Most beautiful "dham" of all the four Hindu "dhams"
Gangotri Travel Blog› entry 6 of 21 › view all entries
October 7th, 2007 – by: ashishrb
Water was cold enough to deter one from brushing teeth, no way did I wanna take a bath in that cold water - unless it was from the river. Which is what I planned to do. Bathing/washing in the Ganges river is a religious experience for us Hindus - done with prayer and a clean mind it is supposed to wash away one's sins. Waters of the Ganges (Ganga) is holy and the purest water according to Hindu mythology/tradition.
The lodge is right next to "Surya kund" which is where the river drops about 20-30 feet as two waterfalls. I walked along the river from the lodge and crossed it to reach the temple complex and ghat. After paying my respects at the Maa Ganga (Ganges Mother) temple and a few others I went down to the ghat. It was a peaceful late morning and there were hardly any priests around to pester anyone. I washed myself in the chilling water and soaked in the sun. It was refreshing, and I hope I did wash away some of my sins! I went up to the temple and got some "bhog prasad" that was offered at the temple that morning.
Judging the cold conditions, I knew I would need some more woolens, so I shopped around and stocked up a bit before going back for lunch. After a sumptuous lunch of Aloo Parantha (indian fried bread stuffed with potato), the idea was to do some sight seeing and generally chill out in the woods somewhere. I walked downstream along the river for a few kilometers from the lodge. This path is quite pretty and goes along the river, while the river flows audibly in a ravine some 50 feet below. The gorge itself is stone and becomes quite narrow at a few points leading to a splendid view of the rapid white river flowing through. There, along the path, is a big boulder which forms a sort of a small cave under it - known as the Pandu cave. A slight bit further is where the path ends abruptly at a cliff.
I returned to the market on the street that leads upto the temple, to buy a few more small items for the trek. I needed a porter and guide to take me to Tapovan and wanted to find out the conditions up there. After a few enquiries, my to-be-guide Pt. Vasudeva Kudiyal approached me. After some negotiation and discussion we made the deal for him guiding me 3-4 days. The plan was to leave the next morning for Bhojwasa and later go to Tapovan. If the conditions were good we could go to Nandanvan or Kedar-tal or Neer-tal.
Relaxed for the rest of the evening, and sometime in front of the fire at night.
I had never been to Uttaranchal before this trip. As the discussion was going the previous night at the bon-fire, I could feel it though, Gangotri must surely be the most beautiful of all the four "dhams" (certain Hindu pilgrim places) - Gangotri, Yamunotri, Kedarnath, Badrinath. Although quite inaccessible from the major cities, thats perhaps part of the charm. Besides, most of the most beatiful places are the ones that are the hardest to get to.
-- Ashish Bhambhani
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