Thursday, June 17, 2010

NANDA DEVI - The Goddess of the mountains

While I was trekking back from Roopkund in the Nandadevi Ranges, we passed by a hamlet "Wan". The kids of the hamlet were wishing us "Namaste" with folded hands. (Hoping for toffees!!) We stopped by and asked a small girl her name. She replied "Nanda Devi" . ( In the pic - Nanda devi with her brother Golu) I know not why, but I got inspired at that instant to learn more about the history, local legends around Nanda Devi and the beliefs of the people of the nearby hamlets.

The locals believe that Nanda Devi is the driving spiritual force and guardian. They adore her and call her just "Nanda" affectionately. They believe that she is a daughter of the villages married to Lord Shiva , The Lord of the Kailash mountains. 'Nanda' in Sanskrit means happiness/full of joy and 'Devi' means goddess. So she is their "Goddess of Happiness". They have no shrine dedicated to her. I could see only temples of Shiva around. They live amidst her. I heard that they have folklore ie., songs and dances in praise of her.

Life in these regions is tough! Ask me and I shall tell you my state at the end of the trek! :D But the people there seem to have so much of enthusiasm! They draw inspiration from her. She has inspired millions over centuries. Her breathtaking beauty cannot be described in just words. The tall trees surrounding the hamlets stand like guardians, so strong. I stood there mesmerized!

I feel blessed to have gone to the Nanda Devi biosphere for the second time. First time I had the opportunity to explore valley of flowers in her lap. This time I was there standing right in front of her!! I was awestruck!!

She has seen civilizations come up and diminish, but she still remains virgin and unexplored. The Himalayas have a divine silence, they seem to know everything and yet remain unaffected.I love the Himalayas! :-)