Saturday, July 24, 2010

Perfect Getaway

Landsdowne is a place inspired by heavens serenity. Its about 250 km away from my experience of hell on earth (delhi). A quiet tucked away head quarters of the garhwal regiment of the army; Its free from pollution, even noise pollution (no mobile connections allowed).
Like any hill station, it has a small market owned/used by locals. A small tip-n-top point which is the top most point of the hill. The colonial left overs in the form of churches and local constructions and a recently made pond by the army for boating and relaxation (a temple dedicated to the goddess made/taken care by army as well)
One needs to break free from the madness which is the perennial problem of indian cities like mumbai delhi and bangalore. There is no relief in such places (atleast delhi has vast open spaces where one can get away to one's own peace but cant say the same about other metros). But lansdowne really came as a surprise to me. I thought delhi-ites would be infesting the place but except weekends; the place remains almost empty, and the locals are without mentioning of course as simple and helpful as one can expect from any hill folk.
I spent a weekend (though thoroughly unwell), in this beautiful landscape to be completely rejuvenated and free my ears from the noise that us city folk are used to. Its a wonderful place to getaway and get back to ones self, through walks; books or just spending quality time with loved ones.
Around 40 km one way from lansdowne lies the famous temple dedicated to shiva, Tarakeshwar mahadev. The route on the hills winds up and down before reaching the serene location (and how serene it is has to be experienced personally). The temple is tucked in between thick pine growth, and its completely un touched (or so it looks) from the external world. The temple gets snowed in during winters, and the linga is supposedly beneath the ground. There is a standing idol of shiva (most probably as bhairav) and it seemed to me that perhaps the original temple might have been destroyed or eroded; replaced by this simple and elegant construction. I was really touched by this site, for most temple do not offer any peace to meditate; there is constant interference in the form of people supposedly showing their devotion to the idol, but this was refreshingly different. There was no hustle from devotees (there were none except my family and I). There was a completely indifferent pundit (probably not used to the corruption of money) and such natural surroundings that even the most astute materialists would contemplate on nature's glory if not the godhood energy that is the source of everything.
I spent merely a fraction of my waking life in that space and was so spaced out; it felt so good to be living a simple life. The stress, tension and awkward chemical lives we live in cities; just seemed of no use. Man is born an animal with the capability of realizing and even perhaps understanding the power and glory that is nature. We 21st century animals are running away from what is our bounty. We seemed to be uncomfortable or in some sort of false notion that what we have created to sustain us through life *our lifestyles*  is actually more useful/better than what nature gives us for free and forever. Tarakeshwar might be taken as a place where such notions could be removed from ones head.
The roads linking lansdowne to neighboring parts of garhwal are very well made courtesy our army, and the place's serenity and cleanliness is subtly taken care by our jawans. The entire place is the perfect getaway for tired folks living miserable routine lives in cities.
Anyone who has a touch of romance in their lives could undertake this small journey *alone or with loved ones* to experience the state of godliness in truly the land of gods (garhwal). A 10/10 recommendation for the perfect getaway!

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