Day three always promised to be ominous. Not only was there going to be an eclipse, but I was supposed to wake up at three. Even if I could manage to escape dynamic forces exerted by the heavens, waking up at 3 in the morning never did anyone any good. Except probably the Vietcong.
Did I mention that it was cold there? It was. And when I went over to the room to sleep, I found that the room was colder then it was outside. A detailed inspection revealed that there were no glasses fitted on the ventilators. I would have asked, but the simple act of opening my mouth seemed to emit so much steam that I was sure if I made an attempt at any coherent attempt at conversation would make me perish by hypothermia.
As it turned out, I didn’t wake up at three. I woke up at two. The Pandit came banging on the door shouting that the temple was vacant & that they were ready for the puja. Now here was a quandary of heavenly proportions. I was sleeping in my full gear under three quilts. Getting out of there, at a time when it was colder then when I got in, was not good. But the things you have to do for good Karma.
I went off stumbling into the darkness following the torchlight of the Pandit. My parents in tow. A bit thankful that the room was as close to the temple. If there is anything that I see that early in the morning, it is vast stretches of the ocean. Not temples. But the Kedarnath temple looked beautiful. The puja was wonderful. Highly recommended if you go for that sort of thing. The linga there is a “swayambhu” as I had mentioned earlier, & the Pandit described how they light a lamp & close up the temple for the winter. As they close the temple, they cover the Linga with seven layers of grain & a thick quilt. When the temple is finally opened after six months, the lamp is still burning & all the grain vanishes. Apparently it is believed that humans worship Shiva for six months & Narad worships him for the remaining time.
As I came out, a few sadhus were hanging around the teashop. As I walked by, they asked me for a cup of tea. Had tea with them & asked them about their plans. Even they would be vacating the place in a month’s time when the temple closed & the snow came in. They were planning to either walk down to Joshimath or wind their way to Rudraprayag. I think it all depended on divine instructions. I knew what I wanted to do. I stumbled back through the darkness, back to my three layers of quilt.
Giant Pandas - Singapore - The Singapore Philatelic department has released stamps to celebrate the coming to Singapore of a set of Giant Pandas (on loan) from China for the next ...