A Pilgrim’s Prayer on High Himalayan Journey

Posted by admin on January 14, 2015
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A boy sells fruits – naspati – on the rain-soaked and fog-swept trail to Gosainkunda

I knew going trekking during rainy season was not a good idea. During the lead up to the big day, a deluge of news reports on numerous rain-triggered road accidents was the order of the day in the media.

I had tagged along with a team of scientists from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), who were headed for Rasuwa district on a five-day trek to Gosaikunda  (Gosain means monk and kunda means pool), a pristine lake in Langtang National Park. The team was going there to study the biodiversity of the protected area designated as a Ramsar site, and observe conservation works being carried out in the entire Park.

We had planned the trip for the sacred thread festival of Janai Purnima (observed during the full moon day in August). The festival sees tens of thousands of pilgrims from Nepal and India congregate for the popular religious fair near the lake (located at an altitude of 4,380 m above sea level) and to take a dip in the holy waters.

Gosaikunda , as the story goes , was created by Lord Shiva during the Samundra Manthan, the churning of the ocean to recover Amrit (elixir of life) ). One of the products of that exercise was the Halahala poison, which the lord consumed to prevent it from destroying the world. But soon after swallowing the poison, he desperately needed cold water to quench his immense thirst and to get relief from the burning sensation. To do just this, he created Gosainkunda. Continue reading…

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