Tuesday 25 April 2017

U is for Uttarakhand #atozchallenge

I was born in Dehradun which used to be part of a huge state in India called Uttar Pradesh (UP for short) (Uttar means North and Pradesh means State).

Then in the year 2000, Uttarakhand (UK for short) (Uttara mearns Northern and Khand means Land) was carved out of UP and Dehradun, the land of my birth and childhood memories, became its capital.

The Himalayan state of Uttarakhand is also called Devbhoomi (Land of the Gods). Funny how Gods always pick the best places to live (whether they come from Greek or Indian mythology)

I guess Gods know a good deal when they see one. Uttarakhand has it all -- in abundance: snow capped mountains, unending meadows, forests of oak, juniper, sal and sheesham, guava and mango trees to climb, valleys bursting with flowers, Ganga, Yamuna and even a tiny bit of the mythical Saraswati flow here.

This is the land where blue poppies bloom.

"Soil ours, water ours, ours are these forests.
Our forefathers raised them, it's we who must protect them."

(A snippet of a song I found while googling, it's claimed to be a translation of a Garhwali chipko song.)

The song says it all.

Women from this region hugged trees to save them from being cut down. Chipko means a hug or an embrace or clinging in Hindi.

A land such as this,
where women clung to trees
to save them--
that's where I was born. 

It's called the chipko movement: This extract from women in world history gives you a glimpse of what trees and protecting them means to the people of this region:

"In one the contractor says:
“You foolish village women, do you know what these forest bear?
Resin, timber, and therefore foreign exchange!”
The women answer:
“Yes, we know. What do the forests bear?
Soil, water, and pure air,
Soil, water, and pure air.”
One post is not enough. And I have a tendency to sound like a lovesick teenager when I start talking about Uttarakhand, so I'll stop and just share a few pictures instead.

There are links to some older posts of places I've visited. If you have the time, check them out. I promise--you'll be happy you did:)
The Saraswati flows and rocks copy Klimt's kiss
Locals pick moss that grows on oaks and use it to make dye and medicines.
Fog fills the skies and Ganesh gets a ride
Did we make it? 
We climb and live to tell the tale at Roopkund
Flowers so fragrant, they're called dhoop or incense and used in Budhhist temples.
Bhugyals or meadows that go on and on
Tea on the boil at 14000 ft.
 Laundry never felt this good about being left high and dry
Temple bells
Gurudwaras and holy lakes. 
Dipping  in these glacial waters will make you go brrrrr at first.
But when you come out, you'll feel new.
Where the sun rises gently,
and sets with aplomb.
What's your favourite thing about your hometown or the place you call home?

V is coming, right before W...
I'll be here, how about you?


  1. Fantastic pictures - looks like an amazing place. :) Thanks for sharing.

    Dropping by from the A to Z Challenge

    1. Thank you for dropping by. It is an amazing place:)

  2. Absolutely beautiful. Thanks for sharing :-) Happy A-to-Z-ing.

  3. Gods choose right... Fantastic pictures!
    Eva - Mail Adventures

  4. Beautiful pictures! Uttarakhand is on my bucket list :)

  5. Arti,

    I enjoyed the photo essay of the place you call home. The petals on the dhoop flower look so fragile. It sort of reminds me of rhododendron blooms the way the base of the flower. I love that it's pink, my favorite color, and I bet it smells really pretty. All of the photos with flowers are quite lovely but then I like them all. I can't imagine hiking to 14000 ft. The highest peak in the Smoky Mountains National Park 6643 ft. The mountains in your part of the world tower over ours. lol

    I grew up in southern West Virginia and the only thing I can say that I like about the place is the people. We have family and friends who still live in the area. There isn't much to do in the way of employment, shopping, entertainment, etc. It's quite rural and not nearly as developed as Knoxville Tennessee is which we consider home after nearly 38 years. There are too many things about Knoxville that I like to add in comments but if I had to narrow it down I believe the over all geographic location is a perfect suit for us. Our winters don't get too cold and summer don't get too hot. Grant it when it's cold it feels horrible and when it's hot it's miserable but shifting locations by a small margin say 200 miles north or south and the climate is not a good match for our tolerance. Have a good day!

    ~Curious as a Cathy
    Art Sketching Through the Alphabet "U" (Unicorn)

    1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts about Knoxville Tennessee Cathy. It sounds like the perfect place to call home:) I'm keen to see your unicorn...will pop over in a bit.

  6. What a lovely place!


    1. It is. And the stars from up there are just magical. You'll like it.

  7. Wow, so many beautiful words and photos. And thanks for translating the state names. I like your painting the best, though.

    Phillip | U is for Unexpected

    1. I'm glad you liked the photos Phillip.

  8. How gorgeous. What a nice way to live, away from everything but Nature. Lovely.

    1. Thank you Jacqui. Sadly, I live in a city these days, but my goal is to head back in a few years and live there again.

  9. Words and pictures in perfect harmony. Simply delightful. I live on the most beautiful coast with rugged beaches and amazing white chalk cliffs. That's what I love about my hometown.

    Another day in Amble Bay!

    1. Thank you for your kind words Keith.
      Amble Bay must be an amazing place, I'm sure. We visited Dorset and Cornwall a few times when we used to live in the UK. The coastal walks and the gardens hanging by sides of cliffs always filled me with so much joy.

  10. No surprise Gods get the best, one of the benefits of being a god. Your photographs are so beautiful. The blue poppy with such transparent leaves.

    Finding Eliza

  11. So much beauty, and yes, the trees help bring us life. Our swamps are beautiful to my eyes, although others may not think so.

    1. Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder:) Right? Thanks for stopping by.

  12. I enjoy visiting you. I see extraordinarily beautiful faraway place and hear stories that make me feel part of something exotic. In America, we used "tree Hugger" more in the 1970s, and usually with derision. But if we said it of ourselves, we mean it with pride.

    1. Thank you for your comment Sue:)
      Why with derision? I'm curious.

    2. We don't hear the term "tree hugger" much anymore, but the people who called other people "tree huggers" were usually conservatives who believed the earth is here for us to use and doesn't need protection. They used "tree hugger" as a label that connotes a hippy, a bleeding-heart liberal -- someone so touchy-feely and out of touch with reality that they are a joke. Not a pretty attitude.

    3. Aha! I get it now. Thank you for the clarification Sue. So much gets lost in translation, right?

  13. You've undoubtedly been brought up in this magical place which I've yet not had the honour of visiting .
    Totally inviting .
    Your pictures are amazing and I'm really glad I am privy to your fabulous blogs .

    1. Cheers Sharmila:) You are a friend in deed. Hugs. xx

    2. Oh Arti - I'm swooning with all the beauty here. So much to love. I've only heard of blue poppies but have never seen any. But your luminous photo of them shows them to be more magical than I even imagined.

      It's wonderful to hear how much love your hold in your heart for your beautiful birth place. I hope you get back there soon.

    3. Thank you Deborah:) I hope so too.

  14. Incredible Uttarakhand! Mesmerising vistas and such harmony between people and nature! Hopefully, it will be passed on to the next generations to come. Loved the simplicity of the Chipko song.

    For me, my hometown of course means people and places. But other than that it represents carefree time and absolute joy derived from simple, everyday objects and events....being at peace with oneself:-)

    1. Simply put, deeply true--a place to be at peace. Beautiful.
      What I've seen so far, Uttarakhand's new generation is as passionate about their hills and trees, if not more. But corporate greed seems to be uglier than ever. Some development in the name of progress astounds and shocks.

  15. Arti, all I can say is, Wow! So beautiful. After you reminded me that you were from Dehradun I returned to your blog and found this. What adventures you have had! Now, sadly, you are so right, development is galloping along without regard for the environment, and Uttarkhand seems to be no exception. This record you have kept is therefore all the more important.

  16. Thank you for visiting Josna. Thanks to your comment, I revisited my memories and enjoyed looking at the pictures:)


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