Saturday, December 24, 2011

Gangotri - Visit to the famed shrine

Gangotri - Visit to the famed shrine

After having rested at Bhaironghati, as advised by our driver, we got up early at 5.00 A.M. and started off after bathing for early morning darshan. This becomes impearative as with passage of time, as the day progresses,other vehicles reach Gangotri which being a very small place can hardly accomodate the rush of vehicles and persons have to trduge more than 2 Kms. during fag end of the day to reach the temple. Enroute to Gangotri from Bhaironghat the scenic beauty was truly mesmerizing -
Bathed in first light of rising sun snow covered peaks above Gangotri - view from road from Bhaironghati to Gangotri -
Another view of the snow clad mountains enroute -
Distant snow covered peaks of Gangotri -

Having traversed the short but memorable 10 Kms. stretch from Bhaironghati to Gangotri we reached the bus stand at Gangotri, here every one has to disembark to travel the final 200 meters by foot. There was a icy nip in the fresh morning air, but the distant sound of twinkling bellsbenumbed the mind and body into a tranquil bliss. Suddenly the most reverened temple of Gangotri was in view -
View of Gangotri temple -
As a form of divine blessing the, morning aarati was on at the temple and the sound of big bells coupled with the chant of mantras was an enchanting experience. I have recorded a short video of this sublime aarti and can be viewed at - 

After having attend the aarti we went to the bathing ghats where the pujas are performed by the Pujaris/Bramhins all of whom belong to the same village of Mukhwa, the video of the bathing ghats can be viewed at - 

The right to perform puja at Gangotri is vested upon them since ancient times. It is a common tradition to carry water from this place - source of river Ganga or Bhagirathi as it is called at this juncture (becomes Ganga after it merges with river Alaknanda at Dev Prayag) - to Shiva temples all over the country, the belief being that the water here contains amrit or nectar of life that soothes the throat of lord Shiva of his eternal thirst because of his consumption of Poison during the 'Samudra manthan'.

Bathing ghats along Bhagirathi at Gangotri -
Gushing waters of mighty Bhagirathi at Gangotri -
Snow covered peaks visible from banks of river Bhagirathi at Gangotri -
Another view of the snow covered peaks -
At around 10.00 A.M. we started our journey back to Bhaironghati in order to prepare for departure for our next leg of journey. On the way back due to rush of uphill traffic which was gradually building up I had the opportunity to click a few more photographs -
Bhagirathi river meandering below -
View of sun drenched snow clad peaks -
Having reached Bhaironghati, we had our breakfast and having packed our luggage again boarded the Tyota Innova and headed back for Uttarkashi for the night halt. Enroute, I again stopped at Harsil to photograph the place and capture its essence in my Camera -
View of snow peaked mountains from Harsil -
River flowing over the road at Harsil -
Sheets of melting glacier on road side at Harsil -
Having passed Harsil we moved along in a leisurely pace and on the way came across a incident of raging forest fire. Such fires in alpine ranges are common during summers because of falling pine leaves which are highly inflamable and can cause major destruction to forest ranges -
Raging forest fire -
Juxtaposed to this life threatening posture of the hills is another view of the valley below which is shrouded in greenery -
Valley enveloped in green below -
Gradually as we descended back to valley below, for night halt at Ujeli in Uttarkashi, the heat as well as the hustle & bustle of the daily routine life again caught up with us.
The next stage of the journey was to Kedarnath which was another fine leg of our journey and will be narrated in my subsequent blogs.

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