ancient practises in the Higher Himalayas.Continuing from Pandava Forest and the Brahma Kamal : The Nights of Change in the Himalayas and Finding Brahma Kamal : On a Rainy night from Delhi to Chamoli : ँ : Sumanto was waiting by the roadside, in front of the fisheries department. It was late in the night, very late by the mountain ways of life. Yet the most relieving part was that i wasn’t alone. With me was the last government bus, which i had to run after, in Rudraprayag to catch it. Had it not been that moment, i wouldn’t be making it even in my 30th hour of leaving New Delhi. It was cold. It was heavy. The restrain of the night, one which arrives after many days of rain. The climatic depression could still be felt. I could hear the droplets dropping off the leaves as I could hear myself heaving. The bus stopped. I bid byes to the driver, the conductor as i had been the only one riding …

FINDING Brahma Kamal: The Divine Flower Seat of Brahma: On a Rainy Night from Delhi to Chamoli- II

While studying culture and ancient practises in the Higher Himalayas. Continuing from Pandava Forest and the Brahma Kamal : The Nights of Change in the Himalayas : ँ : Who would have known that a journey which merely started in documenting the culture of the mountains will end in a never-ending quest of finding the way to my own being. May be this is what Living in general teaches us. Like Googly in Cricket. Guruji and I came back to his home. It was cold and only a bulb far was filling the mountain home with some light. He stood for a while without speaking, almost waiting for the words to arrive. That mountain Narayan, that slope lead the last Pandava to Heaven, with a dog. We were seeing it together, in the dark. The tip of it shining, because moon was raining that night. And that is where you will find the Lotus of Brahma; a whole valley of flowers up there surrounds the divine flower; because they too revere it. They want to …

Pandava Forest and the Brahma Kamal: The Nights of Change in the Higher Himalayas – I

But before finding Brahma Kamal, Nara had to go through the forests where Pandavas once roamed. Pandavas!   The mighty heros of the Indian Epic, Mahabharata. Who after defeating the Kauravas, after slaying their own uncles, brothers, friends in a battle that went on for 18 days, not night. The rule was to rest and sleep in the night; until Pandava’s sons were murdered. The rage from there onwards became the reason to kill; not merely win. The carnage started then. Pandavas killed each Kaurava till the last count one by one. It was a bitter victory. Pandavas went on to rule for 36 years. But the guilt of killing their own kept breathing in their minds. Pride over the years melt into feeling sinful. As sharp pangs of remorse led the Pandavas to leave their kingdom they had won; leaving their worldly clothes, ornaments, and even their weapons; to find eternal peace, to attain Moksha. It was during this search on their way to heaven, while walking for years in the mountains; numerous stories, …

When Krishna calls. A dream life of an Australian Photographer from Paris : Travels in Vrindavan

“O Krishna, the stillness of the divine union, which you describe, is beyond my comprehension. How can the mind which is so restless, attain lasting peace. Krishna, the mind is restless, turbulent, powerful, violent. To tame the mind is like to tame the wind.” – Srimad Bhagvad Gita  I was in my early teens when on my grandmother’s fierce insistence, parents took us on a tour to Mathura and Vrindavan. Krishna had supposedly entered my grandmother’s dream. She lost her sleep, and waited for that day when she would touch the earth of Krishna’s birth. And encircling the epical, ancient, holy Govardhana hill,  गोवर्धन पर्वत on her bare feet. The sun was setting in the land of braj as we arrived, the winds started blowing, grandmother’s eyes went backwards; her body calmed, voice started mumbling the words known to every wall and each monkey sitting on them, as they could  be heard from myriad mouths. Narrow lanes of brick, tall walls wearing Mughal attires turning holy, as the time turned blue like romance, the colour of Krishna, Yamuna …