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Uttarakhand in World Media - विश्वविख्यात पत्र-पत्रिकाओं में उत्तराखण्ड

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हेम पन्त:
इस टापिक पर हम उपलब्ध करायेंगे उत्तराखण्ड से सम्बन्धित लेख जो अन्तर्राष्ट्रीय पत्र-पत्रिकाओं में प्रकाशित हुए हैं.

हेम पन्त:
विश्व की सर्वाधिक प्रचलित पत्रिका "Time" में प्रकाशित लेख..
Source : http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1642444_1812375_1812353,00.html
Fresh Heights
Tibet and Nepal, the long-standing darlings of the Himalayan tourist trade, have not been the most welcoming countries for visitors over the past few months. Foreign tourists have been barred from Tibet since March's anti-Chinese protests. Political troubles in Nepal, where recent elections were marred by bombings, have deterred many holidaymakers. Understandably, some travelers are now beginning to look across these borders to the Indian Himalayas, where the state of Uttarakhand — until recently known as Uttaranchal — has quietly been building its own tourist trade. It offers drop-dead gorgeous trekking — the same as you would find in Nepal and Tibet, but in a less restive and less discovered environment than that of its neighbors.

For Hindus, the area has been a travel destination since pre-Vedic times, and pilgrimage trails still crisscross the mountains. The northern district of Garhwal, bordering Tibet, is the largest region and is the most popular with visitors due to its many holy places. One such site, Gangotri, is dedicated to the goddess Ganga, whose temple is located just below the Gaumukh glacier, the source of the sacred river Ganges. Garhwal also boasts two World Heritage sites: the Valley of Flowers, which erupts every spring into a carpet of colorful blooms, and Nanda Devi, the second highest peak in the Indian Himalayas. For environmental reasons, the peak has been off limits to climbers since the early 1980s, but day treks can be made to lower regions of the sanctuary.

The community-owned and -operated Mountain Shepherds tour company, mountainshepherds.prayaga.org, organizes excursions in Garhwal. These trips use locally hired staff and cost around $50 a day, which includes guides, cooks, equipment and transportation. Mountain Shepherds also plans to start longer excursions to local villages in the summer. Two visitors at a time will be able to travel with shepherds herding their flocks in the Himalayan meadows, with village homes available for rent.

Aquaterra Adventures, www.treknraft.com, offers slightly more upscale trekking. At around $70 a day per person, for a minimum of four people, the company tailors itineraries to your liking. These excursions range from easy hikes to demanding climbs to rafting trips, and accommodation includes separate dining, bathing and "living room" tents.

Aquaterra Adventures can also organize a quick tiger-spotting safari at the end of the trip. Besides the Himalayas, Uttarakhand's other famous attraction is Corbett National Park, in the Shivalik foothills. This 201-square-mile (520 sq km) reserve offers some of the country's best chances to catch a glimpse of the elusive and endangered Bengal tiger. But if you would rather make your own arrangements, simply book one of the 10 cottages at the Hideaway River Lodge, www.corbetthideaway.com, right in the middle of the jungle. Rates start from $375 a night, which includes meals, safaris, fishing, park fees and a naturalist on call.

हेम पन्त:
Fishing से सम्बन्धित एक और लेख "Time" magazine से ही..

Fish Are Jumpin'
September is the time India's big-game anglers pack their 10-weight rods and waders, and head to the Himalayas for a tryst with the golden mahseer, one of the fiercest freshwater fish in the world. Swollen by the monsoon, rivers gush down the rocky Himalayas — from the Ramganga in the western Himalayas to the Teesta in the east — and teem with the prized game. Living in fast-flowing currents, the mahseer is a ferocious giant — built to ascend the roaring rapids at spawning time — and gives sportfishermen a tough fight. Encounters with 40-pounders (18 kg) are commonplace and stories abound of injured casting arms and painful sinews.

Although Himalayan fishing licenses are easy to come by and cost only a few dollars, the roads are not always great — something that deters all except the most ardent, who are likely to find themselves alone amid the pine forests and scenic rapids. Fishing can go on past sundown, as the mahseer is known to take at night.

The best time to go is mid-September to November, and then from February to early May. You can engage an angling tour service — easy enough to find on the Internet — to take you to where the best catches are, as well as provide equipment. Or you can just toss tackle and a tent into a hired 4x4 and head to the Ramganga River, near Jim Corbett National Park in Uttarakhand, where a 15-mile (24 km) stretch is maintained exclusively for sportfishing.

हेम पन्त:
पुस्तक समीक्षा THE WILD SWEET WITCH (234 pp.)— Philip Woodruff—Harcourt, Brace ($3).

Source : http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,887807-1,00.html

The cold mountain air of the upper Himalayas pervades this novel of north India, giving it a quality, like its setting, far removed from the luxuriant misery of the plains. It is a novel notable for a fair effort at balancing sympathies between

Indians and British. The scales tip, however; and no Indian will care for the novel's final implication that, by & large, three generations of British administrators were cool, active and kindly men faced with a buzzing of unstable—if lovable—children.

Novelist Woodruff, whose real name is Philip Mason, worked as a civil servant in India for 20 years, ending up as Joint Secretary of the Defense Department from 1944 to this year. E. M. Forster's Passage to India (1924), a novel in which certain types of British officials were treated with an irony amounting to loathing, has evidently been on his mind. He writes, in his foreword: "Perhaps I have been lucky in the people I have known and the visitors who write books after a six months' stay have been unlucky." This mild slap at

Forster, a profound, canny and better novelist, might be rash ; it would be rasher had not Woodruff written a fairly good novel himself.

Bravery & Bears. The first and best part of his story tells how a hillman named Kalyanu became the favored servant of Mr. Bennett, deputy commissioner of Garhwal, in 1875. Having killed a marauding bear by an exercise of intelligence and angry bravery, Kalyanu soared to the conclusion that bears were easy ; he failed to use his head on the next bear and got mauled. Mr. Bennett set his leg, healed him, and took him on as an orderly at a critical moment.

Mr. Bennett and his new servant, traveling through the hills, took by surprise a village where the forbidden "rope festival" was about to be held. In this rite, believed to make the fields fertile, the sacrificial victim had a sporting chance; he had to ride a forked stick down a rope stretched from a 500-ft. cliff to the fields below.

Mr. Bennett and his party arrived on the scene just as the fun was about to begin —an ill-timed arrival for Her Majesty's representative. Mr. Bennett faced down the sullen hillmen, stopping the show, and Kalyanu helped to see him through. Later, Mr. Bennett took Kalyanu along on an exploratory ascent of the high Himalayan range. On a glassy snow slope at 15,000 feet the two men were caught in a cloud. They fell, but broke their fall and were not killed. But Mr. Bennett would never have made it back to camp without Kalyanu.

Anger & Ambition. Three generations later, in 1923, the relationship between Kalyanu's grandson, Jodh Singh, and the new deputy commissioner, Hugh Upton, was more complicated. The district of Garhwal remained the same: the peasants tilled their terraced fields of millet on the mountainsides, drove their sheep and goats to the high, flowering pastures in the spring, sent their women out to gather sticks for the winter fires in the smoky stone huts. Jodh Singh, however, enjoyed the privileges won by his grandfather; he had been to Lucknow University, and he felt it his mission in life to fight for a free India.

Novelist Woodruff tries half-heartedly to get under the skins of his English characters, who are forever mooning over the little lanes and hedges of England but behaving with wise good cheer. The Wild Sweet Witch ends with Jodh Singh's death by violence in 1938. It is not violence brought on by his political beliefs. When he is framed by two of his enemies, he goes wild and kills them; then he dies fighting rather than surrender to the British commissioner. The "wild, sweet witch" of his visionary hopes—a free and happy India—has at least had a heroic lover.

At home in the Himalayas
On a new trekking tour, our correspondent stays with a family for a taste of real life in the Indian foothills
From the upper slopes of the Gondokoro La in the Himalaya, this stupendous view of the Gondokoro glacier is revealed

by Richard Green published in timesonline uk (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/travel/destinations/india/article2594651.ece)

The waiter served the food and carefully poured more chai. I leant back in my director’s chair and looked out over the cascade of rice terraces. Far away on the valley floor, women flickered through the fields in their vivid saris, brilliant as candle flames. Level with us, a steppe eagle glided in front of the Himalayan peaks.

This was a lunch stop on my walking trip in the Himalayan foothills, and after three days I had no blisters, no upset stomach – I’d barely broken sweat. Until recently, visiting the Indian Himalayas meant staying in a hill-station hotel or in a tent on a trek. The first option means you’re a long way from traditional mountain life, but you have your creature comforts. The second gets you closer to the villages: you get plenty of creatures, just no comforts. Now, a local company has found a middle way, with a range of easy walks through spectacular foothill scenery, staying overnight in converted village homes.

My trip did begin with a night at a hill-station hotel at 6,000ft to acclimatise to the altitude. I liked it rather too much – not just the views of the snowy summits, but my room’s antique wood-burning heater, fluffy quilt and hot shower. At 9am the next day, after porridge and tea, a young Indian arrived wearing a quilted body warmer and a polo shirt. He was our guide, Jaggart, a gentle and urbane chap whose easy manner made it feel as if he were taking us to see a new rockery planting, rather than into remote villages in the Indian state of Uttarakhand, just a few miles away from Nanda Devi (India’s second-highest mountain), Nepal and Tibet.

With our bags whisked ahead by porters, it was easy walking, downhill along the valley floor on dirt paths worn smooth by constant use. The first locals we passed were an elderly couple escorting a caramel-coloured calf up the valley. We stood to one side to let them by. “They are taking their animal to market,” Jaggart said, “and they will have been walking for many miles.” The happy couple cupped their hands towards their handsomely weathered faces and offered the traditional greeting: “Namaste.” I’d been too shy to namaste in India before, worried it might look affected, but here it would have been unthinkable not to.

We took lunch on a steep hill jutting into a valley, just yards after our crunching over pine needles had disturbed two guilty-looking jackals. Table and chairs waited for us, miraculously, in the lee of a shed-sized temple. As I walked round the building, I jumped as I discovered the cook huddled by a gas stove, tending a dark pot of dhal. Meals on the go were sensibly light, usually a mild vegetable curry and chapatis, with tuna sandwiches, rice pudding and fruit. And every so often, while walking, one of the two young bearers would flip open a Tupperware tub of Indian chocolate bars.

“The holy man who is looking after this temple is now higher in the mountains,” Jaggart told us. “He prays, fasts, and comes lower when the snows start.” Sounds like a hard life. “Well, no,” smiled Jaggart. “You might say that he is born into the lucky corner of life. The villagers leave him food, alcohol and marijuana. He prays, drinks and walks around.”

That afternoon, a figure in the distance caught my eye. He was unmistakably a holy man. His feet were bare, his beard was long, grey and straggly, and he wore orange robes and smears of ash on his face. As he stopped 100ft away to namaste, I realised that it is the perfect greeting over distance – less a wave, more of a long-range handshake. The holy man stood quite still, with his hands cupped, and watched as we walked away.

Our home for the night was a long-fronted house with a large family, an excitable dog and several calves outside. A young girl showed me my mud-brick room. It had carved beams around the windows and eaves painted a deep maroon. I ducked to enter where the earthen floor was funnelled smooth at the entrance. Inside was a small bed with heavy blankets, with a light bulb straining to pick out a photograph of a young soldier, a calendar showing a buffed-up monkey god and, of all things, a poster of the Himalayas.

I walked to the sentry-box-style ablution shack a little distance from the house. Inside one door was a western-style loo, spotless and candlelit, with pink toilet roll in a little wicker tray. In the other was a shower room, with one pail of hot water and one of cold, and a single plastic beaker.

The care taken in the preparation, and the candles inside, lent the shack a shrine-like aura.

After sunset, the trees and houses on the other side of the valley glowed pewter in the light of the full moon, and wisps of silver smoke trailed from bright orange dots: other families cooking their food. I was drinking a Kingfisher beer when the grandparents of our family for the night – we were staying in converted rooms in the oldest part of their house – came over to their little herb garden. The grandmother hollowed out a fresh cowpat, filled it with water from a plastic beaker, and floated in some marigold petals. Then they prayed together in the direction of the moon, and the old man blew a note on a conch shell. The valley then filled with shell blasts from other families thanking their deities for a successful harvest.

It was a contrast from grandad’s earlier antics, when he had shown me his den in one of the half-height lower-floor rooms. Normally, these are reserved for livestock to shelter in during winter, but his contained a cot-like bed, a collection of combs in a glass and an enormous old television set. He switched it on and yanked out two chairs. On came the cricket – very, very loud. He clutched his knee and gyrated his foot with glee. I looked across the valley behind me, expecting to see a hillside of shaking fists. A young girl ran to her mum, tugged at her sari and pointed over. I don’t speak Kumaoni, but I guess she was saying: “Oh no, grandad’s showing off his TV again.” But he soon got bored, closing up his room, and peace returned to the valley.

Just when trekkers were pitching their tents and talking among themselves, and the tourists in the hill stations were dozens of miles away, getting changed for dinner, I’d been playing with the children, watching the women cook and witnessing Himalayan family life. Whether intimate or eccentric, it was completely unaffected and unstaged.


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