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Himalayan Memoirs: At His feet (Triyug Narayan-Gauri kund)

Left triyug Narayanan at first light. The walk was a steady descent till we reached the National highway. We met the NH at a point where there was bridge across the raging Mandakani river. Crossing the mandakani, it was a climb along the road. At one of the several hair-pin bends, there was a bandara set up by UP traders. It was raining in torrents and I was shivering severely. I had long given up on trying to keep myself dry. I had one rain coat but it was not meant for this kind of rain. Somewhere before Triyug Narayanan I figured out that I was running a slight temperature. But taking a break and rest for a few days was just not an option. We pushed on and suddenly Maamaji stopped and pointed to a temple on the left side of the road high-up up the hill. He mentioned that this was the place where Shiva playfully cut off the head of Ganesh as he was on the lookout for intruders while Parvati was having a bath in the Gauri Kund. (Incidentally it was at this point that I realized that significance of the place being named as Gauri Kund). The temple was unique in that the idol was a headless Ganesh. Finally we reached Gaurikund and checked into a small hotel. After resting and doing shoonya, I went to take a dip in the Gauri kund. God it felt good…J By this time, I had become a strange specimen of a ‘Bhole’ in that I was the only one from south of the Vindhyas. Out of the very few non-Garhwali pilgrims, most were from Delhi and Jaipur who inevitably had Garhwali pedigree. My daily practices involving strange sounds and my reticence seemed to have awed them into thinking that I am one of those ‘chosen’ ones with yogic powers etc.

When I reached the Gauri kund, I was greeted by the few other pilgrims who had already reached there. They were all congratulating me on completing the journey. While I was reminding them that the journey is not over yet, I was pushed into the Gauri kund by one good-natured but edgy ‘bhole’. One senior bhole insisted that he rub down my back and give a good maalish to the head. Before I could pass up on the offer, his hands began to knead my back. I had to literally wriggle out his hospitality. After the bath, I tried to access the damage done to the body due to the continuous trekking. One thing was my body had become considerably wasted and I realized just how hungry I was. There were a lot of leech bruises/thorn pricks/general laceration in my legs. I tried to stretch a little bit and found it very very difficult. Ain’t gonna do my asanas today. But overall, amazingly my body was still strong. But what was bothering me was the fever. I had been perpetually wet was the last few days and the rains did not seem like it is going to stop anytime soon. Just one more day I promised myself. Initially my plan was after reaching Kedarnath, I would be walking all the way to Rudraprayag and then to Uttarkashi stopping at all wonderful temple towns of Guptakashi, augustimuni, ukimath, kalimath etc. Compared to the terrain till now, this should be very easy as it was along the national highway. But I decided against it because of the fever. I conveyed this to Maamaji who seemed relieved hearing this.


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