Himalayas (Day 4) – Prakateswar

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Shiva Temple maintained by Vashisht Caste

We were asked to leave early by our driver and without thinking much or asking him (mistake one!) I agreed and woke up early today. Walking down the steps in the hotel was a challenge one more time (see my previous blog here of why it became so hard climbing down, which blog you may find informative on Yamunotri,) but after a hot water bath and going down once more for breakfast was easier.

The breakfast served at the hotel was cold idlies and wada! I quickly rejected them. I do not like food that is not fresh. Sorry, I stand corrected. I meant to say I can’t eat food that is not fresh. A habit from my childhood. So insisted on something fresh and thus came hot paratha but not with good service.

The driver took us through a roller coaster that people see as ghat roads! When I advised and requested him to go slower during curves, he kinda picked up a fight that I was not ready for. It took multiple attempts to let him know I was not necessarily asking to go slower but rather to reduce speed during curves from whatever speed he was driving. I insisted he keeps the car straight and I didn’t care what speed he was at. Not just this ride but all through our yatra the car kept throwing me from one side to the other. Car seat belt did not help much. I, as such have a motion sickness issue. He went to the extent of reverting I could another car if I needed the driver to drive slow! I know I could insist on better driving by speaking to management but I didn’t want him to face a complaint from customer through his manager if I can make him listen. Mistake Two. I much later realized management should know bad news first. How did I not apply this management skill myself that I insist from my team at office?

He improved to some degree and some while. My head was reeling with nausea.

On the way we visited we visited the Shiva temple aka Prakateshwar cave maintained by Vashisht caste purohits. It’s a cave at elevated place of a hill. The first picture on this blog was the path. I guess it was about half hour walk. And we did it slowly as Komala was still having the low oxygen effect while climbing  up.

The place was awesome to settle down and meditate, what with silence improved by dripping sound of a tiny waterfall. It was a very serene place. One could hear nothing but the rumblings of water. Initially we misunderstood the place as one where Vashisht maharshi stayed. I said to myself not surprising. It’s only later did I realize what they meant was the temple was maintained by purohits from Vashisht caste.

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The opening at far end is entrance to cave inside

The actual cave has a small entrance that one has to carefully squeeze in (well not literally!). One person can barely get in through opening. And the cave itself can barely accommodate 10 people at a time. There are stalagmite formations of different shapes. It was dark and purohit with the help of a torch light showed different shapes relating them to popular mythological figures. To a large extent it did appear he was not exaggerating. Amazing! See the pictures. I took permission and shot these although I had to throw composition through window since hardly there was any light to tell me what I was shooting.

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Following is Bheema’s Gadha. And so were many other forms, all of which I have not shot pictures.

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With the place being dark and my randomly shot pictures, honestly I did not do justice to several forms that existed. But when the purohit was explaining the forms were exasperating. The whole experience was fantastic and memorable.

The downhill was not too difficult for me this time. Knees did not hurt at all. Lucky me!

And then we were brought to the Hotel Akash Ganga at Uttarkashi to rest for rest of the day! Thank God, the drive was over :).  It was a decent room although lacked some amenities such as phone, or assured electricity supply! Uttarkashi has some religious significance. It was north of Kashi (or Benaras or Varanasi) and supposed the temple built on similar lines of Kashi. Also I was told just as at Kashi how river flows from South to North, here also it travels in opposite direction. People from this area consider the Vishwanadh temple as auspicious as Kashi temple. Our own hotel was on the outskirts with few kilometers yet to the actual Uttarkashi town.

We spent time watching TV and relaxing. We missed lunch that day and managed to request and get Chawal with Rajma late afternoon. This hotel had some connection with Southern Travels. Also they had a full bus load of pilgrims by the end of the day. All south Indians. Dinner was buffet and south-Indian food. The day ended with me and Komala watching some interesting scenes of a husband feeding wife from his plate. Normal to some . . . . . very abnormal scene for some!

You can see the rest of the few pictures for this day here.

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