As mentioned in my earlier post here you will get the update on some major things happening for Uttarakhand. You can also get various details by visiting our Forum. So let’s start.
On 2nd April 2009 Padm Vibhishan Shri B.D.Pandey died. We paid homage to him. Pande’s daughter-in-law Mrinal Pandey is the editor-in-chief of Hindi publications Hindustan, Kadambini and Nandan. Mrinal Pandey remembers his father in law Late B.D.Pandey in an article. She describes the surrounding in which B.D.Pandey used to live.
In Almora, Babba and Mami moved into a simple traditional stone house built by his father about a hundred years ago. It was a sunny house surrounded by flowers of many hues and filled with souvenirs of a long and happy married life: photographs of children and grandchildren and great grandchildren, interspersed with delicate old porcelain figurines and vases made of terracotta or gigantic gourds painted over with bright colours by some local artist.
This is time of summer when many Indian and foreigners visit Devbhumi Uttarakhand. Recently Michael Gebicki also visited Almora and he writes about it. Its surprising to know that in outskirts of Almora such facilities exists where you can get all the continental food. Michael also visits famous Chitai temple but he says golu devta is a local name of Shiva,which I do not seem to agree. May be Michael can be educated through our forum where we have the full text on Golu Devta.
There is also a lovely 7km walk through fields and forest to Chitai Temple, where visitors come from across Kumaon to write a wish or a request and dedicate it to the temple god, Golu, the local name for Shiva. When the wish is granted, the supplicant returns and hangs a brass bell in the temple. There’s proof of Golu’s mighty powers in the thousands of bells that decorate every beam in the temple. According to my guide, Annan, every so often the priest will cull the bells, and there are thousands more in storage.
A 20-minute stroll along the Binsar Road from the hotel brings me to Mohan’s Cafe, which has broadband internet that works most of the time and a shady terrace with a prime view. Mohan’s is also the favoured hangout for a semi-permanent population of generation-Y Israelis who drift between here, Goa and Kathmandu as the seasons change and the need for a fresh visa arises. Here they can scrape by on about $10 a day, chug around shirtless on Royal Enfield motorcycles and enjoy a life of ease.
Another good read would be to know Kumaon Village with the eyes of Michael. He spends four days tracking there and written a beautiful article.
Tall and moustachioed, with a perpetual grin, Jagdish, too, stands out in this region. As well as being the porter, he’s the cook for our small expedition, always ready to give me more chapattis, more dahl, another spoonful of rice, more yams with my lentils. He’s also a social networker par excellence. When we stop on a hillside in the afternoon, Jagdish disappears over a garden wall for a conversation with an elderly couple and comes back cradling an armful of guavas.
I have named him Mr Have-a-chat because our walk is punctuated by the chirrup of his mobile phone, which rings with pulsating Bollywood-style music. The mobile phone has transformed communication in Kumaon. Where a line-based telephone network would be impractical, mobile phones provide instant links with sons and fathers working in India’s big cities.
I think it’s enough for the day. How you liked it? Please write your comments. What other things you would like to see here please mention. Do visit our forum for regular updates about Uttarakhand-The land of God.