Fair River! in thy bright, clear flow
Of crystal, wandering water,
Thou art an emblem of the glow Of beauty- the unhidden heart-
The playful muzziness of art In old Alberto’s daughter;
But when within thy wave she looks-
Which glistens then, and trembles-
Why, then, the prettiest of brooks
Her worshiper resembles;
For in his heart, as in thy stream,
Her image deeply lies-
His heart which trembles at the beam
Of her soul-searching eyes.
-Edgar Allan Poe
The journey of self-improvement must be like that of a river. The yearning to improve the inner self is the source from where the wide river of self-fulfillment comes. Rivers invoke different emotions in different people.It’s like the various stages of the journey of life itself.
The bubbling carefree child like spring from where it originates in the icy Himalayas, the youthful energetic lovely mountain river just like a young girl ,full of challenges , turbulent, it races along tortuous boulder. It flows among strewn beds, cutting deep gorges, and breaking into silvery white rapids brimming with life and abundant spirit of freedom.
A complete transformation takes place during the rains, untamed, gorgeous and wild, the rivers swell up and the banks give in, it breaks free of all the bandages and gushes through, the anger and the rebellious nature is very prominent, boiling over with a metallic hard rock hum, the spectacular river takes with it, all that comes in its way, like Goddess kali, she thunders across the hills n plains creating a mesmerizing effect on us, full of admiration n fear, at the same time.
Then there is the calm, serene, river of the plains, flowing gently, giving life to millions of people, and gliding through the impenetrable forests, dusty towns and cities, wide open plains. Relentlessly flowing towards its destination, the mighty ocean. A sight one can never forget. The river harbors legends, fosters myth and exerts a powerful spiritual attraction. Maternal and languorous in its flow, it’s very seductive.
I have always been fascinated by these magnificent waters and have been in close contact with some of the most beautiful rivers, at various stages during my nature trips. Let me try to capture the breathtaking beauty of some of them.
The magnificent river Beas
The Beas River, a tributary of Indus River, emerges from an igloo like structure near the Rohtang pass in the Pir Panjal Range, 51 km north of the hill resort of Manali, at an altitude of 4,350 meters or 13,050 feet.
The monsoon rains feed the river with abundance of water and makes it amazingly tempestuous and breathtakingly beautiful. On its journey the water of many tributaries joins the River Beas making it more of a raving beauty. From a clear blue easy flowing mountain river to an awesome torrent during the monsoon, the mighty river goes through various changes during its long journey towards the sea.
A favorite with river sports enthusiasts, it’s known for white water rafting and other water sports. The first time I saw the mossy meadows encircled by the rushing streams and meandering brooks along the bubbly river, I was completely mesmerized by its divine virgin beauty. The icy crystal clear waters. The awesome tall pine trees standing guard along the banks. The raw magnificence of Beas’s natural beauty has to be seen, and experienced, to be believed.
As part of the Youth Hostels Association of India’s Himalayan Trekking Programme, our camp was right next to the river in Raison, a place between Kullu and Manali. The destination was Kholi and Chandrakhani pass but we had some of the most memorable moments at the base camp.
As a teenage girl, it was my first exposure to such pristine beauty. I would spend long hours watching the sparkling water, sitting by the side of the river on a boulder, feet dipped in chilled water and small fishes playing hide and seek.
Somehow the river captivates you in such a way that you forget all that’s around you…The humming sound of the water, rustling of pine trees, cool breeze. It’s an enchanting experience.
At one time you become one with the river and flow along with it, shutting yourself from the maddening world outside. It calls you, binds u and keeps you glued to it. Makes you think of the timelessness and the zest with which it goes on n on carving gorges, encircling forests n meadows, towns and villages…it calms the soul from within giving immense peace and serenity.
Our daily routine was to take a dip in the river where the water current was not so strong, although finding such a place was one big task.
This was my first river swimming experience and, boy! I was scared. With great persuasion I led myself into the bone chilling water and then the river took over. It’s a feeling only those can understand who have given themselves completely to the mercy of the river. The body at first freezes with cold but slowly it relaxes and becomes a part of the flow, though I find swimming in calm waters is more rewarding because one is more relaxed there, yet this was one moment of bliss. Then it became a routine.
The camp had hundreds of groups staying there. The trekkers had come from across the country and I was part of the Mumbai Pune group and the youngest, just 15yrs. Pampered to the limit. It was a sheer joy to be there.
Our river crossing or training was another thing which I really enjoyed. Strapped to the waist and chest we slid down the rope to cross the widest part of the river from one end to another .it was done always under supervision, with the trainers even standing on boulders in the middle of the river.
The span of Beas is not much at that point. The adrenalin flow was high and I really freaked out on this one, but crossing the river with the help of a trekking pole or stick is even more adventurous .checking the depth of the rapids, keeping the balance, avoiding the sandy bottom and finding points in between the rocks was great fun.
Another way to tame the river is rafting. We didn’t do much of it as it was not part of our training but found a place where they take you rafting with guides and had great time. It’s a feeling beyond description when you leave yourself to the mercy of the gushing river. It is breathtaking.
Apart from riding the river in various ways I also was awestruck by the way the river changes from morning till night. Though everything is the same, yet some transformation takes place within the river. The evenings at riverside, sitting under a tall tree, writing daily diary or just sipping hot chocolate was something I really looked forward to. At that point of time in my life, it seemed just like me. Energetic, boundless, fearless, and absolutely free.
Balance, harmony, equilibrium, spiritual calmness from within, is what it conveyed to me.
It is manifestation of one’s dreams.