Wednesday May 23, 2018

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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Himalayan Yogi Swami Sundaranand to open art gallery consisting 8 quintal photographs

Wanderer Baba aka Click Baba Swami Sundaranand is all set to open his art gallery

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Himalayan Yogi Swami Sundaranand (Wikimedia Commons)
  • Himalayan Yogi Swami Sundaranand is also known as “Himalayan Wikipedia Baba”, have clicked 8 quintal photos in beautiful Himalayas

You must have heard about many Himalayan yogi living upto hundreds of years and having miracle powers. But this is the story of a wanderer Sadhu, who is a mountaineer and photographer by choice. He has a deep connection with Himalayas. Swami Sundaranand is known to be a principal advocate for the ecological preservation of the Himalayas, the Ganges and its source at Gangotri.

During 1962 war Indian Army also sought help from this Himalayan Yogi as he was very much aware with all the routes and region in Himalayas.

Swami Sundaranand’s love for Himalayas started at a young age when he read a book named “Himgiri Vihaar” by Tapovan Maharaja. He was so inspired by the book that he went to Tapovan Maharaja and started Yoga Sadhna under his guidance.

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Tapovan Kutir, where Swami Sundaranand lives in the summer (Facebook)

In 1956 he bought a camera for Rs. 25 from a Belgian tourist. And since then he has been clicking pictures of the beautiful Himalayas. He has taken more than 100,000 photos, over a 50-year period, of the shrinking Gangotri glacier in the Indian Himalayas. The photographs he clicked weighs around 8 quintals.

  • The most awaited Art Gallery by Himalayan Yogi Swami Sundaranand will open in Gangotri region

Himalayan Yogi Swami Sundaranand is now all set to open his Himalayan art gallery at a height of 10,310 feet in Gangotri region. The construction has already begun. He has invested Rs. 2 crores in this project, money which he got through royalty of his book “Himalaya : Through a lens of a Sadhu”. His book was launched by then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Swami Sundaranand is the subject of a feature documentary shot at his home in Gangotri titled “Personal time with Swamiji”. The film was produced by The Centre for Healing Arts and directed by Victor Demko.

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Swami Sundaranand’s Art Gallery under construction in Gangotri Region (Facebook)

Himalayan Yogi Swami Sundaranand is also a skilled naturalist who is familiar with thousands of Himalayan plants and he knows the lore and medicinal uses of these species. The most important parts of his life are meditation, japa and pranayama. As a younger man he was an accomplished hatha yogi, mastering 300 postures, and he continues to practice it daily. He is very devoted to the ecosystem in which he has lived for forty years and believes that “God does not reside in temples or mosques – he is scattered everywhere in the courtyard of nature.

So Himalayan Yogi’s art gallery you can not miss to visit! Plan your trip soon and thank us later.

– by Shaurya Ritwik, Shaurya is Sub-Editor at NewsGram and writes on Geo-politcs, Culture, Indology and Business. Twitter Handle – @shauryaritwik