KOMAL53   83,516
80,000-99,999 SparkPoints
KOMAL53's Recent Blog Entries

Pilgrimage----Uttar Kashi & Gupt Kashi 2

Monday, December 14, 2009

Uttar Kashi is a beautiful poetic town.Situated by the Ganga it is as holy as Varanasi(Benares /Kashi).Lord Shiva is also known as Kashinath at Benares.
The lofty Himalayas rise majestically on all sides of Uttar Kashi and one can hear the murmur of the River even in the interior of the Town.Lord Shiva is the presiding diety of this holy city.Legend has it that after the Maha Bharata War, the Pandavas were stained by the sin of killing their brethren on their hands.They were asked to atone for this by appeasing Lord Shiva.
The Pandavas then proceeded to Kashi(Varanasi) but Lord Shiva was in no mood to forgive them.He just quietly slipped away to Uttar Kashi leaving just the empty shell of His Lingam behind---the Force was gone.It is said that He appeared as a Swambhu(Natural)Lingam at Uttar Kashi and opposite Him, His Consort the Goddess Parvati too appeared as Shakti in the form of a pillar of Fire from the sky simultaneously.The two temples face each other--easily visible to each other from either Temple.The Pandavas' eldest brother Yudhishtir divined the unwillingness of Lord Shiva as well as His whereabouts and the Pandavas followed Him to Uttar Kashi.Here too Lord Shiva with His Consort---still unwilling to allow them into His Presence----slipped away further North to Gupt Kashi or the Secret Kashi.
Here He appeared again as a Syambhu Lingam in an underground cave.This cave is only accessible by climbing down steep Stairs into the bowels of the Earth.Here too Shiva and Shakti co-exist.Gupt Kashi is an even tinier place---a Hamlet--- on way to the Lingam at KedarNath--one of Lord Shiva's 12 Jyotir(Divine Light) Lingams.
The Pandavas too refused to give up and followed Lord Shiva and His Consort further North to Gupt Kashi.
Gupt Kashi is the place where the priests come down for the Winter here from the Kedar Nath Temple which is situated at 11000 ft. above sea level and remains closed for 6-7 months each year depending on the severity of the snow and ice.The Hamlet is surrounded by terraced fields and Evergreen Trees.
Just looking at the beautifully poetic surroundings it is very easy to believe that the Gods really did walk here---one still feels their presence here!!!
More about Gupt Kashi later---we'll now proceed to Gangotri first!!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NITAINMN 12/20/2009 11:24PM

    thanks for the explanation of the 12 lingas. I have only seen one in Rameshwaram as a college student on one of our trips. You are the fortunate one! My brother just went on this pilgrimage just a month or so ago - its quite cold isn't it? I am so proud of you for all the travels you undertake despite your health issues.

Here's a link you may enjoy.


Report Inappropriate Comment
ATULGARG2 12/14/2009 4:58AM

  Thanks Komal for such a good piece of information.
I always wanted to visit all these places but could never get time.
Your blog has once again enthused me, may be I can spare one holiday to visit these places.

Report Inappropriate Comment

A Pilgrimage----Yamunotri

Sunday, December 13, 2009

In the Summer of 1987 we were in Delhi .My mother too was with us.We had plans of going to the Kashmir Valley but due to heavy rush the bookings were not available. We then met up in New Delhi with a very close friend of Sudhir who was on his way to Haridwar with a group of family and friends on way to the 'Chaar Dhaam Yatra'.
He had arranged a Yatra( Pilgrimage) party of people to the 'Chaar Dhaam ' or the four holiest of holies of Hinduism----Gangotri-Yamnotri-Kedarnath-Ba
drinath. These places of Pilgrimage are situated in the Himalayas at heights beginning at 8000 feet and more.Gangotri is the source of the River Ganges or Ganga,Yamunotri the source of the River Yamuna, Kedarnath,an abode of Lord Shiva and Badrinath,an abode of Lord Vishnu.
This trip had been arranged through the Garhwal Nigam--a Government of Uttar Pradesh(U.P) board.On New Delhi Railway Station we learnt that 5 seats were available on this journey due to the cancellation of a family of fivewho could not make it because of some personal problems.Tickets were not available anyway for Kashmir so we decided to join the Pilgrimage group and make the Yatra instead.
The first stop was Haridwar--the gateway to the Yatra.Here we spent 4 days sight-seeing and absorbing the ambience on the banks of the River Ganga.The highlight used to be the evening prayer on the banks of the Ganga.It is a very mystical experience to be there physically and take part in the worship----the roaring sound of the Ganga with the tolling of bells,clashing of cymbals and a thousand voices raised in hymns of worship---Har Har Gangey!!!
Our journey started on the 7th.May 1987 from Haridwar in the afternoon.We drove through dense evergreen forests to the first stop which was to be at Daak Patthar on the way to Yamunotri.The beautiful Sunset gradually faded into pale purple and later indigo shadows dotted with the tiny twinkling lights of the scattered hamlets we passed.The cool wind was sighing in the trees and the smell of distant wood fires flirted with our nostrils.It was an enchanting experience!!
Dawn was streaking a pale light on the horizon when we left Daak Patthar---bathed and breakfasted----it was 4.30 a.m.As the day came up,the bus traversed through deep gorges and steep Himalayan slopes winding upwards to Hanuman Chatti--the beginning of the 13km.upward trek to Yamunotri at 9000ft.above sea level.We reached here by 9.30 a.m. and we hired horses for the climb.Some of us decided to trek up.Chaitali was amongst those who decided to walk it up.The winding path was barely 2 feet wide with steep drops on one side.We could see the Yamuna winding like a black ribbon at the bottom of the sheer marble cliffs.All the pilgrims preferred to hug the mountainside and it was an acrobatic excercise when two people from opposite directions had to pass each other.Slowly we climbed up, seated on our horses---none of us knew how to ride at all so we were clinging on for dear life!!Finally by mid-afternoon we reached the top through constant icy cold showers.There is a Temple dedicated to the Yamuna and a hot Spring. People tie Potatoes and Rice together in Muslin Cloths and cook these in the hot bubbling Water.These are eaten with a sprinkling of Salt and Red Chilli Powder as a blessing of Yamuna,daughter of the Sun.It is said that whoever makes this pilgrimage attains Moksha--freedom from the cycle of re-birth and is allowed to enter Swarga(Heaven).
We spent the night at a small shelter constructed by the Nigam.We all had some amazing hot stuffed Aaloo(Potato)Parathas at this shelter the next morning for Breakfast with hot sweet tea---yuuuuum!!!At night the view was truly magical-----lofty snow clad mountains shimmering in the moonlit night---an forgettable sight etched forever in my memory.
Next day we reached Hanuman Chatti by 10a.m. having left the shelter at dawn.Our next stop was Uttar Kashi----not a great distance away but the slow speed and chilly weather made it difficult to move ahead.It was so cold that the Diesel would freeze very few kilometres!!!The driver and the cleaner would then light a fire beneath the fuel tank to heat it up.Passing through amazing starkly beautiful scenic wonders we travelled with the Mandakini as our constant companion .We reached Uttarkashi late in the evening------a bustling small town with beautiful Temples dedicated to Lord Shiva and His Consort Parvati in the form of Shakti.Here we had to wait for a full day due to a heavy snowfall on way to Gangotri.
This day we spent doing our laundry and paying homage to Lord Shiva and His Consort Shakti at the Temples.
All the food available here is Sattvik---free of Onion and Garlic and not too heavily spiced either.Uttar Kashi is however a very important stop for pilgrims.If some of you would like to hear the Legends I'll be posting those later.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ATMANI 12/13/2009 5:17PM

    thank you for painting a visual. it feels like I have visited the place too!

Report Inappropriate Comment
RITZY60 12/13/2009 6:29AM

  Hi Komal, you have written created a visual picture of the place. I could imagine myself there, taste the yummy parathas!!! I think you should write about all the wonderful times we spent at the various places we visited and re-visited in the North. I am sure people would love reading them. emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment

My Daughters--Frustrating!!!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Both my daughters were different---but they had one common factor---they were both highly irritating!!!
Chaitali was exceedingly careful with her things(still is)--she had one Khadi (home spun)Kurta that she loved.Due to daily use and constant washing it began to fray.I asked her to throw it away---a suggestion that really got her goat!!!Our local laundry darned stuff---she spent ten times the price of the wretched thing---darning the stupid thing again and again till it was only darning and the original cloth no longer existed anymore!!!
Sayali had other methods of sending my Blood Pressure shooting up!!Each time she went to the Market with Sudhir (which was daily)she'd buy a box of Oil Pastels---64 different shades of them!!!Then once she was home she'd sit down,peel off the paper wrapping and break each of the Pastels into tiny pieces!!!!If by chance she went shopping with me she'd never dare to make the request!!!
Both of them loved midnight feasts.We also had a pair of tiny Lhasa Apsos--Mingeh and Tina who slept in our bedroom.The fridge always was stocked with cold cuts and various Food items.Early dawn---at 2.30 a.m. or so these two would quietly bring out the dogs from our room and close the door .They would then rustle up a treat for themselves and those two greedy four legged people and all four would enjoy the feast in their bedroom!!!Removing the dogs from our room was necessary because frenzied yapping would have woken us up and those two enjoyed these treats as much as the girls!!!
I married immediately out of High School.Around 1985 I decided to continue my education---I had Time which I felt could be employed profitably.I joined the Distance Education Plan of University of Madras and did my B.A in History.I then moved on to complete my Master's in History from Annamalai University.During this period we spent most of our Summer Vacations in Mumbai---that's when the Exams took place---both the girls milked the situation for all it was worth!!They presented such woeful faces for a few days that Sudhir began giving them a certain amount in cash on a weekly basis for the weeks we spent at home---Chaitali saved 75% of hers and Sayali blew up the whole lot on Food!!!
I was totally incensed at their exploiting the situation then--today it's become a fond memory!!
Such escapades are too many to be listed here---will air them by-and-by.Have patience with a fond mother, Guys!!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NITAINMN 12/20/2009 11:32PM

    No wonder you are such a wonderful writer! Wish you lived close to me to....I agree with Manasa - do write your life story -
while most of us do identify with your stories, those that are young like Manasa will relate to the story in their relationships with own mothers. The book is sure to be a hit!
even if it does not get printed, your children, grand children and future generation will cherish and love reading it..

Report Inappropriate Comment
SONPARI1 12/13/2009 10:08PM


Report Inappropriate Comment
ATMANI 12/13/2009 5:19PM


Report Inappropriate Comment
SAASHA17 12/13/2009 2:17PM

    hehehe....reading about chaitali reminded me of a pair of jeans i had when i was 6....lol..i wud wear it every sec of the day n night when i didnt have school...:)....well i keep telling my mom about ur blogs and she starts telling me about the stuff i did....i was called the "terror-ist"...when i was a kid and my mom's friends are shocked to see that i am so quiet now (as if i am gonna do all that at 25)...lol...i am tempted to though..

Komal i think u shud write a book seriously....maybe a children
s book or ur travels...u have the talent...u shud think about it really...

Report Inappropriate Comment


Saturday, December 12, 2009

The second time I became a mother was a few days after my 21st.birthday.This time too we had a beautiful baby doll who was happy to see me!!!She looked so much like Lotta that the Obstetrtician asked me how I managed to print a carbon copy of the earlier one!!!
Sayali was born at night.Outside my hospital room was a creeper with blossoming Sayali(a type of Jasmine) flowers---so because she came into our lives with such a sweet scent we named her Sayali!!
Sayali too was a light sleeper but her main problem was that she loved to babble---almost 24 hours a day---she still does!!!A very active baby she just wouldn't put on weight---she was always of average weight!!!She had a good appetite and was blessed with a very curious and enquiring mind. She turned her milestones early---sat up at 4 months---walked at 8 months and began talking at 10 months old.Sayali loved being cuddled and fussed about but she was fiercely independent even then.Sudhir was her idol whom she worshipped.Even today she is totally blind to his faults!!
Fiercely independent and competitive her race to beat her peers began early.She drove me crazy with her antics.She threw her Milk bottle out of the window at 7 months and insisted on drinking Milk from a glass.She didn't like being fed either---she wanted to feed herself as well!!! By this time my father had passed away and my mother and sisters were living with us.
Those days we used Kerosene stoves because we just were allowed one Gas Cylinder per household.I used to store the extra Kerosene in the kitchen.One morning while I had just sent Sudhir and Lotta off at the door, Madame waddled into the kitchen and managed to lay her hands on the tin of Kerosene.The tin had barely half a liter left in it---she opened the tin and poured it over herself!!!She thought it was Water and she was bathing herself.Our full time domestic help Vithoba happened to see it and shouted out for us.Mummy and I both rushed to the kitchen---Sayali was almost fainting under the strong fumes of the Kerosene.I just rushed out of the door and ran up three flights of stairs to the apartment of a doctor who had just moved in.Mummy in the meantime upended Sayali and putting her fingers down her throat made her vomit in case she'd swallowed some ------luckily she hadn't and as Mummy managed to wash off the Kerosene from her face, Sayali began to recover.Even today the memory sends shivers up and down my spine!!! For some days after that I'd wake up shivering---a terrible nightmare!!!
Sayali was very focused on what she wanted from the very beginning.A model child, she never gave me any fuss where eating or the basic needs were concerned.She is good mimic and was a very comic child who entertained us everywhere.She loved dancing and the moment she got the oppotunity she'd start dancing!!!We'd gone to Kolhapur for a Wedding in my sister-in-law's family.While we were all drinking afternoon tea somebody just suggested that she entertain us.That was it---Sayali was dancing for almost 3 hours non-stop!!!Unfortunately she couldn't take lessons due to the distances from a reputed Dance School from our home.She sang very well too.A student of Bombay Scottish,her Music Teacher chose her to take part in an inter-school competition.She had to sing Frank Sinatra's "New York,New York" and wasn't very happy with the outcome.I suggested she sing it in a husky voice with a sexy pitch----that really worked and she came first!!!Her Teacher asked her what happened overnight?She simply said"my mother said to make it sound sexy!!!"People were shocked to know that she was not formally trained in Music.She was in Grade 9 then.
Sayali was however as stubborn as the proverbial mule when she wanted something!A very social and outgoing person and blessed with a sunny and happy nature she was very popular and formed strong friendships wherever she went.She has so much of my Father in her that I sometimes feel he's back with us through her.
Sayali set her goals at a very young age and followed through single mindedly on fulfilling them.Blessed with an independent spirit along with a brilliant mind and ambition she scored academically and today is working with big corporate on Wall Street.
Sayali's kept contacts with all her school friends.I have cooked for her get-togethers at our home whenever she wanted a party.Once while she was doing her Master's in Mumbai,she invited 35 of them home for Lunch and I cooked the entire meal at home!!!
She has completed her B.A. and M.A. from Mumbai University.In fact she stood fourth in the Merit list for her Master's in Political Science.After that she did her Master's in IT from RIT, Rochester,NY.
Today my Sayali is a beautifully poised and confident individual.She is working in New York and is married for the last 9 years.She has turned handling both careers into a fine Art and developed into a highly efficient Corporate Executive and Home Maker.She loves Food--so cooking--- and she also loves company so entertaining as well.Sayali cooks for all her get-togethers herself.A highly efficient wife she cooks daily for her husband after coming home from work---I am very proud of all that she has achieved and of being her mother!!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SAASHA17 12/12/2009 11:20PM

    congrats on two amazing daughters Komal:)....

Report Inappropriate Comment
NITAINMN 12/12/2009 11:20PM

    You sound like a proud mother who is truly admiring her little bud that has blossomed into a fragrant flower. Congrats...looks like the fruit did not fall far from the tree. She has inherited a lot of her Mom's qualities! Interesting way to write your life story via the blog. Thank you!

Report Inappropriate Comment
ATMANI 12/12/2009 12:23PM


Report Inappropriate Comment


Saturday, December 12, 2009

I became a mother for the first time just 2 months before my 18th.birthday.My elder daughter Chaitali was born and my romantic dreams came true when I saw this beautiful baby doll.Little did I anticipate the problems ahead!!!
My picture perfect baby was a stubborn little cuss!!!We began on a funny note----I was in labour for 5-6 days and when the Doctor took the decision for a C-section Madame made her appearance early in the morning----just before that.I was totally drained out and passed out after the birth.Later the Nurse put my baby next to me.I was so eager to see my daughter but she had other plans----she screwed up her nose and turned her face away!!!
Later in the room,Sudhir came to see her----she latched on to his hand with a viselike grip and till date hasn't let go!!!She was a howler---she cried almost 24 hours a day.I spent the first 3 months with my parents and returned to Bombay with her at 3 months old.
We nicknamed her 'Little Lotta' because she gained weight by the day.Till today she is known as Lotta at home----when her school friends called and asked for Chaitali it would take me some time to connect the name with Lotta!!!My entire day revolved around her-----sleeping whenever she did which was minimal----she was too busy howling!!
Totally at sea on childcare it was a boon to live in a joint family.Sudhir and I took turns to stay awake at nights every day.I was aHome Maker so could sleep whenever she did but he was on his legs in the Court full day and bore the brunt of working double shifts----baby sitting at night---he never complained--ever.
Lotta was a happy baby---to date I don't know why she howled so much----she loved to laugh----still does!!!!She gained weight so regularly that she weighed 15 kg.on her first birthday.My Paediatrician kept her on diet to reduce the weight on her legs when she stood or walked.
I remember when she was almost 6 months old---she was kicking up her legs and suddenly she caught hold of her toes.As her legs went down her torso came up and she sat up.The expression on her face----totally stunned!!!It is one memory very close to my heart.
When she learnt to walk at 11 months old, her weight always pulled her down and it was difficult for her to balance herself.One day after Sudhir came home from the Court,he had kept his belt on the bed.She took the belt and draped it round her neck.Clutching both ends firmly in her tiny hands she walked through the entire house---re-assured that since she was clinging on to something she wouldn't fall----she started walking from that day!!!
I am not a very expressive mother---I never could hug or cuddle my daughters without feeling awkward.However one confidence I managed to give them---I was there for them whenever they needed me.So whenever they were sick or hurt the first call was "Mummy"!!!
Lotta was a sensitive child---very attached to both of us.We were and still are her best friends.We rarely left our daughters with anybody---we firmly believed if we gave birth to them they were our responsibility totally.Sudhir used to say that our Mothers had brought their children up and now were not to be burdened with baby sitting ours and I whole heartedly agreed.So the children went with us wherever we did and thus we became a very close knit family unit.
I was very strict with both my daughters while they were growing up.I always told them that once they were 18 years old I'd become their friend as well but till then I was the one who decided their Fate---I was the Supreme Court and THAT was it!!Lotta bore the greater burden of my inadequacy as a mother since I learnt parenting through trial and error over a period of Time.She suffered through my frustrations and my bungling far more than Sayali did.
Today my love for them is expressed by carrying whatever they need each time I go to see them.I feel that my love is something they feel through everything that I do for them not by just saying the words.
Today Lotta is a beautiful and confident woman with a beautiful teen-aged daughter.She is a Home-Maker because that was her goal always.Of course we had plans for her---she has a rapier sharp mind and would have made a fantastic Lawyer had she studied Law after her graduation but she chose to become a wife and mother and we respected her decision.She is a fabulous mother---far,far superior to me and a very good wife.I am proud to see the way she is handling her life today----very,very proud!!!
Today we don't need them to look after us---whatever we did for them was because they are our children----they in turn should pass it on to their children in the same measure.As long as we have strength we're always there for them---and they know that!!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NITAINMN 12/12/2009 11:29PM

    I love the way you write and express yourself. Your story sounds like mine with my own 2 daughters. Both my daughters have also blossomed beautifully, thanks to god. The youngest is a lawyer who was just like your Sayali knowing exactly what she wanted and going after it. She wanted to be an attorney since 3 and is one, having married one too. The eldest also has found her niche and always knew what she wanted "to be happpy" which she is, has always been. She is also like Lotta, a crier and was gaining a lot of weight. Now, finally she has reached her ideal weight as an adult that she never was at. We are soo proud of her. She too has double masters and is doing well in her career which once again is god's grace. Thanks for sharing your story:)

Report Inappropriate Comment
SAASHA17 12/12/2009 11:18PM

    :)...i want my mommy....waahh...:)

Report Inappropriate Comment
ATMANI 12/12/2009 12:20PM

    Beautifully captured! emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment

First Page  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 Last Page