Friday April 19, 2019

Tracing roots of divinity in Himachal Pradesh: An abode of powerful deities

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By Srishti Jaswal

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Everyone knows that Himachal has high mountains and deep valleys, but the startling facts about local Himachali Devi-Devtas (deities) are rarely known to the masses. The Himachali valleys are believed to be home to powerful and majestic souls. It’s believed that these deities can wreak havoc upon everyone as well as reestablish anyone. The people of Himachal worship them with true and unwavering faith.

It’s believed that these divine beings were very powerful rulers of various places in Himachal once upon a time. After their death, their soul, or ‘aatma,’ was transferred into idols which are carried over their ‘Rath,’ or chariots. Each chariot is carried by four men on their shoulders. Many people invite these local deities to their homes to purify or inaugurate various ceremonies.

All over Himachal, many festivals and fairs are organized in which the whole community of Devi-Devtas are respectfully invited. In Mandi, a town in Himachal Pradesh, every year a Shivratri fair is organized in the month of February. It is believed that all these Devi Devtas visit Mandi every year to meet other deities and to celebrate Shivratri.

There is a caucus of deities during the ‘mela,’ also known as ‘jaleb’ in the local language. During the seven day fair of Shivratri, ‘jaleb’ is held on three alternate days. All the important dignitaries are present during ‘jaleb,’ including the DC and sometimes Chief Minister of H.P.

It’s believed that these deities can actually control their ‘Rath.’ If they do not want to visit any place, no matter how much force people exert and try to take them there, they don’t move from their places; if they want to visit some other place than planned, they start exerting force in that direction.

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Many people have witnessed these supernatural powers in ‘Rath’ of these divinities. At times, they bend their ‘Rath’ to bless people. ‘Dev Kamrunaag’ is considered one of the most powerful Devtas. It’s believed that if someone with a true heart wishes and donates a piece of gold in this deity’s lake then his wish will surely be granted.

Locals of Himachal usually worship Lord Kamrunaag for their heir. Another powerful Dev is ‘Prashar Rishi’; it’s believed that he was lord ‘Parshuram’ of Mahabharata. A lake located in the western Himalayas called, ‘Prashar jheel,’ is named after him. There is a small islet in the middle of the lake which revolves and completes a circle of the lake in twelve months.

There are a lot of supernatural phenomena hidden in the hills of Himachal Pradesh which are attributed to these divinities. A lot of research is going on to figure out the significant causes behind these portents. Let’s see what science uncovers.

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Climate Change Will Melt Vast Parts of Himalayas: Study

The Hindu Kush Himalayan Assessment was put together by more than 200 authors aiming to create a baseline of knowledge to understand the region

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The image was captured at lower Zuluk province. It is a small village in the Himalayas. There are a lot of rows in a row from the mountain. The amazing beauty of nature can be seen. Wikimedia

At least a third of the ice in the Hindu Kush Himalayan region could melt by the end of this century due to climate change, even if there is aggressive action to curb greenhouse gases and meet the goals of the Paris climate agreement,according to a new study.

The study issued on Monday night said that rising temperatures are a serious threat to the eight countries — India, China, Myanmar, Nepal, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan — in the Hindu Kush Himalayan region, CNN reported.

Fresh water from the region’s glaciers flows into 10 major river basins, contributing to the drinking water, irrigation and energy needs of approximately 1.9 billion people, or about a quarter of the world’s population.

“The consequences are pretty extreme. We are concerned, and we are worried,” said one of the study’s authors, Philippus Wester, chief scientist with the Kathmandu-based International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development.

“Urgent climate action is needed,” he said.

Aesculus indica, Horse Chestnut, Pithoragarh, Himalayas. Wikimedia

Glaciers have been retreating and thinning in the area since the 1970s but there has been an accelerating rate of retreat since then, the study said.

Climate change will also reduce how much food farmers will be able to produce in this part of the world. About 70 per cent of the population of this region are farmers, and there is already great food insecurity there, it added.

Also Read- Government Following China in Order to Eradicate Poverty, Says Pakistan PM Imran Khan

Warmer water temperatures will encourage the growth of invasive species. Extreme floods and droughts may “destroy the food production base of the region”, the study said, adding the rivers that farmers and energy companies rely on, like the Ganges, Yangtze, Mekong and Indus, will also be affected by glacier melt.

The Hindu Kush Himalayan Assessment was put together by more than 200 authors aiming to create a baseline of knowledge to understand the region. (IANS)