Meeting of Kumaoni and Garhwali Parasols, Palanquins, People, Prayers
August 26, 2014 Tuesday
On the 10th day of Nanda Raj Jat 2014, the short walk along the tar road was rewarding for three reasons.
The first reason was the palanquin of the goddess Nanda Devi from Kurad that reached Chepadu to join the royal parasol procession. More parasols and two rams came with the palanquin that was carefully carried by a few selected ones. The people who looked after the ram claimed that their rams also had four horns. These white color rams drew lots of attention like the 4-horn black ram (chausingha merha), the leader of the procession and pilgrimage. However, the two new rams who were born in 2012 had more freedom. They were unbridled on several occasions. These rams also wore “gift bags” where devotees stuffed the offerings in cash or kind. But still devotees wanted blessings of the black one that was just six months old and was special.
The second reason was that the Kumaoni flavors enriched the pilgrimage at Nandkesari. In the late afternoon, folks from Kumaon joined the pilgrimage. Their man band wearing colorful costume played cymbal, bagpiper, dhol, dhphali, and narsingha.
Third reason was the luxury of clean, stink free Sulabh toilets with spotless clean mugs. Sulabh deserves kudos for the efforts.
The Nanda Temple premises in Nandkesari was excessively crowded to watch meeting of the ceremonial parasols from Garhwal and Kumaon and the palanquin.
Many dhabas did good business. Probably because the devotees were tired of free oily rich food of bhandras. Nandkesari gave them an alternative, regular meals. Some of the dhabas were too busy and the owners were rude. As soon as customers finished tea or food, the customers were asked to leave or get up and make a place for the next customer.
Space scarcity resulted in public announcements requesting boys and men to spend night at Chepedu or Deval and girls, ladies, and old people to stay at Nandkesari. But many people did not pay any heed to the announcement and they spread their limbs under open sky wherever they found space in Nandkesari.
Nandkesari is a commercial place. The locals have acquired urban attitude: money mindedness, suspicion, and unfriendliness. Charging mobile and camera battery was a difficult task. The first three house cum shop owners flatly refused charging on two pretexts: no power (which was in fact not true) and camera batteries need more power. Even though I offered to pay money for charging. But the fourth and the last attempt was fruitful. A local family (Kaushalya Devi’s) finally allowed me to charge the batteries free of charge for an hour that was enough.
And I could capture the special moments from the 10th day of Nanda Raj Jat 2014.