Friends, life is slowly but surely clawing back to normalcy. People are learning to enjoy going out, once again, relishing every minute of it. I will tell you about an impromptu get away enjoyed by the families of my brother and sister in law, who live in Bhagalpur, Bihar.They enjoyed a wholesome homemade food picnic at a place called Bounsi, a quaint little town, which is about one hour drive from Bhagalpur. The main attraction of Bounsi is the famous Mandar Hill and other temples, ashrams beside surfeit of lush greenery and serenity. I loved the natural beauty of the place so much, in the photographs, they sent, that I immediately decided to tell you about it.
The Mandar Hill has a special place in Hindu mythology. Once the Gods and demons had a pact to churn the ocean for the pot of ‘amrita’ which would make them immortals. They used Seshnag (a giant snake) and the Mandar hill as a churnig apparatus. A lot of tugging and pulling on both sides the pot of ‘amrita’ finally emerged along with the a pot of poison. On request, Lord Shiva dispensed with the poison by swallowing and keeping it in his neck that’s why, he come to be known as ‘Neelkantha’ (the blue necked). Anyway, now on the matter of, who will get the first taste of ‘amrita’, the demons insisted on first use. To rescue the Gods from this dilemma, Lord Visnu took the guise of a ‘mohini'(bewitching lady) and ordered both the warring sides to sit in a serial order. She started to pour the immortal juice from Gods side,meanwhile sending sweet smiles on demons way, signaling to be patient, their turn would come. With the last of the Gods, the ‘amrita ‘ finished making them immortals, leaving the demons empty handed. Realizing that they had been thoroughly fooled ,they were left with no other option than retreating to ‘patal lok’, their original abode.
Friends, you might be wonderig the Mandar Hill so far away from the ocean, how it was utilized. That the story happened millions of years ago before the tectonic shifts changed the shape of land masses. The tiny hill we now see is the weathered version of the original Mandar. The believers insist that the traces of Shesnag which was used as pulling rope is still present at rocks of the hill. Beliefs aside if somebody is nonbeliever, the person can equally enjoy the short trek up to the top of the hill. The view from the top is breathtaking. The lush greenery., temples and tanks enhance the view many folds. If one has homemade delicacies with them, so much, the better. The trek down will whet the apetite substantially, that the food would taste like, ‘amrita’ itself!
In the hind side,as a common practise, a lot of unplanned and haphazard shops have come up at the foothills to cater to the tourist. Thus spoiling the look to an extent. The state government must take steps to provide all the amenities to the tourists without encroaching on the pristine view. They must come up with well laid out plan before it’s too late to salvage the situation.
See, this smaller getaways, indeed recharge the cells of our mind as well as the body. We tend to feel refreshed and energetic to take on the grind called life. So make up your mind and venture out on smaller trips around your city or town, taking all the safety measures to keep the tangle of pandemic at bay. Enjoy.
Adieu for now.