Missing Momentum of the First Day
September 6, 2014 Saturday
Poor presence of pilgrims produced emptiness that highlighted the lush landscape of Nauti and other aspects of the event. The sky was the same and was a sport like the first day of the pilgrimage.
But on the penultimate day of the pilgrimage, Shri Sidhpeeth Nanda Devi Temple in Nauti received a small size of visitors. The number of professional camerapersons also followed the suit. Priests were too many but the police personnel were very less. Simplicity and neglect were the rule of the day. The flowers adorning the main gate had dried. I could actually experience- smell and see- the temple building that was hidden in the crowd on the first two days.
Men mainly in white and saffron garbs were performing the havan. And some dressed in yellows. And local women folk formed the audience. Fresh marigold blooms adorning the interior matched the garbs. The two colors of religion and spirituality boldly stood out. The havan fire was fed with sumptuous “food” made from desi ghee. The air was filled with fragrance of incenses, samagri, and burning wood. Unlike first day, no one was in hurry because the last moment was probably not engaging for the participants.
A local politician served free meal (lunch) of dal and chawal (lentil and rice) to all at his residence, a way to fulfill religious duties and bonding with public.
In the evening, folks and drummers gathered at the gate of the temple to receive the pilgrims who went to take a holy dip at Ghat on the banks of the Nandakini River. The drummers led the women carrying small pitchers to the temple. Members of the priest community embraced each other tightly to empty emotional baggage of the separation.
Evoking spirits was not important. Trances were a few. Recitation of scriptures was in progress. An empty palanquin sat quietly in the corner of the temple. It had no visitors. It had lost charm and status because it no more held the deity. The momentum of the day one was missing altogether.
Have a look at 20 something pictures from the 21st day of Nanda Raj Jat 2014.