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The Mission Begun

Postby vipinpanwar on Fri Aug 05, 2005 10:18 am

The Mission Begun
Source:s-a-i.info/wisdom/books/sss/s1016.html

The thousands who attended the Dasara Celebrations of 1960 must be even now remembering the thrilling declarations that Baba made in His Discourses, about Himself and His Mission. On the very first day, during the Hospital Day Celebrations, Baba said that it is waste of time and energy to force incomprehensibly abstruse Vedanthic doctrines down the throats of simple unlearned folk; it is foolish to recommend to them exhausting fasts and vigils. Teachers and gurus must urge them slowly forward, from where they are, encouraging them to take one step at a time, to give up one evil habit after another, and to lengthen the period of Japam and meditation.

Baba spoke on three successive days about Himself and His Mission, for the recitation and explanation of the Telugu poem, 'Sri Sathya Sai Githa' by Vidwan Doopati Thirumalacharlu on those days, provided Him with necessary cue and background. He declared that He had come again to proclaim the same doctrine of Karmasanyasa and Saranagathi. 'Just as the clouds hide the glory of the Sun, the clouds of doubt and delusion hide My Glory from your understanding', He said. He wanted that like Arjuna, all men should now give up the Moha born out of Ajnana and get released from the shackles of 'I' and 'Mine'. 'Prema is the seed, Bhakthi the sprout, Faith the manure, Sathsanga the rain, Surrender the flower and Merging with the Lord the Fruit,' He declared.

'You are all more fortunate,' He said, 'than men of previous generations for you have Me as your guide and guardian, watching over you and warning you when your steps go wrong. Make the best use of the rare chance; do not leap about like frogs, ignoring the lotus that blooms by their side, but be like the bees that swarm from far and near to drink the nectar in plenty.' Words such as these, resonant with the authority of the Lord, who called upon all to take refuge in Him, came plentifully from Baba in every discourse. 'Faith is its own reward: it will reveal Truth. If you consider that Krishna was a cowherd, you reduce not only Krishna but yourselves too to the level of the cowherd boy. Take Him to be the Lord residing in the shrine of your heart and He acts as your Charioteer.' 'Do not deny or doubt, or hesitate to acknowledge the Lord, when He has made Himself available so easily to your prayers,' He said.

'You cannot grasp the full significance of the Avathar or stand the full splendour without a period of preparedness and hence, I reveal to you only small instalments of the glory, like the creation of Vibhuthi, etc.' He said one day. 'NO, it is not in My Nature to scatter attractions to draw people towards Me; I shower joy, without any purpose; it is on account of this, that I revel in Mahimas.' Lifting the screen that hides His Divinity from us, He declared another day, 'Some ignorant people commenting on Me say that I have a double personality, Daivathwam or Divinity most of the time but Manushyathwam or Humanity the rest of the time. But, have faith in this, I am ever and always, of the 'Thwam,' of the 'ity' only. God does not change, or get transformed. I am telling you this because there is a superior spiritual attachment between us, not the mere casual connection of visitor and visited.'

Another day, He spoke in a more minatory tone. 'I must warn you all again against false teachers and deceitful gurus. There are many such who go about performing imitation Samadhis, pretending that they have fallen into divine ecstasy, and promising to communicate that ecstasy to those around them. They lecture during the Samadhi and dance and sing, in what they call Raasakreeda. They deserve only severe castigation for all their pains. 'Keep away from these,' He said. 'I will soon take up the task of exposing these impostors and granting them the punishment they deserve,' He announced.

On Guru Pournami Day, 1961, at Mysore City, Baba called upon the devotees and followers to keep a strict watch over the class of Gurus and warn them against the slightest tinge of greed, egoism, pride, envy, and hypocrisy. 'The time has come to weed out the Gurus who are setting bad examples to the Sishyas, the Sanyasins who compete in the accumulation of comforts and the acquisition of fame', He said. 'I shall soon enter upon this Task; it is one of the purposes for which I have come', He announced. 'Sanyasins who have given up all ties with the world and decided to burn their boats should not celebrate their Birthdays; they should not pester the rich with their importunity for donations and funds; they should not cater to the egoism of their followers by granting them pompous titles, praising their spiritual attainments; once you start diluting the strict discipline prescribed for monks, you cannot arrest the inevitable fall. Dharmasthapana requires that the Dharma of the Sanyasin should first be corrected, because it is he who commands the respect of all and it is he who holds forth the spiritual ideal. If he begins to compromise and slide down the path, then, religion will become the laughing stock of all'.

The same Sankalpa was ringing in the discourses that Baba gave during the Birthday Celebrations, in November. Addressing the vast gathering of the villagers of Puttaparthi, He said, "For more than twenty years now, you have been seeing only the light not benefiting by the warmth, for you did not care to come near. But I knew that this day would come and that you would all one day give up doubt and delusion and recognise the way to peace and happiness. Believe me, this Puttaparthi is soon to become a Tirupathi. Thousands of Yogis, Sadhus and aspirants are coming here in future years and deriving Solace and Salvation. The reestablishment of Sanathana Dharma will emanate from here".

On Mahasivarathri Day, He emphasised the Universal Aspect of His Message and declared that It was for all Humanity that He had come. "There is no one in this World who does not belong to Me; all are Mine; they may not call out My name or any Name; but, still they are Mine".

The meaning and significance of these profound utterances became evident only at Coimbatore, where Baba installed the marble image of the Previous Sariram; the former Avathar, Shirdi Sai Baba at the famous Naga Sai Mandir. Truly, it was a historic occasion, that function on the 26th day of February, 1961. The Naga Sai Mandir is so called because Shirdi Sai Baba had given Darsan to countless devotees there as a Naga or Cobra, which rose up from the heap of flowers, listened to the Bhajan for hours together and even posed for a photograph, before finally disappearing. This miracle took place seventeen years ago and the Mandir has since then served the spiritual needs of thousands from the city of Coimbatore and the surrounding areas. This was the first occasion on which Baba was formally installing for daily worship an idol of His Previous Manifestation, and, so, devotees were eagerly expecting some important pronouncement from Baba that day.

Nor were they disappointed! Baba said, "It is really amusing, is it not, that I should install this idol of Myself in another manifestation. I am doing so for a very valid reason. This day deserves to be inscribed in letters of gold, for this function is the beginning of a new era, the Sathya Sai Era, when Saayi will become the Hrudayasthayi, the Inner Motive Force, of all. The only other instance of a similar kind, of an Avathar installing an idol of the Lord, is that of Rama installing the Iswaralinga at Rameswaram. That was done as a preliminary to the Destruction of Ravana and the Rakshasas, to the Divine task of Dushtanigraha. Now, I am doing this as a preliminary to the other task of all Avatharas, Dharmasthapana, the Establishment of Dharma in the world."

An Epoch-making Declaration, indeed! Words ushering in the New Age of Love and Justice, of Peace and Unity! Clarion Call for Humanity to gather under the Sathya Sai Banner!

No wonder the Reception at Udumalpet which Baba visited the next day after that momentous declaration was magnificent; there too Baba called upon the people to partake in the great resurgence of Dharma that was imminent.

Baba has often said that the holiness of a place of pilgrimage is proportionate to the devotion which the Bhakthas bring with them and the sincerity of the prayers which they pour forth before the shrine. But, when Baba Himself visits a temple or place of pilgrimage, the effect is more profound; it is like a rundown battery being charged from the very fountainhead of all Holiness. Baba has declared that this is so, and that the purpose of His standing before certain shrines is to enhance their spiritual efficacy, it was therefore gladdening to hear that Baba planned a tour to Ayodhya and Benares after a short stay at Madras. On 23rd March, Baba addressed a mammoth gathering at the Railway Stadium, Perambur, and the silent admiration which the assembly evinced throughout the address made Doctor B Ramakrishna Rao, the Governor of Uttar Pradesh, who was presiding declare, "I was all these days very sad that in spite of the marked progress in the economic and cultural fields after Independence, there was not much joy and contentment and peace and neighbourliness and love in the land, for want of the emphasis in people's daily lives on the moral tone and the spiritual discipline; but, today, I have regained hope. This vast gathering, the welcome you accorded to Baba and the earnestness with which you have been listening to His Words have told me that the moral progress of this nation is assured".

Dr. Ramakrishna Rao invited Baba to Lucknow and when He was there, he allowed the citizens of Lucknow to attend the Bhajan sessions at the Raj Bhavan, thus enabling many to be blessed by Him and to get initiated by Him in the first steps towards the higher life. Some fortunate few were made aware of His Presence by some miraculous happenings, which brought more seekers to Him. He also addressed a meeting at the Town Hall, under the auspices of the Andhra Association, the Tamil Sangha, the Kerala Association and the Mysore Association, who felt that they should honour Him, presumably because Baba hailed from the South of India! But, as Baba said once, Dakshinamurthi does not belong to Dakshinapatha! So, Baba advised those associations to give up compartmental loyalties and inaugurate, in place of the various Sanghs, one Sath Sangh, an Association of Good People striving to become better, by systematic Japam, Dhyanam and Lokaseva. Since the suggestion had the Sankalpa of Baba behind it, the Sathsangh was formed without delay and Baba Himself inaugurated the new chapter of harmony and unity and spiritual brotherhood in Lucknow.

From Lucknow, Baba proceeded to Ayodhya with a small group of devotees. He pointed out to them the various places associated with the Ramayana and the spots sanctified by Divine Events. He said that Bhakthi was still very deeply implanted in the hearts of the people in the area, for He could hear the unceasing Ramanamajapam emerging from their hearts. He visited the Rama temple and said that what is found in the Virat is found undiminished and unalloyed in the limited Swarupa also; only, the Power has to be constantly nourished by the rituals prescribed, the sincerity of the prayers, the purity of the devotees that gather and of the priests and Archaks and the sanctity of the atmosphere. "People worship the Lord as existing in Ayodhya or Dwaraka and nowhere else; that is wrong; He is everywhere; limiting Him is to deny His Glory. All this diminishes gradually the efficacy of the Holy Spot and it can be increased only by more and more sincerity among the devotees or by the Lord Himself, out of His Grace."

Baba blessed the devotees on the bank of the Sarayu and later, took them to the temple of Hanuman, built in the territory that, according to legend, was given to him by Rama Himself, given so that he might establish a kingdom resonant ever with the name of Rama. Baba distributed the Prasad of the Temple to the devotees, adding in the process, the Prasad, as He said, of Sai Rama to that of Saketharama!

From Ayodhya, Baba reached Sarnath the same night by car and on the 2nd day of April, Baba and His party visited the ancient Temple of Viswanatha at Benares, the Temple immortalised in history and legend, in song and poetry, by epics and Puranas, by bards and saints, the Great shrine of the Lord of the Universe. The Lingam in this Temple has been bathed reverentially by millions of pilgrims for thousands of years with the sacred waters of the Ganges; Benares itself is considered as holy land, every inch of it, and death there is supposed to lead to the end of all the misery of birth and death.

To be with Baba inside the shrine was indeed a rare and elevating experience, for He is Balasiva Himself, as those who have had a glimpse of His Glory know. And, we all expected that Baba would do something, some miracle, to heighten the sanctity of the shrine, to offset the decline caused by egoism and doubt.

Baba watched the ceremonial pouring of Ganges water on the Lingam, and the recitation of the traditional Manthras. Then, as though impelled by a sudden decision, He moved forward and 'materialising' the Kailasa Vibhuthi in His Palm, He applied it in three broad lines to about three quarters of the rounded image, making it shine with a peculiar splendour. Another miracle was in stone, for He 'created' some sandal paste, of an otherworldly perfume and consistency, and patting it into a round shape, He approached the Lingam again and applied it to the centre of the triple-lined Vibhuthi. The Archaks and others stood aghast with wonder at all this, but, we knew that Baba was performing a ritual with a significance profounder than that of any done hitherto. Then, by another wave of that Divine Hand, Baba 'materialised' a priceless jewel, which cast its captivating effulgence around the shrine. It was a gem-set Pranava symbol, rubies round the circumference, diamonds forming the three Vibhuthi lines, Cornelian in the centre of the Vibhuthi to represent the sandal dot, emeralds artistically designed like Bilva leaves forming a green border for the Pranava and above all the Pranava itself, a blaze of diamond, on a curation of gold. The devotees burst into song and the chorus of Om Sivaya echoed and re-echoed through the temple aisles. Baba placed the Pranava on the sandal paste He had already put on the face of the Lingam, and asked that Arathi be performed. Those who observed this ceremony that morning in the most historic of India's temples, can never forget it.

Baba then directed every member of His party to perform the Abhisheka to Viswanatha with Ganga Jala, to the chanting of sacred Manthras like Sri Rudram. He also led them to the Annapoorna Temple and the Viswanatha Temple in the Benares University Campus. The carvings and Sculptures in the latter place were explained by Baba to the devotes, for He alone knew the unwritten details of the Vedic and Puranic incidents depicted therein.

On 3rd April, Baba was in Allahabad, blessing the Holy Triveni Sangam by His presence and showering with His own Hand the Sacred waters of the confluence on the pilgrims. He also visited the Saraswathi Koopa, the Hunuman Temple and the original Akshaya Vata, mentioned even by Hiuen Tsang, inside the Fort, by the side of the wall facing the Yamuna River. Baba returned to Puttaparthi on the 8th of April, halting at Tirupathi for one day, to preside over the Thayagaraja Utsava Celebrations there. At Tirupathi too Baba spoke of idols and idol worship, for that was the refrain of His North Indian Tour. 'The Sadhaka should see, not the stone which is but the material stuff of the idol, but the Chaithanya that is inherent in it, that is symbolised by it, the same Chaithanya that is inherent in himself, and that pervades, moves and transcends all creation. Then only is Idol worship and Temple worship meaningful and beneficial." "Many people laugh at those who worship idols and condemn it as blind superstition. But, reasons is rendered dumb before the testimony of actual experience. All the arguments that logic can frame, all the tricks that dialectics can formulate, are powerless to nullify the effect of that inner evidence. The idol is not a mere external adjunct or apparatus or object. It is a part of the inner mechanism of realisation. If worship is carried out in the confidence that the idol is saturated with consciousness, it can bestow the Highest Bliss."

After only a week's stay at Puttaparthi, Baba left for the Nilgiris where the people were long anxious to have the honour of welcoming and serving Him. The entire Nilgiris, from the smallest hamlet in the farthest corner to the biggest plantation joined in the reverential homage. Baba condescended to visit the villages around and the sincerity and simplicity of the ryots were so touching that even long-standing devotees were moved into admiration. Baba Himself gave expression to this. He said at the public meeting at Ootacamund, 'Here the people are full of Bhakthi and the Bhakthi has endowed them with Vinayam and Sraddha'. At every village, Baba called upon the people to supplement the efforts they now make to earn physical sustenance by making efforts to win spiritual sustenance also.

The Nilgiris, which Baba christened as Holy Hills, fell at Baba's Feet and the spirit of surrender is well summarised in the song composed and sung by an aged ryot at Achanakal. He sang, 'O Come my brothers, this is not our home, this leaky stuffy ramshackle shelter; our home is eternal, world-wide; it is there on the banks of the Chithravathi; its name is Prasanthi Nilayam, the Abode of Peace.' Or we can quote a Badaga song, in folk metre which the villagers of Ithalar sung with gusto, 'He has come, the Lord to bless us, with a Golden Halo, like the sun. He is here among the hills, with a crown of silver moon. He drives along, adown, around, the creeping climbing roads, to touch each stricken heart in city town and hamlet, assuring 'Do not fear'.'

Even while Baba was in the Nilgiris, He was arranging for a tour of the Himalayas and informing such of the devotees as were selected by Him to join the fortunate party. He returned to Puttaparthi, via Madras and Hyderabad, in the first week of May.

The visit to Badrinath was first mooted by Baba three years ago, at a Bhajan Session held on the sands of the Chithravathi. He said then that He would take the Bhakthas to the place where He was doing Tapas and we were wonder struck, for that was the first time we had ever heard of Tapas, associated with His Earthly Career. At least; I was a bit confused, for I was until then convinced that Baba indulged in no Tapas, here or anywhere, corporeally or extra-corporeally! But, I did not pursue the matter and try to get an answer.

The visit became a certainty and plans were ready and the party fixed, before the end of May. Baba greeted them all with His Darsan at the Ethiraja Kalyana Mantapam, Alwarpet, Madras on the 7th day of June, and sent them at train to Delhi, where He promised to bless them personally, since He proposed to fly to the Capital, the very nest day.

The train reached Delhi about six hours late and when the hungry tired and distracted devotees arrived at last, they found Baba shedding cool comfort and consolation and strength by His Smile and His Motherly attention. The next day, at Hardwar, the Governor of Uttar Pradesh, Dr. B. Ramakrishna Rao, joined Baba, for he too had planned a visit to Badrinath. On 11th June, Baba and His Excellency attended the evening Arathi to Gangamatha at the Brahmakund; the vast assemblage of pilgrims got the Darsan of Baba at that holy spot; Baba blessed the priests and Archaks with the Vibhuthi that He materialised and He sprinkled the sacred waters of the Ganges on those around Him.

That night, Baba called together the devotees who were to accompany Him to Badri and reminded them of the rare privilege that they had won. "You have the good luck of proceeding with the Manifested Form to the Unmanifested Form whereas usually, people pray to the Unmanifested Form, immanent in the idol, to manifest itself before their eye, so that they might win the fruit of their Sadhana." He declared. We thrilled with joy at the revelation. He then described in great detail the sacred shrine to which He was leading us, as if He knew every nook and corner of the holy area. When He disclosed that Narayana was there depicted as in Tapomudra, as doing penance, and explained that it was called Badarikasram on account of this, I began to see light, and the doubt that assailed me on the Chithravathi Sands three years ago about Sathya Sai Baba and Tapas melted away in a blaze of joy. Baba spoke also of the subsidiary shrines in and around Badrinath and also of certain unknown aspects of its sacredness. For example, no guide book has published the information that Sankaracharya bought from Kailas five Lingams and that he installed one each at Badri, Puri, Sringeri, Dwaraka and Chidambaram, but Baba revealed this fact that night. Baba planted in every heart the pilgrim mood of prayer of brotherhood and loving service.

From Hardwar to Badrinath, a distance of nearly 182 miles, every inch of the road is saturated with penance and prayer, asceticism and aspiration. Myth and legend and history have woven round every spot stories of sages and saints, of sacrifice and Sadhana, of renunciation and rigorous ordeals. The pilgrim is shown places where Siva, Parvathi, Rama and other Gods did penance, where Parasurama performed expiatory rites, where Narasimha cooled His ferocity, where Arjuna won his weapons, and Karna his prowess, and Narada his Veena, places where Kanva nurtured Sakunthala and Narada received the Ashtakshari. It is a narrow and tortuous road, cut on the face of the cliff, above the roaring waters of the Ganga or the Alakananda flowing in the ravine below. The party accompanied Baba, in full confidence and faith, regardless of the calamities that lurked round every curve of the road, and the landslides and landslips that happened, but could not delay their progress. Baba had announced that the rains would be held off until the party returns to Rishikesh and the clouds obeyed. He willed and the party returned without a scratch or a prick for any one!

The line of cars jeeps and buses coiled round the meandering road and reached Devaprayag the confluence of the Bhagirathi and the Alakananda at about noon. One of the purposes of the tour that Baba had planned was to instil in the minds of His Devotees and through them of all, faith in the scriptures that speak of the sanctity of certain places. He always emphasises Sastraviswasa and Devaviswasa, faith in the Sastras as equally important with faith in God. So, He directed every one to have a dip in the sacred waters, before proceeding to Srinagar, the ancient capital of the Garhwal Rajas. There the party halted for the night.

The people of Srinagar who knew of the arrival of Baba in their midst gathered in thousands to welcome Him and at night, they organised a Programme of Pahadi and Tibetan Dances, depicting the simple hilarity of the hardy mountaineers and hill-men and tribes. Baba blessed them and gave each of them the unique chance of His Darsan.

On the 13th, the vehicles moved towards Joshimath, where the motor road ends and from where the party had to walk, 18 miles to Badrinath. That day too Baba stopped at Nandaprayag, the famed Kanvasram, and directed the devotees to bathe at the confluence of the Alakananda with the Nandakini. Joshimath is the place where Sankaracharya wrote his celebrated commentaries on the Upanishads, the Bhagavadgitha and the Brahmasutras; it is also the winter headquarters of the Mutt which he established at Badrinath, to counteract Buddhist influences that threatened to percolate through the Mala pass of the Himalayas, just seven miles away from Badri. Who knows whether Baba's own trek to Badri was connected with the sinister danger to Sanathana Dharma, that is now threatening from the same direction through the same road?

On the 14th day of June, early in the morning, the mules and horses were loaded with luggage, the Dandis for the aged were booked, and the party started off in high spirits behind Baba who led them along that sacred road. Eighteen miles... miles of narrow congested road of rubble and stone, trodden into elusive smoothness by millions of pious feet; of gasping climbs and reeling inclines; of danger from falling stones announced prominently and frequently on boards en route! The rapture of snow-capped peaks ever on the horizon; the cheer of the cool torrent ever in the ear! Broad glaciers descending foolhardily down the valleys into the Alakannanda itself; snow lying across the pilgrim path; streams of pilgrims from all the quarters accosting each other in the language of brotherhood, though the words might fall a little strange; pilgrims resolutely pulling themselves along on foot, the old and even the decrepit with faith as their only stick, some sitting pathetic and forlorn in Dandis carried by perspiring hill-men, some swaying helplessly in Kandis tied to the backs of men, some perched on ponies that trot on the perilous edge of the precipice, as if they are determined to commit disaster.

Baba walked the distance of eleven miles to Lam Bagar on the first day and halted the night there. On the 15th, the remaining distance was covered, before noon, in spite of the pretty stiff that it involved. The devotees persuaded Baba to ride a horse but, to their great disappointment, He dismounted very soon and resumed walking. Baba encouraged every one along the arduous path, watching for signs of exhaustion; he directed some to enter Dandis, some to mount ponies, some to put a brake on their over-enthusiasm, some to sip a little water and for some, He even materialised the unfailing specific, Vibhuthi! And, this, not merely for members of His Party, no, far from it. There were many who sat exhausted on the roadside and Baba walked towards them and revived them by His Sweet Glance and Words and His Vibhuthi.

One picture will be ever green in my memory. A mile this side from Lam Bagar, Baba was sitting on a rock, with the devotees all around Him, listening to some Puranic story with which He was freshening us, for the climb ahead. Pilgrims were streaming along the road in front, many passed on, too engrossed with their own pains to recognise the Lord within sight. But, one woman came, saw and was conquered. She turned aside and fell at the Holy Feet; she had the sixth sense to recognise that the Feet were holy. She was an adventurous soul and she discovered that Baba was on His Way to Badrinath. So, in spite of the exhaustion to which she had been reduced by that long trek she entreated that she might be taken as one of Baba's Party! And, what do you think was Baba's Reply? 'You had your Darsan here; I was waiting for you to give you Darsan; what more do you hope to get there, when you come with me. Go, be happy; take this Prasad with you' Truly, no one can come near Him without His Grace, without His Sankalpa.

The 15th and 16th days of June were rather quiet days, when Baba allowed the devotees to perform in the Badrinath temple the Pujas they preferred, Himself busy with interviews to the many officers, civil and military, and the members of the Temple Committee who had heard of His Divinity and come to have His Darsan. On the 17th evening, Baba attended the Arathi at the Temple. He thence drove to the Badrinath Hospital, where He inaugurated the newly installed X-ray Unit. The Avathar of the Lord whose X-rays penetrate even the darkest recesses of our hearts, from whom nothing can concealed, pressed a button to take the first photograph(of the physical interior of the Medical Officer in charge, who insisted that he must be the first patient).

The 17th was, in fact, the day of days, the day selected by Baba for re-infusing spiritual efficacy, for charging the run-down battery. During the morning Abhishekam at the shrine, Baba who was sitting facing the idol materialised a beautiful four-armed Narayana Idol, with Sankha Chakra Gada and Padma, and idol of supreme craftsmanship, perhaps sublimating in that Form the Narayana Tejas or Sakthi before Him. Then, in a trice, He created a Golden Lotus, a thousand petalled one, lovely beyond all imagination. We all wondered why the Lotus appeared; but, before our wonder could find expression in a gasp, Baba waved His Hand again. This time there was a Lingam in His Palm, evidently the same that Sankaracharya had installed inside the Badri Shrine. This last He placed in the centre of the Lotus and with both Lotus and Idol placed on a silver plate, Baba came away to the Dharmasala, where we were all staying.

There Baba directed Bhajana to be done and while the praise of Narayana was being sung, He rose from the floor, saying, "Now we shall consecrate this Lingam again". He showed the Lingam to every one, bringing It Himself near each person, and pointing out to all the translucence of the material and the form of an Eye, that was mysteriously incorporated inside it! He called it the Nethralingam from Kailas. Materialising a silver Vessel full of holy water (from Gangothri itself as Baba announced), Baba Himself performed Abhisheka to the Idol, the devotees reciting Sri Rudram and Narayana Suktham and Purusha Suktham all the while.

After Abhisheka, Puja. Baba materialised for the Puja 108 Bilva Leaves made of gold; they fell in a scintillating shower from His Divine Hand on to the silver plate beneath! Again, the Hand was waved! This time, the shower consisted of a heap of "Thumme" flowers, with the dew still fresh upon them, tiny bits of fragrant fluff, plucked with care from a hundred little tropical plants! The Puja was performed, on behalf of all present, by Dr. B. Ramakrishna Rao, appropriate Manthrams being recited by the devotees. The Nethralingam was sent back into the secret niche where it was installed by Sankaracharya 1200 years ago, as Baba explained to us, when It suddenly disappeared, for, the purpose for which It was drawn out had been fulfilled with the completion of the ritual aforesaid. It had been charged with immense potency and the Temple consecrated anew by the Manifested form Himself. In pursuance of His Mission of Dharmasthapana, of which promotion of faith in Sastras is an important item, Baba directed every one of His party to offer oblations to the dead at Brahmakapal that noon.

Baba always harps on the need to remember with gratitude the parents, who are responsible for one's very existence, for all the chance one has got for struggling upwards towards salvation, for all this joy of Sadhana and Sathsang. "Though the departed souls might not be actually in the Lokas you locate, or anxiously awaiting the offerings you make, it is your duty to honour them, to remember them whenever you are yourself happy or elevated, and offer them reverential homage", Baba has said often. So, when the devotees went to Brahmakapal, the holy spot where the Bhog offering of Badri Narayana is itself offered to the manes, Baba Himself proceeded thither and blessed every one while the ceremony was being performed!

There were some among the party, who were handicapped according to strict Sastraic rules from offering oblations to the departed and Baba very graciously collected them together and took them to the river Alakananda for a ritual that He had framed for them. He took from the surging torrent a glass of water, but the Divine Alchemy of that Hand had produced inside that glass even as it came up from the river, a big cube of Vibhuthi, with the mystic symbol Om carved on one side. Baba tapped the side of the glass and, lo, the water had many grains of til floating on it, til considered essential for all ceremonies connected with departed souls. He called upon the handicapped ones individually, poured the Alakananda Theertha on to the palm Himself and asked each to offer it to the departed, in grateful reverential remembrance.

The Badrinath Temple Committee accorded Welcome to Baba at a Special Meeting in the temple Premises, that evening. His Excellency Dr. B. Ramakrishna Rao presided and translated Baba's Discourse into Hindi. The audience of 3000 mainly consisted of pilgrims as well as the merchants and citizens of Badrinath itself. Baba told them of the Five Lingas brought by Sankaracharya and of the sacredness of Badri itself. He said that the Lord is Premaswarupa and can be realised only through the cultivation of Prema; just as all parts of a sugar doll are uniformly sweet, all those who according to the Vedas originated 'from the face, arms, thighs and feet of the thousand headed Purusha' are equally saturated with His Presence and the Prema that is His Nature. Baba described the trials and tribulations of the pilgrims, the expense and the exhaustion of he pilgrimage, and He asked the citizens of Badrinath to learn from the continuous stream of men and women something of the faith in Badrinarayana which prompts them all to make all that sacrifice. He wanted that they should not fleece them or foist things upon them but treat them with greater brotherliness and kindness.

In the night, Baba arranged for the feeding on a really lavish scale of all the mendicants around the Temple. The scene reminded us of the Feeding during Dasara at the Prasanthi Nilayam, for Baba Himself served sweets to every one squatting on the sides of the road, and Baba distributed to each person, after food, a blanket or its equivalent in cash, for the stock of blankets in the Badrinath shops ran out pretty quick.

Thus Baba became in the short period of three days the cynosure of all eyes, and when He left on the morning of the 18th, people reminded Him of the Promise He had made the previous evening that He would be visiting the place frequently in the coming years, and accompanied Him and His Party for a long distance along the road to Hanuman Chatti. Reaching Joshi Math on the 19th, Baba returned by car to Hardwar on 21st visiting the Andhra at Rishikesh on the way.

It must be mentioned here that the party of about a hundred devotees, mostly aged and not quite sturdy, could go through all that twisting and tossing in the buses, all that tramping and climbing among the Himalayan heights, amidst strange climes, taking unaccustomed food and come back hale and hearty, happy and contented, as per schedule, fresher than when they started, only through the Ever-present All-powerful Grace of Baba.

From Hardwar, Baba went to Nainital where many people were awaiting His arrival. He granted them courage and consolation and spiritual guidance, during the interviews He granted. He also visited the Githa Satsang, established by Swami Vidyanandji. An Address was presented to Him there in Hindi. He spoke to the Sadhakas of Nainital on the value of Concentration, quoting the Sloka from the 18th chapter of the Githa where Krishna asks Arjuna, "Kacchith ethach chrutham, Partha, thwaikaagrena chethasa? 'Has this been heard by you, O Partha, with one-pointed mind?' From the same Sloka, He drew the conclusion that the Githa, then as now, is intended for the removal of Moha, the Ajnana Sammoha, the delusion born of ignorance, which makes man mistake the unreal as real the false as true, the transitory as permanent, the source of sorrow as the source of joy."

Returning to Prasanthi Nilayam on 4th July, Baba Himself graciously described to the Bhakthas the ritual at Badri as well as the incidents of the tour. He gave them too the Holy Theertha of Gangothri which He materialised for their sake, a second time, at Puttaparthi. He wanted that those who went on pilgrimage to holy places must demonstrate in their daily conduct that the holiness has entered their hearts and transformed their words and deeds. 'Sankaracharya' He said, 'installed Narayana at Badri. Each one of you must now install Narayana in your hearts.'

While at Badri, Baba had written a letter to the Bhakthas at the Prasanthi Nilayam; 'Be always remembering the Lord; recite His Name, writing It or uttering It, or meditating on It or turning over a rosary with It or worshipping an idol or image with It; that constant dwelling with the name of God is itself 'all the Holy Places,' 'all the sacred Theerthas,' 'all the famous shrines.' When the mind has thus been sublimated, the full glory of Badri shines in it; the pilgrimage to Badri is a waste of time and energy if the mind has not been duly tamed. So, do not worry that you are there and others are here. Narayana is beside you, with you; why then delude yourself with the pursuit of the unseen Narayana? Be steadfast, be full of enthusiasm, be ever joyful." In fact, Puttaparthi is itself Badrinath, for those who have the eyes to see and the knowledge to recognise.

Let us, therefore, install Him in our hearts, or rather let us realise that He is there already, directing as per His Plan our every thought, word and deed and let us with the full consciousness of the good fortune, be full of quiet content. Edited by: vipinpanwar at: 5/8/05 10:19
vipinpanwar
Cultural Affairs
 
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Everything About Uttaranchal

Postby vipinpanwar on Fri Aug 12, 2005 5:46 am

[b]HISTORY[/b]

Inspite of Kumaon being an integral part of the Indian mainstream, it has often experienced sociological and historical phenomena which are at variance with those in the rest of the country, mainly because of the distinctive geographical features of the region. In the last 3000-4000 years Kumaon has given shelter to and is, consequently, an amalgamation of various people who have come from all sides. Archaeologists have discovered many rock printings, rock shelters, palaeoliths megaliths, cup marks etc. in the region. This evidence can help us in systematizing our knowledge of proto and pre historic Kumaon.

The original inhabitants of Kumaon are said to have been the Kols (also related to the Mund, ethnic group). One of their groups migrated to Kumaon after they had been defeated by the Dravidians. The Shilpkars of Kumaon are said to be the descendants of the Kols. The Kirats are believed to have been the ancestors of the tribes which are today known as Shaukas, Banrajis. Tharus and Boksas. While the Shaukas were active from the Tarai region to Tibet, the Tharus and Boksas confined themselves to the Tarai, and the Banrajis had always lived in 'splendid' isolation.

Later on, the Khasas came from West Asia and settled down in many parts of Himalaya. A major portion of the population of Kumaon is said to have descended from the Khasas. After an indepth study of the languages, social traditions and customs of Kumaon, scholars have come to the conclusion that before the advent of the Khasas and the Kirats. Kumaon was inhabited by the Kols. The Kols eventually surrendered to the Khasas. Many ancient texts mention the coming of the Shakas. After the Khasas, who can be called pre - Rigvedic Aryan tribes, the Vedic Aryans also came to Kumaon.

After the beginning of the local dynastic history, inhabitants of Kumaon, most of whom were pastoralists, agriculturists and traders, were influenced from the 'savarnas' or higher castes who had come from different parts of India. This migration to Kumaon has gone on until very recently.
Today Kumaon is generally said to consist of Brahmins, Rajputs and Shilpkars, with the Sahs or Shahs sometimes being considered to be a separate caste. However, in order to be able to understand Kumaon fully one must mention that it consists of Shaukas, Banrajis, Tharus, Boksas, Shilpkars, 'Savarnas' Gorkhas, Muslims, Europeans (during colonial time), Bengalis and Punjabis (after partition) and Tibetans after 1960.

[b]HISTORY RULERS OF UTTRANCHAL[/b]

Before the 6th Century A.D.         Kunindas
Around 6th Century A.D.        The Khasas, the Nands and the Mauryas. The Khasa revolt during the reign of Bindusar is said to have been suppressed by Ashoka. At that time, there was plurality of kingdoms in Uttarakhand. Yuan Chwang (Huein - Tsang) visited some parts of Kumaon from 633 to 643 A.D. He spoke about a stri (women) rajya probably somewhere in Kumaon. It is believed to be Govishan region around the present day Kashipur.

6th to 12th Century A.D.        The Katyuris ruled over the whole of Kumaon - Garhwal. In 1191 and 1223 Ashoka Malla and Krachalla Deva, invaders belonging to the Malla dynasty of Doti (Western Nepal), attacked Kumaon and the Katyuris were forced to confine themselves to various small principalities.

From 12th Century A.D.        Chands started ruling Kumaon. Principalities like Pali, Askot, Baramandal, Sui, Doti, Katyur, Dwarahat. Gangolihat and Lakahnpur were taken over by the Chands. Chands also clashed with the Brahms of Sor, Raikas of Sira and others.

1261 - 1275        Thohar Chand
1344 -1374 or 1360-1378        Abhay ChandInspite of the discovery of a few new tamrapatras (copper plates) belonging to the different Chand ruler, no clear picture has emerged so far.

1374 - 1419        Garur Gyan Chand
1437 - 50        Bharti Chand
1565 - 97         Rudra Chand
1597 - 1621        Lakshmi Chand. Chands established and developed various towns like Rudrapur, Bazpur and Kashipur.

1779 to 1786        Parmar prince of Garhwal, Pradyuman Shah ruled Kumaon under the name of Pradyuman Chand who returned to Srinagar and in 1805, and was killed fighting against the Gorkhas in the battle of Khurbura (Dehradun).

1788 - 90        Mahendra Singh Chand is believed to be the last Chand Ruler, who started ruling from Rajbunga (Champawat) and then moved on to Almora.

1790 to 1815        Kumaon came under Gorkha rule. The Gorkhas set loose a reign of tyranny and oppression, while the Chands were completely wiped out.

1814 - 15        Nepal war, the East India Company defeated the Gorkhas and started ruling Kumaon.

Although British rule was less oppressive and better then the rule of the Gorkhas, commonly known as Gorkhyol, it was, nevertheless, subjection under foreign rulers. However, the British did set into motion a process of modernization. Local organizations and a vernacular press came into existence, migration in search of employment started and the initial touch of the Indian renaissance reached Kumaon. After this, the people of Kumaon rose against foreign rule and played an important role in the freedom struggle.In the first two decades of 20th century the highest point of the process of joint awakening of the rural and urban people was the birth of Kumaon Parishads in 1916. The movements, which were started for the abolition of oppressive begar system and for the restoration of natural forest rights of the local people, very soon reached their zenith and became the part of the national struggle for freedom. During the freedom struggle papers like "Almora Akhbar", "Shakti", "Swadheen Praja", "Kumaon Kumud", "Achal" and "Jagrat Janta" played a very important role.


[b]ART & CULTURE[/b]
Kumaon has a distinctive style of architecture, which is to be seen on the one hand in scattered settlements of the higher Himalaya and populated agricultural valleys, and on the other in the temples, naulas-bawaries (water tanks), forts and dharamshalas (inns). The temples, which have been constructed over a period of about a thousand years, follow a local style known as the “Himadri” style of architecture. The temples at Jageshwar, Almora and Katarmal Thal, Baijnath, Someshwar, Dwarahat, Gangolihat, Patal Bhuvaneshwar, Marsoli are very good examples of the local style, which is often termed as post Gupta architecture. Along with architecture, Kumaon has also had a distinctive style of sculpture.

One finds many idols in temples and even outside temples. The idols at Jageshwar, Dwarahat, Baijnath, Katarmal, Kasni and Champawat bear ample testimony to Kumaon’s rich tradition of sculpture. The bronze or astdahatu statues are also worth seeing.

During the last two decades many rock paintings belonging to the protohistoric period have been discovered in Kumaon. Among them Lakhu Udhiyar and Lwethaap are well known.

The Pahari Kalam (style of painting) probably also developed in Kumaon, when it was being practiced in some of the Himalyan regions. The Aipan (Alpana) is a popular art form of Kumaon, and walls, papers and pieces of cloth are decorated by the drawing of various geometric and other figures belonging to gods, goddesses and objects of nature. Pichhauras or dupattas are also decorated in this manner.
At the time of Harela there is a tradition of making clay idols (Dikaras) The Shaukas use their own and Tibetan knitting art form to decorate mattresses known as Dans. In these woollen goods we find the mixed influence of the Kumaoni and Tibetan styles. Kumaon also has a distinctive style of making different baskets (Doka.Dala, Tokri), wooden casks (Theki,Harpia, Naliya) for keeping curd, butter and ghee, mattresses (mosta) and ropes etc. The art of hilljatra mukhotas (masks) is also worth mentioning.

[b]FOLK DANCES[/b]

Jhodha

Jhodha dance is the most famous folk dance of Kumaon. People belonging to different caste or creed, perform this dance, irrespective of any discrimination, in almost all festivals.

Chanchi

Chanchi is also one of the famous folk dance of Kumaon. It takes place only in fairs. Mostly this dance is based on religious songs, something related to nature etc.

Cholia

Cholia is one of the famous folk dance of Kumaon which is as old as 1000 years. Swords are being used by dancers in this dance.

[b]FAIRS & FESTIVALS[/b]

Almora
·        Doonagiri Mela
·        Syalde Bikhauti Mela
·        Gananath Mela
·        Kasar Devi Mela
·        Jageshwar Mela
·        Somnath Fair
Bageshwar
·        Dusshera Fair
·        Basant Panchami
·        Khatarua
·        Uttarayani Mela
Champavat
·        Purnagiri Fair
·        Devidhura Fair
Nainital
·        Vasantosav
·        Nandadevi Fair
·        Hariyali Devi Fair
·        Ranibagh Fair
·        Chhota Kailash Fair
·        Garjiadevi Fair
·        Sharadotsav
·        Holi Mahotsav
Pithoragarh
·        Jauljibi and Thal Fair
·        Punyagiri Fair
·        Hatkalika Fair
Udham Singh Nagar
·        Tharuwat Buxad Mahotsav
·        Ataria Fair
·        Chaiti Fair


[b]PILGRIMAGE[/b]
In spite of being worshippers of Lord Shiva and Shakti, the people of Kumaon have a rich tradition of folk deity worship. The heroes of some long - forgotten age have later on become folk gods and they give expression to the popular beliefs of the people. Each folk god has a separate story attached to his name and each one is remembered through some peak, temple or jagar ( a form of ritual folk poem). It is believed that Kumaon once had a tradition of Yaksha worship. The presence of "Naga" or snake worship is an indication of the reverence given to the brave. Besides worshipping the usual gods and goddesses associated with Hinduism, the people of Kumaon have also worshipped Kul Devatas ( family gods), Gram Devatas ( village gods), Naga Devatas ( snake gods), Bhumi Devatas ( land gods) and Veers ( the brave heroes).

Almora
·        Jageshwar Temple
·        Gananath Temple
·        Chaiti Temple
·        Katarmal Temple
·        Banri Devi Temple
·        Syahi Devi Temple
Bageshwar
·        Bagnath Temple
·        Chandrika Temple
·        Shri Haru Temple
·        Gauri Udyan
·        Bhadra Kali Temple
·        Baijnath Temple
Champavat
·        Purnagiri Temple
·        Devidhura Temple
·        Meetha Reetha Sahib
·        Mayawati Ashram
·        Baleshwar Temple
Nainital
·        Nainidevi Temple
·        Garjiadevi Temple
·        Kainchi Temple
·        Seeta Bani Temple
Pithoragarh
·        Dhwaj Shikhar
·        Patal Bhuwneshwar
·        Sun Temple
·        Mostmonu Temple
·        Mahakalika Shaktipeeth
·        Narayan Ashram
Udham Singh Nagar
·        Ataria Temple
·        Chaiti Temple
·        Nanak Matta

[b]LAKES[/b]
Nainital

Located in the heart of Nainital, it offers boating facilities on its emerald waters. Boat Club provides strip-sailed yachts with a professional yachtsman to do the sailing. One can also enjoy horse riding on the tree-shaded bridle path around the lake. Legend has it that while Lord Shiva was carrying the body of his consort Sati, who jumped into the sacrificial fire or Havankund which was organized by her father Daksha Prajapati, her (Sati's) eyes dropped out at his place and thus the place came to be known as Nayana Tal or Nainital.

Naukuchia Tal

Situated at an altituted of 1,219 mts. , it is a beautiful nine cornered lake ideal for fishing and watching migratory birds. Accomodation is available in tourist Rest House & private resorts.

Bhim Tal
The town of Bhim Tal is situated around a huge lake. It is 11 kms. from Bhowali. The lake is with an island. The name of Bhim Tal is linked to the legendary Pandava Prince, Bhima and Lord Shiva. Boating facilities are available. Tourist Rest House and Zila Parishad Dak Bungalow exist.

Lake Length 1677.5m
Lake Depth 26.6 m
There is an island within the lake.
Catchment area is about 12 sq. km

Khurpa Tal

A real paradise for anglers, the lake is inhabitated by numerous fishes. It is 10 kms. from Nainital and is surrounded by green terraced fields.

Sat Tal

At a distance of 22 kms. from Nainital, Sat Tal constitutes of seven interconnecting lakes and forms one of the most picturesque resorts in the Kumaon hills. It is well connected by bus services and conducted tours from Nainital.

Shyamal Tal

Shyamla Tal is 132 kms. from Pithoragarh and 58 kms. from Champawat. Swami Vivekanand Ashram is located here at the bank of the lake. The blue coloured lake of Shyamla Tal is spread over an area of about one & a half sq. kms. This place has some ruins dating back to the days of the early Chand rulers and others which are associated with the Pandavas.

[b]DISTRICTS, CITIES & Other Places[/b]

[b]ALMORA[/b]
Perched atop a 5 km long saddle-shaped ridge of the Kashaya Hill, Almora at an altitude of 1646 m is a charming mountain resort in the Himalayas. It was founded by Raja Kalyan of the Chand Dynasty in 1560 A.D. Traces of the old Chand Fort, paved roads, wooden houses with beautifully carved facades and homes decorated with traditional ‘Alpana’ murals still reflect Almora’s pride in its heritage.

ALMORA - TEMPLES

Jageshwar Temple

Jageshwar, a cluster of large and small temples and of the Swayambhu (Jyotir Linga) Lingas to be found in India, is at a distance of 34kms. along the Almora - Pithoragarh road. Leaving the main road behind, one moves into the beautiful valley of Jataganga at Aartola and passes by the Daneshwar temple along the way, Innumerable Deodar trees tower above the grand temple complex. The complex, consisting of 124 temples and hundreds of statues, is famous for its exquisite craftsmanship.

Gananath Temple

The Gananath Mandir which is famous for its cave and Shiva temple is 47 kms. from Almora and near the Satrali village (Takula) at an altitude of 2,116 mts. A fair is held here at every Kartik Purnima and the whole place resounds with the echoes of folk songs, which are invariably accompanied by enchanting folk dances. The Kuri Master, Sahib Chandra Shekhar Lohani belonged to the nearby village of Pant Satrali. Takula is famous for its Holi celebrations. One can also reach Gananath via Ranman and Someshwar.

Chaiti Temple

The sacred temple of Gollu Devata at Chitai is situated 6 kms from Almora, along the road to Pithoragarh. The Kumaonis have great faith in presiding deity of this temple, which is virtually laden with bells. Goats are sacrified as offerings in the temple. This temple was at one time, a virtual law court, for the deity receives many pleas from the distressed and oppressed.

Katarmal temple

The imposing Surya temple (Bara Aditya) of Katarmal situated at an altitude of 2,116 mts., is 17 kms. on the Almora-Ranikhet road, (3 kms. on foot), after the picnic spots of Hawalbagh and Matela, across the river Kosi. This is the only Sun temple in this part of Kumaon.

Banri Devi Temple

26 Km from Almora, (10 Km on foot) along the Almora - Lamgarha road, is the temple of Banari Devi (1900m). From Paudhar one has to walk for about one Km to reach this octagonal temple in which one can see a broken stone statue of the four - armed Vishnu sleeping atop the Sheshnag. Close to this is the temple of Kutumbari devi. Both these temples are said to have been constructed in the ninth century A.D. and can be reached from Jalna, Salum, Jayanti and Shahar Phatak also.

Syahi Devi Temple

The temple of Syahi Devi is situated near Sheetlakhet at a distance of 36 Km from Almora and it can be reached both by bus and on foot. This snow-clad Himalayan peaks look truly enchanting from this point.

[b]BAGESHWAR[/b]
THE ADOBE OF GODS

"Heaven, earth and mild-air Have given me this wide space, And all cosmic powers Together have endowed me with the intellect."

(Atharva Veda 12/1/5)
Welcome to Bageshwar and feel the spirit of the divine in all its bounty….

This pilgrim town, an important centre for Shiva worshippers, lies at the confluence of Gomti and Saryu rivers. A temple dedicated to Bagnath, built by Raja Laxmi Chand is the venue for the annual fair. Situated at the confluence of river Saryu, Gomti & the latent Bhagirathi, lies the holy township of Bageshwar; also revered as the pious land associated with Lord Sadashiva, the redeemer of all sins.

Bageshwar, 90 and 81 km from Almora respectively via Kausani and Takula, is an important centre for Shiva worshippers and considered being the place where Markandeya Muni had lived and Lord Shiva had wondered about as a tiger. The present ‘Bagnath’ (bagh means tiger) temple was constructed by Lakshmi Chand in 1602 A.D. Close to this is the old Vaneshwar as well as the more recently constructed Bhairav temples.

The various statues in the temples date back from the seventh century A.D. to the sixteenth century A.D. This town is not only famous for the Bagnath temple, its sacred confluences and the Uttarayani fair, which is held in mid January every year, but it is also very closely related to the freedom struggle. Moreover, it was in this town that, in January 1921, the movement against coolie begar reached its peak and finally the oppressive system was abolished.

BAGESHWAR - TEMPLES
Bagnath Temple

Situated in the heart of the town lies the ancient Shiva temple. The temple is flooded with devotees on the annual occasion of Shivratri. This places has a cluster of temples Prominent among these temples are the Bhairav temple, Dattatery Maharaj, Ganga Mai temple, Hanuman temple, Durga temple, Kalika temple, Thingal Bhairav temple, Panchnam Junakhara & the Vaneshwar temple.


Shri Haru Temple

Another important temple the shri Haru Temple, is situated at a distance of about 5 km. from Bageshwar .The devotees believe that prayers for wish fulfillment here never go in vain, Every year, a large fair is organised on the Vijaya Dashmi day following the Navratras.

Chandrika temple

A beautiful temple dedicated to Goddess Chandika stand at a distance of about half a kilometer from Bageshwar on the top of the mountain. Every year the temple bustles with activity as the devotees congregate here to offer pujas to the deity during the Navratras.


Gauri Udyan

This is situated 8 kms from Bageshwar. A large cave measuring 20x95 sq., mts. is situated here, which house idols of Lord Shiva.temple.


Bhadra Kali Temple

Ancient Bhadrakali temple stand very near to Kanda a picturesque place is a treat for nature lovers and is situated at a distance of 25 kms. from Bageshwar.


Baijnath Temple

Situated at a distance of 26 kms form Bageshwar, Baijnath stand of the bank of river Gomati many temple with idols of Shiva and parvati can be visited.

CHAMPAVAT
Nature at its Captivating Best

The stupendous Himalayas are in fact a great life-force in themselves. Even several life times would perhaps be insufficient to unravel the thousand mysteries, to understand the innumerable lofty peaks, pilgrimage centres, glaciers, meandering streams & rivers, enchanting lakes and the rural charm of villages amidst snow-capped mountains.

76 kms. from Pithoragarh headquarters, Chamapwat is situated 1615 mts. above sea level. Champawat, once the capital of the rulers of the Chand dynasty, is famous for its natural beauty and well known temples. The ancient fort, now houses headquarters of the Tehsil office. A historical spot, Champawat has many well known temples of high artistic value.
The Baleshwar temple is the noted attraction of Champawat. The Nagnath temple at Champawat is also an excellent example of ancient architecture of Kumaon.

CHAMPAVAT - TEMPLES
Purnagiri Temple
At a height of 831 mts. Purnagiri is 20 kms. from Tanakpur, 171 kms. from Pithoragarh & 92 kms. from Champawat. Purnagiri temple is visited throughout the year by devotees from all parts of the country, who come here in large numbers, particularly during Cahitra Navratri in the Month of March. The surrounding valleys echo with the holy chantings of the devotees climbing up to the top for darshan, creating an atmosphere of spirituality.


Devidhura Temple
At a distance of 45 kms. from Lohaghat, Devidhura is famous for its Barahi temple where the traditional Bagwal (fair) is held once every year on the festival of Raksha Bandan.


Meetha Reetha Sahib
It is at a distance of 72 kms. from Champawat. Guru Nanak is said to have visited this place and had spiritual discussion with Gorakhpanthi Jogis. The Gurudwara was constructed in 1960 at the confluence of Lodhiya and Ratiya rivers near village Deyuri. There are trees of Metha Reetha (Sapindus emarginatus) in the Gurudwara premises adjoining it is the temple of Dhernath. A fair is held at the Gurudwara on Baisakhi Poornima.


Mayawati Ashram
22 kms. from Champawat and 9 kms. from Lohaghat, this Ashram is situated at an altitude of 1940 mts. Mayawati shot into prominence after Advait Ashram was established here. The ashram attracts spiritualists from India and abroad.


Baleshwar Temple
Baleshwar is the most artistic temple of the district. There are evidences that the group of the temple dedicated to Baleshwar, Ratneshwar and Champawati Durga were built by the early kings of the Chand dynasty. The temple once had intricate structural features and a sanctuary with a ‘mandap’ The intricate carvings still visible on the ceiling of these temples are an evidence of their ancient glory and artistic excellence.

CHAMOLI
In the arms of the Heavenly Himalayas lies enchanting land of Chamoli, which seems to be a benediction on earth. A blessed spot, the place seems to have been particularly dear to Lord Shiva, the important to all hundreds of shrines of Badrinath. The Other shrines of religious importance are- Hemkund Saheb, three out of five Panch Kedar and Punch Badri, which are spread over the hills of Chamoli.
Nature herself has blessed Chamoli with a wealth of flower and fruit, set aglow and ripened by the golden rays of the sun and silver beams of the moon. During the mansoons, a thousand brilliant blooms bursts forth in the fascinating "Valley of flowers". The place reverberates with with spirituality and is associated with a number of legends.

It is in Chamoli that Hanuman is believed to have found the 'Sanjeevani' herb which revived the wounded and conscious Lakshman; it is here that the sage Ved Vyasa is believed to have composed his immortal epic The Mahabharata; and it is here that Guru Gobind Singh is believed to have meditated in one of his earlier births. It is to these hills that Pandavas are believed to have come to ask Lord Shiva's blessings and forgiveness for the sin of having killed their own kin. Here Karna, the son of Draupadi and Lord Surya, performed austerities to be bestowed the Kavacha and kundala that made him invincible; Varuchi compiled his Panini Grammer and Adi Shankaracharya attained enlightenment. Five out of six schools of Hindu philosophy have their beginnings in these hills that have been home to the highest flights of man's spirit in the past and the present.

Today, when the town-dweller is caught up in the mind-numbing pressures of the Jet-age, Chamoli beckons for a fascinating rediscovery of our roots, untouched by the pollution and hurly burly of urban life, waiting to open vistas of Nature in its pristine glower, leaving an unforgettable imprint on the mind of the visitor.

Fairs & festivals

Nanda Devi Raj Yatra is a very old traditioinal pilgirmage in vogue since the reign of Shalipal, a ninth century monarch. King Shalipal initiated a tradition that a big Pilgrimage would be rorganised every twelfth year to escort nandadevi to Her in- Law's place, near nanda Ghungti peak.

The trek is about 280 kms. and takes about 18 days to complete.

The golden image of Nandadevi is carried in a silver palanquin called "Nandadevi - Ka dola" Along wit the canopies broought by the Kunwar and is follwed by thousands of devotees in a long procession.

CHAMOLI
AULI
If you love the feel of chilly mountain air ripping through your hair, if you love the gush of adrenaline in your bloods and if you love to have fun, then you'll love to be in Auli. The breathtakingly beautiful mountain resort to Auli is cradled in the lap of the snow-capped peaks of Garhwal Himalayas in the Chamoli District. It is situated close to the holy shrine of Badrinath.
Auli is located at an altitude of 2500-3050 metres above sea level, and offers a panoramic view of Mt. Nanda Devi, Mana Parvat, Dunagiri, Beethartoli, Nilkanth, Hathi Parbat, Ghori Parbat, Narparbat and Kamet. The snow dressed slopes of Auli are covered with evergreen conifers and oak forests.

Once the training grounds for India's Paramilitary forces, the rugged terrain is considered the ultimate test of nerves and skills by skiers all over the world. The potential of Auli was adjudged by French and Austrian experts under the aegis of the Government of Uttar Pradesh, who compared it with the best skiing grounds of the world, and rated it as one of the best. Auli is today a promising ski spot, a perfect health resort and an ideal vacation resort, both for the winter and summers.

Auli is a famous venue for winter sports. Apart from the skiing festivals being held here since 1986, Auli plays host for the National Championships, held under the aegis of the Winter Games Federation of India, with technical and other backup assistance provided by various governmental and non-governmental agencies.

A much sought after tourist resort even in summers, Auli attracts hundreds of tourists from India and abroad to savour the panoramic view of the Himalayan ranges, to catch a lungful of fresh and unpolluted mountain air or simply to have some fun amidst the unspoilt frozen stretches.


Facilities at Auli
·        A state-of-the art Ski lift which has been imported from France. The Ski lift is 500 metres long which makes it the longest in the country.
·        The slopes of Auli also have the luxury of an 800 m. long chair lift linking the lower slopes with upper slopes.
·        A 3.9 Kms. long ropeway links Joshimath with the upper slopes of Auli. It covers a track distance of 4.15 Kms. and is the longest ropeway in Asia in zig back system.
·        Auli offers perfect skiing conditions. Seasonal skiers have a clean stretch of 10-20 Kms. of absolutely virgin slopes to sport on.
·        A 3 Kms. long slopes ranging from a height of 2519 mts. to 3049 mts. is a major attraction.
·        A 500 mts. long skilift carries skiers back to the slope top, thus saving them the trouble and time to bridge up wearing long skis.

CHAMOLI
BADRINATH
Badrinath, one of the' Four Dhams', is one of the most celebrated pilgrimage spots of the country and is situated at an elevation of 3,133 mts., guarded on either side by the two mountain ranges known as Nar & Narayan with the towering Neelkanth Peak providing a splendid back-drop. This revered spot was once carpeted with wild berries. Thus the place got the name "Badri van", meaning "forest of berries".
Facing the temple at the bank of Alaknanda river, there is a hot water spring known as "Tapt Kund". A bath in this spring is very refreshing to all travellers. A separate tank is available for ladies. The temple opens every year in the month of April-May and closes for winters in the third week of November. Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, the temple of Shri Badrinathji is 5mts. in height, built in the form of a cone with a small cupola of a gilt bull and spire.
Legend dates the temple prior to the Vedic age, though the present temple is believed to have been established by Adi guru shankaracharya. The temple has been renovated several time due to earlier damages by avalanches and look modern now with a colourful " Singh Dwara " or the main entrance gate. The temple has three parts - Garbha Grih ( The Sanctum Sanctorum), Drashan Mandap ( for pujas) and Sabha Mandap ( for devotees to assemble).
Places of Interest

Panch Dharas : (a) Prahalad Dhara (b) Kurma Dhara (c) Urvashi Dhara (d) Bhrigu Dhara (e) Indra Dhara

Panch Shilas : (a) Narad Shila (b) varaha Shila (c) Garurh Shila (d) Markandeya Shila (e) Narshingh Shila.

Tapt Kund : Natural thermal springs on the bank of the river Alaknanda, where it is customary to bathe before entering the Badrinath temple.

Narad Kund : A recess in the river, near Tapt Kund, forming a pool from where the Badrinath idol was recovered.

Brahama Kapal : A flat platform on the bank of river Alaknanda. Hindus perform proppitiating rites for their deceased ancestors.

Sheshnetra : 1.5kms. away is a boulder having an impression of the legendary serpent, better known as the Sheshnag's eye.

Charanpaduka : 3kms. away is a beautiful meadow where the footprint of Lord Vishnu is seen on a boulder.

Neelkanth : A pyramidal shaped snowy peak ( 6,600mts.) towering above Badrinath presents a dramatic sight. It is popularly known as the ' Garhwal Queen'.


Other Four "Badris"

Yog Dhyan Badri : The temple of Yog dhyan Badri, one of the five Badris is located at Pandukeshwar ( 1920mts.) just 24kms. short of Badrinath on Rishikesh - Badrinath highway. The image, depiciting a meditative posture of the Lord, is worshipped here. the Pandavas are said to have handed over Hastinapur to king Parikshit and retired here.

Bhavishya Badri : The temple of Bhavishya Badri is at an elevation 3641mts., and is surrounded by dense forests. It is located at Subain near Tapovan, about 17kms. east of Joshimath on Joshimath - Lata Malari route. Pilgrims have to trek beyond Tapovan, up the Dhauliganga river.

It is believed that a day will come when the present route to Badrinath will become inaccessible and Lord Badrinath will then be worshipped here. Hence the name ' Bhavishya Badri' which literally means the " future Badri".

Adi Badri : Approachable from Karnprayag by a motorable road on the way to Ranikhet, are remains of 16 small temples. Seven among them are ancient ones, belonging to the late Gupta period. The credit for building these temples is generally given to Shankaracharya. The main temple of Narayan is distinguished by a raised platform in the pyramidal from where the idol is enshrined. sculpted out of black stone, the idol of Lord Vishnu is a metre high.

Vriddha Badri : Situated at an altitude of 1380mts. and at a distance of 7kms. from Joshimath is Animath, the place where several centuries before the advent of Adi Guru Shankaracharya, the idol of Badrinath was enshrined and worshipped. The idol is known as vriddha old or the first Badri and the temple remains open throughout the year.

CHAMOLI
GOPESHWAR
Gopehswar is the headquarter of Chamoli district, situated at an elevation of 1308 mts. above sea-level. It is a picturesque place with salubrious climate. An ancient temple of Lord Shiva is the main attraction of the town and thousands of pilgrims come here throughout the Year to visit the temple.
Owing to its natural beauty and fresh and serene atmosphere, Gopeswer is becoming a major attraction for the tourists. Many well know tourist spot and riligious centre are spread around this town. According to historians, the name Gopeshwar has associations with the name of Lord Krishna.

Besides the ancient temple of Lord Shiva, Vaitarni Kund, a group of temples without idols and Oak View are other places of interest.

CHAMOLI
HEMKUND SAHIB
T his scared Sikh shrine is situated on the shores of the Hemkund lake ( 4320mtrs). It marks the place where Guru Govind Singh, the tenth and last Guru, unified with God after prolonged meditation in his previous birth. The guru's autobiography which contains a description of the place helped two devout Sikhs, Sant Sohan Singh and Havldar Mohan singh to rediscover it. According to Hindu mythology, Hemkund or Lokpal as it is also known, is where Lakshman had done his penance.
Hemkund is a 15km trek from Govindghat, which is the gateway to the Bhyundar or Lakshman Ganga valley. Govindghat is one of the bus route to Badrinath. The trek from here to Hemkund takes one through forests of pine and rhododendron where wild roses, ferns and alpine flowers bloom. The surging waters of the Lakshman Ganga are also visible. The last 5km of the trek entails a steep climb from Ghangharia, which is a base for visiting Hemkund.

Hemkund Lake is about 2km in circumference. Its clear, still waters mirror images of the Saptashringa Peaks (5500mtrs) which surround it. Bits of ice still float on the waters between July and October, the best season to visit Hemkund. The rockstrewn shores of the lake are covered with moss and flowers in bloom.
Places of Interest

Gurudwara Hemkund Shaib : This imposing star-shaped structure of stone and concrete masonry is one the shores of the lake. An outlet behind the Gurudwara is source of the Lakshman Ganga.

Temple of Lord Lakshman : A small temple nearby, dedicated to Lord Lakshman.


Places around Hemkund Sahib

Ghangharia : 5 Kms. situated in the midst of a pine grove Ghangharia serves asa base for visiting Hemkund Shaib. it is the last human habitation in the valley. A tourist Lodge, log huts, tents and a Gurudwara provide comfortable accommadition.

Govind Ghat : 15 kms.The confluence of the Alaknanda and Bhyundar or Lakshman Ganga. it has an imposing Gurudwara named after Guru Govind Singh.

CHAMOLI
JOSHIMATH
Adi Guru Shankaracharya, who came all the way from Kerels in the 8th Centuary A.D, perform penance under a tree here and after getting enlightenment, established a Marh (religious centre), known as "Joshimath". The name Joshimath is derived from it. Temple of Narsingh and Nav Durga are located here.
Of special scenic interest are orchands a apples, apricots, peaches, lemons and maltas spread all over. Tourist Bungalows, Hotels and Dharamshalas are available.

Joshimath is situated on the slopes above the confluence of Alaknanda and Dhauliganga. Of the four 'Maths' established by Adi Shankaracharya, Joshimath is in the Badrinath to Joshimath and installed in the temple for people to worship. There are many temples in the township most important is the temple of Nir Singh in commotion of Lord Vishnu. The left arm of this deity is with time and the popular belief holds that the day the the arm completely withers Badrinath valley will cease to exist and the Gods will transfer the residence into the neighboring Niti Valley at Bhavishya Badri. Joshimath is connected by regular bus service to Rishikesh, Haridwar, Badrinath and many other centres in the region
Places of Interest :

Deoprayag : 70 Kms. The confluence of the Alaknanda and Bhagirathi rivers, Deoprayag, commonly believed as the place of birth of the gang, is an important pilgrimage, amongst its important temples area the Shiv Temple and Regular bus service operate and other neighboring centres.




Around Joshimath

Tapovan : In contrast to the Hustle-bustle of the city. Tapovan 16 Kms. from Joshimath is a peaceful place known for its hot springs which are believed to possess healing powers. Accommodation is available here.

CHAMOLI
VALLEY OF FLOWERS
It is nearly 5 Kms. in length and 2 Kms. in width. This valley has been declared a National Park to regulate camping, cooking, grazing etc. Which spells a danger to the local environment. The best season to visit this valley is during the monsoons in July & August when the countless flowers in bloom present a breathtakingly spectacular sight. This is a unique world of flowers-innocent, delicate and beautiful, that appear to smile back at you. In this valley of flowers, one is compelled to marvel at nature's divine beauty. The valley is also home to a large variety of wildlife.
This U-shaped alpine valley, formed by retreating glaciers, remains snow-covered from November to May. When the ice thaws in June, the valley is rich with herbs, medicinal and flowering plants, which burst into a profusion of colour in July and August. The month between mid-July and mid-August is the ideal time to visit. The Valley got publicised as the Valley of Flowers when Frank S, Smith - mountaineer, explorer, botanist camped here for several weeks in the monsoon of 1937 and wrote a book, The Valley of Flowers.

Because of the solitude, the Valley was used by sadhus during prolonged periods of meditation. The Valley has been associated with Lakshman, who is believed to have meditated on the banks of Hemkund. The 'Sanjeevani Buti', which revived him when he was wounded in battle with Meghnad, son of Ravana, is said to have been from here.
The Valley of Flowers National Park is above Ghangria in the upper reaches of the Bhyundar Ganga in the Zaskar Range of the Garhwal Himalaya, Chamoli District. Bounded by high mountain ridges and peaks on all sides, 8,950 ha of land were declared a national park with effect from September 1982.It is a 5 km trek from Ghangria, which is 13 kms from the roadhead at Govindghat, between Joshimath and Badrinath.


At an altitude ranging from 3,350 m to the peak of Gauri Parbat at 6,719 m, the Valley of Flowers is essentially the catchment area of the Pushpawati River, which is known as the Bhyundar Ganga, downstream of Ghangria. It consists of a glacial corridor, 7 km long and 2 km wide, with it's source in the Tipra Glacier which descends from Gauri Parbat. A wall of steep cliffs rises 2,000 m from the valley floor on the north side, while the terrain slopes less precipitously to the south. Being protected from the cold, dry winds from Tibet to the north and partly shielded from the full effects of the monsoon to the south, it has a distinctive climate. In the monsoon, mornings are often clear, but as the day progresses, clouds gather. The valley is snowbound from November to May.

The northern slopes are thickly forested with birch, rowan and rhododendron up to an elevation of 3,800 m with lichens carpeting the ground. The southern slopes at the base of the rock wall consist largely of meadows or bugyals, with a variety of alpine flowers, including anemones, asters, fritillarias, gentians, geraniums, larkspurs, lilies, orchids, poppies including the Himalayan blue poppy, potentillas and primulas, marsh marigolds. Medicinal herbs, such as rhubarb and aconite, are also found in the valley and Brahma Kamal, the celestial flower which is offered to the gods, grows on the higher reaches.

CHAMOLI
SACRED PRAYAGS
Karnaprayag : Among the Panch Prayags of Garhwal, Karnaprayag, situated on the confluence of Alaknanda and Pindari rivers, is at a height of 788 mts. The Pindari river, coming from the Pindari glacier, flows here. This place is also famous for the Karna Temple and the Uma Devi Temple. Here Karna, the son of Kunti and Lord Surya, performed austerities to be bestowed with the Kavacha and Kundala that made him invincible.
Hence, the place was named Karnaprayag. The meeting point of the Alaknanda & Pindari rivers, the Narayan temple, the Gopal and Shiva temples are worth visiting.


Nandaprayag : 21 kms. from Karnaprayag, on the main route to Badrinath, situated on the confluence of Alaknanda and Mandakini rivers is one of the major tourist halts known as Nandaprayag. It is believed that the pious and truthful king Nanda had performed a 'Yagya' and gave donation to the brahmins and thereby won the love and blessings of God. This place has been named after him as Nandaprayag. The famous Gopalji temple is also situated here.


Vishnu Prayag :
At a distance of 12 kms. from Joshimath on the Joshimath-Badrinath route, Vishnuprayag is situated on the confluence of Alaknanda & Dhauli Ganga rivers. This is the place where the divine mendicant Narad had meditated and received the blessings of Lord Vishnu. Kagbhusandi Lake is a small lake of emerald green water. Myriad blossoms decorates its banks during the season with some of the wildest profusion of colours. The lake can be approached either from Bhiundhar village, near Ghangaria or from Vishnu Prayag.


Keshav Prayag :
Keshavprayag is situated 3 kms. away from Badrinath near Bhimpul at the confluence of Alaknanda and Saraswati rivers.

Virhi :
8 kms. from Chamoli, Virhi is the confluence of Virhi and Alaknanda rivers.
DEHRADOON
Dehradoon is situated in the north Indian state of Uttaranchal around 235 km from Delhi. Dehradoon extends from the latitude 30° 19' in the North to longitude 78° 04' in the East. The city of Dehradoon is well connected to other cities of north India by rail, road, and air.
Best Time to Visit
Due to its location in the hilly part of the state, the climate of Dehradoon is salubrious. During the summer months, the temperature ranges between 36°C and 16.7° C. The winter months are colder with the maximum and minimum temperatures touching 23.4°C and 5.2° C respectively.
History of Dehradoon
Dehradoon is one of the oldest cities in India. In the Vedic times, the Garhwal Mandal, of which Dehradoon is a part, was known as the Kedar Khand. Legend has it that Guru Dronacharaya, a Brahmin teacher of warfare, considered Dehradoon a place fit for meditation & worship and therefore, the valley of Doon was christened Drona Ashram, which means "The Abode of Drona".

The written history of Dehradoon dates back to 250 BC and King Ashoka's inscription at Kalsi, on the outskirts of the city, is proof of this. There are 14 edicts carved on a rock and nearby is the site of three horse sacrifices by Raja Shilvarma of the Vrisheri dynasty. Large bricks with writing on them are laid out in the shape of a huge bird with a fire altar in the middle.

The Sikh saint Guru Ram Rai also camped here at the place where the present Guru Ram Rai Durbar is located. Like most other Indian hill stations, the British found the climate and the serene environment of this place closer to their home and established many well-known institutions here.
Places of Interest
Tapkeshwar is a cave temple dedicated to Lord Shiva on the banks of a seasonal river. Here, water falls on a shivling drop by drop from a rock and hence the name Tapkeshwar. It is 5.5 km from the city bus stand and is situated in the Garhi Cantonment area.

Robbers' Cave is 8 km away from the city bus stand and is an ideal picnic spot. Local bus service is available upto Anarwala village, from where the caves are only a kilometer away.

Tapovan is about 5 km from the city bus stand on the Dehradoon-Rajpur Road. The place is situated amidst beautiful surroundings and legend has it that Guru Dronacharaya underwent his penance here.

The Malsi Deer Park is a newly developed tourist spot at the foothills of the Shivalik range. The place is situated about 10 km from Dehradoon on the road leading to Mussorie. A mini-zoo with a children's park and lovely natural surroundings make it an ideal sightseeing cum picnic spot.

The Forest Research Institute here is the biggest forest based product-training institute in India. All Forest Officers in India are trained here.

Kalsi is a historical place with an Ashokan Pillar, which has inscriptions in Devanagari. An Ashokan rock edict built in AD 450 is also situated here.

There are a number of important institutions located in Dehradoon that provide different academic and research facilities. Some of them are the Anthropological Survey of India, Botanical Survey of India, Survey of India, Indian Institute of Petroleum, Rashtriya Indian Military College, Zoological Survey of India, Wildlife Institute of India, Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, Indian Institute of Remote Sensing, and Indian Military Academy.

Places around Dehradoon
Situated at a distance of 93 km from Dehradoon, at an elevation of about 7000 feet above sea level, Chakrata is known for its serene environs and sylvan charm. However, Chakrata is restricted for foreigners.

The Yamuna Hydel Scheme, Dakpathar, 45 km from Dehradoon, has emerged as a lovely tourist spot in the Western Doon valley. It encompasses lush green lawns and blooming gardens.

Sahastradhara is a cold sulphur water spring having high medicinal value. The dripping caves and a refreshing bath in the Baldi River rejuvenate the body and soul. The place is located 14 km from the Dehradoon city bus stand.

Lakshman Siddh is 12 km away from Dehradoon en route to Rishikesh. The road is motorable up to the temple. A large number of people visit this temple especially on Sundays. Legend has is that a saint underwent penance at this place.
·        Haridwar
·        Rishikesh
·        Mussoorie


Festivals of Dehradoon
The Jhanda Fair is celebrated to mark the arrival of Guru Ram Rai at Dehradoon. In the year 1699, Guru Ram Rai built a gurdwara, Guru Ram Rai Durbar and hoisted his flag on it. Now a fair is held on the sixth day after Holi every year in March/April and a flag (Jhanda) unfurled at the Jhanda Chowk.

A fair is held in February to celebrate Shivratri at the Tapkeshwar Temple, 5.5 km from Dehradoon.

The Lakhawar Fair is held at the village of the same name in the months of September-October every year. Many activities are held during the festival like dance, music, and sports competitions.

HARIDWAR
Haridwar is situated on the right side of the bank of the holy Ganga, and is the point where the river spreads over the northern plains. Associated with both Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu, Haridwar is among the seven sacred cities of India. It is also one of the four venues for the Kumbh Mela, held in its magnitude every twelve years. Essentially a religious centre which holds promise of salvation for devotees, Haridwar is also a centre of herbal medicine, and traditional studies at Gurukul Kangri. There are many places of scenic beauty on the outskirts of the town.

It is said that when the Gods left their footprints on the land of Haridwar, metaphorically they also left an indelible mark on the spiritual ethos of every Hindu – more so, the devout, who would later follow their holy paths all across this blessed land. Haridwar stands as the gateway to the four pilgrimages of Uttrakhand. Mentioned as Mayapuri, Gangadwar, Mokshadwar in the ancient scriptures and epics, Haridwar has always remained as a major Shaktipeeth for the devotees. Of such significance is Haridwar in the thought of India’s traditional Hindus that it has earned its sobriquet of honour, `the gateway to the Gods’.

Legend has it that the holy Ganga, the holiest of all rivers, which flows through this sacred city has actually been sanctified by the powerful Trinity of Hindu mythology and the centre of the pantheon – Lord Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh.

Down the ages, this special importance of Haridwar as the ever-refreshing mystic venue for the purification of the mind, body and soul gained more impetus…and today, manifests into great events that take place here, i.e. the memorable Kumbh Mela which happens once every 12 years and the Ardh Kumbh Mela, which comes once every six years. Yet, beyond the mystic aura and mythology, Haridwar casts another magic spell on the visitor. Being one of the oldest living cities, Haridwar finds its mention in the ancient Hindu scriptures as it weaves through the life and time stretching from the period of Buddha to the more recent British advent. Haridwar has not only remained the abode of the weary in body, mind and spirit, but also served as a centre for attraction for many, for learning the arts, science and culture.

Haridwar’s longstanding position as a great source for Ayurvedic medicines and herbal remedies as well as its unique Gurukul school of traditional education, the scenic beauty and lush greenery…all give the city a unique flavour and charm; a must among the sojourn centres in a discoverer’s itinerary of Western U.P. – A destination of all seasons.

Haridwar is one of the first towns where Ganga emerges from the mountains to touch the plains. And that’s why the water is crystal clear and cool. Lush green forests and small ponds adorns the scenic beauty of this holy land. The Rajaji National Park is just 10 kms from Haridwar. It’s an ideal destination for wildlife and adventure lovers.

In the evening the ghats look breathtakingly beautiful, as thousands of diyas and marigold flowers float and illuminate the Holy waters.

RISHIKESH
Rishikesh is one of the most popular pilgrim centres and gateway to the Himalayan Shrines of Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri. The Yoga Centres of Rishikesh have enhanced the significance of the place. From this point on, the great Ganges leaves behind her mountain home and enters the vast plains of Northern India.
One of the many pilgrimage destinations in the Himalayas, Rishikesh is where Raibhya Rishi is believed to have done penance to please God who appeared as Hrishikesh, hence the name. Millions of Hindus come here every year hoping to absolve their sins by bathing in the holy Ganga.
Legends abound here of renunciation, meditation, penance and salvation. It has developed into one of the better known centres for schools of yoga and meditation. It is also well known for several Himalayan Ashrams or religious retreats and for the availability of treatment for a variety of stress-induced ailments using meditation practices and ancient herbal techniques.


Places of Interest
Bharat Mandir: Built by Adiguru Shankra Chrya arround 12th centuray, Bharat mandir is situated in the heart of the old town on the Banks of the Ganges. Detailed account of this oldest temple of Rishikesh are available in anciant record of Kearkhand. The Inner sanctum of the temple has the idol of lord Vishnu, carved out of a single Saligram. In the inner canopy above the idol is shree yantra installed by Adi Sankraya Charya. The original temple was destroyed by Tamur lane in 1398 A.D. Lot of old statues , coins, pots and other things of historical importance were found in recent excavatiions in the premises of the temple.

Rishikund: Close to Trivenighat is the most anciant place, the rishikund. Anciant records relate this to Kubz Saint , who was blessed by the Goddess Yamuna by saturating this pond by its water.The pond reflects the temple of Ragunath , deicated to lord rama and his wife.

Triveni Ghat: The main ghat in the town area where most of the pilgrims take holy dip. Every evening hundreds of pilgrims attend the Ganga Arti at the Ghat.

Geeta Bhawan: One of the oldest temple complex in the area. The famous Indian epic Ramayana and Mahabharta are described here on the walls.

Tera Manzil Temple: A multistory temple complex of idols of hindu Gods, and Goddesses. Very popular among the domestic pilgrims. One can have an excellent view of the entire area from the top floor of the temple complex. Sunset view from this place in winters is a excellent option.

MUSSOORIE
Mussoorie, located some 250 miles north of Delhi, capital of India, is among the most popular hill stations of India, and is called the Queen among the hill stations. It overlooks the sprawling Doon valley and the city of Dehradun, the gateway to Mussoorie and infact to the entire Garhwal.
Mussoorie, a hill resort at a height of around 7000 ft above the sea level, straddles a ridge in the Garhwal Himalayas - a region which is developing into a major tourism destination. The holy and mighty river Ganga is visible from one end of the ridge and another famous river Jamuna from the other, a stretch of around twelve miles in all, from Cloud's end in the west to Jabarkhet in the east.
Although Mussoorie, as a hill station was established only as back as in 1823, it has quite an intriguing past. Mussoorie was never an official summer capital unlike Simla - a hill station in the state of Himachal pradesh which was the summer capital of the British Indian government and even unlike Nainital - the summer capital of the united provinces government in British India. Mussoorie always remained unofficial - for the affairs of heart. It has always been a gossipy place - with an air of informality and a tradition of romance - The Honeymoon capital of India.
Best time to Visit: The town is accessible all year round. For those who wish to avoid the cold, the best season is between April and June and again between September and November. Summer months will require light woollen clothing and winter- heavy woollen.
Places of Interest
Gun Hill: This is a pleasant 20-minute walk by a bridle path that forks of from Mall Road near Kutchery. A ropeway ride is also available to this second highest peak of Mussoorie. The distance by ropeway is only 400 meters. Gun hill offers a beautiful panoramic view of the Himalayan ranges namely Bunderpunch, Shrikanta, Pithwara and Gangotri group and a bird's eye view of Mussoorie town and the Doon valley. Prior to Indian independence (1947), a gun mounted on this hill used to be fired at mid-day to enable the people to adjust their watches; hence its name.

Kempty Falls: Buses or taxis can be taken to the waterfall, 15 km from Mussoorie on the Yamnotri Road at an altitude of 4500 feet. It has the distinction of being the largest and prettiest waterfall in the valley and is surrounded by high mountains. The stream flowing through a valley falls over a precipice and achieves its full intensity during the monsoons.

Municipal Garden: This picnic spot has a beautiful garden and an artificial mini lake with boating facilities. It is located at a distance of 4 km if you take the main road and is only 2 km on foot via the Convent road.

Camel's Back Road: The lovely promenade starts from Kulri Bazar near Rink Hall and ends at Library Bazaar making for a total distance of 3 kms. It is a popular road for walking or riding and is a grand spot from which to view the sunset. When viewed from near the Mussoorie Public School the spot resembles a camel's back.

Nag Devta Temple: An ancient temple situated about 6 kms from Mussoorie. It provides a charming view of Doon Valley and Mussoorie.

KAUSANI
At the hill resort of Kausani the mountains rise so dramatically as if to reach the heavens. In fact not just Kausani the entire Kumaon Hills have been known for their idyllic beauty with the huge mountains silhouetted against the sky.
Kausani was originally called Valna. Kausani offers the magic of the deep pine forests and the majestic mountains. Kausani the birthplace of the famed poet Sumitra Nandan Pant and is often referred to as the 'Switzerland of India' .

The major attraction at Kausani is that is offers wondrous vistas of the Kumaon Himalayas. You may enjoy the endless stretch of famous peaks like the Nanda Devi, Trishul, and the Nandakot.
While in Kausani you may move to the various vintage-points in order to capture the spectacular sights of the snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas that are spread majestically across the 300 km range. The sunrise and the sunset are the special moments for the nature lovers and the photographers alike.
there is the Anashakti Ashram a landmark of Kausani. The Anashakti Ashram is renowned for its association with Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the Nation. Till date the Ashram acts as a rest place for the weary tourists to Kausani. You will be able to catch some scintillating spectacles of the Himalayan peaks from the Anashakti Ashram. The magnificent library of the Ashram is worth visiting too.
Best time to Visit
The town is accessible all year round. For those who wish to avoid the cold, the best season is between April and June and again between September and November. Summer months will require light woollen clothing and winter- heavy woollen.
Places of Interest
Kausani is frequented by tourists for the panoramic views of the Himalayas. It offers excellent sightings of the Trisul (7,120m), Nanda Devi (7,816m) and the Panchchuli (6,904m). Frozen in time, this backdrop makes Kausani the perfect place for a holiday with the family. Kumaon at its best.

Anasakti Ashram: A quiet and revered place where the Father of the Nation spent some days. Set against the breathtaking beauty of the Himalayas, this place has been made into a memorial in his memory. In 1929, Mahatma Gandhi spent 12 days here. He was so enamoured of Kausani that he called it the Switzerland of India and brought his thoughts out in his book called Anasakti Yoga. The place where he stayed is called the Anasakti Ashram. Earlier the guest house of a tea estate now its an ashram and offers a good resting place for travellers and can accommodate 300 people. Every evening prayers are conducted in the main hall. It also has a library. There is nothing like the mesmerizing Himalayan sunset and sunrise from the Ashram premises.

Pant Museum: The famous poet of Hindi literature, Sumitranandan Pant was born at Kausani. A little away from the bus stand is a museum named after him. The house which has the museum is the poet's house of his childhood days. His daily use articles, drafts of his poems, letters, his awards etc. are displayed here.

Lakshmi Ashram: 1 km away from the Anasakti Ashram, this place is a center run by women who do social service. Gandhiji's disciple, Sarala Behen spent her life here doing social service. This ashram is located in a solitary area in a dense jungle.

NAINITAL
Nainital, at a height of 1938 m, is situated around a blue lake, which is shaped like an eye or the crescent. Surrounded by thick forests of pines and deciduous trees. Charming locales and elegant villas nesting in wooded slopes has turned Nainital into a popular hill resort. Nainital is 36 km from Kathgodam via Ranibagh, Dogaon and Jeolikote and is also linked by road to Bhowali and Kaladhungi. It was after 1841 the people started setting in the wilderness, which is very close to the plains, and the nearest railhead. It is situated around a lake (Tririshi sarovar or Nainital), which is shaped like an eye or the crescent.
On the one hand, the tapasya (penance) of three rishis- Pulah, Atri and Pulastya- is associated with the formation of the lake; on the other hand is the story which says that the lake was formed when Sati’s eyes fell off her body, which Lord Shiva, was carrying after sati had committed suicide because her father had insulted her and Lord Shiva, during a Yagya. Some geologists informed thousands of years ago because of the damming up of a river and tectonic movements.
The 150-year-old Nainital houses the Commissionary; district headquarters and has a number of schools and collages. The headquarter of Kumaon University, KUMAON MANDAL VIKAS NIGAM, Kumaon Anusuchit Janjati Nigam, Nainital Bank, Kurmanchal Bank, Almora Nainital Gramin Bank, and U.P. Administrative Academy, as also the regional office of the Song and Drama Division are situated in Nainital. It also has many other zonal and district offices and Banks.

NAINITAL - TEMPLES
Nainidevi Temple
The charming hill resort of Nainital gets its name from the Goddess Naina Devi. A temple dedicated to the diety stand here.

Garjiadevi Temple
10 kms. from Ram Nagar on the way of Dhikhala, is a huge rock in the midst of river Kosi. This place has been named Garjiya Devi after the deity. A large fair is held here on Kartik Poornima. The deity is highly revered in the region.



Kainchi Temple
Bhowali is a famous township for well known sanatoriums. Very near to Bhowali, on Almora-Ranikhet road is the temple complex of Kainchi.

Seeta bani temple
About 20 kms. from Ram Nagar is a place called Seeta Bani. Legend has it that Devi Sita, the consort of Lord Rama had entered into the lap of Mother Earth here. A fair is held here during Ram Navami

PAURI
" In the north (of India) there is a mighty mountain by the name of Himalaya the abode of perpetual snow, fittingly called the lord of Mountains animated by Divinity as its soul an internal spirit. Spanning the wide land from the eastern to the western sea, he stands, as it were like the measuring rod of the earth"

- Kalidas in Kumar Sambhavam -
Diverse in topography, the district of Pauri Garhwal varies from the foothills of the Tarai of Kotdwar to the soul- lifting meadows of Doonhatoli, sprawing at an altitude of 3,000mts., Which remain snowbound during the winter months. Pauri Garhwal is ringed by the districts of Chamoli, Nanital, Bijnor, Haridwar, Dehradun, Rudraprayag and Tehri Garhwal. Filled with places of tourist interest, most locations in Pauri offer a breathtaking view of the snow - laden Himalayan splendour.

Pauri City Is situated at an elevation of 1814mts. above sea-level on the northern slopes of Kandoliya hills, Pauri is the headquarter of the district Pauri Garhwal and the Garhwal Division. Pauri provides a panoramic view of the snow clad Himalayan peaks of Bandar Poonch, Swarga-Rohini, Jonli, Gangotri Group, Jogin Group, Thalaiya- sagar, Kedarnath, kharcha Kund, Sumeru, Satopanth, Chaukhamba, Neelkanth, Ghoriparvat, Hathiparvat, Nandadevi &
Trisul.


Places of Interest
Kandoliya
At a distance of 2kms. from Pauri, Kandoliya is a spectacular spot surrounded by dense forest. The temple of Kandoliya Devta is located here. One can have a panoramic view of the Himalayan peaks and Gangwarsyun valley.

Kyunkaleshwar Mahadev Temple
The beautiful temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and constructed in the 8th century A.D., is only 3kms. away from the main town. From here one can have a clear view not only of the lofty Himalayan peaks, but also of srinagar valley and other small places around Pauri.

Ransi
At a distance ofm 2.5 kms. from the town and at an altitude of 2,132 mts., Ransi is a beautiful picnic spot. Here is also a famous stadium where games & tournaments are frequently organised.

Laxmi Narayan Temple
Very close to the city bus stand, this is one of the important places of worship in Pauri.
Places around Pauri
Khisru
Lacated 19 kms. away from Pauri at an altitude of 1,700 mts., Khirsu is a peaceful spot, f
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Playing Holi with butter and milk in Uttaranchal

Postby vipinpanwar on Tue Aug 30, 2005 7:46 am

Playing Holi with butter and milk in Uttaranchal:

Dayara (Uttarkashi): People of Dayara, living at a height of 3,048 metres near Uttarkashi, celebrate Andudi festival, which is quite similar to the festival of colours -- Holi, but has a distinctive style of its own. Butter and milk are thrown on each other in place of colours.

During the festival, episodes from Lord Krishna’s life are enacted and villagers commemorate the occasion using curd, milk and butter with abandon and enthusiasm.

Celebrated between Rakshabandhan ( the festival of siblings) and Janmashtmi (the birth anniversary of Lord Krishna) in the month of August, the central attraction of Andudi festival is a couple dressed up as Lord Krishna and Radha who go around the village playing Holi with the villagers.

“This festival is being celebrated for past many years to mark the well-being of our cattle that are the only source of livelihood for us,” says Chandan Singh Rana, the former village chief, Bhatwadi village.

The festival is now a major tourist attraction.

Rajender Singh Panwar, the President of the Uttarkashi Hotel Association, believes that such local festivals will benefit the region’s tourism industry, helping people to earn more.

“When I visited this area three years back, I saw the distinctive way Holi is celebrated here and thought that we (Hotel Association members) can promote it. Thus, we introduced package tours during the month of August. We brought tourists to enjoy this distinct festival. Local people were asked to make arrangements for accommodation and food. Our basic aim for involving the locals was to provide them with an alternative source of income and improve their economic condition,” says Rajender Singh Panwar.

In the absence of basic facilities and promotion by the Government, this beautiful place remains unexplored by the tourists.

According to the residents of Uttarkashi, if the Government helps villagers of Dayara, the place can be developed into an major tourist spot.

“If Government provides loans to the villagers at low interest rates, they can improve their huts and set up tents for the tourists. By doing this the place can be developed as tourist spot,” says Major S.M.Jamnal, a local resident of Uttarkashi.

Tourism is the mainstay of the economy and has contributed much to the five per cent annual growth of the gross domestic product of the State since its creation in 2000.

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Re: vipin

Postby tehrijack on Mon Sep 12, 2005 5:33 am

hi vipin bhaee, i really appreciate your efforts.

You are a real uttaranchali



:smokin
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Re: vipin

Postby rajrawat11 on Mon Sep 12, 2005 6:04 am

Vipin bhai
you are doing very well.
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Jageshwar In Search of Shiva

Postby vipinpanwar on Fri Sep 16, 2005 7:44 am

Jageshwar In Search of Shiva

Jageshwar In Search of Shiva

Set amidst a tranquil and serene atmosphere, are nearly 200 temples built in hours of Shiva Mahadeva. Considered to represent one of the 12 Jyotirlingas in India, Jageshwar attracts thousands of devotees during Shivaratri very year.


After traveling through Himachal Pradesh, I decided to visit the Uttar Pradesh hills which are as fascinating as those of Himachal. Also similar is the remarkable temple architectural heritage. This was my purpose of visit-to establish affinities between the temple architectural styles of the two states.


Like numerous early stone temples of Himachal Pradesh, those built in the hilly tracks of Uttar Pradesh in the post-Gupta and medieval periods are unknown. Much less is known about their origins and history which is, no doubt, closely linked with the rise and fall or royal dynasties. All stone temples were commissioned by the royal patrons who wished to earn merit for themselves through this pious act. In very few cases, wealthy merchants got a temple constructed or renovated.


Recently I visited the little known town of Jageshwar situated about 34 kilometres from Almora town on the way to Pithoragarh and Naini. I got down from the bus at Aartola which is three kilometers away from Jageshwar, and decided to walk as I found myself amidst a very tranquil and serene atmosphere. The natural loneliness of the setting is enhanced by the tall deciduous deodar trees standing erect like silent sentinels with outstretched branches as though in protection. A serpentine river called Jata Ganga winds its way below the green forested mountain sloped and by the side of the flat space containing the temple complex. After covering about one and a half kilometers, I found myself in front of a gigantic temples structure known as Dandeshwar temple, dedicated to one of the aspects of Lord Shiva surrounded by some mini shrines. There is no image inside the sanctum sanctorum, but facing this temple is a small temple with a shivalinga. After a brief halt here, I proceeded on towards the tiny Jageshwar village and found a few small wayside shrines in ruin.


During the 4th and 5th centuries A.D., when the Gupta emperors held sway over a vast tract of northern and central India, the Kumaon hills were being goverened by an independent dynasty of Katyur kings. They are credited with having selected this site for building temples. The temples originally constructed during the Gupta period were renovated by the rulers of the Ghand dynasty that overthrew the Katyuris in the 7th century A.D. Numerous temple were constructed or restored during the Gurjara Pratihara era and also in the 15th and 16th centuries A.D.


The continuous chain of snowcapped mountain ranges looms large over this beautiful temple site where hushed silence reigns supreme and not a leaf rustles, as though afraid to disturb the stillness. This is a sacred site where nearly two hundred stone temples were built in honour of Shiva Mahadeva. The mighty force of the cosmic dance begins to work on our minds when we visit one temple after another. Most of them are dedicated to Shiva; he is addressed by diverse names. Jageshwara is only a corruption of Yogisvara (Lord of Yogis), Dandeshavara, Nilakantheshvara, Mahamrityunjaya, etc. These together with other temples dedicated to Surya, the Sun God, Navadurga (nine manifestations of the great goddess Durga), Kalika, Pushtidevi, Kubera etc. inform us that their builders professional Shivism, especially the Lakulish sect. Jageshwar is locally considered to represent one of the twelve Jyotirlingas in India, where thousands of Shiva devotees come to offer prayers during Shivratri, every year.


Of the numerous stone temples in this group, the Mahamrityunjaya temple seems to be the oldest dated approximately the 8th century A.D., while the others mentioned above including a few minor ones belong to the subsequent centuries. The temples of Surya, Navagraha and Neelkantheshvara are of late Katyuri age. It is said that originally four hundred temples existed here of which only about one hundred and eight have survived. Time and vandalism have destroyed the rest.


The temples belong to the simple Nagara style variety-a tall curvilinear spire sikhara surmounted by an amalaka (capstone) and a kalasha crown the square sanctum sanctorum, entrance to which is through a carved doorway. Most of the temples enshrine a stone lingam. Impressive stone images are seen around the altar. Two ashtadhatu(an alloy of eight metals) images are really superb. Particularly mentioned may also be made of a highly impressive image of Ganesha.

The Ekamukhalinga is one of the rarest specimens in northern India. The two lifesized dwarapalas (door guardians) outside the Jagannath temple are another attraction but one of them is badly mutilated which can be repaired, but the authorities seem reluctant to preserve them, despite the fact that all these great monuments are declared protected by the Archaeological Survey of India.


The local villagers told me that about 20 years ago, one of the three metal statues was stolen from these temples, but fortunately it was recovered. After this incident, the Archaeological Survey of India woke up to the need of preserving these images, but the steps taken were not completely effective. The images lying scattered in the temples were collected and stored in the sanctum sanctorum of a small temple and its door was locked.

Source:http://www.indiaprofile.com
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Jyotirlinga Sthalams Kedarnath

Postby vipinpanwar on Fri Sep 16, 2005 7:45 am

Jyotirlinga Sthalams Kedarnath




Kedarnath is situated in the Himalayan slopes in the Gharwal district of Uttar Pradesh. The uniqueness and greatness of this temple sees mention in the vedas, ithihaasaas, epics.

The term Kedara for the Lord denotes

* The Lord who holds the holy Ganges in his matted locks & allows it to flow evenly to the world.

* It could also mean the mark that is left on the Lord's head from the time when Arjuna got the Paasupathastram.

This shrine is located at an elevation of 11,735 feet above sea level. The region of the Himlayas, where the shrine is located is known by several names such as Gandhamadana parvatham, Sumera parvatham, Pancha parvatham, etc. (Pancha parvatham, for this is the spot of five sacred peaks namely Rudra Himalayas, Vishnupuri, Brahmapuri, Udayagiri & Swargarohini.

The exterior of the temple is rather simple, but the interior is adorned with marvellous sculptures. In the garba griha is an irregular shaped conical rock which is about five feet by four feet. Lord Siva in the form of jyotirlingam is worshipped here as Lord Kedareshwar. It is believed that the jotirlingam is actually the rump of the bull, which was the form that Lord Siva assumed, when the Pandavas tried to reach him to atone the sins of the Kurukshetra war. Since it was not time designated for humans to worship the Lord here, Lord Siva tried to go away in the form of a bull. It is believed that temple structure that exists till date was actually the one constructed by the Pandavas.

The sannadhi of the Lord is facing South. There are the idols of Kedaragowri, Krishna, Pandavas, Draupadi, Vinayagar, Veerabadrar, Kaarthikeyan, Nandi.. The shrine is covered by snow for 6 months in a year (closed from Oct-Nov upto Apr-May). It is believed that this is the time when the Devas are worshipping the Lord.

There is mountain path called Sorga Vaasal, through which the Pandavas, Sankaracharyar are supposed to have gone through. he river Mandakini flows down from near this area

Source: http://www.saigan.com
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Exploring nature and mythology

Postby vipinpanwar on Fri Sep 16, 2005 9:16 am

<!--EZCODE BOLD START-->Exploring nature and mythology
Tarun K. Roy
<!--EZCODE BOLD END-->

A trek across the lesser-known Darma Valley takes Tarun K. Roy through some of the most scenic vistas that the Kumaon Himalayas can offer.

A village on the trekking route to Darma Valley.

Kumaon Himalayas, one of the most beautiful geographical regions of the Himalayas, cradled with lofty mountains, lush virgin forests and high passes, is popularly known as the jewel of the Himalayas. Darma valley, perhaps the most scenic among those in this region, flaunts its lush chirpy forests, cascading waterfalls, sparkling streams, majestic Panch Massif, charming alpine meadows naturally carpeted with tiny wild flowers, quaint villages, rich cultural and architectural heritage and mythology. The gushing Dhauli Ganga that flows through the valley is a source to the socio-economic life of the people of Darma valley.

The first leg of the journey to Pithoragarh starts from Delhi. Pithoragh is located in a small valley at an altitude of 1,645 metres. The second leg between Pithoragh and Subla is 131 km and takes about seven hours by road. En route, comes a picturesque small town — Dharchula, an important camp of the Kailash Mansarowar Pilgrim Trek, situated on the bank of river Kali, at an elevation of 915 metres, just 96 km away from Pithoragarh.

From here on it is a winding zigzag uphill route to Sobla, where ordinary rooms on hire for night-stay, simple vegetarian food and mules on hire for carrying the extra loads are available for the trek through the Darma valley.

Darma Valley, which is a delight for the trekkers to explore, passes through a several quaint villages en route, where the trekkers may experience the unspoilt and unexplored natural, cultural and architectural heritage of the region.

According to mythology, it was at Darma valley that the Pandavas cooked their last meal on the five peaks of Panch Chuli Massif before leaving for Heaven. `Panch Chuli' literally does mean `five pointed oven'. The trek gradually climbs up from Sobla through this valley along the upstream of Dhauli Ganga and passes through Dhar and Bungling village, a picturesque hamlet perched on a rocky mountain. The trek then reaches Sela village, located at an altitude of 2,700 metres. Simple lodging and restaurant facilities are available here. The entire trek is enchanting as it passes through chirping coniferous forests dotted with villages. . Each village is rich in its traditional culture, custom and mythology. It is believed that each village is protected by the village deity and every village has a primary school and a post office. The post offices and schools remain open for six months in a year. The mail runners walk to and fro everyday about 24-36 km, carrying the mails on their back, which reminds us the mailing service of the early 19th century!

Duktu to Meola Glacier is an hour's trek along the Duktu Nala and another hour's arduous trek to the Panch Chuli Base Camp across the glacier. Panch Chuli Base locates at the height of 3,600 metres — a greenish alpine meadow with enchanting waterfall and blooming flowers.

But trekkers are advised to camp for a night near the Meola Glacier snout for proper acclimatisation. The trekkers have to arrange their own camping gears or on hire through the agencies and bring their provisions. The adventure enthusiasts may also experience paragliding, rock climbing or river rafting on Dhauli Ganga. The Darma Valley from Duktu ends at the Lipu Pass, at 5,334 metres. It takes three days for comfortable return trek between Panch Chuli Base Camp and Sobla.

Source: http://www.blonnet.com/life/2002/06/17/ ... 160300.htm
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Old Tehri: The story of a dying town

Postby vipinpanwar on Fri Nov 04, 2005 10:34 am

Old Tehri: The story of a dying town

Old Tehri town is turning into a watery grave. Its history lies threatened in the name of development – dams in this case.


Amidst the ruins, the Queen Victoria memorial still stands majestically in Old Tehri town which is slowly meeting a watery end. Built by the late Maharaja Kirti Shah in 1897, this Victoria memorial, locally known as “Ghanta Ghar”, is a mute spectator to the historic events of Old Tehri during its brief but eventful 189-year-long history.

In 1815 King Sudershan Shah chose this part of the Garhwal Himalayas to be the new capital of his kingdom, and laid the foundation stone on the banks of the River Bhagirathi, considered to be the holiest of the holy in Hindu mythology. Much water has flowed down the river since then.

But the month of August did not augur really well for both the Old Tehri town as well as its tormentor – the very controversial 2400 mw dam, which is being dubbed as a “time bomb” by environmentalists due to the seismic fragility of the Himalayas.

As the flood waters of the Bhagirathi continue to inundate several parts of Old Tehri, the local people fear that the big dams in the name of development are taking its toll – at least for those who never wanted to leave their ancestral properties.

The countdown for Old Tehri has now begun as most of the areas have already been ruined by the dam authorities – a prerequisite almost to commissioning the Rs 6000-crore multi-purpose project. “We demolished all the infrastructure and residential houses because no one should return,” says Punit Kansal, District Magistrate of Tehri.

Death and destruction are increasingly becoming synonymous with Tehri. This is what the local people fear as they recount the numerous tales which have been handed down from one generation to another. In one such interesting account, King Sudershan Shah knew that the town would not last more than 200 years. The story goes like this: when King Sudershan Shah was building this capital, he was forewarned by his pandits that the age of the town might not cross 200 years. It is the soothsayers’ prophesy which is now being remembered by the old and the young alike. “We may be witnessing the last monsoon here,” says environmentalist Sunderlal Bahuguna, a bitter opponent of the dam, recounting the old yarn.

With the water level rising rapidly in the Bhagirathi reservoir of the Tehri hydel project in the wake of heavy floods, except for a few areas at a higher level, the town has turned into a lake. “Tehri is now being devoured by Bhagirathi,” laments Rajni Devi, whose house was also submerged in the water.

Going back to history, Sudershan Shah felt the need to build Old Tehri as the new capital of his empire immediately after the war of Khalanga and the invading British army which ended the barbaric rule of Gorkhas in the Garhwal region. The war of Khalanga led to Sudershan Shah getting back the Kingdom that his father King Pradyumn lost to the Gorkhas in the battle of Khurbura in the beginning of nineteenth century. For nearly ten years, the Gorkhas had ruled Garhwal, historians say.

After the Khalanga battle, the left flank of the Alaknanda river went to Sudershan Shah who thought it was better to shift the capital from Srinagar to a place called Trihari on the banks of Bhagirathi which is now known as Old Tehri.

From 1815 to 1949, descendants of Sudershan Shah ruled the town, the last being Maharaja Manvendra Shah, who is also a member of 14th Lok Sabha. However, it was during the period of the late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi that the Tehri project was conceptualised in the late 1960s. Soon, it became amply clear that the town would be engulfed by the Bhagirathi river reservoir on the completion of the project.

What is of interest is that Asia’s highest dam has attracted fresh controversy following the death of dozens of people in an underground tunnel. Many bodies were found floating inside the tunnel as the earth caved in when a group of labourers were present on that fateful night on August 2. The incident raises questions on the safety of the dam, which has not been resolved for almost three decades.

The latest disaster may have shifted the focus away from Old Tehri, whose fate seems doomed forever. Nevertheless, the incident has given a fresh lease of life to the town as the authorities are still mulling over the issue of closing down the last tunnel (T-2) which would stop the outflow of the Bhagrirathi river downstream once and for all.

As of now, the authorities are still dithering over the issue of closing down the T-2 tunnel. One fact remains: Old Tehri was once a flourishing city where businessmen had a roaring business. “This was the hub of business activity. People would come to Old Tehri to purchase all sorts of things,” an old-timer says.

However, younger generation, who grew up watching the development in the town, is least concerned. “I am not bothered about Old Tehri. There are other more important issues like jobs,” says Sanjiv Gairola, an unemployed youth.

Finally who is shedding tears for Old Tehri? Obviously those have lived in the town for years. They naturally understand the debate better. “This is the end of a civilisation,” says environmentalist Bahuguna. This is true. For it is only a matter of time before Old Tehri gets buried in the pages of history.

SHISHIR PRASHANT

in Old Tehri
Source: http://www.deccanherald.com
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A Tale Of Two Cities

Postby vipinpanwar on Fri Nov 04, 2005 10:38 am

Cover Story
A Tale Of Two Cities
_________________________



The road from Rishikesh to Uttarkashi, after climbing past the small towns of Narendranagar and Chamba, winds down to the Bhagirathi valley. A few kilometres off the Uttarkashi route, the road rolls over a small bridge into a rundown, dusty town. This is Tehri, once the seat of the Raja of Garhwal. Once a major centre of political and administrative activity, the town is now waiting for its death. This year, or perhaps the next, Bhagirathi will swallow it. To be precise, it will go under the lake formed by the Tehri dam on Bhagirathi. A few kilometres uphill, a new Tehri is being built. A memorial in cement to the old town.
At present, bureaucrats keep the city alive. Most government offices and personnel have shifted. At an altitude of 1,500 metres, the town is cool. Chir pines guard the well maintained roads within the town. The Rs 6,500-crore dam is expected to be completed in the next couple of years. The tunnels are completed. The power house is ready. Once the tunnels are closed, water from the Bhagirathi will flood the Tehri valley. It could happen this October, or may be the next. But it will certainly happen. An old town will then exist only in memory.

Like most Himalayan towns by the river, Tehri too looks away from the river. At an altitude of 670 metres, it is humid and yet the barren mountains that guard the town and the unceasing construction activity have turned it into a dust bowl. Built on the confluence of the Bhagirathi and Bhilangana, the town is situated on the left bank of the river.

At night, headlights of trucks passing through the town illuminate the barren mountains, like the fires which glow on hillslopes during summer nights.
Once, over 20,000 people lived in Tehri. Schools resounded with the laughter of children and people clogged the veins of the town. But this was when the dam was still a twinkle in the eyes of the planners sitting in Delhi. Gradually, that dream became a reality.

In 1995, the Old Tehri was officially laid to rest. Its populace was asked to move out — into the New Tehri, an hour’s drive uphill. Many did move — schools and offices. The others, older, more resistent are still waiting in the cobblestoned bylanes and bazaars of the old town, amidst the signs of death: crumbling buildings and eerie silences.

Wandering around the streets, a question pops up: When was a tin of paint last sold here?
‘‘No one does maintenance now, we know this will all be demolished,’’ shrugs J. P. Rathuri, a co-operative bank employee who also runs a lodge in the town. Rathuri can talk endlessly about how ‘‘foolish’’ it is to build such a big dam in the Himalayas. He had fought against it. He knows the cause is lost, yet believes the new town is inhospitable.

In the main market, shopkeepers sit in circles playing cards, unseen hands regularly replenishing their tea cups. ‘‘Petitions, demands... we have sent them all to the government, but there has been no response or action,’’ says Surajmani Dabhral, head of the Tehri Vyapar Mandal. Dabhral, who runs a small stationery store says there are about 1,000 shops in the town, of which 90 per cent are on rent. ‘‘The government has taken the position that only the landlord will be paid compensation. But most of us have been tenants for over 50 years,’’ he says.
The merchants’ association is demanding that each shopkeeper who has a shop registered before 1970 be paid Rs 5 lakh. There are more than 600 such shopkeepers. Until the compensation is paid, Dabhral threatens, the shopkeepers won’t shift. ‘‘By October 15, they say the tunnels will be shut. But we are all here. What will they do?’’ he asks with a trace of belligerance. Few shopkeepers, he claims, have moved to New Tehri. Shops have been allotted for those from Old Tehri, but they need to pay sums ranging from Rs 1.5 lakh to Rs 3 lakh to take possession.

But there is a trace of hollowness in his tone. Weary with the wait, there are many traders who are willing to vacate. However, the priest of the town’s oldest Shiv Mandir has a different dilemma: ‘‘My father lived here, as did his father, and his grandfather. I grew up in this compound. Now they say they have built a new temple up there but this Shiv linga is swyambhu. I don’t know how they will shift it. And can they give me all these jamuns, the peepals, the Bhilangana,’’ asks Ramchandra.

TEHRI was a result of the Anglo-Gurkha wars in the early 19th century. When the British captured Garhwal from the Gurkhas in 1815, they handed over the area on the left bank of the Alakananda river to the erstwhile Maharaja of Garhwal, Sudershan Shah. But they retained Srinagar, Garhwal’s old capital. Shah’s search for a new capital ended at the confluence of the two rivers. And Tehri was born.
Over the years, the town expanded. Buildings came up, businessmen moved in, the palace at Simalsoo, the clock tower, and the temple that housed the state deity, the Badri Vishal all came up. The city gained in character. The Raja lorded over Garhwal from Tehri. During the 1930s and 40s, the town was the centre of the people’s movement against the Raja and his court. The Praja Mandal agitation gained momentum here. It was at Tehri jail that Sridev Suman, Garhwal’s foremost freedom fighter, launched a fast unto death. After 84 days of fasting, 29-year old Suman succumbed to pneumonia. The New Tehri planners have not forgotten him. The new jail is named after him.

The mood in the town is baffling. Why isn’t anyone feeling strong about abandoning their homes? This town, where once the peasants of Garhwal, during the Kisan
Andolan of 1946-47, stopped the Garhwal Raja from crossing the Bhagirathi, this same town which declared freedom from the Raja and established an azad panchayat under Virendra Dutt Saklani.

The local Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Anasuya Prasad Dobral posits an interesting theory. He says Tehri’s population is composed of three types of people: the old residents, those who came after the Partition, and government employees who live in rented accommodation. Many of the old residents have migrated to the plains, leaving behind their property. They were only glad to sell off the land to the State. Those on rent, most of them government employees, have shifted to New Tehri. The post-1947 residents also do not feel so deeply about the town. ‘‘So who is there to agitate?’’ he asks.

The man who did is now quiet. Despite his cheerful appearance and his optimism, Sunderlal Bahugana has become irrelevant in Tehri. Right in front of his tin-roofed one-room shed, the dam wall is gaining height at a furious pace.

Bahuguna and his wife Vimla came to Tehri in 1989 to spearhead the resistence to the dam. In the intial years, he received the support from the town. Few fasts, hunger strikes, memorandums, assurances from the Centre, marches... the State and its dam survived him. His support too withered away. Most people settled for the compromise of compensation. He couldn’t recreate the fervour of Chipko in Tehri. Many of those agitating with him failed to empathise with the larger issues he was highlighting: the dam would destroy the fragile eco-system of the Himalayas. Yet Bahuguna, when we meet him, looks at the monstrous cement wall, the muddy Bhagirathi and smiles: ‘‘A dam is a temporary solution to a permenant problem.’’

He continues to be eloquent about the stupidity of a high dam in the quake-prone Himalayas. He argues how electricity could be made from Bhagirathi at Tehri without building the dam and the lake. But there are few listners. The town no longer needs him. Faced with the inevitable, they assess the old man on his ability to get them compensation. The bridge across Bhagirathi which connects Bahuguna’s shelter to the town can no longer bridge the gap between him and the townfolk.

Where is New Tehri? Rathuri pointed to the clouds. Far away on the mountain top, specks of light glimmered. That is Bhagirathipuram, the dam township. New Tehri is further beyond. But you can’t live there yet, says Rathuri dismissively.

The potholed road to New Tehri crosses the Bhagirathi, and past Bahuguna’s Bhagirathi kuti and begins to climb. An hour on the barren mountain, the first set of buildings appear. Concrete blocks with manicured trees guarding them. Jeeps and important-looking men with files move around urgently.

Bhagirathipuram welcomes visitors with a huge board detailing the vital statistics of the dam. At full height, the dam will measure 260.5 metres. Two power houses will generate 2,400 MW. The lake which will be formed by the dam will store 35,400 lakh square metres of water. Thrity-seven villages will be submerged in full, and 88 partially, and 9,000 families will be affected by the dam. From Tehri, 4,500 families will be shifted. Sexy!

New Tehri lives up to its inhabitants. Its the Indian town-planner’s town. Concrete boxes, some two-storeyed, some three, painted in sarkari grey favoured in most administrative buildings. For those familiar with Delhi, this is Sarojini Nagar on a hilltop.

One of the persons in charge of rehabilitation is willing to give basic details about the new town, but doesn’t want to be quoted. He puts the total cost of the rehabilitation and the building of the new town at Rs 650 crores. The town can accomodate 50,000 people, Old Tehri had only 20,000. So who is living here? About 70 per cent of the old town’s residents. The breakup is interesting, and revealing. Government employees constituted 50 per cent of the old town’s population. They have all moved in. And 20 per cent of the rest too have shifted. They have enough power. Bhagirathi water is now pumped into the town. So far, so good.

The government acquired six villagess for the construction of New Tehri. But few of these villagers got plots in the town. Most were packed off to Bhaniwala in the plains. The highest point on the hill has an old temple and the guest house. The old temple has a new enclosure which sports a foundation stone: Nayi Tehri ki panch devta mandir ka murthiyam ki prathista Shri S. P. Simh, adhyakash evam prabandh nirdeshak tehri jal nivas ke kar kamalom dwara shri... (S. P. Simh, chairman, Tehri Jal Nivas, has installed the idols of five devtas...). Munendra Dutt Uniyal, the priest, says so far he has not been paid any salary.

From here, the eye can scan the entire valley and the horizon from the hilltop. Uniyal says it snows here in December. On a clear day, you can see snow peaks. Well, like Shimla, this bureacratic town too could develop as a tourist spot. What if it lacks the character of the Raj town, it is much closer to New Delhi. Six hours by car, Delhi’s nouveau riche can skate on the snow in winter. They could then drive down to boat on the Bhagirathi lake. Eva Sharma, District Forest Officer, Tehri Dam Forest Division, has already drawn up plans to plant trees around the lake.
Perhaps, some years down, some resident of the old town would tell a young friend: ‘‘I once lived beneath these waters. It was a town called Tehri.’’

BY AMRITH LAL
http://www.expressindia.com
vipinpanwar
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Visit to Kausani - The Switzerland of India

Postby vipinpanwar on Fri Nov 04, 2005 10:50 am

Visit to Kausani - The Switzerland of India




It struck to us that the last vacation we had taken together was nearly 5 years back. We had then gone to Dalhousie, Khajiar and Chambha in Himachal Pradesh. We felt that a vacation was long overdue and therefore decided to go to the Chandralok Building on Janapath for exploring tour options. When we located the office of the Uttar Pradesh Tourism and mentioned that we wanted to visit Kumaon we received a cold response. Kumaon was now in the new State of Uttaranchal and no longer a part of UP. We were advised to call on the office of the Uttaranchal Tourism on the Barakhambha Road. We were not too enthusiastic to move around in the peak May heat and would have returned home but for an unexpected offer by Mathur, the official in the UP Tourism, that he could help us in fixing accommodation in private hotels in Nainital and Kausani. He pointed out that from the Hotel Krishna Mountview in Kausani a panoramic view of Himalayas can be seen and the hotel is good. We hastily drew our travel itinerary and within minutes accommodations were also booked in the Hotel Krishna at Nainital and in the Hotel Krishna Mountview at Kausani. Mathur also offered to make bookings for us for the overnight journey by bus from New Delhi to Nainital. We were told that the bus is air-conditioned and has reclining seats comfortable for sleeping. We least expected that by having agreed to travel by the so-called luxury coach we had fallen in a trap and we were now destined to experience nightmarish adventures. Agony and ecstasy, pain and pleasure come together and get enhanced by their intensity. In what follows I will share first the agony and conclude with ecstasy.





Agony

We reached Scindia House the boarding point for the bus well in advance of 9.30 p.m., the reporting time mentioned in the ticket voucher. A sense of fellow feeling relaxed us when we saw other would be co-passengers waiting for the bus. The bus pulled in at 10 p.m. Crescendo of excitement common at the start of journey soon subsided and we adjusted the inclination of our seats for obtaining a comfortable night sleep. But misadventures were in store for us. The bus abruptly stopped after moving for about 100 m. The conductor informed that the air-conditioning system of the bus has developed fault and the bus is being taken to Kashmiri Gate in the Old Delhi for getting it fixed. We were sitting captive as hostages for our ticket jackets in full were collected in spite of our protests and we were now at the mercy of the travel agency for our safe transportation to Nainital. Soon after we reached a crowded street near Kashmiri Gate where at 11 p.m. it appeared as the peak hour for the dhabas and small cabins of travel agencies. Dhabas were doing brisk business of serving meals to rickshaw-wallahas, music bandmasters and many others who after putting in hard day's work wanted to eat before calling it a day and sleeping on street. Stray cows were competing with human beings in eating and were scrapping from the street leftover food and litter. The place was a mess for it was stinking but life was going on in full swing. No better evidence of child labour was needed than to see boys who were 10 years old or less in age cleaning dishes in plastic tubs filled with dirty water and serving food to customers of dhabas. When I lost interest in the street scene I decided to see what was being done to our bus. Mechanics were busy fixing the fault using candlelight under the watchful eye of the owner of the bus who had showed up in response to the panic message sent by the conductor. By 1 a.m. it was announced that the fault had been fixed and the bus was ready to leave. Some passengers asked for part of the travel coupon for record, the owner of the bus shouted, " Rath ke ek baje kalesh mat karo aur bus ko chalne do (Don't create confusion at 1 a.m. and let the bus move)." We reconciled ourselves to our fate and prayed for a safe journey.



In the cool comfort of air-conditioning I soon fell asleep but was awakened by the loud announcement of the driver that passengers could have tea-coffee and snacks. It was 3.30 a.m. and we were stopped by a wayside dhaba at a town called Gajraula. I decided to skip early breakfast and continued with my sleep. Around 7 a.m. when we should have been at Nainital I woke up to find that the bus was parked by a dhaba called the Mountview. There were no mountains for another 150 km. On the other side of the road there was a long queue of trucks that were waiting for lifting wheat produce from the agricultural bowl of the western Uttar Pradesh. I thought that perhaps the bus had been stopped now for passengers to take their regular breakfast. As almost all the passengers were inside the bus and there was palpable tension I decided to get out and find out the reason for the unscheduled stop. I found out from a panwala that there is a big traffic jam and the traffic is stranded because of it. I also came to know that the bus was standing parked at this spot for over two hours and the driver of the bus had been soundly sleeping in the front cabin. Some of the passengers were by now quite upset at the callous attitude of the driver. Traffic, though in trickle, was moving but we were now sitting inside the bus with the air conditioning switched off and no prospect of continuing with the journey as the driver was sound asleep. Driver was woken up and asked to try to drive out of the traffic jam instead of meeting the need of his well-deserved sleep. He was cajoled and made to see his responsibility towards the passengers, many of whom had come out for a weekend vacation and were feeling miserable at having lost a day sitting in heat at some obscure wayside place somewhere between Muradabad and Rampur. Precious three hours had been lost but now the driver drove as though a man possessed. Bus started cruising by carving out narrow spaces in between parked trucks and incoming traffic through a two-lane road. Before long our good luck ran out. A police constable exercised his authority by threatening to smash the headlights of our bus for moving without paying to him his rightful consideration. He signalled to the driver to stop the bus. Now the driver looked back and challenged the passengers to come out to his help. We were now running five hours behind the schedule. As a gesture of mercy we were allowed to proceed but our luck failed us once again. No sooner we were out of the artificial traffic jam, as it was not due to heavy movement of vehicles but because trucks were waiting for daybreak for proceeding to granaries, our bus stalled, for it developed a major engine fault. We waited with bated breath while the driver and his helper tinkered with the engine. It was 11 a.m. now. We had not even brushed our teeth for there are no washrooms on highways.

After half-an-hour of tinkering the driver realised that he had no clue of what had gone wrong with the engine and decided to take the bus to Rampur, the nearest town where there was some chance of getting the fault fixed. Our bus moved like a tractor making phut-phut sound. Each kilometre covered brought a sense of relief. By 12.30 p.m. we reached Rampur. An expert mechanic examined the problem and declared that a crucial part of the transmission system has broken and it needs to be replaced. But the catch was that part could most likely be found in Haldwani, which was more than two hours away by road. Mechanic raised the sinking hope of the passengers by declaring that he was no less competent than the expert mechanics of Delhi and that he would weld the broken part and fix the fault and the bus can reach Haldwani.

I had recently come across a parable on the best way to face situations when man proposes and the God disposes. It is prudent to reconcile to the fate and not curse it. But many fellow passengers were by now so agitated that free expressions were given to feelings instead of exercising more patience and restraint. One woman who was travelling with her husband and four-year-old son entered the driver's cabin and gave him a piece of her mind. I overheard her telling the driver,"Your concern is only to earn profit for your owner by driving a bus unfit for road journey and sleeping coolly for three hours without any concern for the passengers." One of the passengers suggested that for teaching the owner of the bus a lesson we should each pinch wall-fan from above our seat as souvenir. Good sense prevailed and there was no vandalism of the bus by the passengers. Some passengers hired taxis and left for Nainital.





By 2.30 p.m. the fault in the engine was fixed. We were told that the bus was now fit to reach Nainital. Without any more breakdowns we reached Nainital by 6 p.m. We covered a journey of 9 hours in over twenty hours and that too in the peak heat of May without the cooling effect inside the air-conditioned luxury bus. The ordeal of the tortuous bus journey was over as soon as we settled down in our accommodation in Nainital. The worse was over and we had suffered enough agony to enjoy the ecstasy of the grand view of the Himalayas from Kausani and the beauty of the natural Nainital Lake.



Baba Neeb Karoli




We hired a Maruti Omni for our journey from Nainital to Kausani. On our way we passed Kainchi, which is a hamlet with the Ashram of Baba Neeb Karoli. We stopped there to visit the Ashram. I had first met Baba when I was 13 years old, as my parents were his devotees. Baba was childlike and full of love. Nobody knew his age. My grandfather when he was young also knew him and the story was that Baba looked the same to his devotees spanning several generations. He would appear and also disappear without any prior information. His devotees would contact each other to inform the presence of the Baba. I would like to share a small incident that I remember vividly even today. I went to see the Baba. When he saw me, he said, "Tu Bhola ka ladka hai? Tu padhane me acha hai (Are you Bhola's son. You are good in studies.)."

After spending some time in the peaceful environment of the Ashram we continued with our journey to Kausani. We reached Kausani by 4.30 p.m. It was raining and therefore valleys were covered with clouds, which blocked the Himalayas. Mahatma Gandhi had come to Kausani in 1929 for spending two days. He was so happy to see the unobstructed view of the Himalayan range spanning over 300 km that he called Kausani the Switzerland of India. He extended his stay by another 12 days and wrote his book on Anasakti Yoga. In memory of Gandhi's visit to Kausani the place where he had stayed has been made into Anaskati Ashram. Kausani is also famous for it is the birthplace of the poet laureate Sumitranandan Pant.







Ecstasy

In the four days we spent at Kausani the weather generally was clear except for the evening rains, but throughout the day there was haze that blocked the view of the Himalayas. Only for about 30 minutes before sunrise, which was around 5.15 a.m. the majestic Himalayas could be seen. We woke up each morning much before sunrise for seeing the Himalayas. Before the daybreak in the starlight it was easy to make out the outline of Trishul, which is the highest peak in the range. But with the sunrise clouds would rapidly move up and cover the range. All the same even the brief glimpse of the majestic Himalayas shining in the first rays of the sun created ecstatic feeling.

In the Indian mythology there is story of primordial churning of the Ksheer Sagar(primordial sea of milk) using the Meru Parvat(the Mount Meru) which was pulled on one side by the gods and on the other side by the demons for extracting out the Amrit(elixir for immortality). One morning we saw a sea of white clouds covering the valley. In the sea of clouds a hilltop covered with trees rose out like the Meru Parvat.






Words are inadequate for describing the aesthetic feelings experienced in witnessing that scene.




Baijnath


About 25 km from Kausani in the valley is the ancient temple of Baijnath. It is said that the temple is more than 1000 years old and the legend is that from here goddess Parvati went to marry Shiva and that this temple was built in one day.The temple is by the side of a river from which on a clear day Himalayan peaks are visible. We were told that the best time of the year to visit Baijnath is from January to March because then sky is crystal clear.

We next visited the Nanda Devi temple about 10 km from Baijnath. Like all temples in the hills the Nanda Devi temple is also on a hilltop and commands a towering view of valley below and snow covered peaks in the distance. Slopes of the hill were covered with pine trees. The beautiful green of pine needles appeared to me like the green of dancing peacocks. On that day in the temple two newly wed couples had come to seek blessings for long and happy married life. The brides were beautiful and wore large nose rings. It reminded me of a story of a girl who only wanted to marry a person who would give her a large gold nose ring. Her father found her a husband who was prosperous and agreed to give her a nose ring large enough to be envied by women of the village. But the mother-in-law of the girl made a condition that each time her son would become richer additional gold would be added to the nose ring. The husband was a contractor. Soon after the marriage he made profit in a building contract and the bride happily accepted the additional gold in her nose ring. Now each time the husband earned profit more gold got added to the nose ring. The nose ring became too heavy and too painful to wear. The wife complained of the pain to her mother-in-law and asked her to get the weight of the nose ring reduced. The mother-in-law declined the request of the wife, for removing gold from the nose ring was considered unlucky for the husband. The weight of the ring cut opened the nose of the wife. It was promptly stitched back and the wife suffered the gold nose ring for the rest of her life. In my heart I wished happiness for a long and happy married life for the brides and hoped that they would live comfortably with the prosperity of their husbands.






Life of local people of Kausani is tied up with tourism. There is hardly any economic activity other than tourism. It was common for people to accost tourists and offer them some service. But the people of Kumaon are simple and polite. It is hard to decline their offers. One day while taking a stroll a local tea seller suggested that instead of eating meals at the hotel we eat meals prepared by him. He was ready to prepare aloo paranthas (stuffed potato pancakes) and typical Kumaon meal. We opted for lunch of local preparations and enjoyed it.

We had come across a newspaper report that on 20th May the hundred and first birth anniversary of Sumitranandan Pant was celebrated at Kausani and that the girls of a local orphanage called the Lakshmi Ashram had put up a cultural programme. We were drawn to the Lakshmi Ashram because only a few months ago at Porto Nuovo near Chidambaram in Tamil Nadu I had visited another institution for girls from poor fishermen families. A Danish woman inspired by the basic education programme of Mahatma Gandhi started that institution in 1919.

Lakshmi Ashram was about 1.5 km from the city bus stand. Asking for directions at a few places we managed to trek to the Lakshmi Ashram. We were happy to see girls who were studying and living in this Ashram. In the office of the Ashram among other teachers we met an Englishman who spoke chaste Hindi. He was living here since 1980. When he came to know that my background is in education he complained of the terse style of the school textbooks. He mentioned that in the social science textbook only cosmetic changes have been made.As a follow up to the political changes in the erst while USSR the only change that has been made in the geography textbook published by the State Education Department is the replacement of the name USSR by Russia and the rest of the content has remained the same. He was apprehensive of the relevance of the content of the upper-primary textbooks. He found them generally irrelevant to the needs of the students living in the interior areas of Uttranchal. We also found out that his daughter studies in the school run by the orphanage.

Surprising it might seem but the majority of the tourists who come to Kumaon particularly to Kausani are from West Bengal. They travel in groups. They like to see the sunrise in the background of the Himalayan range. It is an interesting sight to see them huddled together with expectant look waiting for the sunrise.

We had spent four days at Kausani. We were advised to return here after the monsoon season i.e. in October and November, for then there is no haze and the view of the Himalayas is almost assured. The other good time to visit is in February and March.

We had to return to Nainital for taking the bus back to New Delhi. We decided to stop at Naukatchiatal a natural lake bigger than the Nainital Lake.





The Naukatchia Lake is impressive as it is enclosed by hills covered with trees. Unlike the Nainital Lake Naukatchiatal is not crowded for tourists like shopping and here there are no shops. We took a round of the lake in a boat. The boatman mentioned that he worked for the Electricity Board as a lineman.The government service provided him ample time to moonlight as a boatman and also for running a photography shop.He himself was a freelance photographer. He offered to take our picture as a memento of the good time that we had in the beautiful Kumaon Hills.

We got on to the bus at Nainital at 10 p.m. As we already had had our share of misadventures during the journey from New Delhi to Nainital the law of probability favoured us for an uneventful journey. We felt relaxed and soon fell asleep by reclining our seats. When we woke up in the morning we were happy to note from a milestone that New Delhi was only 18 km away. We reached Scindia House at 6.30 a.m. and our vacation came to a happy ending.


Source: http://www.geocities.com/Athen
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Re: Visit to Kausani - The Switzerland of India

Postby tehrijack on Fri Nov 04, 2005 5:03 pm

Mind blowing information and photographs vipin da.

Really you are great, it is because of your efforts that i came to know about the uttaranchal in a better way..

Keep it up.

:smokin
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Rudraprayag District was established on 16th September1997

Postby vipinpanwar on Sat Nov 12, 2005 11:20 am

History:

Rudraprayag District was established on 16th September1997. The district was carved out from the following areas of three adjoining districts.

1- Whole of Augustmuni & Ukhimath block and part of Pokhri & Karnprayag block from Chamoli

District.

2- Part of Jakholi and Kirtinagar block from Tehri District.

3- Part of Khirsu block from Pauri District.

Internationally Known Shri Kedarnath Temple is at North, Madmaheshwar at east, Nagrasu at southern east and Shrinagar at extreme south. The holy Mandakini originated from Kedarnath is the main river of the district.

Historical Back Ground

Today’s Garhwal was known as kedar-khand in the past. In puranas kedar-khand was said to be abode of God. It seems from the facts vedas puranas, Ramayna and Mahabharat that these Hindu scriptures are scripted in kedar-khand . It is believed that God Ganesha first script of vedas in Vayas gufa situated in the last village Mana only four km.from Badrinath.


According to Rigveda(1017-19) after Inundation (Jalprlya) Sapt-Rishis saved their lives in the same village Mana. Besides there the roots of vedic literature seems to be originated from Garhwal because the Garhwali language has a lot of words common with sanskrit .The work place of vedic Rishis are the prominent pilgrim places in Garhwal specially in chamoli like Atrimuni Ashram in Anusuya about 25 km. from chamoli town and work place of Kashyap Rishi at Gandhmadan parwat near Badrinath. According to Aadi-Puran vedviyas scripted the story of Mahabhrat in Vyas Gufa near Badrinath. Pandukeshwar a small village situated on the Rishikesh Badrinath high-way from where Badrinath is just 25 km away is regarded as Tapsthali of king Pandu. In Kedar-khand Puran this land is regarded the land of lord Shiva.




The authentic script about the history of Garhwal is found only 6th A.D on word. Some of the oldest example of there are the trishul in Gopeshwar, lalitsur in Pandukeshwar .The Narvaman rock script in siroli the chand pur Gari rock script by king Kankpal authentitcates the history and culture of Garhwal.



Some Historian and scientist believe that this land is origin of Arya race. It is believed that about 300B.C. Khasa invaded Garhwal through Kashmir Nepal and Kuman. A conflict grew due to this invasion a conflict took place between these outsiders and natives .The natives for their protection builded small forts called “Garhi’’. Later on Khasa defeated the native totally and captured the forts.



After Khasa, Kshatiya invaded this land and defeated Khasa accomplished their regime. They confined Garhwal of hundreds of Garhi in to fifty-two Garhi only. One kantura vashudev general of kshatriya established his regime on the northern border of garhwal and founded his capital in joshimath then Kartikeypur vashudev katyuri was the founder of katyura dynasty in Garhwal and they reign Garhwal over hundreds of years in this period of katyuri regime Aadi-Guru Sankaracharya visited garhwal and established Jyotrimath which is one of the four famous Peeths established by Aadi-Guru Sankaracharya. In Bharat varsh other these are Dwarika , Puri and Srinagar. He also reinstated idol of lord Badrinath in Badrinath, before this the idol of Badrinath was hidden in Narad-Kund by the fear of Budhas. After this ethicist of vaidic cult started to pilgrim Badrinath.



According to Pt.Harikrishna Raturi king Bhanu pratap was the first ruler of Panwar dynasty in garhwal who founded chanpur-Garhi as his capital. This was is strongest Garh for the fifty- two garhs of garhwal.



The devastating earthquake of 8th September 1803 weakened the economic and administrative set up of Garhwal state. Taking advantage of the situation Gorkhas attacked Garhwal under the command of Amar Singh Thapa and Hastidal Chanturia. They established there reign over half of the Garhwal in 1804 up to 1815 this region remain under Gorkha rule.



Mean while the king of Panwar dynasty Raja Sudarshan Shah contacted east India Company and soughted help. With the help of British he defected Gorkas and merged the eastern part of Alaknanda and Mandakani along with the capital srinagar in British Garhwal from that time this region was known as British Garhwal and the capital of Garhwal was set up at Tehri instead of Srinagar. After the death of Sudarshan Shah Bhawani Shah succeeded him, who died in 1871 and was succeeded by his elder son Pratap Shah. Pratap Shah ascended the throne of Tehri at the age of 21 only. He was the founder of Pratap Nagar. He also tried to improve the forest, judicial and police administration. During his rule several public uprisings took place in the state. He died in 1886.


Kirti Shah at the time of his father’s death was still in his adolescence, so his mother Rajmata Guleri appointed Vikram Singh as the regent . But after sometime she herself took over administration. Kirti Shah took over charge of the state in 1892. His rule saw a marked improvement in the functioning of courts, forest and other departments. He is said to have invented typewriter for Hindi but gave the copy write to a company. The religious inclination of Kirti Shah is aptly proved by the fact that he organized a religious conference of the followers of different religion at Tehri. He died on 25th April 1913.


Narendra Shah the successor of Kirti Shah was again a minor at the time of succession. Thus, during the initial years the state administration was looked after by a Regency under the presidency of his mother. During the War period(1939-42) Tehri state supplied a huge amount of wood to the Britishers while the king himself offered his services for them during the first world war. Some of his achievement were developing the new township of Narendra Nagar, construction of Kirti Nagar, Tehri , Muni ki Reti. He died on 22nd September 1950 in a car accident but had already relinquished the throne in favour of his son Manvendra Shah on 26th May 1946. The later ruled the state from 1946 till the state was merged with the Indian Union in August 1949.


The newly crated Rudraprayag District was part of three district Chamoli,Pauri and Tehri. On 16th September 1997 Rudraprayag District was carved out from whole of Augustmuni & Ukhimath block and part of Pokhri & Karnprayag block from Chamoli , part of Jakholi and Kirtinagar block from Tehri District, part of Khirsu block from Pauri.

Rudraprayag, carved as a seperate revenue district in 1997 . The geographical area of the District is around 2328 sq.kms.

Geology

The geology of the region shows that the Himalayas are the young mountains in the world. During early Mesozoic times, or the secondary geological period, the land mass now covered by them was occupied by the great geosynclinal Tethys sea . The probable date of the commencement of the elevation of the Himalayas is about the close of the Mesozoic period, but the unraveling of the story of their structure has only just begin, and in many cases no dating of the rocks is yet possible, though they include ancient and relatively recent crystalline intrusive, rocks and sediments allied to the peninsular part of India . The section of the range in the district is deeply cut into by the headwaters of the Alaknanda river, this trunk stream seeming to have reached a latter stage of development than its tributaries. This much, however, is known that there has been intense metamorphosis. In some parts uplift has been considerable since the mid-pleistocene period, in others there are great stretches of high but subdued topography and elsewhere there are the deepest gorges.

MINERALS

The minerals that are found in the district are the following-

Asbestos - This is of the amosite variety and can be used for the production of asbestos, cement bricks, laboratory asbestos sheet and paper, but is not considered to be of economic importance.

Magnestic - This is of an average quality is crystalline in nature, and is found associated with crystalline dolomites and sometimes with soapstone. The Magnesium carbonate found here is also of average quality and its mineralisation has also been reported to occur in the district.

Soapstone or Steatite - This white saponaceous stone resembling pipe clay is obtained in as lenticular body and is associated with mineral pyrites, which adds a color to it, and in places with magnesite. it can be mined for use as filler in soap and in the cosmetic industries. In the past various utensils were made of it which, when polished, had the appearance of marble.

Copper - The copper mines in the district are extensive and of reputed during the period of Hindus and The Gorkhas rules. All the rich mines have since being exhausted and at present they do not offer a fair field for the employment of capital.

Iron - Small and sporadic occurrence of iron are known to occur in several parts of district but are of hardly any economic important. Iron ore, rich in haematite, and magnetic ore, with haematite and siderite, also occur in the district.

Graphite - In the past this mineral, also known as plumbago, found mostly in patti Lohba, was used as a dye but no large deposits have been noticed for a long time.

Gypsum - This mineral is found on the bank of some river and was used in the past for the manufacture of saucers and bowls .when ground to a fine powder it is known as Plaster of Paris and can be used for a number of purposes.

Lead - Deposits of this metal were fairly numerous in the past but it is found in somewhat inaccessible places and has long since ceased to be worked.

Slate - This dense, fine grained metamorphic rock, which is produced from a fine clay, can be split into thin, smooth plates and is quarried throughout the district. It is suitable for roofing purposes, the thin dark black slates being somewhat inferior in quality.

Building Stone - Stone which can be used for building purposes is available in most parts of the district. Sand stone is found in abundance in the lower hills. Gneiss and chlorite schists which are available throughout the district are frequently used for building purposes.

Sulphur - This yellow mineral, also known as brimstone is found in the district as green sulphate of iron and is obtainable from iron pyrites and copper mines, its presence being characterised by a small as of rotten eggs. Sulphur springs also occur in many parts in the district.

Bitumen - The brownish white natural sulphate of alumina known as Shilajit is found in rocks at a fairly high altitude and occur in small lumps which generally have an admixture of red sand and micaceous stone embedded in them. It is used in Ayurvedic medicine and during the season when there is an influx of pilgrims, it fetches good income to those who deal in it.

Some other minerals found in the district are Antimony, Arsenic, Lignite or Brown Marble, Mica and silver.

Physiographically the district, which lies in a region of tectonic or folded and overthrust mountain chains, has strata are structurally marked by complex folds, reverse faults, overthrusts and nappes of great dimensions, all these as well as frequent earthquake of varying intensity give region to believe that the region is still unstable. Although any movement or tremor of the earths crust in the district is not produced by volcanic activity, the Chaukhamba peak a pair to be the crater of an extinct volcano.

CLIMATE

As the elevation of the district ranges from 800 mts. to 8000 mts above see level the climate of the district very largely depend on altitude. The winter season is from about mid November to March. As most of the region is situated on the southern slops of the outer Himalayas, monsoon currents can enter through the valley, the rainfall being heaviest in the monsoon from June to September.

Rainfall - Most of the rainfall occur during the period June to September when 70 to 80 percent of the annual precipitation is accounted for in the southern half of the district and 55 to 65 percent in the northern half. The effectiveness of the rains is, among others, related to low temperature which means less evapo-transpiration and forest or vegetation cover. However, the effectiveness is neither uniform nor even positive in areas where either the vegetational cover is poor or / and has steep slops or the soils have been so denuded that their moisture absorption capacity has become marginal.

Temperature - The details of temperature recorded at the meteorological observatories in the district show that the highest temperature was 340C and lowest 00C. January is the coldest month after which the temperature begin to rise till June or July. temperature vary with elevation. During the winter cold waves in the wake of western disturbances may cause temperature to fall appreciably. Snow accumulation in valleys is considerable.

Humidity - The relative humidity is high during monsoon season, generally exceeding 70% on the average. The driest part of the year is the pre monsoon period when the humidity may drop to 35% during the afternoon. During the winter months humidity increases toward the afternoon at certain high stations.

Cloudiness - Skies are heavily clouded during the monsoon months and for short spells when the region is affected by the passage of western disturbances. During the rest of the year the skies are generally clear to lightly clouded.

Winds - Owing to the nature of terrain local affect are pronounced and when the general prevailing winds not too strong to mask these effect, there is a tendency for diurnal reversal of winds, the flow being anabatic during the day and katabatic at night, the latter being of considerable force.

RIVER SYSTEM

The river Mandakini, which is the most important river coming down from the slopes of Kedarnath peak, joins the Alaknanda (the alaknanda originates at a height of 3641 metres below Balakun peak 16 kms. upstream fromadrinath.) at Rudraprayag. The river actually originates from the springs fed by melting snow of Charabari glacier about one km above Kedarnath temple. Mandakini is itself fed by Vasukiganga, which meets it at Sonprayag 16 km down-stream from Kedarnath.

The fact is that the main river of the Himalaya are older than the mountains they traverse. This is why they flow right across the axis of the ranges through deep gorges carved out by the river themselves. All the rivers of the district are snow fed.

As the water levels of the rivers are much below the arable land levels, the rivers cannot be generally used for irrigation purposes.


source: http://www.indianngos.com

vipinpanwar
Cultural Affairs
 
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All 13 District

Postby vipinpanwar on Sat Nov 12, 2005 11:33 am


Almora
About District
Almora, a picturesque district in the Kumaun region, East of Uttaranchal in India, with a breathtaking panoramic view of Himalayas, summons tourists worldwide to its alluring grandeur of natural beauty. Famous for its rich cultural heritage, unique handicrafts, sumptuous cuisine and magnificent wildlife, coupled with an easy accessibility, Almora promises its tourists a visit full of fun and unforgettable moments.
The name of the sociocultural region of Kumaun is believed to have been derived from "Kurmanchal", meaning Land of the Kurmavtar (the tortoise incarnation of Lord Vishnu, Preserver of Hindu Trinity). Extending from the northern end of the Ganga plains right upto Tibet, Kumaun's endless panorama of scenic wonders is nothing short of a romance with pristine and soul-lifting nature itself. The Katyuri and Chand dynasties glorified the region by constructing some fine temples - now renowned throughout the country. Though largely a Shaivite region, the presiding deity, Nanda Devi, is amongst the most exalted in Kumaun.

Sojourning in the beautiful Kumaun region of Uttaranchal with its majestic, snow clad mountains, lakes and rich plethora of flora and fauna, not only enables one to constantly think about the Himalayas but to behold their pristine magnificence time and again. Thus purifying one's soul aptly enough, setting the tone for which the options are as many as they are delightful, catering to the multifaceted interests of grown-ups and youngsters alike.

Presently a revenue division, Kumaun, consists of the district of Nainital, Udham Singh Nagar, Almora, Bageshwer, Pithoragarh and Champawat.

TOWNSHIP OF ALMORA
The ancient town of Almora, before it's establishment was under the possession of Katyuri king Baichaldeo. He donated major part of this land to a Gujrati Brahmin Sri Chand Tiwari. Later on when Chand kingdom was founded in Baramandal, the town of Almora was founded at this centrally located place in 1560 by Kalyan Chand. The mountain on which the Almora is located is described in the famous Hindu epic Manaskhand as follows :-

<!--EZCODE BOLD START-->[b]Kaushiki Shalmali Madhyey Punyah Kashaya Parwatah'
'Tasy Paschim Bhagam Kshetra Vishnyo Pratishthtam'[/b]<!--EZCODE BOLD END-->

In the days of the Chand Kings it was called Rajapur. The name 'Rajpur' is also mentioned over a number of ancient copper plates. The town of Almora is situated over a horse saddle shaped ridge of a mountain. The eastern portion of the ridge is known as Talifat and the western one is known as Selifat. The market is at the top of the ridge where these two, Talifat and Selifat jointly terminate.

The main Mohalla (wards) of Almora are as follow :-

Selifat :- Joshikhola, Shelakhola, Dyodhipokhar, Thapalia, Kholta, Champanaula, Gururanikhola, Chaunsar, Galli, Karadiyakhola, Kapina, Paniudiyar, Ranidhara, Chaudharikhola, Pokharkhal, Jhijad and Kasoon.

Talifat :- Chinakhan, Makedi, Dharanaula, Chandani Chowk, Vishtakuda, Tyunara, danya, Bansbida, Upretikhola, Khasiya-khola, Badekhola, Dubkiya, Nayalkhola, Tiruvakhola, Dugalkhola and Tamtyuda etc.

Mostly the wards have been named after the communities that inhabited them.

Market :- Lala Bazar, Karkhana Bazar, Khajanchi Mohalla, Jauhari Mohalla, Malli Bazar and Thana Bazar.

The market is 1.25 miles long and is covered with stone slabs. The place of the present cantonment was formerly known as Lalmandi. Presently where the collectorate exists, the 'Malla Mahal' (Upper Court) of Chanda kings was located. The site of present District Hospital used to be 'Talla Mahal' (Lower Court) of Chand rulers.
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Bageshwar
About District
Situated at the confluence of rivers Saryu, Gomti and latent Bhagirathi, lies the holy township of Bageshwar; also revered as the pious land associated with Lord Sadashiva, the redeemer of all sins. As the puranas state, this undoubtedly is a place capable of liberating one from the eternal bondage of births & deaths. With the east and west flanked by the Bhileswar and Nileshwar mountains and surrounded by Suraj Kund in the north and Agni Kund in the south, this land of Lord Shankar is of great religious, historic and political significance. Since time immemorial, this place has been the symbol of faith for the entire Uttranchal region. Because of its spiritual magnetism, it has attracted many saintly men and numerous patriots who have always been ready to lay down everything for the sake of their revered motherland.
The temple of Bagnath situated here is venerated by one and all. Devotees gather here on every Monday of the holy month of Shravan to worship the Lord, who is also known as the remover of sorrows. During the fairs of Uttarayani and Shivratri, it becomes very difficult to control the hoards of devotees who come to attend these fairs from far and near.
The Nilaparvat, situated between the rivers Saryu and Gomti is inhabited by all the 33 crore Gods of the Hindu pantheon, the celestial being like Siddha, Gandharva, Vidyadhar, Urvashi etc. and manu sages. Irrigated by the Saryu, the Nilaparvat is held to be more important than the Vindhyachal. Those who desire to embrace death at place between Surya Kund and Agni Kund, become equivalent to the Gods by attaining salvation at the feet of Lord Shiva himself.

During the reign of the Chands, the Shiva temple was constructed at Bageshwar. Legend has it that when repeated attempts to install a Shiv Linga proved futile, it was Shri Manorath Pandey of Palayn village who succeeded in installing the idol after performing penance on the Shivratri. From then onwards, a massive fair is held on Shivratri each year to commemorate the event.
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Chamoli
About District
The region covered by the district of Chamoli formes part of the district of Pauri garhwal of the Kumaon till 1960. It occupies the nort-eastern corner of the Garhwal tract and lies in the central or mid-Himalayas in the very heart of the snowy range described in ancient books as Bahirgiri,one of the three divisions of the Himalayan mountains.
Historical Back Ground

Chamoli , the district of “Garhwal’’ the land of forts. Today’s Garhwal was known as kedar-khand in the past. In puranas kedar-khand was said to be abode of God. It seems from the facts vedas puranas, Ramayna and Mahabharat that these Hindu scriptures are scripted in kedar-khand . It is believed that God Ganesha first script of vedas in Vayas gufa situated in the last village Mana only four km.from Badrinath.


According to Rigveda(1017-19) after Inundation (Jalprlya) Sapt-Rishis saved their lives in the same village Mana. Besides there the roots of vedic literature seems to be originated from Garhwal because the Garhwali language has a lot of words common with sanskrit .The work place of vedic Rishis are the prominent pilgrim places in Garhwal specially in chamoli like Atrimuni Ashram in Anusuya about 25 km. from chamoli town and work place of Kashyap Rishi at Gandhmadan parwat near Badrinath. According to Aadi-Puran vedvyasa scripted the story of Mahabhrat in Vyas Gufa near Badrinath. Pandukeshwar a small village situated on the Rishikesh Badrinath high-way from where Badrinath is just 25 km away is regarded as Tapsthali of king Pandu. In Kedar-khand Puran this land is regarded the land of lord Shiva.

The authentic script about the history of Garhwal is found only 6th A.D on word. Some of the oldest example of there are the trishul in Gopeshwar, lalitsur in Pandukeshwar .The Narvaman rock script in siroli the chand pur Gari rock script by king Kankpal authentitcates the history and culture of Garhwal.

Some Historian and scientist believe that this land is origin of Arya race. It is believed that about 300B.C. Khasa invaded Garhwal through Kashmir Nepal and Kuman. A conflict grew due to this invasion a conflict took place between these outsiders and natives .The natives for their protection builded small forts called “Garhi’’. Later on Khasa defeated the native totally and captured the forts.

After Khasa, Kshatiya invaded this land and defeated Khasa accomplished their regime. They confined Garhwal of hundreds of Garhi in to fifty-two Garhi only. One kantura vashudev general of kshatriya established his regime on the northern border of garhwal and founded his capital in joshimath then Kartikeypur vashudev katyuri was the founder of katyura dynasty in Garhwal and they reign Garhwal over hundreds of years in this period of katyuri regime Aadi-Guru Sankaracharya visited garhwal and established Jyotrimath which is one of the four famous Peeths established by Aadi-Guru Sankaracharya. In Bharat varsh other these are Dwarika , Puri and Sringeri. He also reinstated idol of lord Badrinath in Badrinath, before this the idol of Badrinath was hidden in Narad-Kund by the fear of Budhas. After this ethicist of vaidic cult started to pilgrim Badrinath.
According to Pt.Harikrishna Raturi king Bhanu pratap was the first ruler of Panwar dynasty in garhwal who founded chanpur-Garhi as his capital. This was is strongest Garh for the fifty- two garhs of garhwal.

The devastating earthquake of 8th September 1803 weakened the economic and administrative set up of Garhwal state. Taking advantage of the situation Gorkhas attacked Garhwal under the command of Amar Singh Thapa and Hastidal Chanturia. They established there reign over half of the Garhwal in 1804 up to 1815 this region remain under Gorkha rule.

Mean while the king of Panwar dynasty Raja Sudarshan Shah contacted east India Company and soughted help. With the help of British he defected Gorkas and merged the eastern part of Alaknanda and Mandakani along with the capital srinagar in British Garhwal from that time this region was known as British Garhwal and the capital of Garhwal was set up at Tehri instead of Srinagar. In the beginning British ruler kept this area under Dehradun and Saharanpur. But later on the British established a new district in this area and named it Pauri. Today’s chamoli was a tehsil of the same .On 24th February 1960 tehsil chamoli was upgraded to a new district. In October 1997 two complete tehsil and two other blocks (partially) of district chamoli were merged into a new formed district Rudarprayag.


Chamoli, carved as a seperate revenue district in 1960 out of the erstwhile Grahwal district, lies in the Central Himalya and constitutes a part of the celebrated 'Kedar Kshetra'.The District Chamoli is surrounded by Uttarkashi in North-West, Pithoragarh in South-West,Almora in South East,Rudraprayag in South-West and Tehri Grahwal in West. The geographical area of the District is around 7520 sq.kms.


GEOLOGY
The geology of the region shows that the Himalayas are the young mountains in the world. During early Mesozoic times, or the secondary geological period, the land mass now covered by them was occupied by the great geosynclinal Tethys sea . The probable date of the commencement of the elevation of the Himalayas is about the close of the Mesozoic period, but the unraveling of the story of their structure has only just begin, and in many cases no dating of the rocks is yet possible, though they include ancient and relatively recent crystalline intrusive, rocks and sediments allied to the peninsular part of India . The section of the range in the district is deeply cut into by the headwaters of the Allaknanda river, this trunk stream seeming to have reached a latter stage of development than its tributaries. This much, however, is known that there has been intense metamorphosis. In some parts uplift has been considerable since the mid-pleistocene period, in others there are great stretches of high but subdued topography and elsewhere there are the deepest gorges. The direction of folding in these mountain masses is generally North to South. The geological feature of the district form two major divisions which lies North and South of an imaginary line extending East-South- East between the villages of Hilang in Joshimath and Loharkhet in the adjoining District of Pithoragarh. The Northern division, which is occupied by higher ranges and snow covered peaks consist entirely of medium to high grade metamorphic rocks and is intruded by later volcanic rocks. The Division to the South, occupied by ranges of lower altitude, consists essentially of sedimentary and low grade metamorphic rock also intruded by later volcanic rocks. Geologically very little is known of the first division which consists of rocks such as quartzites, marbles and various types of micaceous schists and gneisses which a few sporadic occurrences of garnet, graphite, iron, kynite, mica and vein quartz. The division to the south of the imaginary line is better known geologically and consists of rocks such as gneisses, limestone, phyllites , quartzite, sericite-biotite schists and slates.

CLIMATE
As the elevation of the district ranges from 800 mts. to 8000 mts above see level the climate of the district very largely depend on altitude. The winter season is from about mid November to March. As most of the region is situated on the southern slops of the outer Himalayas, monsoon currents can enter through the valley, the rainfall being heaviest in the monsoon from June to September.

Rainfall - Most of the rainfall occur during the period June to September when 70 to 80 percent of the annual precipitation is accounted for in the southern half of the district and 55 to 65 percent in the northern half. The effectiveness of the rains is, among others, related to low temperature which means less evapo-transpiration and forest or vegetation cover.

However, the effectiveness is neither uniform nor even positive in areas where either the vegetational cover is poor or / and has steep slops or the soils have been so denuded that their moisture absorption capacity has become marginal.
Rain gauging stations put up at seven locations by Meteorological department of Govt. of India, represent the settled land mass of Chamoli district.

Temperature - The details of temperature recorded at the meteorological observatories in the district show that the highest temperature was 340C and lowest 00C. January is the coldest month after which the temperature begin to rise till June or July. temperature vary with elevation. During the winter cold waves in the wake of western disturbances may cause temperature to fall appreciably. Snow accumulation in valleys is considerable.


Humidity - The relative humidity is high during monsoon season, generally exceeding 70% on the average. The driest part of the year is the pre monsoon period when the humidity may drop to 35% during the afternoon. During the winter months humidity increases toward the afternoon at certain high stations.

Cloudiness - Skies are heavily clouded during the monsoon months and for short spells when the region is affected by the passage of western disturbances. During the rest of the year the skies are generally clear to lightly clouded.

Winds - Owing to the nature of terrain local affect are pronounced and when the general prevailing winds not too strong to mask these effect, there is a tendency for diurnal reversal of winds, the flow being anabatic during the day and katabatic at night, the latter being of considerable force.

RIVER SYSTEM
Chamoli district is criss-crossed by several important rivers and their tributaries. Alaknanda, traversing a distance of 229 kms. before it confluence with Bhagirathi at Devprayag and constituting the Ganga, is the major river.

The Alaknanda originates at a height of 3641 meters below Balakun peak 16 km. upstream from Badrinath form the two glaciers of Bhagirath Kharak and Satopanth. The two glaciers rise from the eastern slopes of Chaukhamba (7140 Meters) peak, Badrinath peak and its satellite peaks. These peaks separates the Gangotri group of glaciers in the west. The major portion of the Alaknanda basin falls in Chamoli district. From its source upto Hallang (58 Km),the valley is treated as upper Alaknanda valley. The remaining part of the area is known as lower Alanknanda valley. While moving from its source, the river flows in a narrow deep gorge between the mountain slopes of Alkapuri, from which it drives its name. All along its course, it drains its tributaries -

1. Saraswati joins the Alaknanda 9 Km downstream from Mana.

2. Khilrawan Ganga join it below the Badrinath shrine and Bhuynder Ganga below HanumanChatti.

3. Dhauli Ganga meets at Vishnuprayag above Joshimath. The river Dhauliganga rises from the Nitti Pass at about 5070 meters. Its valley lies between the Kamet groups of peaks in the west and Nandadevi group in the east. The Dhauli takes a northern course at Malari. Between Malari and Tapovan, it is almost a narrow gorge with perpendicular cliffs on either side. several thousand meters high. the Dhauliganga in its turn is fed by GirthiGanga at Kurkuti and Rishiganga 500 mts. below Reni.

4. Downstream small tributaries- Helang, Garud, Patal and Birahiganga join the Alaknanda between Joshimath and Chamoli.

5. Nandakini, which rises from Semudra Glaciers drainage the western slopes of Trishul mountains, joins it at Nandprayag.

6. South-East, river Pinddar joins the Alaknanda at Karnprayag. The Pinddar river is fed by the Milam and Pinddar glacier from the Nandadevi group of glacier. The Pinddar river, before joining Alaknanda, is fed by Kaliganga and Bheriganga.
The rivers of Chamoli district, generally flow with great force in steep and narrow channels often resulting in excessive erosion and collapse of the banks.
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Champawat
BACKGROUND
The district of Champawat constituted in the year1997 is situated between 29 degree 5 minutes and 29 degree 30 minutes in northern altitude and 79 degree 59 minutes and 80 degree 3 minutes at the center of eastern longitude. The Ram Ganga River acts as a border between Champawat and Pithoragarh in north while Jabgura and Pannar rivers in south and west act as a border between Champawat, Udham Singh Nagar and Almora districts simultaneously. The long chain of mountain in southwestern region acts as a border between the district Champawat and Nainital district. It is important from the defence point of view as in the east Kali river acts the international border between Nepal and India. The geographical coverage of Champawat is about 1613 sq. km. It includes two Tahsil and four development blocks and 691 revenue villages. The district owes its name to King Arjun Deos daughter Champawati. Earlier this district was a part of district Almora. In 1972 the Champawat Tahsil of Almora district was transferred to Pithoragarh. On 15th Sep, 1997 Champawat district was given an independent identity. Historical Back ground Since the time in memorial Champawat district is having it’s own importance in terms of religious and social aspects. It is believed that Champawat district is the source and origin of religion and culture of Uttaranchal. In the ancient time this region was the origin of Naga, Kinnar and Khas Raja’s. The available historical pillars, manuscripts, archeological collection and folk-lore describe the greatness of the area during the period of Maha Bharata. Barahi Temple of Devidhura, Tarkeshwar Mandir of Champawat, Vanasur Fort of Vishung, Baleshwar Mandir of Champawat, Sapteshwar Mandir of Sipti and Ghatotkasha temples are believed to be of the great period of Maha Bharat. The ample evidence is also available about the Katiyur dynasty, and its prosperity in ancient times. There is a belief that the king Brahma Deo was having his capital at Suie and his contemporary King Raja Arjun Deo was having his capital at Daman Kot. The marriage of the daughter of the King Arjun Deo with Sam Deo opened a door for Chandra dynasty in this region. In around 1790, with the establishment of the Gorkharaj, the Chandra Vansha came to its end. In 1814, the Britishers forced the Gorkhas to leave the place. In the history of Indian independence the history of the warriors of this region has been written in golden letters for their sacrifices.

TOPOGRAPHY
Champawat mainly consists of mountain ranges, large valleys, uneven landscapes, breaked cliffs, rivers and rivulets. The important rivers are Ladhia, Sharda, Lohawati, Panaar. Jagbura and Ramganga. All these rivers amalgamate with Kali River at Pancheswar. Only the Sharda river which goes to Terai area flows through. on the basis of geographical distribution it can be divided in three main parts. First one, the 35 villages of Tanakpur (Purnagiri) Tehsil fall in Terai area and are important from the view point of plain and agricultural land and a warm area of an average height of 200 to 250 meter, having abundance of water and good soil. Second one is Shivalik which is situated at a height of 250 to 1200 meter. It represents a sloping and uneven topographical land consisting of dense forests. Third one is hilly area the average height of 1500 mts ( from 1200 to 2200 mts).

CLIMATE
The climate of the district is very differential. Terai area is hot whereas the hilly region is comparatively cold. High mountain ranges are covered with snow. The climatic condition of Terai and plains are similar, the seasonal rain is very high (about 20 cm. yearly). Summers are too hot and winters are too cold and foggy in Terai region. The climate of Shivalik is more or less same but the lower region of Himalayas experience cold climate throughout the year. In summers, Champawat district is pleasant. The temperature varies from 1 degree Celsius in the year to 35 degree Celsius. Summer months are May, June and July whereas Dec and Jan are very cold.
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Dehradun

HISTORY
According to Skanda Purana, Dun formed part of the region called Kedar Khand.
It was included in the kingdom of Ashoka by the end of the 3rd century B.C.

It is revealed by history that for centuries the region formed part of the Garhwal kingdom with some interruption from Rohillas. For about two decades till 1815 it was under the occupation of the Gorkhas. In April 1815 Gorkhas were ousted from Garhwal region and Garhwal was annexed by the British. In that year the area now comprising tehsil Dehra Dun was added to district Saharanpur. In 1825, however, it was transferred to the Kumaon Division. In 1828, Dehra Dun and Jaunsar Bhabar were placed under the charge of a separate Deputy Commissioner and in 1829, the Dehra Dun district was transferred from the Kumaon Division to the Meerut Division. In 1842, Dun was attached to Saharanpur district and placed under an officer subordinate to the Collector of the district but since 1871 it is being administered as separate district. In 1968 the district was taken out from Meerut division and included in the Garhwal Division

TOPOGRAPHY
Dehra Dun can be divided into two distinct tracts i.e. the montane tract and the sub-montane tract. The montane tract covers whole Chakrata tehsil of the district and consists entirely of a succession of mountains and gorges and comprises Jaunsar Bhabar. The mountains are very rough with steep slopes. The most important features of the tract is the ridge which separates the drainage are of Tons on the west from that of Yamuna on the east.

Below the montane tract follows the sub-montane tract, which is the famous Dun valley bounded by Shivalik hills in the south and outer scarp of the Himalayas in the north.

RIVERS, CANALS AND WATERWAYS
The Siwalik (outer and lower ranges of Himalayas) lies at its feet, the outer- scrap of the Himalayas bound it on the north and the scared Ganga and the Yamuna skirt in on the east and the west respectively. The Ganga enters the district in the eastern Dun at Tapoban and meandering south-west goes to Hardwar via Raiwala near Rishikesh. The Yamuna enters the district in Jaunsar and flows southwards for about 32 kms on the south-east border of the district. Besides Ganga and yamuna, the other rivers that flow in the district are Asan, Suswa, Tons, Rispana, Bindal and Amalava.
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Haridwar
About District
Haridwar is the gateway to the four pilgrimages of Uttaranchal. It’s also your starting point on the journey to the sacred sources of the rivers Ganga and the Yamuna.

According to legend, Prince Bhagirath performed penance here to salvage the souls of his ancestors who had perished due to sage Kapil’s curse. The penance was answered and the river Ganga trickled forth from Lord Shiva's locks and its bountiful water revived the sons of King Sagara. In the tradition of Bhagirath, devout Hindus stand in the sacred waters here, praying for salvation of their ancestors.

Haridwar located in the foothills of the Himalayas, represents the point where the Ganga reaches the plains. Haridwar is an ancient pilgrimage site, held in reverence for centuries. The Chinese pilgrim Hyuen Tsang who visited India in the first millennium CE, describes Haridwar as Mayura, on the eastern banks of the Ganges. Several temples and ashrams dot this town and a visit to Haridwar is like stepping into a totally different world.

Legend has it that Bhagiratha, brought the Ganges into the earth, and into this point where his ancestors were burnt to ashes by the curse of the sage Kapila. Kapilastaan, a spot in Haridwar is pointed to as Kapila's hermitage. Haridwar was once known as Gangadwara. Haridwar (and Rishikesh) represents the gateway to the Himalayan pilgrimage shrines of Badrinath and Kedarnath. The pilgrimage to the Himalayan shrines begins only when the sun reaches the zodiac sign of Aries. Haridwar is also the site of celebration of the Kumbha Mela, once in twelve years, when Jupiter transits to the zodiac sign of Aquarius. The five sacred bathing spots in Haridwar are Gangadwara, Kankhal, Nila Parvata, Bilwa Theertha and Kusavarta. The main ghat at Haridwar is known as Hari-ki-Pairi (known for a footprint of Vishnu on a stone in a wall). Nearby is the Gangadwara temple, the most important of the several temples that dot this town. The Ganga Aarti which is celebrated at 7 pm each night, is a spectacular sight, when the aarti ceremony is performed at all temples in Haridwar at the same instant (see image above). Hundreds throng to the ghats at Hari-ki-Pairi to participate in this festival. Offerings of lamps and flowers are made to the river immediately following this ceremony and it is a moving sight to watch hundreds of miniature lamps float along the river. Near Haridwar are the towns of Mayapuri and Kankhal. Kankhal houses the Daksheswara temple, said to be the site of Daksha's yagna, which was destroyed by Shiva.
General Information
Population: 14,44,213 (2001 census).
Area: 12,302 sq km.
Altitude: 294.7 m.
Temperature
Summers: 40.9°-15.6°C.
Winters: 16.6°-06°C.
Season: Round the year.
Clothing: Summers: Cottons and tropical.
Winters: Woollens.
Languages: Hindi and English.

Air : The nearest airport is Jolly Grant, Bhaniawala, Dehradun, 41 km. Deccan Airlines services from Delhi. Indira Gandhi International Airport, Delhi (220 km)

Rail : Connected with all important cities of India viz., Bombay, Delhi, Agra, Howrah, Varanasi, Allahabad, Ujjain, Amritsar, Dehradun, Lucknow, etc.. Major trains are: 4309 / 4310 Ujjain-Haridwar-Dehradun. 2019 / 2020 Bombay-Haridwar-Dehradun. 4041 / 4042 Delhi-Haridwar-Dehradun. 4265 / 4266 Varanasi-Haridwar-Dehradun. 3009 / 3010 Howrah-Haridwar-Dehradun. 2017 / 2018 Delhi-Haridwar-Dehradun.

Road : Haridwar on National Highway no. 45 is well connected to all major cities and other parts of the state viz. Delhi (214 km), Agra (386 km), Ambala (168 km), Badrinath (325 km), Dehradun (52 km), Kedarnath (250 km), Saharanpur (81 km), Nainital (286 km). Local Transport Services : Private bus services, tempos (vikrams), auto rickshaws, tongas, cycle-rickshaws and taxis.
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Nainital
Historical Background
Nainital is referred to in the ‘Manas Khand’ of the ‘Skanda Purana’ as the Tri-Rishi-Sarovar,the lake of the three sages ,Atri,Pulastya and Pulaha who were reputed to have arrived here on a penitential piligrimage, and, finding no water to quench their thirst dug a hole and siphoned water into it from Mansarovar the sacred lake in Tibet.

The Second important mythological reference to Nainital is as one of 64 ‘Shakti Peeths’.These centres were created wherever parts of charred body of Sati fell ,when Lord Shiva was carrying around her corpse in grief .It is said that the left eye (Nain) of Sati fell here and this gave rise to patron deity of town Nainital . It is said that the lake is formed in the emerald eye shape . Naina Devi temple is located at the northern end of the lake . Thus name of Nainital derivated from Naina and the tal (Lake).

British Settlement

The british occupied Kumaon & Garhwal in 1815 .After the British Occupation ,E. Gardiner was appointed as the commissioner of Kumaun Division on May’8th 1815 .In 1817 the second commissioner of Kumaun Mr. G.W. Traill has conducted the second revenue settlement of Kumaun , Mr. Traill was the first European to visit Nainital but he did not popularize his visit in respect for the religious sanctity of the place.

In the year 1839 an English businessman from Rosa , Mr. P. Barron a sugar trader and his friend an avid hunter strayed into the hills while hunting they got lost and while finding there way back chanced on the wondrous spot. So enamored was Barron with the vision of the placid lake that he left the sugar business and build a European Colony on shores of the lake .In 1841, Nainital appeared in issue of the ‘Englishman Calcutta’ announcing the discovery of a lake in the vicinity of Almora.

According to the earliest data available on tourist in Nainital by 1847, it had become a popular hill resort. On 3rd October 1850, the Nainital Municipal Board was formally constituted. It was the second Municipal Board of North Western Provinces. To catalyse the formation of a town the administration transferred land to the wealthy Sah community of Almora, on condition that they build houses on the land. In 1862, Nainital became the summer seat of the North Western Provinces. After it was made the summer Capital, a remarkable expansion of the town occurred with the growth of magnificent bungalows all around and construction of facilities such as marketing areas, rest houses, recreation centres ,clubs etc together with the secretariat and other administrative units. It also became an important centre of education for the British who wanted to educate their children in the better air and away from the discomforts of the plains.


Geography
Of District Nainital In the Uttranchal, district of Nainital lies in the Kumaun division . To it’s north is Almora district and to its south lies the Udham Singh Nagar district. Champawat district flanks it in the east and district of Pauri Gahwal is in the west. It is located approximately in between 80º14’ and 78º80’ east longitude and 29º00’ and 29º05’ north latitude . On the northern side lies the Himalayan ranges while on the southern side lies the plains making the resultant climate of the district enjoyable one.

The total geographical area is 3422 Kms. Geographically the district is divided in to 2 zones viz. Hilly and Bhabar.The hilly region in outer Himalayas is known to geologist as Krol. The highest peak of the district is Baudhansthali 2623 mts. high near Binayak adjoining Nainital town.The hilly region of the district .The hilly region of the district used to have big & small lakes. Bhimtal ,Sattal, Naukuchiatal,Khurpatal, Nainital, Malwatal, Harishtal , Lokhamtal etc. are known lakes of bigger size.

The foothill area of the district is known as Bhabhar. The name Bhabhar is derived from a tall growing grass growing in the region . The underground water level is very deep in this region .

Kosi is the main river of the district .River Kosi arising out of Koshimool near Kausani flows on the western side of the district. There are number of smaller rivulets like Gaula , Bhakra , Dabka , Baur etc . Most of these have been dammed for irrigation purposes. Nainital district has good received good rainfall in recent years . As per 1999 records total average rainfall of district was 1338.08 MM while total average rainfall up to Aug. 2000 was 1602.69 MM.
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Pauri Garhwal

Background
Pauri Garhwal, a district of Uttaranchal state encompasses an area of 5440 sq. km and situated between 29° 45’ to 30°15’ Latitude and 78° 24’ to 79° 23’ E Longitude. This district is ringed by the districts of Chamoli, Rudraprayag & Tehri Garhwal in North, Bijnor & Udhamsingh Nagar in South, Almora & Nainital in East, Dehradun & Haridwar in West. The District is administratively divided into six tehsils, viz., Pauri, Lansdown, Kotdwar, Thalisain, Dhumakot & Srinagar, and fifteen developmental blocks, viz., Kot, Kaljikhal, Pauri, Pabo, Thalisain, Bironkhal, Dwarikhal, Dugadda , Jaihrikhal, Ekeshwer, Rikhnikhal, Yamkeswar, Nainidanda, Pokhra & Khirsu.
Pauri is the headquarter of Pauri Garhwal district and is located at the height of 1650 m. and has a population of 20,397. This is fairly located on high altitude amongst the Deodar forest and on the northern slopes of the ridge, which provide one of the ice-clad mountain chains.

Besides Alaknanda, Nayyar River is the major river of the district and is one of the major tributies of Alaknanda which is called Nayyar after the confluence of eastern and Western Nayyar at Satpuli. Both the Nayyars originate from the Dudatoli range and drain their water to the south. The high ranges in the Nayyar catchments areThailisain (Dudatoli - Chakisain ridge), Baijro (Pokhra - Demdeval ridge), Khirsu-Mandakhal (Pauri - Adwani - Kanskhet ridge), Bironkhal (Lansdowne - Gumkhal - Dwarikhal ridge) & Rathwadhab (Dugadda - Kandi ridge).

CLIMATE
The region has a sub-temperate to temperate climate, which remains pleasant throughout the year. The maximum temperature recorded in the month of june is 45°C at Kotdwar while in the higher reaches at Dudhatoli it only rises to 25°C. Temperature descends to a minimum of 1.3°C in January, and means monthly temperature for the region ranges from 25°C to 30°C.

The hilly terrain with its densely forested slopes receives adequate rainfall generally commencing from mid-June and extending till mid-September. Occasional rainfall is also recorded in winter. Average annual rainfall in the district is 218 cm., about 90 percent of which is generally concentrated over the monsoon. Relative humidity varies between 54 and 63 percent. The higher reaches receive some snow in winter when temperature falls to freezing point.

SOILS
Soils of the region have been formed either through pedogenetic processes or are transported soils. The pedogenetic soils are the one which have been formed by long duration of exposure to atmospheric agencies, physical and chemical weathering and rock slides. Such types of soils are derived from granite Gneissic, schistose and phyllite rocks. These soils obtained high percentage of silica from their parent body, while the soils formed from the limestone are rich in calcium carbonate. The transported soils are carried and deposited by the streams. Their parent body and source rocks lie at far away places. Some of these soils have mixed origin pf glacial and fluvio-glacial origin. These soils of takus, fans and terraces are silt to clayey loam and are very fertile. The brown forest soils contain very high percentage of organic matter. The katil soils are stony, immature and extremely poor. Soils of Upraon are gravelly ab\nd sandy Loams, they are brown of Talaon. The Talaon soils are brown in colour with clayey texture. The stony texture provides higher rate of erosion.

TOPOGRAPHY
The topography of pauri Garhwal is by and large rugged and except for the narrow strip of Bhabar, the entire region is mountainous. The highest point of the area is 3116 mtrs at Dudatoli and the lowest point of the area is 295 mtrs near chilla. The village located at the hightest level is Dobri, which is 2480 mtrs high. The cross profiles of the fluvial valleys show convex form with steep valley sides, interlocking spurs descending towards the main channel, hanging valleys, water falls and rapids and terraced agricultural fields on the gentle slopes on the valley sides. The clustering of villages is confined mainly on the gentle slopes of the ridges on the fluvial terraces. The forest cover is the maximum in Thailisain block and the minimun in the Pauri block. Most of the part of the area is approachable by road from its district headquarter. Most of these roads are not yet metalled and are prone to land slips, slides, dusty, except few main roads.

The district of Pauri Garhwal as part of the Western Himalaya presents a unique set of ecological characteristics over a complex variety of systems that incorporate forests, meadows, savannah grasslands, marshes and rivers, as well as wildlife, geology and several other phyto-geographically distinctive peculiarities. The occurrence of diverse topographical and climatic factors has resulted in the remarkable biodiversity of the district as a result of which flora also correspondingly differs over its different parts. Forests dominate in the phyto-geography and also constitute the most valuable natural resource of the district.
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Pithoragarh

District Pithoragarh :
Profile Pithoragarh District having its entire northern and eastern boundaries being international, assumes a great strategic significance and, obviously, is a politically sensitive district along the northern frontier of India. Being the last district adjoining Tibbet, it has tremendous strategic importance as the passes of Lipulekh, Kungribingri, Lampia Dhura, Lawe Dhura, Belcha and Keo, open out to Tibbet. The breath taking beauty of Pithoragarh - Himalayas, wide expenses of grassy meadow, perennial streams roaring down the zig-zag course, a stupendous variety of flora and fauna, above all, pure nature yet unsullied, seem to beckon the beholder into their folds, into a charmed world of virgin beauty.

It was in the wake of the Chinese aggression that on the 24th Feb. 1960, a sizeable section of Almora district was carved into Pithoragarh district containing extreme border areas with its head quarters in Pithoragarh town. On 15th September 1997, the Champawat Tehsil, hitherto under Pithoragarh, was carved into Champawat district.

The Pithoragarh town is located at a height of 1645 meters above sea level.The district lies between 29.4° to 30.3° North latitude and 80° to 81° East longitude along the eastern and southern part of the central Himalayas with Indo- Greenary in Pithoragarh Photo : Deep Chauhan Tibbetan watershed divide in the north and the Kali river forming a continuous border with Nepal in the east. The Pithoragarh district is surrounded by the national boundaries of Almora, Champawat, Bageshwar and Chamoli districts and extends over an area of 7,169 sq. Kms. The details of the land utilization are given as below :
There are numerous gay spots to which the prospective tourist may plan excursions like Chandak , Thal Kedar, Gangolihat (77 kms) famous for its kali temple, Patal Bhuvneshwar (99 kms) , Berinag (Tea Garden of Chaukori - 11 km away from Berinag), Didihat,Munsyari (base camp for traks to Milam,Ralam and Namik Glacier), Dharchula (base camp for Kailas Mansarover Yatra, Adi Kailash Yatra , Narayan Swami Ashram) and Jauljibi.

Administrative set up The district has been divided into five tehsils viz. Munsyari, Dharchula, Didihat, Gangolihat and Pithoragarh having its head quarter at Pithoragarh and the Commissionery head quarter at Nainital. There are 8 Development Blocks, 3 Towns, 64 Nyaya Panchayats and 651 Gram Sabhas in the district. There are 1635 villages out of which 1568 are inhabited. As per 1991 census, total population of the district is 4,16,647 out of which 2,09,177 are males and 2,07470 females. Also the Total literacy rate of the district at present is 61.4.

Seasons
The entire district exhibits four broad seasons in the year
1. Winter or Cold weather (mid Dec. - mid March)
2. Summer or hot weather (mid March - mid June)
3. Season of general rains (South - West monsoon season)
4. Season of retreating monsoon (mid September to mid November)

Temperature : During the coldest month of January, tropical ridges and high location along the lesser Himalaya record an average monthly temperature between 5.5°C and 8°C. By the March the temperature begins to rise progressively till early June which is the hottest month every where. Dharchula and Jhulaghat record an average temperature between 30 - 45°C.
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Tehri Garhwal

History :
Lying on the southern slopes of outer Himalayas, Tehri Garhwal is on of the sacred hilly districts of Uttaranchal State. Before the creation of universe, Lord Brahma is said to have meditated on this sacred land. Muni-ki-Reti and Tapovan of the district are the places of penance for the ancient Rishis. Its hilly terrain and lack of easy communications have helped it to preserve its culture almost intact. Tehri and Garhwal are the two words combined for naming the district as Tehri Garhwal. While the prefix Tehri is the corrupted form of the word `Trihari` which signifies a place that washes away all the three types of sins, namely sins born out of thought (Mansa), word (Vacha) and deed (Karmana), the other part `Garh` means country fort. In fact during olden days possession of number of forts was considered as a significant measuring rod of the prosperity and power of their rulers. Prior to 888, the whole of the Garhwal region was divided into small `garhs` ruled by separate independent kings known as Rana, Rai or Thakur. It is said that the prince Kanakpal who hailed from Malwa visited Badrinath ji (presently in Chamoli district) where he met the then mightiest king Bhanu Pratap. King Bhanu Pratap was impressed with the prince and got his only daughter married to him and also handed over his kingdom. Gradually Kanakpal and his descendents extended their empire by conquering all the garhs. Thus up to 1803 i.e. for 915 years the whole of the Garhwal region remained under their control.

During 1794-95 Garhwal was under the grip of severe famine and again in 1883, the country was terribly shaken by an earthquake. Gorkhas had by then started invading this territory and heralded their influence over the region. The people of the region being already affected by natural calamities were in the deplorable condition and therefore could not resist Gorkhas invasion. On the other hand, Gorkhas whose several attempts for capturing the fort Langoor Garhi had earlier failed, were now in powerful position. In 1803, therefore, they again invaded Garhwal region when King Pradumn Shah was the ruler. King Pradumn Shah was killed in the battle in Dehra Dun but his only son (Sudarshan Shah was minor at that time) was cleverly saved by the trusted courtiers. With the victory of Gorkhas in this battle their dominion was established in Garhwal region. Later on their kingdom extended up to Kangara and they ruled over this region continuously for 12 years before they were thrown away from Kangara by Maharaja Ranjit Singh. On the other hand Sudarshan Shah could manage help from East India Company and got his kingdom freed from Gorkha rulers. The East India Company merged Kumaon, Dehra Dun and east Garhwal in the British Empire and the west Garhwal was given to Sudarshan Shah which was then known as Tehri Riyasat.

        King Sudarshan Shah established his capital at Tehri town and afterwards his successors Pratap Shah, Kirti Shah and Narendra Shah established their capital at Pratap Nagar, Kirti Nagar and Narendra Nagar respectively. Their dynasty ruled over this region from 1815 to 1949. During the Quit India Movement people of this region actively participated for the independence of the country. Ultimately when the country was declared independent in 1947, the inhabitants of Tehri Riyasat started their movement for getting themselves freed from the clutches of Maharaja. Due to the movement the situation became out of his control and was difficult for him to rule over the region. Consequently the 60th king of Pawar Vansh Manvendra Shah accepted the sovereignty of Indian Government. Thus in 1949 Tehri Riyasat was merged in Uttar Pradesh and was given the status of a new district. Being a scattered region it posed numerous problems for expediting development. Resultantly on 24th February 1960 the U.P. Government separated its’ one tehsil which was given status of a separate district named as Uttarkashi.

LOCATION AND AREA
Tehri Garhwal is one of the western most district of the Uttaranchal State (Former Uttar Pradesh) located on the outer ranges of the mid Himalayas which comprise low line peaks rising contiguously with the planes of the northern India. The district lies between the parallels of 30.3` and 30.53` north latitude and 77.56` and 79.04` east longitude. Uttarkashi from the north, Rudraprayag from the east, Puri Garhwal from the south and Dehra Dun from the west are bounding the districts. On the western front Yamuna river separates it from Jaunsar Pragana of the Dehra Dun district while Bhagirathi rising from the north of the Gangotri in the district Uttarkashi touches the district near village Nagun.
Total area of the district is 4421 sq. kms (Census 1991) . The district headquarter is located at New Tehri Town since 1.4.1989, Earlier Narendranagar was the district headquarter.

GEOGRAPHY AND PHYSICAL FEATURES

A major portion of the district is having hilly tract. The plain area is more fertile than the plateau area. Bulk of the area of the district is under forest which occupy a place of importance not only in the ecology but also in the economy of the district. These forests are rich in vegetations. Wood of commercial value is produced. These forests are also famous for production of herbs and plants of medicinal value. There has been a denudation of forests in the past, resulting in impoverishment of forests wealth. Under five year plans efforts have been made to plant trees under forestations programmed. Availability of soft wood has given rise to the manufacturing of wooden toys in the area.
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Udham Singh Nagar

HISTORY
Udham Singh Nagar was a portion of district Nainital before the Tarai belt was separated to form the present Udham Singh Nagar on 30/09/1995.


In the past this land which is full of forest land was neglected till 1948 due to difficult climate. Marshy lands, extreme heat, rains which lasted months,a place full of wild animals, diseases and no means of transportation prevented the human race to form a colony here.


According to Historians, hundreds of years ago village Rudrapur was established by a devotee of lord Rudra or by Hindu tribal chief called Rudra, which has passed through phases of development to take the shape of city Rudrapur. The importance of Rudrapur has increased as it is the head quarter of district Udham Singh Nagar. During the reigns of mughal emperor Akbar this land was handed over to king Rudra Chandra in 1588. The king established a permanent millitary camp to free tarai from day today invasions. Totaly neglected village Rudrapur was filled with new colours and human activities.There is a saying that Rudrapur was named after king Rudra Chandra.

During the reigns of Britishers, Nainital was made a district and in 1864-65 the whole Tarai and Bhawar was put under "Tarai and Bhawar Government Act" which was governed directly by the British crown.

The history of development started with 1948, when the problem of partition brought refugee problem with it. Immigrant from north west and eastern areas were reestablished in 164.2 square km land area under "up nivesh yojana". Personal dwellers were not alllotted land in accordance with crown grant act. The first batch of immigrants came in December 1948.

People from Kashmir,Punjab,Kerala,Eastern UP,Garhwal, Kumaion,Bengal, Hariyana,Rajasthan, Nepal, and Naidu live in groups in this districts.This country is an example of unity in diversity with people from many religions and professions and so is this Tarai, which has its heart at Rudrapur. Due to this Tarai was named MINI HINDUSTAN.


GEOGRAPHY
The district is situated at 28 degree south east, 30 degree north latitude, 78 degree and 81 degree east longitude of Kumaion. Nainital is to the north, Bijnour, Moradabad,Rampur to west,Bareilly, Pilibhit to south and district Champawat is in the east of this district. South east lies the border of Nepal. Reserved forest area lies at the borders of district Nainital and Champawat. The total district is Tarai. Water is available at the depth of 10 to 20 meters. Due to its special geographical structure the district is leader in agriculture in the country.
The district is situated at 28 degree south east, 30 degree north latitude, 78 degree and 81 degree east longitude of Kumaon. Nainital is to the north, Bijnour, Moradabad, Rampur to west, Bareilly, Pilibhit to south and district Champawat is in the east of this district. South east lies the border of Nepal. Reserved forest area lies at the borders of district Nainital and Champawat. The total district is Tarai. Water is available at the depth of 10 to 20 meters. Due to its special geographical structure the district is leader in agriculture in the country.
The area of the district is 3055 square km. It is divided into three parganas, 4 tehsils,2 sub tehsils. There are 669 revenue villages and 15 forest villages. Out of 669 villages 298 villages are in tehsils Kashipur, 159 in tehsil Kichha, 122 villages are in tehsil Sitarganj and 90 in tehsil Khatima. There are 7 blocks for development work. They are Jaspur, Kashipur, Bajpur, Gadarpur, Rudrapur, Sitarganj and Khatima. These 7 blocks are further divided into 27 Nyaya Panchayat and 326 village Panchayat. Urban area is divided into 8 Palika Parishad Jaspur, Kashipur, Bajpur, Gadarpur,. Rudrapur, Kichha, Sitarganj and Khatima and 7 Nagar Panchayat MahuaDabra, Mahuakheraganj, Kelakhera, Dineshpur, Sultanpur Patti and ShaktiGarh.

POPULATION AND DENSITY ,CENSUS:- According to 1991 census population of Udham singh Nagar is 9.15 Lakhs In which 4.91 Lakhs are Male and 4.24 lakhs are Female. Schedule caste population is 1.21 lakhs and schedule tribe population is .86 lakhs.According to 1991 census total area of Udham Singh Nagar is 1.12 percent of U.P and .65 percent people of the total of U.P. reside here. Population density of U.P is 473 per square kilometer and population density of this district is 299 per square kilometer. In comparison with Uttaranchal 5.75 percent area is of Udham Singh Nagar. Population density of uttaranchal is 132 per square kilometer and this district has 299 per sqaure kilometer. 9.8 percent schedule caste and 40.7 % schedule tribe of Uttaranchal reside in Udham Singh Nagar. According to the census of 1991, 39.3 percent are literate. In literate persons 66.7 % are male and 33.3 % are female. According to the census of the 1991 the number of residential houses in the district is 148497 in which 100089 are in rural area and 48408 are in urban area. According to the 1991 census 153484 families live here . 102444 families are in rural area and 51040 are in urban area.


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Uttarkashi
HISTORY
Uttarkashi district was created on February 24, 1960 out of what then constituted the parganas of Rawain and Uttarkashi of Rawain tahsil of erstwhile Tehri Garhwal district. It sprawls in the extreme north-west corner of the state over an area of 8016 sq. kms. in the rugged terrain of the mystic Himalayas. On its north lie Himachal Pradesh State and the territory of Tibet and the district of Chamoli in the east. The district is named after its headquarters town Uttarkashi, an ancient place with rich cultural heritage and as the name suggests is the Kashi of north (Uttara) held almost as high a veneration as Kashi of the plain (Varanasi). Both the Kashi of the plain (Varanasi) as well as the Kashi of north are situated on the banks of the river Ganga (Bhagirathi). The area which is held sacred and known as Uttarkashi, lies between the rivers Syalam Gad also known as the Varuna and Kaligad also known as the Asi. The Varuna and the Asi are also the names of the rivers between which the Kashi of the plain lies. One of the holiest Ghats in Uttarkashi is Manikarnika so is the one by the same name in Varanasi. Both have temples dedicated to Vishwanath.

The terrain and climate of Uttarkashi district provide uncongenial physical environment for human settlement. Yet undaunted by hazards and hardships this land was inhabited by hill tribes since ancient times bringing out the best in man his adaptive talents. The hill tribes namely Kiratas, Uttara Kurus, Khasas, Tanganas, Kunindas and Pratanganas find references in the Upayana Parva of Mahabharata. The land of Uttarkashi district has been held sacred by Indians since ages where the seers and sages had found solace and spiritual aspirations and performed penances and where devas performed their sacrifices and Vedic language was better known and spoken than elsewhere. People came here for learning Vedic language and speach. According to an account given in the Mahabharata, Jada Bharatha a great sage performed penances at Uttarkashi. the Kedar Khand of Skanda Purna refers Uttarkashi and the rivers Bhagirathi, Jahanavi and Bheel Ganga. The district of Uttarkashi was part of Gharwal Kingdom ruled by Garhwal dynasty that carried the cognomen `Pal' which was changed to Sah during 15th century conferred by Sultan of Delhi perhaps Bahlul Lodi. In 1803 Gorkhas of Nepal invaded Garhwal and Amar Singh Thapa was made Governor of this region. The Gorkhas came into contact with the British power in 1814 as their frontiers in Gharwal became determinous with those of the British. The border troubles prompted the Britishers to invade Garhwal. In April, 1815 Gorkhas were ousted from Garhwal region and Garhwal was annexed as British district and was split up into eastern and western Garhwal. The eastern Garhwal was retained by the British Government. The western Garhwal, lying to the west of the Alaknanda river with the exception of the Dun was made over to the heir of Garhwal dynasty Sudarshan Sah. This state came to be known as Tehri Garhwal and it was merged with the state of Uttar Pradesh in 1949 after India attained independence in 1947.

GEOGRAPHY AND PHYSICAL FEATURES Lying in the upper Himalayas, Uttarkashi contains within itself varying geographic environments ranging from snow free valleys and outer hills to the high peaks with perpetual snow and glaciers. The terrain runs into series of ridges and valleys. Each ridge leads to another coiling up in seemingly unending chains.
Most of the terrain is mountainous consisting of high rise ridges, hills and plateaus and flat pieces of land are rare. The land in these areas is now in fertility due to large content of out crops of boulders and gravels. Made-up of alluvial soil, valley is a stream bed. Generally forests occur on the upper ridges that bound the valleys. On their sloping hill sides lie a chain of sparsely populated settlements interspersed with terrace cultivation.

The nature expresses itself in breath-taking variations from beauteous landscape luxuriously decked with vegetation punctuated by streams, brooks and rivers to high rise awesome rocky ridges and mountains gently tapering off into lefty snow-capped peaks. The widely varying climate and topography produce a wise range of vegetation and serve as habitats to diverse species of wild life. Forests occupy a place of pride in the environment of the district not only for the sheer bulk of the area they occupy but also for the richness of variety of vegetation. As much as 88 percent of the total area of the district is administered by the Forest Department. Pine forests occur between the altitude of 900-2000 metres, Deodar forests between 2000-3000 metres, Fix and Spruce forests over 3000 metres and Kharshu, Birch and Junipers forests upto the height of 4000 metres. Above the Fir and Spruce forest zone, alpine pastures are found throughout the district between the height of 3500 metres to 4877 metres above sea level. Rich varieties of grass, shrubs and herbs come up during June- September while during the remaining part of the year these areas remain covered with snow. A large number of medicinal plants of great commercial value grow spontaneously in the forests. Some of these grow in the valleys, some in sub-montane tracts while some other on higher altitudes. Forestry too does play an important role in the economy of the district. It employs persons both in preservation and propagation of forests as well as in their exploitation. Herbs are the most important minor forest produce. A large variety of herbs grow wild. They are of a great commercial importance for their rapeutic value. The herbsare collected through co- operatives.

RIVERS, CANALS AND WATERWAYS
It is the land of Uttarkashi district. That gives rise to two great and reverent rivers of India the Bhagirathi, called the Ganga in the plains and the Yamuna. The Ganga coming up in the glaciers `gaumukh' traverses 128 kms. in Uttarkashi district before flowing down farther. Hardly ten kms. away from Gaumukh is the place `Gangotri' of great from the west of Bandarpuch peak and revered highly is the place `Yamunotri' situated nearby visited by pilgrims. The third important river of this district is Tons besides host of tributaries that drain these areas.

TOWNS AND VILLAGES
The district at present comprises of 4 tehsils and 6 Community Development Blocks. It has 3 towns and 686 villages (678 inhabited villages and 8 uninhabited villages).

AGRICULTURE AND IRRIGATION
Agriculture in these areas suffer from many constraints. The availability of cultivable land itself is the greatest restricting factor on the development of agriculture. It can be seen from the fact that as much as 88% of the area is either covered by forests or is barren and uncultivable. The land is low in fertility except in the valleys and even land is too few and far between. Shorter agricultural season, low temperature, high altitude, smallness of land holding, perpetual problem of soil erosion due to steep gradients etc. are other inhibiting factors effecting agriculture. The agriculture, therefore, does not offer too much hope for bringing about well being to the people of the area. Sheep rearing for production of wool and meat, orchard raising, spinning and weaving of wool and other cottage industries etc. offer much scope and their potential be exploited to the fullest extent. The cultivation in these areas are carried on largely by making terraces on the sloping hillsides. Some cultivation is done on steep hills also where terracing and tilling cannot be done and the place is cleared by burning scrubs and bushes. The seeds are sown with the help of a hoe. This practice of cultivation is known as `Katil'. Both Rabi as well as Kharif crops are harvested. The main Kharif crops are paddy, small millets and potato and chief Rabi crops are wheat and barley. These crops account for over 80 percent of the total cropped area. Horticulture is another field that can boost up the economy of the district. However, it has not made much headway due to difficulties in marketing the produce, due to poor communications and remoteness of areas.

ANIMAL HUSBANDRY
Animal husbandry is an important source of supplementing income of the rural population. Of the total live-stock, bovine population and that of sheep accounted for almost one third each. The production of milk per milch animal is very low. Efforts are under way for introducing high yielding strain. Sheep rearing is an important industry in the district. Yet it does not provide full time employment and it is only avocation for those who are engaged in its pursuit. As many as sixteen sheep development centres are functioning.

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Tehri Dam: Submersion of a Town, Not of an Idea

Postby vipinpanwar on Wed Dec 07, 2005 10:32 am

EPW Commentary August 13, 2005
Source: http://www.epw.org.in


Tehri Dam: Submersion of a Town, Not of an Idea

Despite local protests over two decades, the Tehri dam was finally built. There were people in the area who supported it because of the seemingly attractive compensation that was offered. The completion of Tehri marked the submersion of just a town and not of the idea that big dams are not the only solution to managing water resources. The lesson of Tehri is that any change in the politics of environment must entail a change in the environment of politics as well. We have to develop the art of transforming a movement into a catalyst for social and political change.



Shekhar Pathak


It is true that in December 2001, when the Tehri Hydropower Development Corporation (THDC) authorities were preparing to close the gates of tunnels 3 and 4 to terminate the flow of Bhagirathi river, there were little protests in Tehri. It is also true that not many people in Uttarakhand (the still popular and technically accurate name for the state of ‘Uttaranchal’) and elsewhere celebrated the occasion of the beginning of the submergence of the 185-year-old Tehri town and much older villages in the valleys of the Bhagirathi and Bhilangana rivers. Why did this movement fail, a movement which related to the fate of more than one lakh local people as well as millions more downstream, which had a profound bearing on the pattern of development in the fragile Himalayan region, and which foregrounded the snatching away of the very little available agricultural land from the peasants? The answers to these questions are spread across a time span of more than three decades, a period which saw as many as nine prime ministers of India, an equal number of chief ministers of Uttar Pradesh, and three chief ministers of Uttaranchal.

In 1967, when the initial protest started against the project, there were many reasons behind it. The biggest issue was the rehabilitation of the Tehri citizens and the villagers of two fertile valleys. The second issue was the cost-benefit analysis of the project, which did not seem to justify its execution. Then the project was modified. Instead of 600 mw, 2,400 mw peaking power was to be generated in three stages. As the opposition was gathering ground it was said that the then prime minister Indira Gandhi wrote on the file relating to this project, “the Tehri Dam will help only the contractors”. The third issue was related to larger environmental aspects. Without an understanding of the visible geography and invisible seismicity of this fragile and fault-ridden mountain system, was there any justification in building such a large dam?



A Brief History



The Planning Commission formally sanctioned the project in 1972, and the initial construction work started in 1978 with official protection because of local protests. The Tehri Bandh Virodhi Sangharsh Samiti (TBVSS), founded on January 24, 1978 under the chairmanship of V D Saklani, with all its homework properly done, went to the Supreme Court of India. The SC gave a negative verdict. When the Environmental Appraisal Committee (EAC) refused to give clearance to this project (the EAC again refused clearance in 1990), the movement further accelerated, though this did not stop project work.

When the danger of earthquakes was highlighted by one group of experts, it was laughed at by others. The October 20, 1991earthquake measuring 6.6 on the Richter scale compelled a fresh review of the project. After personally visiting the devastated Garhwal region, the then prime minister P V Narasimha Rao remarked that the earthquake has raised a question about the Tehri dam, which only the scientists can answer. The then chief minister of UP, Kalyan Singh, declared that the Tehri dam would bring disaster to UP. The fact that there was seismicity in the region mobilised support for the movement. But there was never any clarity in the mind of the government. The construction work continued.

On December 14, 1991, hundreds of people took hold of the dam site and work came to a standstill for 75 days. In February 1992, policemen invaded the activists’ camp and took them off to prison. Work resumed on the dam, under reinforced police protection. Due to the 45-day fast unto death by Sunderlal Bahuguna (he called it ‘a vow for expiation’), the PM assured a review of the project and declared a moratorium on blasting. During the same period a bus full of demonstrators, who were returning to their villages, rolled down a hill in the Bhilangana valley, killing 16 people and injuring dozens of others. The activists suspected this to be a conspiracy directed by the dam authorities. No judicial enquiry was undertaken by the state government.

The prime minister gave a further assurance on May 7, 1992 that the activists would be allowed to present their case to the ministries of energy and forest/environment. On August 17, 1993, the minister of state for energy told the Rajya Sabha that the Tehri dam project had been given environmental clearance, and then the construction of a coffer dam started.

The anti-dam movement reached its peak during the first hunger strike by Sunderlal Bahuguna in 1992. That was the time when not only the activists, residents of Tehri and neighbouring villages, but people from the large catchment areas of Bhagirathi and Bhilangana, other parts of Uttarakhand and the rest of the country also participated in the movement. That time everyone was emotionally surcharged and even Medha Patkar reached Tehri. The movement then had a strong scientific and institutional support behind it.

Weakening of the Movement


For the next five years no decision came from either the central or state governments. Most members of the committees, which were set up after the three hunger strikes of Bahuguna in 1992, 1995 and 1997, were in favour of scrapping the project, yet work continued. Whenever it stopped, it was mostly due to the lack of funds. The symbolic halts were more visible in the media. After the hunger strikes failed to influence the insensitive government, and most villagers were compensated with money, given land near Dehradun and/or a house in the freshly built town of New Tehri, the movement started weakening. The death of V D Saklani, the shifting of the respected CPI leader V S Nautiyal to Dehra Dun and the withdrawal of activists like Dhoom Singh Negi, Kunwar Prasun, Vijay Jardhari and many others, really weakened the movement. Only after this did the movement became Bahuguna- centric, although the element of individual heroism was very much present since its earliest days.

Sunderlal Bahuguna and his wife Vimla Bahuguna, with a few supporters, remained at the dam site, trying to rebuild the movement, though with little success. The Garhwal earthquake of 1999 did not generate any heat for the Tehri cause. Most of Bahuguna’s metropolitan supporters later became less active. He had been travelling in India and abroad speaking on the issue, and for a long time Vimla Bahuguna was alone in their hut (Ganga Himalaya Kutir) at Tehri, with symbolic support from people of the town and surrounding villages. But this activist couple lit the little lamp of protest and kept it going since 1989. To pursue this struggle they left the Navjivan Ashram of Silyara, which was established by them in the early 1950s. Only in March 2001 did the VHP’s Ashok Singhal come to Tehri for expressing opposition to the closing of the tunnels and the impediments in the flow of ‘Ganga Mata’. After that he neither came back to Tehri nor spoke to the press. Tehri issue was unlike Ayodhya. Meanwhile, another committee was set up, which has yet not submitted its findings despite a change of government at the centre.

No social movement finds support among all the people in the region/country of its location. Even the famous Chipko movement of Uttarakhand was not supported by all. The people of Uttarakhand were always sympathetic towards the environmental victims of Tehri. Most of them were passive supporters. Tehri dam project had many visible and invisible supporters not only in political parties, the government and the bureaucracy but also among the local people. Yet no political party was able and ready to frankly discuss the positive and negative aspects of the dam.

The Tehri project was ‘kamadhenu’ (the cow of plenty) for all – contractors, transporters, politicians, businessmen, some journalists, the industrialists and even some locals. Everyone had his or her dreams to be actualised through this large project, and everywhere there was euphoria about its probable consequences. Many people in Tehri town, in the surrounding villages and the absentee landlords of the submersion area were among the strong supporters of the Tehri Dam project, as the compensation in hand and the dream of settling near Dehra Dun made them blind. The Tehri Hydropower Development Corporation (THDC) very successfully made many of them corrupt, careless and insensitive. Such people may even have celebrated the beginning of the submergence of Tehri city.

In the last decade, the anti-Tehri dam movement was not able to sustain itself even after it was termed the Himalaya Bachao Andolan’ (save Himalaya movement) by its leaders. It was never clear that from whom they wanted to save the Himalaya, why and how. Later, the Tehri issue only emerged when Bahuguna started or broke his hunger strikes or talked to the press. The movement was naturally marginalised. The national and international support withered away. It is sad that there is not a single reference to the Tehri dam in the report of the world commission on dams, even though this is one of the most controversial and contested dams ever proposed or built.

Forgotten Concerns


Today the larger environmental and developmental issues have receded into the background. Few questions are raised any more about seismicity, siltation, environmental impact, reservoir-induced seismicity (RIS), catchment area treatment and the peak ground acceleration (PGA). However, these issues are very crucial and very much real. After many years people had made up their minds to leave Tehri town and the surrounding villages. They are not yet completely settled. Later they also realised that their lack of participation in the movement deprived them of proper rehabilitation from the state. Even decent rehabilitation – giving jobs to local people, social or community share in the water, electricity, tourism and fishing-related activities (difficult to dream of by any government, let alone its execution) cannot minimise the above problems. The coming up of the large lake, impounding the pressure of 3.2 billion tonnes of water, and any future earthquake, as this region lies in the seismic gap, may accelerate RIS in the area resulting in a big tragedy in the mountains as well as downstream.

The submergence of some lower parts of Tehri town, the shifting of people elsewhere and Bahuguna’s hut a little above and finally to New Tehri, the small protests at Tehri and other places, is not the end of an idea. We can still think of ways of using the hydro-potential of the Himalayan rivers without constructing large dams like Tehri. Social silence cannot always be interpreted as cultural defeat. In any case, the Falinda protest in Bhilangana valley and the resentment against Tapovan-Vishnugad project in Joshmath have broken the silence. The study of social movements of this region suggests that the people will evolve a new model of challenging the state and its contradictions. The Tehri tragedy may give birth to the idea, as visualised by the report of the world commission on dams to see “water as an instrument, a catalyst for peace, that brings us together, neither to build dams nor tear them down but to carefully develop resources for the long term”.



Lessons from Tehri


We can learn from the Tehri movement that we have not yet developed a democracy where people can really decide on the most appropriate use of their own resources. For, the mafia and middlemen work in all spheres of life, while the judiciary may go against people’s movements. The lesson of the Tehri struggle is that any change in the politics of environment must necessarily entail a corresponding change in the environment of politics. We have to evolve a new culture of protests and also the art of transforming a movement into a catalyst for social and political change.

It must be also understood that out-migration for the last 100 years has made the people of Uttarakhand careless and insensitive about their roots. They can leave their mountain home, land, pasture, forest and culture for just a house in Tarai-Bhabhar and Dun areas or in the plains anywhere. This process must be properly analysed and understood. Such is not the case with the Narmada Bachao Andolan. There the tribals and peasants know the meaning of being compelled to leave their land and houses.


Email: pahar.org@gmail.com
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Piety in a picturesque ambience

Postby vipinpanwar on Wed Dec 07, 2005 10:35 am

Piety in a picturesque ambience


The view from the Tungnath temple is a sheer delight

FORMING the arm (bahu) of the prestigious Panch Kedar tradition, the Tungnath temple is situated at a height of 3680 metres above mean sea level in the Garhwal Himalayas. Together with Kedarnath, which forms the hump of the twelve most revered jyotirlings in the country; Rudranath, which represents Shiva's face; Madmaheshwar, which conforms to his naval and Kalpeshwar which represents the Lord's hair, Tungnath, which forms the arms of the Lord, is held in high esteem by those in the quest of spirituality.

It lies about 30 km from Ukhimath, roughly between Kedarnath and Badrinath, the place from where most of the learned pandas of Kedarnath hail. It is a trek of about 3.5 km from Chopta. Tungnath offers a panoramic view of the Panchchuli, Nanda Devi, Dunagiri, Nilkanth, Kedarnath and Bandarpoonch ranges.

Set in the midst of temperate forests in the Chamoli district of Garhwal, the origin of the Tungnath temple is shrouded in myths and legends. One of the most credible myths associated with the Tungnath temple is that it was built by the Pandavas on seeing the wrath of Shiva at the carnage they had wrought at the battle at Kurukshetra. It is said the Pandavas dedicated this temple to the enraged God of destruction, as much as an act of appeasement as also for their own salvation.


The trek to Chandrashila, the shrine to the moon mountain


Chopta, at over 8000 ft above sea level, is the base camp for a trek up to Tungnath. It rains in such abundance here that travellers have often nicknamed it the Cherrapunji of Uttarakhand. Chopta is easily approached via a motorable road from Rishikesh via Rudraprayag and Chamoli. One can also access it from Ukhimath on the Badri-Kedar route. There is a GMVN rest house here for the convenience of trekkers and pilgrims. Though one must bear in mind that accommodation is limited and hence it is important to book well in advance.



The trek to Chandrashila, the shrine to the moon mountain

The trek from Chopta to Tungnath is hardly 35 km, yet one ascends a compelling 3000 ft. in that distance, which calls for a fairly steep climb. Wild rhododendrons, chirping birds and nature keeps you company all the way. On reaching Tungnath, at roughly 12000 ft. above sea level, the tree-line gives way to alpine meadows — Bugyals — strewn with tiny wildflowers. Acres and acres of heaven engulf you in their fold, even as cascading waters surround you and birds in flight keep their vigil. Apart from the religious import of the place, one cannot deny the reprieve it offers to stressed-out souls.

This probably explains why, despite there being no facilities whatsoever at Tungnath, tens of thousands of pilgrims visit this divinity year after year. Besides which the solid granite structure of the temple itself instils one with piety and reverence. A little away from the Tungnath temple is the shrine to the moon mountain, Chandrashila. The trek to Chandrashila offers a panoramic view of the Himalayas in all their splendour on one side and the valleys of Garhwal on the other. Truly, the gods must co-exist in these mountains, as just visiting this place completely redefines one’s own understanding of life even as it alters one’s view of existence and the relationship between one’s body and soul.


Although every season offers a spectacular and myriad view of the majestic Himalayas, May and June are particularly ideal months to trek to this place. Though the flowers are in full bloom only after the rains, i.e., in August/September thus making for a picturesque trip. From a religious point of view, the monsoon is the ideal time to offer obeisance to Lord Shiva. During the winter months, between November and March, the weather is so rough that even the locals migrate to the lower reaches of the Himalayas.

source: http://www.tribuneindia.com
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Decentralized development in Uttarakhand

Postby vipinpanwar on Wed Dec 07, 2005 10:39 am

PUCL Bulletin, October 2002

<!--EZCODE BOLD START-->Decentralized development in Uttarakhand
-- by K.N. Bhatt, GB Pant Social Science Institute, Allahabad

(.Excerpts)
<!--EZCODE BOLD END-->

Creation of Uttarakhand is, in fact, an outcome of the peoples' long struggle for survival amidst the extreme conditions of regional economic backwardness and high rates of unemployment. The local people envisaged the political entity of the new state as an instrument to fulfill their aspirations of development and quality of life. Almost two years have been completed after the coming of the state into existence. How the new state has performed during these two years? Whether the people have started realizing their aspirations, for the achievement of which they struggled? Has the successive governments of the new states initiated a process of peoples' empowerment and ensuring their right to development? If not what is the alternative course of action left with the people of Uttarakhand? These are some of the vital questions, which today bother the minds of the common peoples belonging to the area.

In the wake of wide ranging social inequalities, regional disparities, unemployment and poverty, nations through out the world presently are striving to rebuilt their socio-economic order from below. If the aspirations of the people are to be fulfilled, the vision must evolve from the grassroots level. The need of the hour in the new state therefore is to ensure actual sharing of power with the people, seeking their fullest participation and fulfilling their hopes and felt needs. This article analyses some contemporary theoretical perspectives of participatory development and social justice. How the decentralized democratic institutions of development could be created at the local level within the existing constitutional provisions In Indian states to bring in increased productivity, efficiency and equity together? Can a new state like Uttarakhand where ideal socio- economic conditions exist for an efficient evolution of decentralized development, learn lessons from some success stories of development from below? The following paragraphs analyze a theoretical perspective of decentralized development and social justice, experiences of centralized development planning in India, existing constitutional provisions for decentralized development, implementation of these provisions in practice and evolving an alternative process of decentralized development in Uttarakhand.
.......

These contemporary perspectives for development suggest a qualitatively different approach, where considerations of equity and justice are primary determinants of development as they shape its entire structure. It is assumed that if the development process is to be participatory, decisions have to be taken with the full involvement of the beneficiaries. This requires an examination of ends and means of development. The responsibility to create the conditions for such a process of development lies with the state, not actually to realize it. Individuals themselves are the only ones who can achieve that. Local community management for development is considered to bring about equity, productivity, and efficiency together to ensure social justice. The common belief of the policy makers regarding trade-off between efficiency and equity is challenged and it is equivocally established that the process of decentralised development is essential for a reasonably efficient economy even under the constraints posed by the forces of globalisation.

Unfortunately, the development policies even today are mostly dominated by considerations of maximizing growth of GNP, increased industrial production, improved technology, and aggregate consumption. The notions of equity, justice, participation, and freedom are made peripheral and raised only as after-thoughts in the approach to national and international development policies. However, right from the time of the emergence of development theories, there has always been the theorists of eminence who believed that the idea of development goes far beyond growth in output and material wealth. They included welfare and equity into the process of development and advocated for the improvement of the lot of the poor and give people a wider range of choices. It is perceived here that the process of decentralization alone can provide the necessary ethos and institutional framework, in which civil society comes in to its own, thinks of the state as a necessary and essential instrument for ordering the public domain, and in which cultural diversity of the large society is given its full play. 'The process of decentralized development thus involves delegation of decision-making powers to the sub-state levels with corresponding devolution of resources. It seeks improvement in productivity through speedy absorption of modem technology, better allocation and utilization of the available resources and greater impact of such productivity improvements on the living conditions of the weaker section of population'.

Experiences of Development Planning in India

India initiated the process of planned development in 1951 with a centrally planed mixed economy model. During the course of national movement, however, democratic decentralisation with the village as a basic unit of administration had remained central to the ideological framework of our national leaders. Graam Swaraaj (Village Republics), decentralized planning for development and equity were considered as the real solution for India's problems. Despite Gandhiji's clear propagation of the ideal and country's great legacy of village governance from the past, the ideal of Panchayati Raj could find a place in the constitution of India only under the Directive Principles of the State Policy, rather than making it mandatory under the legally enforceable part of the constitution.

During the planned development efforts of the fifties only, the study team headed by Balwant Rai G. Mehta on Community Development Projects and National Extension Services, 1957, had again emphasized the need for democratic decentralisation through setting up of Panchayati Raj institutions for ensuring public participation in community works and an efficient implementation of development programmes. The recommendations of the Mehta Committee and a number of similar other expert committees on Panchayati Raj were left for implementation on the goodwill of the state governments, in the absence of a proper Constitutional safeguard and enthusiasm for sharing power with lower units of local self-governments, the state governments in turn reluctantly experimented with the idea. Consequently, a myth was gradually developed that the centralised governance and development only can benefit the disadvantaged and the poor.

Five decades of our planned development experience thus reveal that the popular participation in development planning remained a distant dream. Our state sponsored top-bottom planning model gradually witnessed a highly centralized system of development with ever increasing administrative controls. As rightly pointed out by an analyst 'the upward shift of functions from the district to state and from state to the Union has not in the least contributed either to strengthening the centre or to making planning more effective. Indeed, it has had the opposite effect on both counts. The machinery of government became excessively flabby, at the centre as well as states. Planning has become so out of touch with ground reality that it is in danger of losing credibility. The strategy followed in the first four decades of planning, in fact, is now being squarely blamed for our relatively poor growth and mounting balance of payments problem, which finally led to the adoption of structural adjustment programmes in July 1991 with wide raging packages of reforms in trade, industry, finance, and other important sectors of the economy. It is now clearly realized that the development performance of India would have been much better and distribution of benefits more equitable, if only we had effective planning at the sub-state, particularly at the grassroots level.

......

After an ongoing delay of over 45 years in post independent India, the ushering in of the Gandhian Vision of Panchayati Raj Institutions through 73rd and 74th constitutional Amendment Acts in 1992 is a bold and historic initiative. It seeks to deliver power to the people to realise their right to development. The Indian Constitution has been amended for creating the autonomous institutions of local self-governments and decentralized development both in rural and urban areas respectively. Provisions under the constitutional mandate envisage not only the full participation of people in decision-making process, preparation of economic development plans, and ensuring social justice, but also in the execution of such plans. The Acts also specially lay provisions for establishing an autonomous State Finance Commission for sharing of financial resources directly to these local bodies and make them economically independent. In short, the real spirit of the constitutional mandate is to ensure a development policy, which creates sustainable improvement in the quality of life of the people, and evolves a social order based on the principles of equality, prosperity, and security.

The relevant sections of the Constitution of India under Part IX, Part IXA, the 11th and the 12th Schedules, underscore the provisions for ensuring true democracy at the grass roots level and transferring power to the people. Article 243 G and Article 243 W pointedly define the power, authority and responsibilities of Panchayats and municipalities, etc. respectively. It states that subject to the provisions of the Constitution, the Legislature of a State may, by law, endow the Panchayats and the municipalities with such powers and authority as may be necessary to enable them to function as institutions of self-government. The 11th Schedule and 12th schedule listed therein envisages for the transfer of multiple developmental activities to be performed by the Panchayats and urban local bodies respectively.

Before the 73rd, 74th constitutional amendment Acts, 'it was not mandatory to elect office holders below state level at district, sub-district, village of municipal levels. In other words according to an analyst, Indian democracy was a parliamentary system at central and state levels with bureaucratic governance at lower levels. The current power pyramid, needs to be reversed. Everything that can be decided and implemented optimally at the local level should be kept at that level leaving the rest to be taken up at the district, and thereafter the state level. Only the residua 'powers should belong to the centre... It is also necessary to move beyond the confines of the representative-democracy. Forums must be created so that ordinary citizen can directly intervene, deliberate, and decide the governance and development processes. Democracy, from being a ritual of periodic elections, needs to be extended to the grassroots levels'.

Implementation of the Acts

The Constitutional mandate with its wide-ranging prospects for evolving a true and transparent democratic social order requires the state governments to introduce legislative measures immediately for the revitalization of the institutions of local self-governance. It is, first and foremost, very encouraging to find turn of the state government to activate these democratic institutions at the local level for transforming the practice and quality of development in the country. Commenting on the post 74th constitutional amendments experiences, Drez and Sen have rightly pointed out that: 'It is, first and foremost, very encouraging to find plentiful of evidence of active engagements with the new possibilities of local democracies on the part of the Indian public... However, the experience confirms that the results of state initiatives to promote local democracy are highly contingent social context. Indeed, the reforms associated with the Panchayati Raj amendments have followed very different course in different states. At one extreme, Bihar has barely reached the stage of organising Panchayat elections. Kerala on the other hand, has gone far beyond the constitutional requirements and initiated a visionary campaign of 'decentralized planning' through Panchayati Raj institutions'. It is unfortunate to note that despite an active engagement of the common public most of the state States governments have failed in their duty in truly transferring power to the people even after a decade of the constitutional mandate.

What has happened in practice, in these once again is merely a bureaucratic transfer of power that treats the lower level units of the self-governments just as another units of bureaucratic control. The system rather than being responsible to the people, who formed them, still remain loyal in turn to upper echelons in the bureaucratic hierarchy. It has generally resulted in utter failure and mal-functioning of existing local self-governments in the country.

On the other hand, the example of Kerala, where these constitutional provisions have actually been implemented after 1996-97 with the aim of evolving a system of participatory development, presents a fruitful model of social development. After the adoption of this system, the state government transfers about 35 to 40 percent of its total plan funds directly to the Panchayats to facilitate these institutions for undertaking development projects at the local level. 'During 1997-98, the total resources devolved worked out to Rs. 10,250 million and in 1998-99 Rs.11,780 million, not counting funds from centrally sponsored schemes and the loans that could be taken out by the local bodies with government guarantee. Before 1996-97, their share in the state's annual plan averaged only around Rs. 200 million. The small state of Kerala today has become a unique example of people's participatory model of development with high levels of human and social development. A Summary of the proceedings of a five days International Conference on Democratic Decentralisation in Kerala organised during May, 2000 in Thiruvananthapuram reveals that: 'the Kerala experience is demonstrating that the efforts in the devolution of power and finances to local communities, when sustained by political will, can prove that local resistance is also an effective response to the market driven logic of globalisation which has little place for the felt needs of the people... The role of the local bodies offers today the only hope in benevolent, decentralised state's presence, where the centre may hold and the peripheries may continue to define the political vision and trajectories of economic growth and the distributional gains of it...

The democratic decentralisation campaign in Kerala will be significant in the history of India for it establishes a politics of social change which restructures the systems of power of production and relations, especially between government, the state and the people who image the alternatives and build them. Decentralisation is ultimately going back to the people for a referendum, and, in the last instance, this is a political issue, not just for Kerala but also for all India.

Initiating Decentralized Development in Uttarakhand


It is the first and foremost duty of a new state coming into existence after the 73rd, 74th constitutional amendments Acts to review its existing system of development and governance. The continuation of the provisions for merely a bureaucratic governance at sub-state level units of administration would not lead anywhere. If the new state of Uttarakhand fails to initiate a process of decentralized development and peoples' empowerment in the true spirit of the constitution, the local people will remain in a state of deprivation with the widespread conditions of regional economic backwardness, poverty, and unemployment. The success story cited above in case of Kerala, in addition to a bold and historic initiative by the state government, is attributed by some analyst to various positive socio-economic conditions existent in the state. These factors include high literacy rates, sharply reduced deprivation and absolute poverty, better medical and health facilities, successful land reforms, mass organizations to strengthen the case for local democracy, and better redistributive policies of the government for social sector planning including social provisioning of education, health, economic assets, improved working conditions, and bargaining power of the labour force.

The existing socio-economic attributes in Uttarakhand, like Kerala, also suggest an ideal condition for immediately starting the process of decentralized development in the new state. During the course of past two decades, literacy and educational levels in Uttarakhand have recorded dramatic achievements. The state today ranks among the top ten Indian states in terms of higher literacy rates. This may be supplemented from the provisional Censes, 2001 totals, which show an overall literacy rate of 72.28 per cent with respective ratios of 84.01 per cent for males and 60.26 per cent for females in Uttarakhand. Similarly, the tremendous potential of natural resources could be transformed into wealth by the touch of a highly disciplined and educated human labour force in the economy of the state. The sturdy, healthy, well educated, and laborious hill women is undisputedly accepted as the practical work force in the area. The varying altitudes, vegetation, soils, climate, beautiful landscape and geophysical features of the area, extending from the snowy Himalayan peaks to the highly fertile foot-fills, the Bhabhar, Tarai, and Duns, present a unique potential for initiating a host of cultivation, manufacturing, and production activities.

Apart from the abundance of natural resources and well-educated human resource base, a rich cultural and social heritage can enormously contribute to the success of participatory governance in the state. The hill society has a prolonged tradition of close community living and harmony with its natural environment. Traditional village Panchayats and forest Panchayats have performed well in bringing social welfare and delivering justice to the people. Law and order even today is managed in the rural areas of the mountainous part by combining revenue and police administration. The people belonging to the area are trusted everywhere for their honesty, hard work, communal harmony, and tradition of community living. In case of social hierarchy of rich and poor and asset distribution, class-gaps do not exist so sharply as is the case in other sates of India. Distribution of land is almost equal. Only about 13 percent of the total geographical area is under cultivation, owned by the individual households. Under the decentralized system of development, provincial government will have to transfer common property rights of the land to the local self- governments. In fact, most of the land under government control including reserve forests of today needs to be transferred to the village and urban local self governments to be managed, protected and developed by themselves without any bureaucratic interference. Similarly, the property rights in case of water resources also need to be given back to these local self-governments.

The state could make legal provisions under its Panchayat Raj Act for the transfer of property rights of the courses of the river valleys falling within the respective boundaries of the sub-state level units of governments.

Only after ascertaining the property rights under the law in case of jal, jangal, zamin the new state could make the system of democratic governance and development a reality. The peculiar geophysical features widely scattered natural resources, village habitations and varying ecosystem of Uttarakhand also necessitate devolution of power to the people to protect the flight of capital from the area and for managing the economy according to local needs. Fullest participation of people and their empowerment could ensure the twin objectives of creating employment opportunities and a speedy increase in production, asset creation, and value addition.

The higher echelons of the sate machinery may concentrate on development of basic infrastructure facilities, encouraging research and development activities and providing people access to healthy markets in order to fetch better prices for their produce. Failure to deliver power to the people at the foundation stage of the new state may again alienate and frustrate the local people. The flight of capital may experience more accelerated pace and the eco-sensitive Himalayan zones may lead to further destruction in coming years, particularly after strengthening of the globalized market forces.

Conclusion
The failure of the centralized state planning, apart from other things, has primarily paved the way for today's dominant neo-classical paradigm of competitive markets as an alternative, where the states have practically no role to play. However, the available literature on the theme clearly suggests that there existed no situation even in the so-called pure capitalist economies of the world, where market forces operated under the ideal conditions. Each nation operates its political economy within certain regulated framework in accordance with the required socio-economic reality.

The market mechanisms could be effectively utilized to ensure distributive justice in a democratic way. Therefore, an ideal alternative model of development for a new state like Uttarakhand would be a combination of decentralized development with a healthy exposure to market forces. After the initiation of people's campaign for decentralized development in 1996, Kerala is demonstrating a unique and successful model of decentralized planning for social development to the world in our own country. Several other such lessons for development from below could be found and innovated for the ownership and management of an economy suitable to our social realities which may be different from the sole state ownership on the one hand and unrestricted private ownership on the other for ensuring people their right to development and social justice.

In order to evolve such a people's participatory and transparent process of development, the new state needs to initiate reforms at two levels. First, the state legislature would be required to pass a comprehensive law for the democratic devolution of power to the people for creating institutions of local self-governments in the true sprit of the 73rd & 74th constitutional amendment Acts. Secondly, start a massive campaign for the development planning from these grassroots level institutions and educate people for a comprehensive technical exercises of making sectoral plans, assessing local needs, financial outlays and implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of their own development projects. Adoption of these measures certainly requires a strong political will amongst the ruling political elite in the state, as neither the existing elected representatives nor the bureaucracy would easily like to share power with the people. If the state fails to evolve these constitutional sub-state level political institutions for grassroots level governance in near future, the only alternative course of action, the local people are left with, is to organise themselves for yet another struggle for their own empowerment and development.

Evolving a process of decentralized development remains the only hope for the local people which can be used not only to ensure collective property rights over their natural resources of Jal, Jangal, Zamin, but also bring in economic prosperity and social harmony.


(The author has used the name 'Uttarakhand' instead of 'Uttaranchal'. This was the term used in the movement for the creation of the state. Common people still adhere to the name they had coined.

References have been omitted due to space constraint. -- Chief Editor)

Source: http://www.pucl.org
vipinpanwar
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Doon Valley's Past Memories

Postby vipinpanwar on Fri Dec 16, 2005 5:16 am

Past Memories Doon Valley

--» Sri Guru Ram Rai settled in Doon in 1675.

--» Mausoleum of Jhanda Bazar was founded in 1687 by Aurangzeb.

--» From 1801 till 1803 Dehradun valley was under two Dobhal brothers known as Rama and Darvi. It is due to them the large part of the area is known as Dobhal Walla.

--» After the Gorkha-British war in 1815 Dehradun was included in the Saharanpur District, only after the opening of the cantonment Dehradun was declared the full-fledged District.

--» The Doon Valley and the Chandi Pargan was purchased in 1811 by Major Hyder Young Hearsey from Raja of Garhwal for the sum of Rs. 3005/- only.

--» It has snowned thrice in Doon. The first snowfall was recorded in its history in Feb. 1814, snow lay on the ground for two days.

--» In 1817 the population of Doon valley was only 2,100.

--» In 1918 British Government Directed Mussoorie City Board to supply electricity to Dehradun. Only than four Cinema Halls namely Olympia, Aroras and Orient started functioning.

--» It was in 1822 that the Dehradun-Saharanpur Road was constructed.

--» The Doon was made a District in 1825. Hon'ble Mr. F.J. Shore was appointed the First District Magistrate.

--» In 1827 Dehradun had only 518 houses.

--» The earliest Post Office in Doon was opened in 1827.

--» Kaulagard Tea Plantation planted in Doon in 1844 was the First Tea Plantation in India.

--» British General Sir Robert Dick was having 492 acre of land at Dalanwala, after his death in 1846 in the British Sikh war his wife sold this land to the Indian Business man and slowly the place came to be known as Dalanwala.

--» The First School in Doon opened in 1853.

--» In 1856 Dr. Jamson after examining the soil samples made tea gardens in one lakh acre. In 1947 only 55,000 acre remained.

--» First Ramlila was held in 1863 at Shivaji Dharamshala whose script was written by local business man Shri Bhagat Jamunadass.

--» The Telegraph came to Doon in 1865.

--» In 1867 Municipality of Doon was established covering an area of 6 sq. kms.

--» Canadian National Sir Kalog wrote a book on Hindi Grammer in 1875 while his stay in Mussoorie which later become very famous not only in India but also in abroad.

--» In 1906 Shri Balbir Singh established first Rice, Flour and Oil Mill at Dehradun.

--» After the laying down the Haridwar-Dehradun railway line in 1900 it was possible to sent fuel, wood for the construction, limestone and basmati rice to different parts of the country.

--» Football tournament started in Dehradun in 1918 when first Bengal Cup was played.

--» Present Nashvella Road used to have 85 Bighas of Nashvella Estate which was spread from Congress Bhawan to Punjab Jewelers.

--» In 1930 Dehradun was having its own Radio Station which was at the District Supply Office. The station was started with the help of then Magistrate B.J.K. Haloj and use to broadcast Indian Music during evening for one or two hours. The station was closed during the World War II.

--» On 26 August 1931 freedom fighters throwed a hand grenade on the residence of Superintendent of Police.

--» Due to non-availability of electricity the power was generated by PWD's road roller and was supplied to the office of Forest Research Institute.

--» In 1935 Kurshadlal was the Congress President and on his request the than Chairman of the Indian Bank - the oldest Bank of Dehradun build the Pavalion Ground, The Town Hall and the Doon Hospital, later the bank merged with the Bhagwan Dass Bank.

--» Garhwal King - Pradeep Shah was having his headquarters at Village Nawada.

--» Clocktower was having a joined water tank for the drinking purpose.

--» Rai Sahib Madhoram was having showroom of Lal Imli Dhariwal near Digvijay Cinema, Rai Sahib was the lone distributor of Lal Imli Dhariwal and at that time his daily turnover was Rs. 1 Lakh.

--» Mr. Domanik was the owner of Star Motor Workshop & Petrol Pump and he sold them for mere Rs. 60,000 to Chandra Ahuja.

--» There was a wooden floor on the top of New Empire cinema hall where roller skating and badminton matches use to be held. Here India's top Badminton star T.N. Seth and Pakistani player Shanshad had played their matches.

--» The highest temperature recorded in Doon was 48.8° C on June 4th, 1902.

--» Before 1903, almost all of the city roads were unmettled.

--» The Second tome it snowed in 1905.

--» The Lowest temperature recorded in Doon was 1.1°C on Feb. 1st, 1905.

--» The Fist Electric Light was switched on in Mussoorie on May 24th, 1909.

--» The Oldest Cinema Hall in the Town is Orient which opened in 1921.

--» The Dehradun Broadcasting Station started in 1930 From Tehsil Compound.

--» First Telephone Exchange of the city was made in 1930 with 50 lines.

--» After being elected as the Congress President in March 1936 Subhash Chandra Bose came to Dehradun and held a rally in the Parade Ground.

--» In 1936 there were only two Royals Roy in Doon at that time the cost of the car was 50 to one lakh rupees.

--» In 1938 Rai Bahadur Ugrasen constructed the building of Astley Hall. On 16th July 1947. The white wash of the building took 937 Man and 20 Sare lime. It used to cost 8 annas for a kg of lime.

--» In 1940 there were only 8 cars in the city.

--» Last time it snowned on Jan 10th, 1945 about 4 inches.

--» The Hexagonal Clock Tower was built in 1948-49 to commerorate India's Independence.

--» Till 1950 Kwality Restaurant was above Elloras and their was Green Restaurant at the present site of Kwality.

--» Digvijay cinema was built in the year 1953.

--» J.S.W. became N.D.A. when it shifted en-bloc in Dec. 1954 from Doon to Khadakvasla in Poona.

--» At Nepali Restaurant there use to be a Jukebox and on inserting a coin of 4 annas the person can hear his favourate song with the help of record player.

--» The founder of Himalaya Drug Co. Shri Misal Sahib was having his residence at the present Hotel Drona. He was also the member of city board.

--» Magistrate Mahmood Butt use to take a ride on the road with the Brass rod in his hand.

--» Cabre Dance use to be held at Apsara Restaurant (Near Moti Mahal), Royal Cafe (Astley Hall) and at Majestic Cafe.

--» International hockey fame Hardiyal Singh was the resident of Dehradun

--» The construction work of Helepad stated at Parad Ground in April 1986 and the work was stopped in the first week of May due to agitation.

--» First motor car reached Mussoorie in 1920 and only then motor car started plying in Dehradun. Only few people use to have their cars, among them were Rai Bahadur Ugrasen, Bhagwan Das, Mansa Ram, Seth Laxmi Chand, Rai Sahib Madharam, Balbir Singh and Sarnimal.

--» In 1940 the Clerk of Imperial Bank of India use to get Rs 35 and the Police Constable use to get Rs. 11.

--» Till 1940 the person use to pay only Rs. 5 monthly for the full day meal.

--» In 1940 Satpal Krishna Kumar took a shop for Rs. 40 and started the business. During Deepawali he had an record turnover of Rs. 15.

--» For travelling from Dehradun to Saharanpur the Bus stand was near Darshani Gate and the fare was mere 6 annas.There use to be a competition among the buses for luring the passengers, some use to give free cigarettes while other use to give free tea on the way.

--» Seth Laxmi Chandra was the famous and the richest personality of Dehradun, he decided to buy the Royals Roy the expensive car of that time. He went to Delhi at the company's showroom owned by the Britisher. After seeing the wear out of Sethji he said that this car was not meant for the Indians. Sethji than bought the car from another person and started using the car as dust bin. This news went to the manufacturer who enquired about the insult of the world famous car. After knowing the fact the distributorship of the britisher was withdrawn and also felt sorry for sethji.

--» In Dehradun city everyday 500 lakh litres water is distributed. Among which 380 lakh litre comes from underground source, other 120 lakh liters comes from small streams and river while 72 lakh litres is collected in Rajpur Canal water works everyday.

--» Doon College Girls was situated at 63, Rajpur Road and was the first college of India which ran on public scheme.

--» At Premnagar and at Clement Town there were Camps which had housed 80,000 Italian Prisoners of Wars.

--» In 1951 the fare of Delhi from Mussoorie was Rs. 12 and 10 annas and that of Saharanpur was Rs 4 and an anna for upper class and Rs 3 for lower class.

--» Magistrate Building was built in the year 1950 by the city business man Rai Sahib Madho Ram.

--» Badshah Shah Alam's Brass coin were excavated from the premises of Jangam Shivalaya, Paltan Bazar on 23rd January 1958.

--» Till 1973 city was only having one lab by the name Goyal Color Lab.

--» Construction of Krishna Palace Cinema hall started in the year 1975. First film to be screened was "Agent Vinod" in the year 1977. The land was purchased for only Rs.20,000.

--» Rajmata Karnawati took the reins of Maharani of Garhwal in the year 1931. She took the initiative for providing irrigation and drinking water for the villages near Rajpur by making canals. Maharani laid the foundation of Karanpur nagar and later it was being called as Karanpur Mohalla.

--» Pd. Jawahar Lal Nehru took the initiative to build Circuit House in 1950. Ram Prasad kept its charge for more than three decades.

--» For the first time National Football championship (Santosh Trophy) was held from 6th March to 12th March 1985. In this the teams from Tripura, Goa and Jammu & Kashmir participated.

--» Mussoorie Municipality is the oldest Municipality in India.

--» Raja of Gwalior and Northern India Transport Company Ltd. started its first bus service from Mussoorie to Saharanpur.

Source: English translation from the book "Gauravshaali Dehradun" by Mr. Devki Nandan Pandey

<!--EZCODE BOLD START-->Thanks To :-
Bhai Deepak Singh Pundir Member of Young Uttaranchal
<!--EZCODE BOLD END-->
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Garhwali folk songs etch fascinating images of hill women

Postby vipinpanwar on Thu Jan 05, 2006 9:08 am

Garhwali folk songs etch fascinating images of hill women

DEHRA DUN, June 24: Haunting folk melodies of Garhwal abound in rich descriptions of the appearances, work and personalities and social relationships of the hardy, graceful women of this picturesque hill region in Uttaranchal.

A unique book, in the form of a detailed study, looks at these folk songs as a source of understanding women’s lives. Brought out recently, the book "images of women in the folk songs of Garhwal Himalayas", has been written by Anjali Capila, Reader and Head of the Post-Graduate Department of Community Resource Management at the Lady Irwin College.

"In Garhwal, every woman is the creator of her own folk song through which she communicates something about her life patterns, emotions and her position in the family ", says the author. "They breathe life into the song, and that song in turn tells us a lot about them-in Garhwal, it is difficult to think of a folk song without the woman".

Songs about seasons are an important part of Garhwal’s folk songs. They are locally referred to as the "Barahamasa" and "Ritu Geet" and are a holistic depiction of Garhwali women. These songs reflect the woman’s emotional condition during the twelve months of the year. She links the special features of each month to her feelings. For example, the "Kohra’ or mist of the "Sawan" envelopes not only the hillside but also her heart . "Aayo Maino Chet Ko, He Dadiyon, He Ra. Utheek Fulaari Jhusmus, Lagi Gain Nij Kaam"(the month of chait is here flowers are blooming, everyone is busy in his or her work)"..."Maas Doosaro Basgaal Ko Aayo Syo Saun, Chithhi Ni Patri Unki, Ku Jano Kab Ghar Aon"(the month of Sawan is even more painful, I am waiting for a letter, and there is none, who knows when he will come home). This is significant as most of the men in the Garhwal hills stay out in the plains to work while their parents and wives wait endlessly for their return during a vacation. The author says that during the time when she was staying in the villages of Garhwal to carry out the study, the women hardly ever talked about their husbands. They talked about their lives, their work, their children and their relationship with their in-laws. One of the songs says "Tel Karhai Janu Layo Saag, Tani Meri Sasu Babe Tani Bheru Bhaag" (just as vegetables cook in a pot of hot steaming oil/such is my plight in my mother -in-law’s home).

A number of Garhwali songs reflect images of harsh treatment meted out to the daughter-in-law. These songs are mainly addressed to the mother, and they make a reference to not wanting to go to "Sasural’ and the hard labour that has to be done by the girl at her in-laws place. In fact, a majority of Khuder Geet (nostalgia songs) present a harsh picture of the mother-in-law. These songs are of longing for a better time, longing for the mother’s house.

A significant feature of some of the Garhwali songs is a dialogue across the hills in the form of questions and answers. According to the classification of Garhwali songs by Chatak (1973), these songs are referred to as "Baju -Band Geet". This is a dialogue between women cutting grass and wood in the forest and men who could be grazing sheep or cattle nearby. Some Baju-Band Geet also reflect the relationship between the "Devar" and the "Bhabhi".

The verse in Baju-Band songs is created spontaneously by the women to express their feelings at that given time. They are created anew and not handed down by word of mouth from one generation to another as are the other songs, says the author. (UNI)


Source: http://www.dailyexcelsior.com
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