It was mid-noon. We were following Alakananda upstream through a bare stony trajectory; a six kilometers trek to Vasudhara falls. Clouds were protecting us from sun. Small grass flowers were greeting with smile. No other tourist to accompany, till we were enjoying our walk. The environment was calm, cool and dry. No greenery was there than the grass covered meadows but the sights were eye soothing. Not the bird but the nature was singing. A new chapter of exquisiteness and thrill got introduced in our knowledge book. Each of our steps in the trek was blessed by vitality. Every breath was refreshing our soul.
We opted for the trek just to get few hours break from the hurly-burly of local market of Badrinath and to experience a small walk on the path to heaven. Yes, as per famous Hindu epic Mahabharata, Pandavas went to heaven following this path. It is believed that paradise is somewhere in the upper reach of this part of Himalayan mountain ranges which is situated in Dev-Bhoomi (Place of Gods) Uttarakhand, a state of India. The picturesque sight of a dusty walkway kissing the horizon, from bhim-pul- the starting point of trek, was convincing enough to rush for the walk. But who knew that gradually the path itself would become heaven for us!
At half way of the trail, nature changed drastically. Path became steeper and environment became rude. Starting from top, the entire slope of the mountain we were crossing was covered by wobbly rocks of different sizes. The complete elevation was at ‘get set’ position, waiting for ‘go’ whistle to collapse in Alakananda. Below our feet, few meters straight wall of boulders went down to meet a ravine full of stones and wild bushes. Finally this rudeness is converted into a lush green gorge of Alakananda coming from Alakapuri. Alakapuri, far away in the skyline, was mostly covered by cloud. Partly visible Balakun peak, big glaciers at its foot, long gray canyon of Alakananda upstream hypnotized us. We were mesmerized witnessing the extreme beauty; an unbelievable cocktail of dread and dream. The majestic scene made us believe that Alakapuri is the home of Kuber – the king of wealth. The view of lifeless danger, enriched with unknown delights, was fascinating us. We realized that the actual meaning of treasure is gratification of mind, freedom from greed, hatred and fear. Being in the middle of this wide open bountiful nature we appreciated the eternity of spirit.
I was overwhelmed, remained sedentary unconsciously on a big stone until a pair of barefoot passed by. I looked up and surprisingly found a young boy carrying his old mother in shoulder pole. Two other folks on the same trek, just behind the young lad, came and sat beside me to take a break. The boy was on the trip to fulfill his mother’s last wish of visiting Badrinath and Swargarohini (route to Heaven). ‘I’m sure he will complete it safely by virtue of love and affection’ –one of those two trekkers murmured with deep respect. What a worship! I felt ashamed of myself; seemed like a spoilt child! How could one be so selfish? How could we always think of our own prospect and pleasure? Being really upset, I stepped out of trail and lied down on a bolder spreading vacant view on sky.
Time passed. How and when my soul got purified leaving silly selfish wishes, throwing out all hatred and even started feeling indifferent about mobile, internet and technologies, I had no clue. I was amazed with a call from the bottom of my heart to spend rest of my life in the vicinity of this purity keeping amity with nature, and a call for learning composure from the rocks hanging over my heads but not slipping. I was lost, forgot to move further; rather was tempted to go down to the canyon. For the first time my needs shifted from high quality camera or powerful car to an undisturbed life having no facility or comfort. Yes, I able to get rid of the dependency on technology, urge of luxury and other carnal passions. I achieved the real freedom of mind, the actual independence of soul.
Trek was resumed sometime later by a rejuvenated soul surrendered to almighty. That day, I spent as much time as I could in the trek trail to enjoy the fresh, newly gained independence.
About the Author: Soumi Ray – a PhD student of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Roorkee and a faculty of Amity School of Engineering & Technology, Delhi, is basically a born gypsy. Hiking is my passion and writing is my hobby. I do explore unknown, less-known beautiful places, hike through Himalayan silence and then share the stories with all.
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