Tuesday, 24 February 2009


Himachal Pradesh - Parvati Valley

I have walked fifteen kilometres from Varshani-Pulga along the Parvati River. There was snow on the opposite slopes. The objective was Khirganga but I was told there were two to three feet of snow on the way, and I didn’t felt to be able to do this route alone. So I went back to Manikaran, through tiny villages like Ruskatar or Raskar and Sangnar. On the other side of the valley, Pulga and other villages looked untouchable under the snow.

So I entered the temple, at the time one saddhu was ringing the entrance bell for Puja, while others were ringing more bells, beating Shiva’s drums and blowing horns. In this rather trance-like and mystic moment appeared a vision in the steamy fog of the hot waters, the saddhus were reciting mantras in the cold night and the silhouettes danced and moved appealing, venerating and saluting His presence.

The narrow path
The road is full of dangers but providence stands above us playing with our fragile and arrogant lives, guiding our souls through this narrow path and offering us clemency from time to time. Though it is wiser to follow carefully and bewared. Nevertheless of all obstacles and physical suffering, the arrival is pure and transparent as a natural spring.

All this light and infinite sensation of space and greatness are the well-earned reward of this journey, the “leit motiv” repeating, echoing endlessly in our minds like a mantra.

Darth - Bijli Mahadev
I caught a bus at Akhara in Kullu, heading to Chansari, and thence I climbed through the stairway to Darth village. Two kilometres that looked like ten, I went breathless a few times and my heart was beating very fast and franticly out of control. So I completely stopped and waited for a while to recover balance. I had no other way than to stop, I was feeling completely paralysed.

I don’t know what is the exact altitude of Bijli Mahadev, some say 2460m high others 1950m. But there’s no other peak that high near Mathan. From the Shiva’s Temple, one can see the Parvati Valley in all its splendour as well as Ghansa Valley, and from Bhuntar to Bajaura. The high peaks in Manali’s direction looked quite far and very impressive, even from this distance. My eyes have never looked so far and so deeply into the distant horizon.

Malana and Khirganga are not to be forgotten.

Bijli Mahadev must be 2460m high, another map of Himachal Pradesh gives this altitude.

Today I reached the small village of Baikhali, right above the city of Kullu. The Jagarnathi Maha Temple is a fine place and so is the village. The temple, 500 years old, harbours delicious paintings about many aspects of Dhurga, according to my guide book, and disposed in such a way that they remind me of modern comic books. A few bells hang from the ceiling, the paintings show tigers, elephants, peaceful mountains’ life scenes, but also death and blood, gods and goddesses on tigers fighting terrible daemons, and a king ordering to kill a monster with high Himalayas snow peaks in the background.

People offered me a tea at the temple and then after, I went back to Kullu by a two kilometres long path down the mountain, which I took one hour to complete, my backpack slowed me down a lot. As I am not used to trek, I was feeling nervous about it which made my feet insecure, but everything went fine.

Strange things happen to me when I enter temples. Not dangerous ones but probably jokes from the gods, like sliding in front of Shiva’s image, or loosing my walking balance. At Bijli Mahadev, the back of my head hit the wooden low roof just after I bowed and rang the bell. At Pathli Khul, near Nagar, I slid in the mud in front of a peculiar two to three meters high statue of Shiva. These are different skies and so others are their ruling gods, caution is to be taken.

No comments: