Sunday, January 23, 2011

Himachal Himalaya - Expressing seasons of life

Queen of Hills, Shimla, welcomed New Year with the veil of white. It came so serenely that for many it was more than a surprise. The last day of the year went swiftly, busy moving snow blower, clearing the ice-skating rink and receiving guest on the road full of snow at my work place.

Situated at an elevation of 2500mt, in the lap of Himachal Himalayas, we are blessed with a mesmeric panorama of western Himalayas to the north and the foothills to the south-west slowly fade into the Punjab plains. Time here means change of seasons and nothing more than that.

This year also, April came with April showers, propelled new life all over, mountains, valleys, terraces..... turned green with fresh vegetation and invigorated the helm of living world. The Sunrays aided yet another vital element of life, to surge down through the crest of snow clad mountains. Water of rivers, streams gushed down through the deep gorges and valleys on its journey to the ocean. Months of May and June, invites, people here from all around the world, to cherish its profound beauty, lush green meadows loaded with abundance of wildflowers, snow-clad mountains and a perfect temperature.

July and August turn up with misty days as monsoon adores the heavenly mountains; wet moss laden coniferous cover nourishes the rare Himalayan flora under its canopy. Blue pine, Stately Himalayan Cedar, spruce, Fir, and finally the tough Birch limits the tree line at an elevation of 3500mt. The rain affects all aspects of life, commencing with light showers it becomes more vigorous and conclude soaking almost everything into it. For a farmer here in mountains it is time for fruit harvest as the orchards in the valleys are loaded with apple and wide range of fruits. Terraces full of Cereals, pulses, maize and plentiful of fresh vegetables on the mountain slopes describes the hard-work involved. Monsoons is time for pilgrimage, walking up to high mountains through forests, meadows, glaciers, crossing rivers, moraines, crevasses demonstrates the strong belief of the people from the ‘Land of Gods’. For an avid trekker, monsoon is a best time to wander through in the Himalayan valleys, cross high mountain passes and summit the lofty peaks.

As the rain ends, September and October brings bright sunny days offering good amount of time, to dry the yield from the year, and stock it into granaries. Shepherds prepare to move down with their wealth of wool, dried meat and a well fed, healthy herd. Folks from villages, turn up in large number to the nearest towns to shop for the winters before it snows. As the mountains and the valleys shroud under the blanket of cold wave, the enthusiasm of the locals is at its peak as they engage themselves into several fairs and festivals celebrated since unknown times. Tiredness of the year is delightfully washed with the local wine brewed from the range of fruits grown here.

November, the month of festivals, Durga Puja and Diwali is celebrated all around in India. Himalayas are described as the abode of Gods and Goddesses in Hindu mythology and one can’t resist the beat of lovely mountain music echoing the deep valleys. Idols of the native deities, is carried by the villagers in a beautifully decorated palanquin, to an open ground in the village. Today the music amalgamates the Lord and the worshiper as they both dance to please each other. The same night villagers perform plays based on Ramayana and other epics by funny make-up as smearing faces with ash, long beard and moustaches, the humour of the performances makes them unique. Now everyone expects snowfall as a change in the season.

December, January and February are the months dedicated for snowfall; initially it covers the reaches of the high summits and alpine meadows and then move down the bottom of lower valleys. At times continuing for even weeks it affects almost every form of life; nourishes the apple trees by providing roots with the required chilling hours. Adding on the mammoth glaciers it becomes the source of major perennial rivers of India. These months flies here in the preparations of the orchards and terrace farms for the coming season.

As the trees starts blooming and ground extends the carpet of green, it is the month of March. From the hibernation of winters yet again the Himalayan life gets vibrant with the change in the season.

For the world, the life of Himalayas presents an ideal example of a rich lifestyle, a wealth of unique culture and traditions, thus simplifying the statement – ‘Dev Bhoomi’ – The Land of Gods.

1 comment:

Travel Corporation India said...

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