Love and Gratitude for the Himalayas

“You cannot stay on the summit forever; you have to come down again. So why bother in the first place? Just this: What is above knows what is below, but what is below does not know what is above. One climbs, one sees. One descends, one sees no longer, but one has seen.” – Rene Daumal

Nature has that power to enable unburdening of our hearts leading to joyous experiences of inner peace. What better place to experience nature than the higher reaches of glorious mountains!  My sincerest gratitude to the mighty Himalayas, to whom I humbly surrender each time I set my foot on them.

Coined from the Sanskrit words of ‘hima’ meaning snow and ‘alaya’ meaning abode, the Himalayas are the loftiest mountain system in the world. With more than 110 peaks rising to elevations of 24,000 ft. (7,300 m.) or more above sea level, the Himalayan Range includes the highest mountains in the world.

My first encounter with the magnificently regal Himalayas happened rather abruptly – one fine day, I randomly decided to go for a trek. It was just an impulse act and I had no clue what high altitude trekking entailed. In fact, I had never trekked anywhere before. I have been a nature-lover forever and that was all I knew. That incident turned out to be the beginning of a new chapter in my life.

I will not hesitate to say that the mountains changed me in ways more than one and I have become a much better person today (at least I’d like to believe so). Many things I do today, I owe to the Himalayas – this blog for instance.

The snow-clad Himalayas are mystical mountains associated with divinity and spirituality. And, I do find the divine in them. They seem like a living-breathing entity to me watching over me, blessing me, and helping me. Possibly, it’s their tall and grandiose appearance or perhaps just the initial intimidation when I look up at them.

I always feel they have a mind of their own. I firmly believe that you can set foot on them only if they allow you do so. You can plan and desire and do what you want but in the end it’s their wish and not yours. With that in mind, I truly feel fortunate and privileged. In the last two years, I have trekked in the Himalayas five times. Without blessings from the majestic mountains, that would have never happened. Each time the mountains ensured that everything worked in our favour, which is especially true with respect to the unpredictable weather.

Earlier this month I discovered the Northern Himalayas as I trekked in Kashmir savouring the gorgeousness of the high altitude glacier-fed alpine lakes. Here are some pictures of Kashmir Great Lakes. I will write a detailed post later.

[All of these are unedited photos clicked through iPhone-6.]

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Pic 1: Vishansar or Vishnusar glimmers in the late afternoon soft sun.
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Pic 2: A flock of sheep at Vishansar Lake – blessed they are to graze on such heavenly grounds.
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Pic 3: The purity of Kishansar Lake can be felt through the sweet taste of its pristine water.
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Pic 4: Kishansar Lake as we walked away climbing the mountain along the sides.
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Pic 5: The twin lakes of Vishansar and Kishansar as seen from the top of Gadsar Pass.
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Pic 6:The green tinge of Gadsar Lake sets it apart from the bluish tinge of Vishansar and Kishansar.
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Pic 7: Shepherds with their flock in one of the Satsars. Satsar literally translates to seven lakes. 
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Pic 8: Another Satsar. Out of the seven, we could see only three. Two lie behind the mountains and are difficult to access. Two others had dried up as it was the fag end of monsoon.
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Pic 9: The twin lakes of Gangabal (R) and Nandkol (L) as seen from the top of Satsar Pass.
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Pic 10: Gangabal up close, peace and quiet reigned all around!
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Pic 11: Nandkol up close, its closer to civilisation and I was saddened to see signs of that as one side of the lake lay littered with bottles and plastic.