From the moment I typed places to visit near Delhi during summer vacations, my screen is flooded with the clichéd ideas of a ‘perfect’ getaway to a beach to enjoy the tropics with some coconut Mai Tai or… to seek some adrenaline while climbing the hills, where you end up panting to breathe, honestly is not my idea of fun.
My idea of fun, would be hard to pen down. There are times I don’t know what I am seeking, it could be nothing purely at times, but I am always open to be marveled at things that I would least expect to ignite a rush of emotions.
I am a practicing photo journalist, who likes to make big bucks by capturing candid moments at stranger’s wedding. When I am not playing the affable photographer, I secretly seek magic in people who adorn simply clad clothes, who aren’t trying too hard to look in a certain way. I seek joy in a mother’s eyes when her daughter walks to the podium on her wedding day.
At one of the destination weddings I came across an obscure place – with a view of thousand words; Mukteshwar in Nainital facing the valley of the Himalayas.
The beauty of the folklore behind its identity is the interesting trivia something I have liked to share with beautiful women I meet during my travels. The folklore woven around Mukteshwar has its resonance with the people belonging to the Hindu faith with Lord Shiva being the protagonist in this story. Lord Shiva represents the yogic cult who is known for his temper and unfaltering strength, he defeated a demon at this spot but being the forgiving god he decided to grant him peace during the Demon’s final moments. Hence the word “Mukti’ stems from the peace and salvation the demon was granted by Lord Shiva, and a temple marks the energy of the valley.
Besides documenting their priceless memories, I was being charmed by the Green lush of the valleys as they would complement the simple setting of the venue. The couple was supposed to exchange their vows underneath the starry nights facing Nanda Devi Peak. This exquisite small ceremony had its beautiful moments but nothing beats the excitement and the nervousness of the bride.
In my recommendation, the non touristy and unexplored aspect of Mukteshwar is enchanting in itself. Amidst the pahadi ladies, humming about their Pahadi song, offering blessing to the couple with lyrics resonating the harmony between nature, beauty of the hills and the love which stems from the terrain.
These lyrics bring about the very unique character of Mukteshwar; the city dwellers like myself, are charmed by the beauty of Buranch flowers, its fragrance and the inviting silence of the mountains.
This led me to take another couple of days post the wedding to absorb the earnest beauty of the place. I undertook nature walks which turned out to be impromptu trek expeditions, I would stop and enjoy the local piping hot tea to enjoy the sun kissed majestic mountain family of the Himalayas and the freshness of the place.
I would certainly want to come back with my tent and spend a couple of days in the wilderness with my favorite book and some rum to fight the cold. This could be my idea of fun and my recommendation, to have the time to think and bask at our existence and purpose in life, a habit I talk myself out of, at my home in New Delhi.