Gaurikund to Rambada & beyond

Posted By Author on December 26, 2010


Got up at 7.30 A.M.  All of us were stiff due to cold.  Collected luggage and began our march forward.  After fifty yards the climb was over and we were treading the slope. There we came across fresh spoors of a tiger and a pair of bruins.  We continued the march.  Owing to snowfall surrounding was white and bright.

At 9 A.M. we reached Gaurikund.  Its height above M.S.L. was 6000 feet.  The village nestled on a knoll at a height and settlement of shops along the road was deserted due to off-season.  Baba told me to go and inspect if there was open space near hot water ditch (kund).

There I met a ‘sadhu’ from Kerala.  He was in blue gown with goggles, a queer creature. He told that some ‘mahatma’ was living there and that he had gone to Gaurikund to treat a person with stomach ache.  I told Baba that the place was already occupied.  He decided to proceed to Rambada.  It was an absolutely steep climb.

After walking a mile, poor boy Indersingh fainted due to unbearable strain.  We gave him oranges and I took his ‘kandi’ i.e., basket to carry luggage.  In the very kandi I put small basket of Baba’s oranges.  I lost balance and during that shaking Baba observed that his personal things were kept in the Kandi.  All was upset. ‘ Gandgol ’.  He declared that he would not take oranges, as they were finished due to contamination. When villager brought oranges why they were not contaminated?  The load was heavy and it was difficult to hold his oranges separately. It was very queer.  I tried to convince him but he was adamant. (Compromise was never a word in Baba or Netaji’s dictionary)

Ultimately I took the big kandi on back and started treading.  He told us to go ahead and to manage our meals where men of Jangal chatti’s contractor were working. He would follow slowly.  We went ahead.  Took rest at one place and ate his tabooed oranges.  Threw the peels far off so that he might not see them.  By then a young radiant Swami Shyamanand, the disciple of Swami Avadhutanand, Debvan of Simla hills came.  He had been to our camp.  We met him yesterday at Sirsi too.  I told others to go ahead and I accompanied Baba.

We walked slowly and by 2.30 P.M. reached near Jungle chatti.  He was so much exhausted that on way at Bhairav chatti he collapsed and squatted on the bare floor of a temple reclining against wall.  In normal course he never would touch bottoms to the floor.  After that he would use his umbrella for sitting.  His tired and fatigued self was unbearable sight. His extreme exhaustion and discomfort were discernible. On way we came across the cave of ‘sadhu’ of Kerala.  Ultimately Baba was so much drained out of his energy that he would sit on a rock or boulder surrounding it by stretched arms as if in embrace and leaning his head on it with body curled up like a child. It was simply horrible.  What a suffering and what endurance at this age!

It was 2.30 P.M.  We heard the sound of dynamite probably of roadwork.  Baba was disturbed by it and lamented, “Suresh, here too they have left no peace.”  He decided that we would go to Madhmaheshwar that was forty-six miles away in the interior.  He told that it was ‘Sidha Pith’ where Adya Shankar performed ‘tapasya’. It seemed he knew and visited every nook and corner of the Himalayas.  I agreed. Then he was engrossed in thinking.  I requested him to kindly return to the camp.  He was in two minds.  He was worried about the surrounding region’s debt incurred.  He wanted to wash it off as early as possible.  It was on the top priority list.  We discussed for two hours and at 4.30 P.M. we arrived at Jungle chatti.

There were about eight to ten shops.  All were closed and no human being could be traced.  At the end of the settlement, the contractor’s eleven labourers had their residence.  Everywhere the place was very dirty and filthy.  Baba resented it and said that it was impossible to stay there.  However, he was so much exhausted that I cleared and cleaned one hutment and he put his mat and became horizontal for he badly needed rest.  The height was 8000 feet from Mean Sea Level (MSL).  We lit a fire near him and came out.  Shomu cooked ‘mung dal’ for him and some rice and dal for us.  Owing to high altitude boiling point was high and cooking was delayed too much.

We could see the Kedarnath temple at a long distance.  I was delighted to see it.  At 7 P.M. Baba got up. Shomu and I sat in front of him.  We persuaded him a lot to return. He told that he would tell his decision next morning.  He ate dal and gave us the remaining.  Again we added logs to hearth. The labourers did not allow their fuel. Then at 8 P.M. we also lit fire and slept in another hut.

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