Sunday, July 23, 2017

Gangotri in Images

From Uttarkashi we started early for the journey of char-dham to Gangotri - the place of origin of the holy river Ganga. It is roughly 100 kms from Uttarkashi and takes an approximate time of 3 hours to reach. 

Gangotri is a small town centered around the temple of Gangotri Temple which is cuddled in the heart of Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand and is located close to Indo-Tibetian border. 

The way to Gangotri is a beautiful experience. Here is the first thing that caught our attention. I shot this picture from my car through the mirror. A huge flock of sheep passing on the road with few men and women running after them to guide.
As we progressed we witnessed snow clad mountains far across. Stopped over to have the feel and clicked few snaps. Beautiful aren't they? Needs no words to explain the beauty of these Himalayan peaks.




 



An army base camp near Gangotri. These Jawans are always ready to work at extreme climatic conditions. Hats Off to their work.
 
A beautiful rock formation that caught my attention amidst the ever attractive snow clad mountains of Himalayas.
Here we go! These are the Gangotri glaciers, the originating point of river Ganga which is popularly known as Bhageerathi. The originating place is called Gaumukh (as the glacier resembles the mouth of a cow) which can be accessed by a 19 kilometer trek from Gangotri.
We haven't trekked to Gaumukh as we just recovered from the fatigue we had from Yamunotri trek and the next day we were about to trek 18 kms to Kedarnath. 

This is the office of the Temple committee where you can offer your donations and seek information etc.
This is the main Temple of Goddess Ganga surrounded by beautiful mountains.
This is the main ghat of Gangotri where pilgrims take bath. You can see the ashrams and cottages located alongside the ghat to accommodate people.
There was a long queue at the temple. We stood at the queue for a darshan. All of a sudden people started pushing and intruding in the line as someone announced that temple is going to close in an hour. Slowly that lead to argument and quarrels among the devotees. I told my wife and other friends that I am going to quit the queue; if you guys want to continue please you do and meet me at the river after your darshan. My wife and a friend Virupaksha followed me and rest continued in the queue.

We then went to the river and had great time enjoying the river. I was amazed at the way people behaving to enter the temple complex. They are even trying to bribe to enter the temple. What wondered me was, when the natural and lively Ganga is flowing in its real form with a hushing sound people are ignoring it and thronging to see the idol, a representative form of the same Ganga established by humans in the Temple.


We were lost in the beauty of the river and these beautiful rocks. 
Spent more than an hour enjoying the beauty of this freezing water amidst the nature at its best.
Soon a pigeon joined us saying don't worry I am here with you.
Few others also joined us.
Hurraaaaaaaaaaay! My wife expressing her joy of fetching the sacred Ganga water.  
When we returned, there was hardly anyone at the temple. So we had the darshan of representative form as well.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Uttar Kashi in Images

From Yamunotri we headed towards Gangotri and had a halt for couple of days at Uttar Kashi - Kashi of the North. It is an important destination of spiritual importance in Uttarakhand. It is the home for many Ashrams and Temples.

Here we took shelter at Kailash Ashram. Kailash Ashram is a well known institute for vedantic studies and research. It was established by Swamy Dhanrajgiri Maharaj. Daily activities in the ashram include morning and evening worships, study of Vedanta literature, Shankara bhashya recitation, study of Sanskrit grammar etc. 

Accommodation is provided to students seeking knowledge in Vedanta, Sanskrit and other pilgrims visiting the holy shrines along with anna prasada (food) in the afternoon and at night. No mandatory charges are levied on pilgrims staying here but an optional donation is accepted. 

Adjacent to this Ashram is the Tapovan Kuteer, the Ashram of Tapovanji Maharaj. He was the saint of highest order. Swamy Chinmayananda spent seven years studying Vedanta under the feet of Tapovanji Maharaj. This is one of the popular destination for people seeking spiritual knowledge.

Apart from these another attraction in Uttar Kashi is the famous temple of Kashi Vishvanath. It is the abode of Lord Shiva. This temple is located at the heart of Uttar Kashi surrounded by beautiful mountains.

Through this blog I am trying to share my experiences of Char-dham yatra in images. During this tour I realized photography is purely based on time, patience and luck. Due to our short stay at Uttarkashi, I did not get enough time to capture much here. Anyway I am sharing some of the pictures I was able to capture in Uttarkashi.

The evening of our arrival to Uttarkashi, we visited the famous Kashi Vishwanath Temple. 
Due to bad light and rain I could capture only two of these pictures of the wonderfully built ancient temple of Kashi Vishwanath.
This is the view of the Kailash Ashram, Tapovan Kuteer and other Ashrams at the foot-hill of the mount Varanavat.
If you can see a cottage on the right hand side of the image below; is the place where we stayed overnight.
Below are the images of river Bhageerathi flowing across the Kailash Ashram.

I could not resist myself from visiting the river early in the morning at 5-30 A.M. Spent an hour alone watching the river flow with gushing sound colliding the rocks. You can see the beautiful rocks driven by the river from far beyond.