Tag Archives: Rishikesh

Garhwal Diaries 13 – Moments Captured on a Day Trip Through Rishikesh

Some more moments at Rishikesh depicted through these random clicks:

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IMG_0400This is the Chotiwala restaurant, a famous food joint that is over 50 years old. Sumptuous vegetarian delicacies are offered here.

IMG_0415The Chotiwala himself!

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Garhwal Diaries 12 – Rishikesh Retro Riviera

Some moments captured within a span of 24 hours in Rishikesh – the gateway to the Garhwal Himalayas.

IMG_0380A bird in the eye

IMG_0381Painted Bark

IMG_0383The Bridge

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IMG_0389Still Life

Ganga…What Happened to You?

By Shivani Gupta

Excerpt from my diary entry – 9th April 2013

Crazy limbs bound in harem pants and loose shirt, flying in all direction, eyes brimmed with tears, cold breeze slapping on cheeks to wake me up…but I was lost. I was lost with the crowd underneath tri- color canopy next to Ganga Ghat.

While we were busy releasing our caged inner soul from turmoil’s of hunger and quenches of daily life there was somebody enjoying show stealthily. When our limbs were moving up, down, right and left in chorus, she was lying lazily, stretched and basking under sun. Her charismatic beauty was scintillating with sun reflection and embellished with diamond stars. Her rattling noise against pebbles was like peals of laughter. She was laughing on our complexity and eagerness to evolve and be like her.

flood 1Dark clouds on India have only one sadistic tale to narrate. It is unfortunate to see believers of Ganga against her and accusing her to take away lives of their beloved ones. Ganga known to spread happiness, prosperity and divinity is sprawling catastrophically on humanity.

Certainly, something has gone wrong with her. Two months back when I met her she wasn’t like this, she was calm and serene. I have seen long queue of believers, embracing her with holy bath.

Two months back, I met Ganga at Ganga Ghat at International Yoga Festival (IYF) in Rishikesh. IYF was perfect excuse for me to live by myself for seven days, do what I am passionate about – Yoga. Away from hustle bustle of life, with hundreds of Yogi from different nations, performing different styles of Yoga and learning about eternal peace.

Those seven days were slow as each moment was enjoyed fullest. I was away from family, friends and gadgets with social network. I had nothing to tweet or share on face book but to evolve myself as a Yogi. Unexpectedly, in those seven days I became very close to one, I didn’t understand her language, she was different from others. It was due to her presence I never felt to ink my experience in diary.

Idol of lord shiva stands stalwart in the beautiful river GangaAfter morning sessions when everybody dismissed for shower, I rushed in my flip flops, yoga mat pressed between arm pits and clothes drenched in sweat to Ganga Ghat. Spending time in solitude with her was intoxicating. When she was around my fully loaded heart with emotions, flashback stories and gossips was lighter.

On last day, I didn’t meet her as could not muster guts to say her ‘Bye’. I had no choice to be like her; unrestrained and self ruling Ganga.

I am alive and caged happily in my same routine.

Garhwal Diaries 10 – Enroute Rishikesh

The drive was long from Sitapur to Rishikesh. It was Monsoons so splashes of rains accompanied us every now and then. And then there were landslides. Yes. Here are a few snaps:

IMG_0315Snapshots on my way

IMG_0319Random shots

IMG_0323Landslide captured from the car

IMG_0322A closer look at the landslide

IMG_0331Road blocked due to landslide

Garhwal Diaries 9 – Descent From Kedarnath

It started drizzling by the time I started from Kedarnath. As the sun had already set I evaded the idea of clicking. By the time I reached Sitapur, it was already dark. Tired and hungry, the dal makhni with roti and salad made for a sumptuous dinner. Next morning I started from Sitapur for Rishikesh.

Postcards from Sitapur Skyline. Could not resist myself from clicking.

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Uttarakhand Floods: Nature’s Fury or Have We Dug Our Own Graves? – Part I

Uttarakhand Floods is probably the most debatable topic currently. Environmentalists believe that this is a man-made disaster. Chandan Das explores the topic in a similar strain. He believes that human beings have dug their own graves by invoking the wrath of Nature!

“And much it grieved my heart to think what man has made of man” – William Wordsworth

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Ok I will start with a Fact: The Himalayan region is home to several major Hindu pilgrimage centres – beginning from Rishikesh and Haridwar where the River Ganga first flows out into the plains. Every year thousands go to do the Char Dham Yatra. On 15th June 2013 a calamity “Himalayan tsunami” arrived and a tragedy struck Uttarakhand that was waiting to happen for a long time now. The rivers flowing across the famed pilgrimage sites became so furious that they submerged whole towns, washing away shops, homes, hotels and lodges.  Buildings collapsed like pack of cards as swollen rivers pounded down the denuded hills making a poignant view. The lofty green mountains, that would inspire even a deadpan to break into a song earlier, became barren. Today, as I write this , almost 62,000 of pilgrims have been left stranded, 1000 plus lives have been lost (oh yeah, the toll is likely to rise), property worth crores and the world-famous pilgrimage Kedarnath, located at a height of 11,760 feet , has been damaged by the latest fury of the monsoon. But here is my point: The injustice man did to the rivers in the name of development have left the beautiful water bodies seething with anger. It seems like Nature wanted to restore the balance that was disturbed by rivers having to change their course and due to blocking of their natural flow in the name of progress!!

So is it just a Nature’s fury or have we dug our own graves?

The Uncontrolled Traffic: Do We Have the “Capacity”?

The valleys of the Yamuna, the Ganga and the Alaknanda witness heavy traffic of tourists. In any normal day, if you sit at the Prayag bridge for tea and start counting, one will notice 80 buses crossing in about 5 minutes. 80 buses in 5 minutes?? Yeah you heard it right!!

Figure this: In 2005-06, 83,000-odd vehicles were registered in UTTARAKHAND. The figure increased to nearly 180,000 in 2012-13. Out of this, proportion of jeeps, cars and taxis, increased the most. In 2005-06, 4,000 vehicles were registered, which jumped to 40,000 in 2012-13 – a whopping 1000 per cent increase!! The heavy pilgrim population has also resulted in the mushrooming of shanty towns, numerous ramshackle buildings and cheap accommodation along river banks. It’s a known fact that there is a straight co-relation between tourism increase and higher incidence of landslides. Road contractors, who come from outside, do not understand the mountains. Most of the expressways that are being constructed now are tangled in legal cases. After cutting of mountains, landslides continue for up to four years, and contractors go bankrupt clearing the debris.  We see more landslides nowadays because of unplanned development in the hills. Most of these places have much more tourist inflow than the area’s carrying capacity. A new (mountain) range like the Himalaya will remain steady if not tampered with much. But the huge expansion of roads and transport is bringing the mountains in Uttarakhand down!!

So was it just a nature’s fury or have we dug our own graves?

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