Saturday, August 28, 2010
19th August, 5AM....I start for Hemkund Saheb. The drizzle is non stop. I want to trek beyond the Lokpal lake so I hire a mule to go up the 6 Km steep incline. My fellow traveler is an old Sikh woman, who keeps chastising the mule man for beating it with a stick.It is dark and the mule moves up the steep slope. As things get visible I see the small town of Ghangharia left way below. We stop for a cup of tea at the 2Km mark. There is no sunshine, but the rain seems to have stopped! We move on...the climb gets more and more steep. Both sides of the path are laden with flowers, small yellow Corydalis, white Anemone and the red Bistorta greet me. I spot the beautiful blue Aconite and a rain soaked droopy blue poppy plant; but my eyes are straining to see my first Brahmakamal. The climb is getting steeper now, we take a sharp turn below a glacier, I look up to see the Gurudwara gate: Lo and behold! I see the first Brahmakamal perched precariously on a hanging piece of rock. It's white petals catch the first ray of the sun and the glow is ethereal!7:30 and I have reached the Lokpal lake. I dismount the mule and make a beeline to the ancient Lakshman temple. The Pujari has just begun his daily ritual of offerings and prayer. I sit cross legged on the damp mat and watch patiently. He puts a big sandal and vermilion dot on my forehead and gives me some prasad.The pujari's son appears and I ask him if I could get someone to accompany me to the slopes above the lake. He agrees to come with me after some initial hesitation.We walk up and after a few hundred meters i see the entire slope covered with Brahmakamal. The sight is absolutely amazing...my camera goes crazy clicking them from every possible angle. there are singles, twins and large groups of Brahmamkamal. some are surrounded by the red colored Bistorta. I spot a beautiful plant of the Himalayan blue poppy. it's petals are translucent blue, and the water droplets make it look so heavenly! amidst the rocks I find a beautiful plant of the white Ranunculus! the flowers are just opening! My heart leaps with joy! The dizzying altitude of 4500 meters is playing up with my imagination....the lake, the Gurudwara behind the lake and the tiny Lakshman temple look picturesque in the mist. it has started raining again...I do not bother to cover my head...I feel i am being blessed by the gods I cherish the pure divine moments......
The descent is particularly dangerous, with rain making the steps slippery. People warn me not to take the steps but I have already come down half way...more Brahmakamal on the slopes. i keep clicking as i come down. My legs are jammed, every step is a torture...I make it to the rest house by 4PM, tired and soaked to my skin. But my heart is singing a song and my camera is laden with memories of the beautiful flower of Brahma, the creator himself!