See Love Everywhere January 22 2014
In the last blog post I told the story of Spiros and Me going to Gangotri and Gaumukh with 108 shirts for the Gently Down project. According to Hindu mythology, Goddess Ganga took the form of a river and came down to earth at Gangotri to absolve the sins of King Bhagiratha's predecessors, following his severe penance of several centuries. So, it is considered the spiritual source of the Ganga.
19 Km's further at 6000 meters above sea level is the Gaumukh glacier which is the geological source of the river. It takes a full days hike to get from Gangotri to Gaumukh. There are tent camps along the route as the trip there and back in one day is pretty rough going. along the way there are many small shrines, a few treacherous river crossing, and if you go at the right time of year there are even a few chai stalls for that needed extra energy.
Previously I told the story of Spiros getting Hypothermia after bathing in the river. The reason i did not, is because I wimped out and opted for a bucket bath. Even with the threat of freezing, I always regretted not going for the full dunk and promised myself if I ever got back there nothing would stop me from going in that river! But, what were the chances I would ever find myself hiking back up that mountain?
As fate would have it, in 2009 I was invited to bring a group of students from Japan on the Namarupa Maha Yatra. A one month pilgrimage to temples, holy sites and festival in North India.....And Gaumukh was one of our destinations! We were three weeks into the trip when we started our ascent and many of our team was already tired from so much travel and tapas. Between altitude sickness and extremely foul weather a few members chose to stop along the route, but many of us made it to the top. And you can be assured that I did not break my promise and took a frosty dip in the Ganga at her source.
When we returned to Gangotri I met a Swami who had been living and doing his sadhana there for many years. He had a great laugh, told some amazing stories of his life and travels, and told me his mantra was, "See Love Everywhere". Then I asked if it was OK if I took a snapshot. He agreed on the snap, neither of us knowing at the time he would later be adorning a t-shirt. Hope he doesn't mind.
My icy dip at Gaumukh