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Ladakh - Planning The Trip

Over 2000 Km by road, in around 10 days. Stunning landscapes, wonderful people. That sums up our Ladakh trip. But how did it actually work? How did we make it happen? Read on to find out!  Leh, the capital of Ladakh , is accessible by air and road. Flying into Leh is the easiest, and time-saving option, while the road is the time consuming one, but with the added advantage of driving past some of the most beautiful landscapes in our country. Each option has much to recommend it, and we chose the road for just one reason – altitude sickness. Altitude sickness was one of my biggest concerns, since I suffer from motion-sickness. Yes, I do travel a lot, but that is despite my condition, and, over the years, have learnt how to handle it. I struggled with it when we visited Nathu-La in Sikkim, and wondered if I would be able to manage a week at the even higher altitudes that we would encounter in Ladakh. This was the reason we stuck to a basic plan, of only 9 days in Ladakh, though we

Farewell to Ganesha...

After 10 days of celebrations, its time to bid farewell to the Lord, for this year.... All around us, we can hear the shouts of "Ganpati Bappa Morya! Pudchya Varshi Laukar Yaa!" (Long Live Ganesha! Come early next year!) It is indeed a fond farewell, as crowds gather to see Him off. When I was a kid, I remember going to see the immersion at the lake in Thane, where we could see the big Ganeshas coming from all over the city. Today, the TV has taken over, and we are busy seeing the huge idols on their way to either Girgaum or Dadar Chaowpatty, or Juhu Beach! Much easier and more comfortable in all ways, especially on the ears. 

However, it is time for our colony Ganesha to be on his way, and we can hear the crowds from way off. He tours the entire colony, giving each one of us the chance to bid him goodbye. The whole building gathers at the gates, from kids to their grandparents...... and here He is, at last.....

Here are the flag bearers - heralding His advent......


...and lighting firecrackers to make sure everyone knows He is on His way!


They are followed by the drummers.... whether they are creating a ruckus or making music, is something that depends on your mood... but the beats make you sway, and make you wish to join them!


And finally, the decorated truck bearing Him arrives.....


...giving us a final look at Him, a chance to bid goodbye......


...just for the year.... For we know He will be back again, next year!!!

As I return home, back to the TV and my computer, dissociating myself from the crowds, the sounds and the chaos, I wonder... Do I really want to dissociate myself like this? Do I really want to be peaceful within the confines of my home? There is something within me that wants to go out into the crowd, join them.........

I know I will not, the reasons being many, most of them related to the pollution they cause and the mess they leave behind for others to clean, but which no one bothers about..... and of course, the fact that I hate crowds and tend to avoid them whenever possible.... But I wish it was different, and wish I could join the celebration too..without any twinges of conscience.... Will such a time ever come? I wonder.... The Lord is leaving, but he is leaving me with many, many questions.......

This has been an introspective post, not one which I planned to write..... But the words are down, and I didn't wish to change them.... So I have left them as they came... straight from the heart.... However, among all this introspection are some small twinges of satisfaction - firstly, that this year, for the very first time, I tried and managed to make a clay idol by myself.... one small step towards a betterment of the festival for me.... and secondly, I have managed to write one post everyday for the whole period of the festival! The first time I have managed to do this!! So there has been much to celebrate this year...

Comments

  1. When Ganesha leaves suddenly there's emptiness. After 10 days of celebration it is as if there is a vacuum.

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  2. although there are so many celebrations.. this is the sad part!! when the party ends..

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  3. But Anu don't you think we need a better way to say farewell to Ganesha rather than using the water bodies?

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  4. I want to be in Bombay for this atleast once!! but on the other hand, i wonder if God would want us to create so much noise and tamasha in the pretext of dunking Him in the water/ocean....!!

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  5. Hey anu! I came here searching for Golu ideas. Your posts of last years Golu are brilliant. Infact, I got a wonderful idea after going through them.... Then I started reading your other posts. And I found you so much like minded. I can relate to all your posts. Even I hate this pollution we are causing in the name of Ganesa. No wonder its flood and mayhem everywhere.

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  6. @Chitra: so true.... it feels like a family member has just left!

    @Patty: absolutely! thank god there are more festivals to look forward to...

    @Mridula: yes, we can, but then there is a sort of finality and acceptance when we immerse the idol... and then again, in the days when they started this, there were only clay idols, no pop.. so things were better. i remember hearing that my great grandfather used to make the clay idol with his own hands and then after the puja, he used to immerse it in a bucket of water, which was then poured out into the garden.. probably the best solution... at least there is more awareness now.. and this year i have heard that there were a few huge idols also made of clay or papier mache... definitely a better idea..

    @Aarti: you should be here at least once. its indeed a wonderful festival here... as to the tamasha, this is probably the only festival that most of these people hold so dear.. for them, it is truly a celebration, when the god visits them for 10 whole days... no wonder they make so much of it!

    @Joy: thanks a lot!

    @WHatsIn aA name: welcome to my blog.... i shall look forward to seeing what you make for navaratri....yes, unfortunately i too agree with you... we are paying for all the mayhem we cause... and festivals are just one part of it...

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