The Ganges rushed its way through Uttarkashi, with little to no idle chit chat. As a goddess, Ganga remained young, excitable and in a rush to leave the mountains and to slow and mature on the plains far below. After heavy rains Her volume swelled and the river valley was filled with Her playful abundance, sweeping rocks and trees down the mountain valleys in a laughing clatter of noise.
A landscape is never truly complete without its people. Here, in a mountain town in the Himalayas, life went on, day by day. Maybe the pageantry and tableaux of Uttarkashi’s occupants remain the real life and activity here, none as fat with ego, pomp and pride as some of the deities they worship. Life seems difficult in the mountains, with uncertain climate, landslides, flooding and little wealth; people maybe lived from one day to the next.
The Ganges was unquestioningly the focus for much of that life. Funerals, weddings, socialisation, recreation, romance, work and cricket occurred on Her banks. Her auspiciousness and sanctity permeated not only along Her banks but also into the town itself, into the bustling streets and markets and the quiet temples. Her energy suffused the murtis and wall art. Nothing could really escape Her sound and energy, Her vital, tremulous cadence.
For over 2 weeks I lived with these kind people and they helped me plan and manifest my next step, the next part of my journey onwards to the chill of Gangotri.
A gallery of images from Uttarkashi is here.