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My getaway to Kullu Manali (part 3)

My third day at Bhuntar was a bit lazy one as compared to previous two. I woke up at around 7 in the morning and had a look at the valley from the house’s balcony. It was simply amazing. After tea and some light moments with uncle and aunt, I asked my granduncle about Bijli Mahadev. He candidly told me that he had never been to that place but just pointed to a peak from the balcony (the peak in this picture) and told that was it.

It was now my job to learn how to go there. After breakfast, I started from home for Kullu and reached there at 10. There at the bus station, I inquired about Bijli Mahadev and got to know that there was a limited bus service to that place and there was a 3 km trek to the peak.

I boarded the next bus and started for the destination. The bus started the climb to the hill and slowly the whole valley looked tinier and tinier. We reached the village Chansari at around 11 from where I started for the peak after taking guidelines from the local driver itself.

The way up the peak was made up of rocky stairs and the village people had opened small tea shops for the tourists. I started climbing the stairs and after 10-15 minutes I saw groups to tourists ahead of me, which assured that I was on the right way. As I walked past them, I saw they were having difficulty climbing the stairs and after every minute or so of the climb, they’d sit down and try to rest their heavy breath.

After 15-20 minutes I too felt the grind and took rest for a minute or so. Then I remembered a technique of using only one step at a time while climbing, told to me by my dad. I used that technique and felt that the rate of exhaustion had reduced to a great extent and I started enjoying the trek.

I kept on clicking photos of the majestic scenery and the forest itself. At some points on the trek, very loud sounds would echo and I was amazed later when a local villager told me that it was the sound of the river flowing in the valley. I kept on climbing and was enjoying the chilly winds as I moved higher amongst the high deodars.

Finally, I reached the peak at around 12:30 and the views were breathtaking. The hilltop was not covered with trees, instead, it was a grassy meadow and all the four side gave the view of the surrounding mountains and the whole valley. I was lucky that that weather was sunny that day which allowed me a complete view of the surroundings.

I saw the gate to the temple of Bijli Mahadev and was excited. Then I went to the gate and saw the temple. It is completely a wooden structure and high lightening conductor stands in front of the main door of the temple.

Talking about the legend of Bijli Mahadev, there is a Shiva lingam in the temple which is struck by lightning every year in the Hindu calendar month of Magh (January-February). As a result of which the Shiva lingam is broken to pieces and then the local priests again join the pieces using butter and sattoo. This amazing practice is followed every year and the fable says that lord Shiva takes the lightning on his lingam (penis) to save the world from peril.

I was keen to see the Shiva lingam in the temple and after having seen it, I asked the local priest (who didn’t at all look like a common priest seen in urban temples) about the legend and its authenticity. He told me that it was completely true and the lightning strikes every year and does not harm anyone except the lingam there. I was amazed to see the burnt ceiling and the upper wall of the temples which proved the fact.

Afterwards, I saw the view from the hill top which was amazing (the small strip in the pic below is Bhuntar Airport on the banks of Beas River) and roamed around for some time. Then I asked a tourist to click my photograph there and tried to click some on my own using the timer in the camera. The descending slope behind the temple was covered with yellow flowers, which was quite a rarer thing to see. I could easily see the Rohtang pass from there and the Parbati river too.

After spending some time there, I started for the base village as I had to get a bus from there for Kullu. I reached the village at 3 and waited for the bus for half an hour there talking to the locals. The people were very cordial there and were very happy to learn that I was a Himachali too as I talked to them in their local language.

I boarded the bus to Kullu and learnt the local school just had its day off so the bus was thronged with cute little children and beautiful teachers. I must admit here that the ladies there are one of the most beautiful ones I have ever seen.

The buses are like a lifeline in those villages and hence the drivers treat the children as their own. Otherwise one can’t imagine a 4-year-old child travelling alone in a bus with hoards of unknown people. I wasn’t able to find any tree other than apples, peaches, pomegranates, pears and plums in the nearby surroundings. They would bear ripe fruits in the month of June and July.

I reached Kullu and boarded the bus back to Bhuntar and reached home at 5 in the evening. There I showed them pictures and they were also ready to go there the next day. This was the best part of my journey to Kullu Manali. The next day I had to return to Delhi so packed my bag and went for a stroll in the nearby apple orchard.

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