Author Topic: Articles By Shri D.N. Barola - श्री डी एन बड़ोला जी के लेख  (Read 132215 times)

D.N.Barola / डी एन बड़ोला

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Khatarua Festival of Kumaon

With the establishment of Uttarakhand Khatarua is loosing its charm and is being celebrated with lukewarm enthusiasm. Naturally popularity of this festival has declined over a period of time, because the people of Kumaon do not want to hurt the sentiments of their own brethren.  Now in villages it is celebrated just worth the name’s sake. They still celebrate it as they fear that in case they do not celebrate this festival, their cows might stop milking. Khatarua is celebrated on 1 Gate of the month of Ashwin (Asauj), normally on 17 September every year, when the sun enters the house of Virgo.  On this day the children in groups make banners of flowers holding colourful flags cry Bhello Khatarua Bhello Bhello and say ‘Chal Khatarua dhare dhar; gay ki jeet, Khatarua ki haar’ ( Let Khatarua travel from one hill top to another hill top, Cow has won and Khatarua stands defeated.) It is a Festival of bonfires. Bonfires called the ‘fire of Khatarua’ are believed to reduce to ashes all that is evil. The initiative to celebrate the festival Khatarua is normally taken by the children.
 
Khatarua marks the onset of winter season. It signifies the arrival of the autumn season, a very important time of the year for the pastoral - agricultural society. Bonfires, around which children dance and offerings of cucumber to the fire of Khatarua mark the celebrations. Cucumbers’ offerings, as is the popular belief, destroy all evil influences. From this date, people in Kumaon start using one Khatari (Quilt) in the night. The scene of small children dancing around the bonfires is lovely. The unrestrained merry making of the innocent children creates a perfect picture of happiness. Their enthusiasm and excitement centering the festival is unlimited. They come with bright coloured flags in their hands when they go round the bonfires. On the day of the celebration large quantities of fire wood and grass are stacked at cross-roads or prominent places and effigies of Khatarua are made. To the heap is also added broken furniture, pieces of paper and all that is considered waste in the house. With the thickening of darkness fire is lit to the heap and when the effigies are engulfed in flames children beat the fire with sticks which are adorned with flowers and cucumber pieces. When the flames subside, children jump across the fire and eat and distribute cucumbers. Thereafter lighted torches, lit from the bonfire are taken to different cattle heads to ward off evil spirits. It marks the onset of winter and it is to prepare the people against the coming winter. It reminds them of the necessity of gathering firewood and fodder which would be required to   brave the severe cold of the winter months. Animals are taken special care of on this day. They are fed with fresh green grass. Elders say that the heap of grass should be upto the hight of the head of the cow. That means the cows must be fed to the maximum.
   
It is said that there used to be frequent wars between Kumaon and Garhwal Kings. After the death of Kumaon King Rudra Chand there were many disputes between the successors. After two years defeating his all brothers Raja Baj Bahadur Chand succeeded Rudra Chand.and sat in Almora as King of Kumaon. It took 2 years for Baj Bahadur Chand to defeat his own brothers.  During this period there was lawlessness and anarchy in Kumaon. There was no government worth the name. The King of Garhwal took advantage of this position in Kumaon and the Garhwal king attacked the Kumaon from Chaukhutia and Gwaldam and reached up to Dwarahat and Garur.  Khatar Singh was the Senapati (Commander) of Garhwal’s Army. They could defeat the Kumaonis for about 14 times.  Khatar Singh unleashed a reign of terror in the border areas of Kumaon.  People of Dwarahat, Garur and Chaukhutia and adjoining areas went to the Darbar of Almora Monarch and prayed to King Baj Bahadur Chand to save them from the atrocities of the attackers. Baj Bahadur Chand immediately dispatched a contingent of soldiers to save the Kumaonis.  The army of King of Kumaon attacked the Chandpur Garhi Fort situated near Adibadri and destroyed the Chand Pur garhi Fort. It was very tough to get this victory. It was rainy season and the month of September. The Chandpur Garhi is situated on the top of the Hill. Hence Garhwali army was in advantage. Naturally there were massive casualties in the Kumaoni side.  The Kumaoni King Baj Bahadur Singh played a trick. He sent a hoard of cows into the Garhi. The soldier of the army of Bahadur Chand went inside the fort concealing them with cows. Some say that soldiers attacked the Garhi with Flags depicting the picture of Cow. Since cow is sacred to the Hindus, Garhwali Commander could not retaliate fully, fearing injury to the cows. Thus this tactful maneuvering by the Kumaonis was instrumental in winning the battle. Senapati Khatar Singh was killed by the Kumaoni Army during this attack. Thus the cows became the saviours of the Kumaoni army. This is the reason that some people celebrate it as the victory of the Cow and they raise slogans Gay (cow) ki jeet and Khaturuwae ki haar; bhag khatarua dhare dhar; gay ki jeet Khaturwae ki haar.
Victory was celebrated in the Garhi Fort. No foodstuff was available in the Fort or the adjoining villages, due to the adverse effects of the War; hence the Kumaoni soldiers and the people celebrated the victory by distributing pieces of cucumber, which was available in abundance at that time. Since there were no means of communication during that period, the victory message was to be flashed to the Capital of Kumaon at Almora. Bonfire was burnt at one hill top and the villagers on Kumaon side burnt the fire in subsequent hill tops. Thus the message could reach Kumaoni capital, Almora. Since the victory at Garhi Fort was celebrated with the distribution of cucumber, hence people started celebrating the victory every year by distributing cucumber amongst them. With the times it became a custom amongst the people. People started believing that in case they do not eat cucumber on this day, it will be a bad omen. At the Chand pur Garhwi fort there used to be an inscription stating that this fort was damaged by Kumaon King Baj Bahadur Chand. Some people in villages celebrate this festival with lukewarm response. In fact it is festival of children and they celebrate it just for their recreation. But it is a part of history.
However, Dr. Reetesh Sah, an eminent historian of this region says that This tale is baseless. Neither the existence of people named Khatar Singh and Gair Singh nor  any war between the two has been recorded in History at any point of time. Thus the tale is a certain myth. Still the people of Kumaon celebrate Khatarua even after the creation of Uttarakhand, though it is not being celebrated in large scale, as was being done before the creation of Uttarakhand.
  However. Dr. Reetesh Sah, an eminent historian of the region says that "this tale is baseless. Neither the existence of people named Khatar Singh and Gair Singh nor any war between the two has been recorded in History at any point of time. Thus the tale is a certain myth."  Still the festival is celebrated in Kumaon, though on a limited scale by some people.  (D.N.Barola)

D.N.Barola / डी एन बड़ोला

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TV Channel for Uttarakhand.

At present E TV and TV 100 are covering Uttarakhand. Uttarakhand has no TV channel of its own. The culture of Uttarakhand is so rich that it requires a whole time channel. This will benefit the people in many ways. Uttarakhandies would be learning their own language- Kumaoni and Garhwali. Presently most of the Uttarakhandies use Hindi in day today conversation. The sense of pride in speaking our own dialect is missing. TV would give our dialects a respectability. Hence there should be a whole time channel for Uttarakhand. To begin with a Part-time channel can be started and with the times the same could be developed as a full-time channel. (D.N.Barola)

D.N.Barola / डी एन बड़ोला

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Harela and Bhitoli festival of Kumaon



Blooming Harela on the tenth day.

Jee rayai, Jag rayai;  Tishtiyai, Panapiya
Laag Haryaw, Laag Dasain,  Laag Chait,  Laag Panchami, Laag Bighauti, Laag Bagwal,
Yo din sab din bhaitan raya;
Syaw jasi buddhi ho, syoan k jas taran ho;
Dharti barabar Chakaw ho, Aasman barabar Uchch ho.
Dub k jas fabee jai; Janthi teki hagane hun jaye,
Sil pish bhat khaye,
Bach rai yo din yo maas bhaitan rai;
Yo hariyaw ka tik, agal haryaw k nyoat
Jee rayai, Jag rayai;  Tishtiyai, panapiya…..

जी रया, जाग रया, तिष्टिया पनपिया
लाग हर्याव, लाग दसई , लाग चैत, लाग पंचमी, लाग बिघौती, लाग बग्वाल   
यो दिन सब दिन भैटें रया
स्याव जसी बुद्धि हो, स्यूं क जस तरान हो
धरती बराबर चाकव हो, आसमान बराबर उंच हो
दुब क जस फबी जाया, जान्ठी टेकी हगन हूँ जाया
सिल पिस भात खाया
बची रया हो दिन यो मॉस भैटन  रया
यो हरियावा क टिक, अगिल हरियाव क न्योत
जी रया, जाग रया, तिष्टिया पनपिया...

Free translation of the above in English is as under:
Long live, be vigilant, be satisfied and flourish.
Let the Harela, Dussehra, Chaitra, Panchami, Bighauti and the
month of Diwali, all be auspicious to you
Continue meeting us and relatives all days;
Let you have the brain of a fox and stamina of a Lion;
You should be as liberal as mother earth and
 you should have the stature as high as sky;
You should have rapport with the people like the way grass spreads fast.
With the support of a stick, you should go to ease yourself;
You should eat rice, by grinding on a stone (sil)
On this day of Harela you are here and we invite you for the next Harela.
Long live, be vigilant, be satisfied and flourish……..
Jee rayai, Jag rayai;  Tishtiyai, panapiya (Long live, Be vigilant, Be satisfied and flourish……)     

These are the blessings which the parents bestows upon their children from the core of their heart on the auspicious  day of Harela. Harela is a symbol of greenery, gaiety, pleasure and prosperity. It indicates the concern which our forefather had for ecology and environment. Mythological importance of Herala lies in the fact that Lord Shiva and Parvati's marriage is believed to have taken place on this day.

On this day newly married girls anxious to visit their paternal homes look for someone to escort them to their paternal homes. They visit their paternal homes to offer Harela to their brothers and to take the blessings of their father, mother and and elders.Harela is celebrated on the 10th day of Navratras, which normally falls on 16 July. There are three Navratras, i.e. a holy period of nine days Chatra Shukla Dasmi is the first Navratra which falls in March/April, the next is Shravan Krishna Dasami which falls in July.August and the third in Ashwin Shukla Paksha Dasami, i.e. September.October. Devotees of Maa Durga pray every day during the Navratras and observe fast for nine days. On the tenth day offerings are given in honour of Maa Durga. The Shravan Krishna Dasami (July-August) Herala is celebrated all over Kumaon. In fact this is a festival which is celebrated to mark the advent of rainy season. It falls on the first day of Shravan (July).  On this day the Sun enters the house of Moon and the days start receding. The seeds of about five or seven kinds of grains, i.e. wheat, barley, maze, horse-bean, mustard, Jhungar, Bhatt (soyabean) or Gahat (Ghauat) etc. are mixed together ten days prior to the Harela and sown in pots inside a dark room. Small baskets or pots numbering two, five or seven are filled with earth and are kept inside the house.

The family priest or the elder member of the family sprinkles the seeds in the baskets. Water is also sprinkled after worshipping the Gods. The baskets are kept in a dark room, so that the sunlight or sunrays do not fall on them. This is done for two reasons. This way Harela becomes yellow and the growth of the plant becomes faster, because every plant has a tendency to grow in the direction of the sunlight. In order to attract sunlight the plants try to grow faster. It is also a test of the seeds available with the family. Thus the people are able to know about the quality of the seed sown by them. The seeds are watered regularly. The Harela is given a time period of ten days to germinate. On the ninth day ceremonial digging by a special tool is done. After digging the Herala is tied by the sacred thread called Kalawa.
 


On the tenth day, the seeds sprout. Yellow or light green grasses shoot out from the soil and they are plucked. It is symbolic of the flourishing of future harvest. On the last day of month of Aasarh, one day before the celebration of Harela, a mock wedding is done with small clay idols. At some places wooden hoes are also made. Gaily painted images of Shiva, Parvati and Ganesh etc. are prepared and worshipped on the Shakranti day.  These small idols of gods and goddesses are called Dikars. Overworked bullocks are also given a rest on the occasion of Harela. Thus the wedding of Lord Shiva and Parvati is celebrated and the people welcome the rainy season and the new harvest.

The significance of this festival is that this day the parents or elders of the family visit the place of their daughters and offer presents to them called Bhitauli. Likewise brothers offer presents and monetary allowance to them. At some places Harela festival Fare are also held. Harela Fare of Bhimtal (Nainital) is famous.

On the 10th day the Harela is cut and people put them on their heads and behind the ears. The method of putting Harela on the head is also prescribed. First the Harela is put on the feet. After touching the upper portion of the feet, the Harela touches the knee then chest and then shoulders. After touching the Harela on these parts of the body, some Harela blades are kept behind the ears and ultimately some Harela is kept on the head. The blades of the grass are sent to friends and relatives as well. While putting Harela on the head, the elderly member of the family worshipping the Harela sings the folk song of blessings.
Jee rayai, Jag rayai;  Tishtiyai, panapiya......
जी रया, जाग रया, तिष्टिया पनपिया.......
(The full text is given on top)(D.N.Barola)
     . 

D.N.Barola / डी एन बड़ोला

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Bal Mithai- Almora ki ‘Saugat’




Baal Mithai is the ‘Saugat’of Almora.  Any body who visits Almora invariably purchases Bal Mitha and Singori of Almora, because once you tell your kith and kin or friends that you are coming from Almora, they would promptly demand the Bal Mithai and Singori of Almora. Almora is famous as the Cultural Capital of Uttarakhand. But it is also famous for its sweet products-Bal Mithai and Singori.  You must have heard Mathura ke peday, Agra ka Petha, Sandila ke Laddu and so on. Bal mithai is a speciality of the Almora district. It is said that once upon a time the Bal Mithai and Pera of Kosi (a place 10 Kms. from Almora on Ranikhet route) was famous and during that period the Singori of Almora used to be famous. But with the times, Almora being a populous place, many shops were opened at Almora. Long back ago the Bal Mithai of Pyare Lal Kanhaiya Lal used to be famous and the names of Gopi and Gosain, Halwai (sweet maker) were famous. At present the Bal Mithai, Singori and Pera of Khim Singh Mohan Singh is famous.
   
The preparation of Bal and Singori sweets dates back to the domain of Chand rulers. No body knows about when exactly this sweet started being prepared and sold. The British have also not mentioned any thing about this sweet in the Gazetteer.  But there are shops which started preparing this sweet as back as 200-250 years. This sweet used to be prepared from the Khoya (condensed milk) coming from village Khunt, Dhamas, Sheetalakhet etc. The villagers used to bring Khoya in a special basket and the Khoya used to be sold sometimes by auction. The specialty of this Khoya was that it used to be pure and Bal Mithai could be retained for a longer period. But now most of the Khoya is purchased from Bareilly, which is not that pure as the Pahari Khoya used to be. Naturally there is difference in taste.  Even today the Pahari-Khoya made preparation of Bal Mithai is superior in taste. It is believed that the Bal Mithai of Almora was introduced in Srinagar (Garhwal) which used to be the Capital of Garhwal. After the construction of Tehri Dam, the Bal Mithai is becoming a thing of the past in Garhwal. In Srinagar now there are only two-three shops which prepare this sweet. In Almora there are about 60-65 shops which prepare the Bal Mithai. Nearly 400 families are connected with the preparation of this sweet.  Every day about 10 to 12 Quintal Bal Mithai, Singori, Pera, and Malai ke Laddu are prepared.
 
Bal Mithai  is a very popular sweet dish of this region. It is high on taste as well as nutrition. The Bal Mithai and Chocolate has elasticity or tenderness to eat and is a favourite dish and is liked by everyone. To prepare 1 Kg.of Bal Mithai, you need  Sugar 400 Gms. Small white Sugar pills 100 Gms. Cook Khoya in a cauldron and keep stirring it on slow fire, till it becomes brown. Garnish with small sugar balls and your mouthwatering Bal Mithai is ready to serve.
 

 
  Singori is another tasty sweet which also is a specialty of Kumaon and is prepared from Khoya (Condensed Milk) and coconut. A special feature of this sweet is that it requires a leaf named 'Malu ka patta’ which is found in the hills of Uttarakhand. This Malu ka patta is considered to be highly eco-friendly. It is said that this used to grow in old Tehri in abundance.  There is a local saying, Malu na katyo, malu ka patta. मालू न काट्यो, मालू का पत्ता meaning- O gradner, please do not cut the malu leaf. Unfortunately now old Tehri stands submerged in Tehri Dam. The recipe of Singori is as under.
Cook Khoya and keep stirring it on slow fire without changing its colour. Add Sugar mix well. Add grated Coconut and crushed Green Cardamom powder. Fill the cooked Khoya in small portions into the Malu leaf and wrap up the leaf. Keep the cooked Khoya in small portion on the leaf and wrap up the leaf like cone. Singhori is a sweetmeat molded in the above leaf that results in little cones fragrant with an elusive scent of the leaf packaging. Yet another preparation ‘Chocolate’ is milk reduced to a solid form, set and cut into chunks while Bal Mithai is the same “chocolate” studded with sugar balls.

To finish, I would like to narrate an incident about Bal Mithai. Some times back one of my friends visited my house. On return after a month, his son sent me a message that he wants that sweet which has Homeopathic medicine studded on it. I was slightly confused, because I could not remember the sweet that was offered to him. He reminded me of our visit to Almora where we purchased this sweet. Well the confusion was over and I promptly sent him a packet of Bal Mithai of Almora, because the ‘Homeopathic medicine’ (sugar balls) studded sweet was none other than Bal Mithai. (D.N.Barola) 

D.N.Barola / डी एन बड़ोला

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 Chaukhutia-The Rangeelo Gewar


A bird eye view of Chaukhutia valley.

 Situated on the banks of sacred river Ramganga, Chaukhutia attracts large number of tourists as it is also the Yatra Marg to Badrinath. Of late there has been an increase in the number of French tourists visiting Chaukhutia. You can have a bird view of Chaukhutia from the PWD Guest House which is situated on the top of the hill. Chaukhutia Ganai is situated in Almora District of Uttarakhand and is 95 Km. away from the District Headquarter. To reach Chaukhutia from Delhi one can straight-away come to Ranikhet and can reach Chaukhutia which is about 54 Kms. from Ranikhet. From the Railway Head Kathgodam it is 123 Kms. via Ranikhet.  One can come to Nainital from where one can reach Chaukhutia via Ranikhet. Chaukhutia which used to be the Capital of Katyuri Kings, once upon a time, is also known as Rangilo Gewar (colourful Gewar).  Chaukhutia as the name suggests is the combination of Chau and Khutia. Chau or Char means four and Khutia in Kumaoni means the foot. Some say Chaukhutia is made from Kumaoni word Chaukhuta, which means four feet. Four valleys meet at this place. The Ramganga valley, the valley towards Dwarahat, Masi and Pandukhal are visible from this place.  Some say that it is the meeting point of four villages, i.e. Chaukhutia, Chandikhet, Bakhli and Ganai. Some suggest that it is meeting point of four roads, i.e. Ranikhet-Dwarahat-Chaukhutia road; Badrinath Yatra route- Ramnagar to Chaukhutia; Karnaprayag to Chaukhutia and Taragtal to Chaukhutia. In any case the place, known for its natural beauty is famous for its bumper crop of Mangoes.

The place is also famous for its historical past. It is said that Pandavas had their abode in Chaukhutia and adjoining areas during the period when Pandavas were in secret exile.  The place has a legendary past. The Lake of Taragtal, Bairat City of Raja Malushai, the Capital of Katyuris Lakhanpur, Pandukhal, Bhairab Garhi Temple, Bhumia Temple, Mansa Devi, Agneri, Kaligarh, Bableshwar,  Shiv Mandir, Khirchaura Temple, Tarageshwar, Ram Paduka and a host of other religious places are situated in the vicinity of Chaukhutia. The nearby village Jaurasi situated in the western side of Chaukhutia has the potential for developing it as a tourist attraction centre, as a tea garden, cultivation of Mushroom as also for medicinal herbs.  I had an association with Jaurasi. In fact when I was working as an Officer in the Life Insurance Corporation of India, I had an occasion to visit Jaurasi in 1973 to meet Mr. Ram Singh Bisht, who used be the Vice-Principal of Jaurasi Intermediate College. I undertook this journey on my 3.5 Bullet Motor Cycle. There was a dilapidated forest route to Jaurasi at that time, but somehow I could manage to reach Jaurasi on my Motorcycle. It is some 35 year back.  I was the first motorcyclist to have reached Jaurasi and on reaching Jaurasi, I received a resounding ovation from the curious villagers and was surrounded by them, as if I had landed on the Moon.  On the eastern side is Taragtal Lake, which can be developed as a Dam. The Lake is around 2 Kms long and 0.5 Km. in breadth. This can very well be developed as a tourist attraction centre, by developing it as an all weather Lake by constructing a Dam. Presently the Lake dries down in summers and the villagers reap a good harvest of wheat and mustard from this dried out lake. The Lake when developed would meet the demand for irrigation also.
 
The place is famous for its crop of Mangoes. The Mangoes grown here are very useful for preparing Pickle. The people want a Dehydration Plant to produce powder of the Mango, which may be used for preparing Jam, Jelly and other mango products. It is pertinent to mention the Mango in this area grows in September, October, when the Mango of the plains is not available. Chaukhutia was also in the limelight, when in 1984, people of Chaukhutia rose against Wine. The slogan was ‘Nasha nahin rojgar do’- Give us employment and not wine. The Uttarakhand Sangharsh Vahini was the pioneer to motivate the people against the ills of wine. I was also associated with this during this period, as Lok Chetna Manch was also working in this field and I happened to be the Founder and the President of Lok Chetna Manch at that time.

There is a place known as Udalikhan. Nearby is situated historical Lakhnpur Fort, which is situated at a good height, from where you can enjoy the bird eye view of Chakhutia. Lakhanpur has 24 temples. On one hill top at Lakhanpur is the Fort of Ashanti Devi and on the other side is Bahanti Devi Fort.  In addition Fort of Viram Dev, Ghurshal (horse stable) and a tunnel is also there at this place.

The biggest attraction of the place is the sacred Ramganga River itself.  It is an all weather river. If a dam is constructed on this river, it can be a tourist attraction. It is possible to develop a one-two Km. long lake at Chaukhutia.  People have also been demanding that the Ramganga banks be developed in the same manner as Har-ki-Pauri, Haridwar has been developed. If properly developed, this place would attract tourists in sizeable number.
The Agneri Devi, one of the incarnation of Gayatri Devi derives its name from Gayatri Devi. Gayatri Devi had hundred names and one of the names of Gayatri Devi is Agneri Devi. This temple was renovated in 1901 the temple is famous for one more reason also. Every year in the month of Chatra, Shukla Paksha, Ashtami Tithi, Navratras, the Devi is offered the sacrifice of a Buffalo and a number of goats. The Navratras are celebrated in a big way at this temple and devotees from the surrounding areas religiously throng in the Temple.  Some years back, some forward looking people tried to stop the sacrificial buffalo from killing, but the villagers prevailed upon the people and sacrificed the buffalo. The custom to sacrifice buffalos continues unabated. This is customary in Kumaon and Garhwal as the hill people belong to the Shakta Sect and pray the Shakti (Kali) and Lord Shiva.

Some vital statistics about Village Chaukhutia P.O. Ganai is pertinent to be mentioned here. Chaukhutia Block with its Headquarter at Chaukhutia was established in 1962. It got the status of a Tehsil in 2004. The Block is spread over an area of 36,365 Hectare. It has 171 Village Panchayats with 163 villages being habituated by the people, whereas 8 villages have no inhabitants.  Its population as per 2001 census is 49,020. Female outnumber males and stand at 24,495, whereas the male population is 21,525. It has one Degree College, 12 Intermediate Colleges, 2 Sub-Post Offices, and 18 Branch Post Offices. It has 2 Telephone Exchanges, and a Television Relay Centre. With 5 Commercial Bank and 1 Co-operative Bank, Chaukhutia boasts of its riches. It has 9 Inspection Houses and Rest Houses. PWD Inspection House at Chaukhutia is worth visiting and staying. It has 69 Fair Price Shops, 3 Veterinary Hospitals, 7 Veterinary Publicity Centres, 1 Community Health Centre and 3 Additional Health Centres and 2 Homeopathic Treatment Centres.

Masi : 18 Kms. from Chaukhutia is Masi, a place with which I had a deep association during the period I worked as an Officer in the Life Insurance Corporation of India. In fact I was able to declare Adigram Fuloria as the first Bimagram of the hills with the cooperation of  P.N.Chaunwal, Agent LIC and some of the respectable villagers which included Ishwari Datt Fuloria and Tara Datt Fuloria. The small village, hardly 3 Kms. from Masi, had a population of 224 at that time and 101 policies were taken by the villagers to see that their village is declared as a Bimagram of LIC. The Bimagram was inaugurated by Sri S.S.Jina, the then Hill Development Minister on 30 December, 1977 with great fanfare and a large gathering of the villagers.(D.N.Barola)

D.N.Barola / डी एन बड़ोला

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The Monkey Menace in Uttarakhand.

   Monkey is creating havoc on the day to day life of the people. You can see a horde of monkeys loitering on the road or on the roof-tops without restriction and trespassing the campus of anybody and everybody’s house at will. They enter the kitchen, open the doors of the refrigerator and plunder away the eatables and what so ever is inside the Kitchen room. You can see them staging a rope walk majestically in open roads, snatching away eatables from the hands of the people and frequently attacking and biting the children and women, whom they consider to be totally non-resistance to their attacks. Apart from the physical injury they inflict, this entails a reluctant but urgent trip to the Doctor, who invariably advises some doses of costly anti-rabies injections.  Lord Hanuman’s progeny, the money is flourishing due to the deep rooted religious sentiments of the people and nobody wants to invite the ire of the Gods, thus making them non-vulnerable.

In order to curb the menace of the Monkey, long drawn plan is the need of the hour. Wild Life has to be protected so that the ecological balance does not get awry and is properly maintained. Forest cover should therefore increase further. There should be minimum interference of the people into the Jungle, after all the beasts get horrified by the awful sight of the two legged animal, called the Man who unnecessarily meddles into their exclusive domain. Illegal felling of trees should stop, Fire Hazard should be minimized. Fruit bearing trees should be planted in the Jungle. Wild Life awareness programmes should be launched and finally people suffering injuries by Monkey bite be granted some compensation by the Uttarakhand Government as everybody cannot afford costly anti-rabies injection.(D.N.Barola)
 

D.N.Barola / डी एन बड़ोला

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Ranikhet – a paradise for tourists.



                Himalayas from Ranikhet

Before reaching Ranikhet one has to stop for a while at China View, a beautiful place where Cantonment employee checks your toll tax receipt. This is a place from where you can have a glance of a wonderful sun-set. The scintillating beauty of the hills and sprawling valleys, which is visible from here, is simply marvelous. The chirping of birds returning towards their nests pronounce that the Sun God is now slowly yet certainly vanishing away in the horizon to appear on the other side of the Globe. The walk between China View and Ranikhet Club is simply superb. One is overawed to see the natural beauty of the Oak, Pine and Deodars spread over a large area. In appreciation of this walk some times back there used to be a hoarding depicting a slogan. ‘In hills it is fashion to walk and not to ride in a car’.  But this slogan is now missing. One more curve and you are near the Commandant’s Drive. Walking through the serpentine roads, you may come across a hoarding special for the attention of the Motorists-‘Curves please, slowly measure’. This reminds me of a writer describing a lady lying in pronate posture with her raised head, as a landscape of hills and valleys. This hoarding has also vanished away long back ago. There used to be another hoarding waning the rash and negligent drivers-‘It is better to be 10 minutes late here, then to die 10 years early’.

Jhula Devi Temple to Chaubatia used to be a really dense forest. Though things have not changed much yet, but the dense forest is craving for ecological conservation.  A few days back I went to Chaubatia, and on my way, I was pleasantly surprised to see a slogan “Leopards have the right of way” in Hindi and English both. I know the Leopards or other beasts would not be able to read it, but then the two legged specie called The Man can certainly read it. Such slogans at solitary spots do create an atmosphere to think and to brood over and therefore are most welcome.
   
It was this very month of October that I was a looking to the glanderous beauty of the Himalayas. The beautiful snowy Himalayan Peaks change colours frequently. The divine beauty of the Himalayas can be observed right from Sun rise to Sun set. Especially in October, the scenic beauty of Ranikhet is simply fantastically marvelous. During this month, the sky is absolutely without blemish. Trees and plants bathed in rain, stand in grandeur, spreading their breeze blow majestically is if bow their head to receive the visitors for the sojourn at Ranikhet. This is charm of this hill station called Ranikhet. Would you believe that 480 Km. long range of Himalayas is visible at one go from Ranikhet? Himalayas are hardly 90 Kms. away from Ranikhet as the crow flies. The Himalayan Peaks visible are Trishul, Nanda Devi, Neelkanth, Nanda Ghunti Chaukhamba, Hathi Parvat, Gaura Parvat,Bandar Puchh, Bharatkhanta, Kedarpeak, , Sukam Peak, Nandakhat, Bhanumati Peak, Panchuli Peak.etc. In all 200 Peaks are sighted from Ranikhet. Some of the Peaks are more than 6000 Meters in height.

Ranikhet has a number of tourist spots. Ashiyana Park and the Ranee Jheel are the latest attractions. With Ranikhet being given a place of honour in ‘International Gateway’ at Zone 5 by the World Tourism Organization, Ranikhet is bound to develop further as a premier tourist destination.(By D.N.Barola)
 

D.N.Barola / डी एन बड़ोला

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Pandavkholi - the exile sojourn of the Pandavas


Pandavkholi is considered to be the secret exile sojourn of Pandavas. It is said that when the Pandavas were in exile for 12 years, they found this place most suitable in the last year of secret exile (agyatwas) for their security and they made their sojourn at Pandavkholi. People believe that Kauravas came to this place in search of the Pandavas, but they could reach only up to Kauravchhina now called Kukuchhina. They could not dare to go to Pandavkholi as it had a difficult terrain and is situated at a height of 8,800 feet from the sea level.

Pandavkholi Caves situated in the forlorn Doonagiri Hill ranges were the abode of penance (tapasya) for the Tapasvis, bear testimony to the epic Ramayana. During Ram Ramayana great battle in Lanka, Laxman got fainted. Hanuman was bringing the Sanjivani Booty through the air route. Bharat aimed an arrow on him suspecting Hanuman’s doubtful presence. He mistook him as a demon and fired an arrow on him and a part of hill fell down below. This place was called Dunagiri or Dronanchal Parvat. Situated in Pandavkholi are  Draupadi Vihar and Bhim-ki-Gudri that date back to the period before the birth of Christ. Draupadi Vihar is said to be the favourite rambling ground of Draupadi. Likewise Bhim-ki-Gudri was the fascinating Bugyal (meadow) of the area. The Bugyal also known as Bhimn-ki-saiya is totally bereft of any sort of vegetation. It is said that once Bhim laid down the Gudri on this Bugyal There are four caves beneath the Bugyal out of which mystery surrounds about the three caves. While walking over this area one can feel the sound of the footsteps because of the hollowness deep inside the Bugyal. It is understood that the Pandavas used it as an armoury and as a place for confidential and secret parleys and meetings. One can find several remains of the Agyatwas of Pandavas at this place. An old well is said to have been constructed by Pandavas for their use. People believe that Aswasthama can still be seen wandering over the mountain tops in this area.



 
It is also said that Mahavatar Baba has his abode in the forlorn cave Triyambak even today. This was the place from where Yudhisther went to the Heaven. Pandavkholi forest caves are believed to be pertaining to Mahabharata era. From times immemorial this place has been the Taposthali of the sages. The ashrams of Garg Rishi and Sukh Dev Rishi are situated in Kukuchhina Road. Devotees, who have practiced detachment from worldly affairs, still feel the music of Veena here. Kaka Rishi also devoted his time in Pandavkholi. Saint Lahiri Maharaj also had practiced Yoga and Saint Mahavatar Baba. Lahiri Maharaj had the glimpse of the Golden Palace and Garden by the blessings of Maharaj Baba . By his yogic power he could see Guru Maharaj seated in a lustrous room. Maharaj Baba advised him to keep detached from the worldly affairs. Lahri Maharaj remained in Samadhi for 7 days there and renounced the worldly pleasures and went to Danapur where he started preaching Yoga. In the 12th century, the Katyuri King Sudhardhar Dev established an idol of Maa Bhgwati and since then Dronagiri temple is the symbol of sacred faith of the people.



Many books written by various holy men have made a mention of the Ageless Guru Mahavatar Babaji. Even Paul Brunton makes a mention of this saint in his book A Search in Secret India. Sri Lahiri Mahasaya is said to have reported to Ranikhet on posting that was orchestrated by divine intervention of the Ageless Guru. The former was posted at Danapur. Shri Yukteshwar Giri was his ardent disciple, whose equally ardent disciple was Shri Paramahansa Yogananda who wrote his widely read book Autobiography of a Yogi-a classic literary narration of spiritual quest.



Disciples of Lahiri Maharaj Mukteshwar Giri and his disciple Paramhans Yoga Nand established world famous Yogda Satsang Society (YSS) and Self Realization Fellowship (SRF). The Headquarter of YSS is in Los Angles (USA). An Ashram of Yogda is also situated in Dwarahat (Almora) just 35 Kms. from Ranikhet. The Ashram is famous for curing physical and mental diseases through Yogavyas. Autobiography of a Yogi written by Yoga Nand is a world famous book. Dayamata of Yogda Ashram visited Pandavkholi at the age of 68 and she established Dhyan Kendra there. A large cave is open for Meditation (Dhyan) as per her wish there. Yogkriya which has now spread over the entire world has its original from this cave situated in Dronachal Parvat. Bhatkot famous for its dense forests is situated just 9 Km away from Pandavkholi. The ancient name of this place is said to be Bharat Kot where Bharat practiced Tapasya on the 14th year of exile of Lord Rama from Ayodhya. Mahant Balwant Giri Maharaj did tapasya for 35 years and established the Ashram and left for his heavenly abode on 14 December, 1994 on Mokshda Ekadashi.


Himalayas from Pandavkholi


    Pandavkholi is situated at a distance of 60 Kms from the famous hill station Ranikhet and is connected by an all weather pucca road. This ancient temple is not only famous for its historical past but has scintillating beauty of the Himalayas. It is situated amidst the famous Dronagiri hill ranges. From the ancient times the caves situated in this forlorn hill were the abode of penance (tapasya) for the Tapasvis. The affairs of the Swargpuri, Pandavkholi are managed by the Path Bhraman Sangh (PBS), with which I am also associated. The PBS arranges week long religious functions in Pandavkholi. The celebrations are held on the Mokshda Ekadashi Geeta Jayanti. This was the day when Sri Sri 1008 Mahant Balwant Giri ji Maharaj Naga Baba attained Nirvana (salvation). The 13th Nirvana Diwas of the Mahant Baba was celebrated on 20th December, 2007. People have firm faith that those who leave for their heavenly abode on this date attain salvation. Since then the PBS Chief Harish Lal Sah is looking after the affairs of the temple with the cooperation of the devotees. In order to develop Pandavkholi as a trekkers' paradise the PBS has appealed to the Chief Minister of Uttarakhand to develop a 30 Km. trekking route from Pandavkholi to Bhatkot (9Km), to Burapinth (7 Km), to Jaunipinat (10 Km) terminating at Kausani (4 Km). Similarly a 3 Km. pedestrian route from Kukuchhina to Pandavkholi and an alternate Motor-able road from Kukuchhina to Pandavkholi would attract tourists to Pandavkholi.


Dhyan Math, Pandavkholi

The visitors enjoy the beauty of this place as the nature in its bounty is spread over a vast area in abundance. The Buransh the Oak, Pine, Devadars portray a panoramic splendid scenic beauty in Pandavkholi. The area is rich in medicinal herbs and is famous for its flora and fauna. After snowfall trees and plants bathed in snow stand in grandeur, majestically blowing as if they bow their head to receive the tourists to this beautiful greenery laden hill resort Pandavkholi. Particularly in March/April the blooming Rhododendrons with dark red flowers present a spectacular sight. The blooming of rhododendron (Rhodo) spread over a large area gives a fantastic look. In the back-drop of shining silvery Himalayas, the dark red rhodo flowers portray a celestial picture. After blooming, a chunk of Rhodo flowers start falling on the foot-path below. The footpath is thus covered with dark red rhodo flowers. Trekkers enjoy the red carpet welcome accorded to them by the Nature's magnificent gestures while on way to this Trekkers paradise-Pandavkholi.(D.N.Barola)

Devlok Math, Pandavkholi



 
 

D.N.Barola / डी एन बड़ोला

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Kumaoni Nath (Large nose ring)

In the culture of Uttarakhand, Nath (large ring worn on left nostril) plays a dominant role. Nath is an import part of the Kumaoni woman’s traditional attire.  There is an interesting story of a woman whose Father had demanded a large Nath to solemnize her marriage.

The story goes like this. Once upon a time there was a rich person who wanted to marry his son. He approached a girl’s father, who was a rich Contractor. During the discussions, the father of the girl posed a question, whether he has the status and standard to offer a 4 Tola (46.5 gram) Nath to his daughter. If yes the relationship can be established. The boys’ father immediately accepted the challenge and said yes, he would provide a 4 Tola Nath to his daughter-in-law. As per tradition the boys’ father offers gold Jewelry to the girl at the time of marriage. Bubbling with pride the boy’s father offered Jewelry including a 4 Tola Nath to the bride at the time of marriage. The father of the girl accepted the gesture and the marriage got solemnized with great fanfare.


Woman in large ring nose (Nath)

The boys’ father could not relish the demand of the girls’ father and he decided to increase the weight of the Nath just to show off his prosperity and riches. At the first opportunity when he got good profit in the business, he increased the weight of the Nath to 5 Tola (58.3 Gram).  He continued doing this year to year. In the hills the women wear the Nath every day and throughout the day. The daughter-in-law was also required to wear the Nath every day. She was feeling great difficulty in wearing the weighty Nath, with the result the hole on the nostril became very large. Once again the Boys’ father got very good profit in business. He ordered to increase the weight of the Nath by another Tola. The new Nath was given to the bride for wearing the same.  The bride did wear it. But in the process the nostril could not bear the weight of the Nath and the nostril tattered and nose started bleeding. The moral of the story is one should not believe in show off and should not boast unnecessarily.(D.N.Barola)

 

D.N.Barola / डी एन बड़ोला

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Kumaoni-Garhwali be developed as a Langugage.

             The Uttarakhand Open University has started courses for Kumaoni and Garhwali dialects and both the dialects will find a place in the syllabus of the University. The intelligentsia of Uttarakhand has welcomed this statement of the Vice-Chancellor. But the main question is how these dialects would achieve the status of a language. As soon as these dialects are awarded the status of a language and find a place in the 8th Schedule of the Constitution, and would get the status of the Official Language of Uttarakhand. The problem is that both these dialects are spoken in various ways. There is vast difference between the dialects of Kumaoni in Almora District and Pithoragarh District. To achieve the status of a language these dialects have to travel a long distance. First of all we have to standardize the spoken method of the dialects.  The next requirement for a language is its Grammar. Without Grammar a dialect cannot qualify to become a language. Yet another requirement is the Dictionary. Kumaoni and Garhwali must have its Dictionaries. In Garhwal a Dictionary has recently been published. In Kumaon also a Dictionary has been published. The Uttarakhand Open University should study and if appropriate publish these Dictionaries and make them available in the market at a subsidized cost. The standardization of pronunciation method of a language is also a must. The language once standardized may be written in Devnagri as is being done at present. It may require some modification for which certain vowels and consonants may be borrowed from Sanskrit, the mother of all the languages. Both these dialects already have a rich literature. It has a great store of legends, folklores, poems and literature. Now the screening of Kumaoni Garhwali Films is popularizing these dialects.  Photo albums, film songs etc. are also instrumental in popularizing both the dialects. Hence the decision of the Open University to introduce Kumaoni and Garhwali in the syllabus of the University must be hailed. Of late there has been a discussion about a Lipi (scrit) for Kumaoni Garhwali. The matter requires threadbare discussions. But the point is Kumaoni  Garhwali literature has already been written in Devnagari script. In case the script is changed, this literature would be required to be re-written in the new Lipi. This is not possible. Hence Devnagiri Lipi is the best, but it must be enriched after taking letters and words from Sanskrit. (D.N.Barola)

 

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