Nanda Raj Jat 2014 witnessed its share of paradoxes. The guards of khadu, the four-horn ram, fasted for entire twenty days and walked barefoot. They ate once a day but the meal was lavish. Religion is about discipline and sacrifices for them. On the other hand many devotees relished hookah, cigar, beedi, and / or cigarette out of habit, for warmth, and / or for instant calories to kill hunger pangs. Age and gender were not deterrents.
Religion probably does not object to blowing addictive fatal puffs of smoke during pilgrimage. The devotees love to mix religious activities with pleasures of the materialistic world. Many of these devotees will not let you touch the palanquins and parasols (chantolis) if you are wearing chappals, sandals, or shoes. You cannot even stand under the parasol if you are wearing shoes. You cannot enter even the temple complex with shoes for the sake of hygiene and sanctity. But enjoying smoke in religious events like Nanda Raj Jat is accepted.
I also observed that one of the men from the priest community deliberately walked away from me because I am a woman. And another man in trance from the community embraced me from behind and then apologized.
Click any image to watch the slideshow Paradoxes of Nanda Raj Jat.
Disclaimer: Hookah, cigar, beedi, and / or cigarette are injurious to health. Do not smoke either of these.
August 17, 2014. Nauti, Uttarakhand. A musician enjoys a guilt free cigar moment garnished with a cute smile near Rameshvaram temple from where the yatra began.
August 19, 2014. Idababadhani, Uttarakhand. The old man was happy to be photographed with his cigar. The smoke has already covered one of the eyes.
August 26, 2014. Nandkesari, Chamoli. A devotee enjoys a cigar moment.
August 26, 2014. Nandkesari, Chamoli. A devotee with cigar
August 26, 2014. Nandkesari, Uttarakhand. Religion is probably the most boring activity. That is why it needs to be mixed with different types of entertainments.
August 28, 2014. Faldiya Gaon, Chamoli district. A young devotee enjoys hookah during Nanda Raj Jat.
August 30, 2014. Rankidhar, Chamoli. A young pilgrim flaunts his miniature hookah.
August 30, 2014. Wan, Uttarakhand. A devotee lights cigarette within the temple complex.
August 31, 2014. Bedni Bugyal in Chamoli district. Three local ladies were smart and image conscious. They did not let me take their photograph until they hid their beedis because they felt that non-local people take pictures of local people who are smoking. And these photographs create a bad impression about residents of the Garhwal Himalayas.
August 31, 2014. Bedni Bugyal. The local ladies happily pose for my camera.
August 31, 2014. Bedni Bugyal, Garhwal Himalayas. Rejoicing over a puff
September 1, 2014. Bedni Kund, Uttarakhand. I wanna warmth that wilts me and wipes out my vigor!
August 31, 2014. Garoli Patal, Uttarakhand. The granny looks pretty without the cigarette. Is it not?