himAlayAtrA – Call of the Mountain – Part 9

तेषां तु गच्छतां शीघ्रं सर्वेषां योगधर्मिणां
याज्ञसेनी भ्रष्टयोगा निपपात महीतले ||

They (the Pandavas and Draupadi), observing the way of Yoga, were walking fast, and suddenly, Yaajnaseni (Draupadi), fell from Yoga, and fell down onto the earth.

This shloka of Mahabharata occurs in Mahaprasthanaparva – the great journey of the Pandavas, when they renounce all worldliness, and set off on foot, to the world beyond… They start off from Hastinapura, and first go east, all the way to the eastern ocean of India. Then they walk South and go all the way to Rameshwaram… Then they set of along the west coast, and go right up to Dwaraka… and then going North west.. They reach the foothills of Himalaya… And they start the great climb… And then high up, at one place, Draupadi falls off the path, and is the first one to pass on from this earthly life…

Legend has it, that this happened in the region of Bheem Pul… and that is where  we are headed to, from Vyasa Gufa….

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From Vyasa Gufa, the way is downhill.. And so we are at ease as we walk along….

This is the view of the mountain… What a glorious sight… Click on the picture for a large size view…

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Here’s another view… Some of the Mana village folks working…

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We walk on… And a short time later, we sight the Bheem Pul region…

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Notice the bridge in the picture above… Thats Bheem Pul… Legend has it that when the Pandavas came here during that great final-journey, they found Saraswati river cutting the mountain, and thundering across… To cross it at this point would have been too dangerous… And to find a place to cross it would mean walking a long way downstream, and Draupadi was not up to it… So Bheemasena, picked up a huge rock and placed it across the river… So that Draupadi could cross…

The bridge you see above is across the Saraswati river. The bridge-of-bheema, renovated over time…

As we near the bridge, we spot a cave… An ash smeared Sadhu is staying here…. Its cold… He’s unconcerned about that…

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We go near the bridge…

And we see the Saraswati river as it gushes down the mountain… This is the source of the river…

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Notice the river picture above… And notice the rock in the middle… A twin-rock embrace, making a bridge of sorts.. At first I thought this was the Bheem Pul…

Later, I read a signboard that said otherwise… The current pucca bridge is built on the original rock of Bheema.

Here’s a picture of the actual Bheema rock from the other side.. Arrow pointing the rock

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On the other side of the bridge is a temple… A Saraswati temple…

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Its a little temple with an idol of Saraswati Devi… The Goddess of  the River… The River of Knowledge… The Goddess of Knowledge… A priest gives us Abhisheka water… Water of Saraswati river, he tells us… We bow to the Goddess… And so from Badrinath, we have completed the circle of bows…. Narayana, Nara at Badrinath… Vyasa at Vyasa Gufa… And Saraswati here… Perhaps we should have first come here and then should have gone to Vyasa Gufa to follow the sequence of the Mahabharata verse…

नारायणं नमस्कृत्य नरं चैव नरोत्तमम् |
देवीं सरस्वतीं व्यासं ततो जयमुदीरयेत् ||

Bowing to Narayana (Krishna), to the greatest of men Nara (Arjuna), to Goddess Saraswati, and to Vyasa, let Mahabharata be told thereafter.

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Up on the hillside beyond the bridge, one sees a few small structures… A local person tells me that that’s the shrine of Draupadi… To mark her departure to the great beyond…

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The Draupadi temple (low, white) can be seen near a tree cluster in the right end of the picture above. half way up…

We leave the bridge and walk down to the village Mana….

On the way at a shop we find some flowers.. A very special flower…  Said to bloom just one night in a year, in the plains… Grows more in the Himalaya heights… The flower of Brahma, that grows from the navel of Vishnu… A real rare flower… The Brahma Kamal, the state flower of Uttarakhand…

Here it is… Not sure if it is the real thing… Lets say it is… Whatever…. A flower in the mountain…

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We walk on to the waiting cars, looking at the Saraswati river, as it flows down the mountain, for its meeting with Alakananda, at Keshav Prayag…

Signing off from this post with a nice video clip…

Of the Saraswati river,  near Bheem pul… Put up the speakers… (Click on the four arrows on the bottom right to maximize and see on full screen)

** To be concluded **

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One Response to “himAlayAtrA – Call of the Mountain – Part 9”

  1. s.krishnaswamy Says:

    fantastic. beautiful narration. i felt u were telling me in person. may ramana be with u always

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