It is a proven fact that many of our old fashioned lifestyles patterns are backed by a strong scientific acumen, coherently set by our gurus and scholars since ancient times. It’s become more obvious in the current times to adopt the western aspects which are considered to be more savvy, convenient and largely appropriate. However, not giving a cold shoulder to the gross cultural shift, the old Indian ways and means do have substantial benefits that cannot be sidelined. This applies to many including as insignificant as eating with own hands. Most of us eat our food using cutlery like spoon, fork and knife etc as it is considered more modern, hygienic and convenient. However most people dont realize that there is a strong VEDIC rationale behind eating food by hand. The actions involved in eating have been derived from mudras (hand positions) that are the basis for yoga, meditation and classical Indian dance. Also it is believed that the digits on our fingers represent the five elements of nature which help in cleansing of our food by removing negative vibes and preparing it for us to eat. Also making one more conscious of the tastes, textures and smells of the foods whereby elevating that overall eating experience a fulfilling one.
“Kanwar Yatra” or the “Kavad Yatra” is an auspicious annual pilgrimage observed by ardent devotees of Lord Shiva during the Hindu month of ‘Shravan’ that corresponds to July - August in English calendar. During this period thousands of saffron attired Kanwariyas travel great distances on foot to holy destinations carrying “Kanwar” consisting of a pole and two pots to fetch the blessed water to be offered at local Shiv temples on the auspicious day of Mah Shivratri or the Shravan Shivratri. The yatra ritual was initiated by saints and holy sages in vedic era to appease Lord Shiva which is has now become an annual affair now for hundreds and thousands of people, from Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Punjab, Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh, of young to old age, including woman and sometimes children, to participate in the yatra. On their way, the Kanwariyas chant ‘BOL BAM, BAM BAM’, ‘BAM BAM BHOLE or HAR HAR MAHADEV’ together. Some of such momentous Kanwar destinations include include Sultanganj in Bihar, Gangotri , Gaumukh and Haridwar in Uttarakhand
Uttarakhand is also known as “Dev Bhoomi” or the “Land of Gods” with numerous pilgrim sites for Hindus and also one for the Sikhs – the Hemkund Sahib, located in the Valley of Flowers. It is believed that the Pandavas spent considerable time here during their agyatvas and one can trace many temples depicting various incidents. The Garhwal Himalaya region of the state also houses the four most pious pilgrim destinations popularly called as CHARDHAM which any Hindu yearns to undertake during his life time. They are dedicated to four different gods making it very unique in every way and are generally done in a clockwise route starting with Yamunotri (Goddess Yamuna), Gangotri (Goddress Ganga), Kedarnath (Lord Shiva) and Badrinah (Lord Vishnu).
Gangotri temple is part of Chotta Chardham of Uttarakhand and is dedicated to Goddess Ganga. This quaint temple is located in the heart of Uttarkashi district with its stunning picturesque location comprising of river, mountains and the pious atmosphere. The amazing mountain range of Himalayas and the flowing Bhagirathi by the side makes for a perfect setting to behold the life-giving, gentle yet powerful deity. The pilgrims are required to bath in the crystal clear waters of the pious river before visiting the main shrine. Ganga Maa (mother), the much revered deity of Hindus, originates from the Gangotri glacier at Gaumukh which is some 18 km from the Gangotri town. From the folds of mythology till the present time, Ganga River has always been a sacred source of purity for the mankind. Coming to Gangotri for a religious tour is not only a religious duty but a spiritual calling too