Trekking into forest, we found a clearing in the woods. Sky opened up and we thought we would break the trek for 10 minutes. There was an enclosure and in it, we could see paddy fields. The presence of the Buddhists prayer flags tells us that it a place of prayer. The down town locals calls this place ‘PanduRoopa’. The significance of this place is that, people believe it was here that Pandavas cultivated paddy during their long ‘vanaprasta’ (years in the woods). Even today, paddy grows at PanduRoopa. People cultivate it for religious reasons.
It is a dramatic walk through mountain woods. The forests of tall deodars (Himalayan Cedars) and the coniferous trees grow between 2000 m and 3000 m in Himalaya. Deodars are tall and imposing. It stands guard of the hills. It branches-out like spokes of wheel and holds on the wind and the gale. It is absolutely calm to trek through these cool deodar forests. It takes little effort to relax oneself in these surroundings. If my trek is a meditation, then the walk through the woods is its first stage.
There is the perennial water flow through the woods. The winter has not set in. Water at these heights has not frozen. The babbling brooks and the calmness of the deodars is a life of its own at Himalayas. It not only captivates me, but also beacons me for a lifelong tryst with nature. And the trek goes on...
The fecund countryside and the lush green meadows of Kerala is music to my eyes. However, I think it was all in a hurry that Kerala was called, “God’s own country”. That was too much of a standard that we set for ourselves!
Mighty Himalayas will smile... calling herself, ‘God’s own bounty’!
Photos: By UC and me, along the Hampta Pass Trek, Himalayas.