Monthly Archives: September 2011

Mystic Haridwar (Uttarakhand Chronicles)

Sometimes you have to realize that the mystic nature of certain destinations have to be always something that you cherish besides the true spirituality that lies within you. It’s always a discovery that you want within yourself that you try to find in destinations all around the world. As a traveler you realize that the journey within yourself is what you make of the journeys outside.

With that thought, I realized, a journey was about to begin, it was certainly going to be a trip of our lifetime. My friends and I had embarked upon a beautiful trip that would certainly change our life for the best of the reasons!! West Himalayas, was going to be the ultimate destination for all of us to reach to finally. But before that, we had our fair share of adventure, journeys and certainly some spirituality…

On that note, we realized that what better to start upon a journey than to visit the ultimately spiritual and holy city of Haridwar…

Har Ki Pauri

Har-ki-Pauri is quite the place to be especially at the evening. The prayers and the aarti there are really enchanting, besides the brightly lit temples at the foot of the Holy Ganges. Quite a spectacle to capture indeed.

This revered place is the major landmark of the holy city of Haridwar. Literally, “Har” means “Lord Shiva”, “ki” means “of” and “paudi” means “steps”. Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu are believed to have visited the Brahmakund in Har ki Paudi in the Vedic times. There is a large footprint said to belong to Lord Vishnu on a stone wall.

It is believed that it is precise spot where the Ganges leaves the mountains and enters the plains. The ghat is on the west bank of Ganges canal through which the Ganges is diverted just to the north. Har ki pauri is also the area where thousands of pilgrims converge and the festivities commence during the Kumbha Mela, which takes place every twelve years, and the Ardh Kumbh Mela, which takes place every six.

Each evening at sunset priests perform Ganga Aarti here, when lights are set on the water to drift downstream. This is the most amazing and soul touching spectacle. A large number of people gather on both the banks of river Ganges to sing its praises. The priest hold large fire bowls in their hands, the gongs in the temples at the Ghat start ringing and the chants flowing out of lips fill the air. People float earthen diyas, with burning flickers and flowers in them as a symbol of hope and wishes .The golden hues of floral diyas reflected in the river Ganges present the most enchanting sight.

A Naga Baba, relaxing in the morning near the river….

Naga Baba

People by the Holy Ganga in the morning…                             

Ganga River in the morning

Ganga River in the morning

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Mumbai-Delhi-Haridwar – Detour (Uttarakhand Chronicles)

Well, what can I say about this amazing journey that began with an amazing start… Something like the Amazing Race! I was slated to go on a Friday  to Haridwar, via Dehradun express on a train with all my friends. Little did I know that my destiny had something else in mind… As much as I could avoid the whole slurry of a detour, it was something I just couldn’t.

I was all packed for my journey as you read in my previous post. The backpack was ready and I had already taken a rickshaw to go to the railway station and that is when this twist happened…

It all started with a phone call…

“Srinivas, we have been trying to reach you through out the day….”

“Yes? Who’s this?”

“I’m calling from Reliance BIG entertainment… You had auditioned for Fox Travelller’s show right?”

“Oh yeah… I did… ‘This Journey is fun’  I know…

“Well you have been shortlisted in the finals, you need to come tomorrow for an audition…”

BANG!!!!

Now what do I do? Here I was at the crossroads for between ‘My First Himalayan Expedition’ & ‘A life changing opportunity.’ My train was in an hour from LTT to go to Haridwar. I had already booked my tickets, they were confirmed… for crying out loud…

“Can this happen some other time? Any chance I can come back and give this audtion?”

“Dude, this is a national audition… There’s no way it can happen any other time…” said Afreen, who was handling the production for this show.

That was about it… I had to make a split second decision and tell her what I was going to do. I bought some time and told her to message me the address in any case… I needed some time to make the decision.

What were my options??

1. Go, board the train and set off for my First Himalayan Adventure (Valley of Flowers Trek)

2. Go for the auditions and once it’s done, take a flight to Delhi and catch the same train on Sunday morning to regroup with my friends…

Interestingly option no. 2 gave me enough time to actually catch the same train in Delhi, on the morning… Quite an adrenaline pumping situation and what do you think I decided to do??

Option 2 it was…. I called Afreen back and told her that I’ll make it for the auditions….

But, that was just the beginning of my detour… A story that I’ll remember for life…

Once I finished the auditions, I decided to call up my agent and get me a flight booked to Delhi that night or early in the morning so that I reach Nizamuddin Railway Station by 5.30 AM and catch the same train…. Or so it seemed 😦

That was just not going to happen… I guess… Most of you know Mr. Murphy from the infamous ‘Murphy’s Law’. He was stalking me like crazy…  I had just missed one flight by the time I finished my auditions and the one that was available now reached in the morning by 6 am… So there was no way I was going to make it to catch the same train…

Well, that was it then… I finally did board the flight, and thought I’d take a bus from Delhi-Haridwar (Uttarakhand Parivahan)

But wait… there was something I had forgotten…. My other friends @irohan & @vishal_g were still in Delhi and they were going to go to Haridwar via a bus!!!  I quickly called em up and rushed in an auto towards Kashmiri Gate and caught up with them at the last minute as their bus was leaving… Finally I managed to get some company at least, before I could reach Haridwar and catch up with all the friends… Rest is history of course.

Quite an exciting start to a journey that was going to be filled with a lot more adventure! What do you think?