Revisiting the memories of Uttarakhand

For about two years, I avoided processing my pictures of Uttarakhand trip I took in 2011.  Not one to visit places of religious significance for the purpose of religion, I never thought the temples of Uttarakhand would ever be on my itinerary.  However, losing my Dad prompted me to visit the place he dreamed of visiting and managed to do so just a few months before his passing.

What was it about this place that made my Dad want to visit it so much even though the trip would actually be detrimental to his health?  As a young man or in his mid life, despite being deeply spiritual, temples visits were never his priority.  Even in his 70s he would visit a temple on special holidays so why this urge to go to the lower Himalayas and particularly Kedarnath?  I had to find out on my own and take a little bit of him with us (my brother, his wife and my cousin) as we retraced the steps they took just a few months before.  From Dehli to Haridwar to Jamnotri to Gangotri to Kedarnath to Badrinath to Dehli, all in 8 days.  I brought back some wonderful images on my SD Card but could not bring myself to look at them.

With the recent devastation in Uttarakhand, a dear friend prompted me to visit my pictures and I want to share a sampling with you today. The thin air at that altitude makes you conscious of every breath you take and ultimately makes you understand how one truly breathes and lives and perhaps take you closer to a spiritual state.  With or without a shrine of these temples, the connection to God or a higher being is certainly formed for majority who visit this place.  No wonder then that thousands upon thousands make this journey in the narrow two month window.  The weather and travel conditions are far from being ideal and the journey is 7-12 kms of walk from the closest paved road for those who cannot afford mule or helicopter rides.  These are not outdoorsy adventure seeking, hiking people but are everyday people who in some cases have collected their life savings to make this trip.  All to be closer to God!  

Unlike my typical entry, I do not feel these images need any narration.  Enjoy them as they are and when you are done, click on the link at the bottom to see the currrent state of Uttarkhand and the brave men and women who are putting their lives in peril to save the ones who are stranded.  

Our thoughts and prayers are with all those who are affected by this disaster.

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