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Yatra 2018 Experiences : “The Himalayan Yatra”

Spend­ing a week in the Himalayas, vis­it­ing places of his­toric (I say his­toric, as I was con­vinced it is not myth­i­cal after WITNESSING the facts) sig­nif­i­cance, soak­ing one­self in the majes­tic beau­ty of the Himalayas, con­nect­ing with and appre­ci­at­ing the tran­quil­i­ty and abun­dance of nature, meet­ing inter­est­ing peo­ple who have got so much to enrich your expe­ri­ence for this life­time — all this was part of “The Himalayan Yatra” – an orga­nized expe­ri­ence giv­en to us by Anaa­di Foun­da­tion.

Anaa­di Foun­da­tion needs to be intro­duced — as the name sug­gests, their out­reach and scope is lim­it­less (anaa­di), when it comes to what the orga­ni­za­tion has to offer. It is a socio-spir­i­tu­al orga­ni­za­tion start­ed by two excep­tion­al beings who are a huge inspi­ra­tion unto oth­ers — Shri Adi­narayanan and Smt Smrithi. Anaa­di is a place of con­ver­gence for indi­vid­u­als who wish to expe­ri­ence the inner dimen­sions of real­i­ty and engage in self­less ser­vice to our nation and the world. The founders call it “home­com­ing”, a call they heard from Moth­er India, in a very sim­i­lar way a devo­tee gets a call from his or her Ish­ta Deva­ta (Beloved form of the Divine), such as “Mata ka boolawa” or “Bhole ki kri­pa” to vis­it them! Anaa­di Foun­da­tion engages in diverse events, pro­grams and activ­i­ties with the objec­tive of empow­er­ing youth, schol­ars and peo­ple from all walks of life. Their pro­grams enable one to appre­ci­ate the roots that India once stood for in terms of her achieve­ments in the field of sci­ence, math­e­mat­ics, archi­tec­ture, astron­o­my, med­i­cine, phi­los­o­phy and spir­i­tu­al­i­ty. Any attempts to revive that knowl­edge, accord­ing to Adi ji, is still scratch­ing the sur­face of an ice­berg, let alone get­ting to the roots. The ancient wis­dom can be unlocked only with deep sad­hana.

All the char­ac­ters from our iti­hasas — Ramayana and Mahab­hara­ta — have a log­i­cal con­nec­tion to each oth­er in the course of his­to­ry, and our own lives are a con­tin­u­a­tion of their his­to­ry. The Himalayas and the tem­ples around it, some of which are the places of tapasya of such char­ac­ters, are “alive” with the stored knowl­edge that one has to expe­ri­ence under the guid­ance of an ide­al yogi or a Guru. This yatra offered such an expe­ri­ence with a Guru in the form of Adi ji. Adi ji’s expla­na­tions are always log­i­cal, with the right blend of mod­ern sci­ence (being a com­put­er sci­en­tist and pro­fes­sor him­self, who also teach­es yog­ic neu­ro­science) and spir­i­tu­al insight. He is well-versed with what arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence (AI), machine learn­ing (ML) and deep learn­ing have to offer and how they can be linked to Indic sci­ences that exist­ed thou­sands of years ago and yet were high­ly advanced. The ancient civ­i­liza­tions of the world had deep sci­ences that have not been doc­u­ment­ed, for the only evi­dence that has been tak­en into con­sid­er­a­tion to val­i­date them are fos­sil-based. So Adi ji always pon­ders what could be the most com­mon way of pre­serv­ing the art, cul­ture and sci­ence that would last the next ten thou­sand years (prob­a­bly one has to think beyond cloud based stor­age)!

Com­ing back to the Himalayan trip, it was not a trip but a jour­ney, which was about expe­ri­enc­ing the Himalayas, its rich back­ground, the sig­nif­i­cance of Ma Gan­ga, see­ing the sheer beau­ty of the moun­tains in one’s own eyes, while being guid­ed by some­one whose sources are authen­tic, log­i­cal and free from bias. That way, I must say we were in good com­pa­ny. Our jour­ney began when we assem­bled at the New Del­hi rail­way sta­tion. The yatris con­sist­ed of a group of 56 peo­ple from dif­fer­ent parts of India, across ages 12 to 65. We got to know our fel­low yatris, with whom we were going to asso­ciate for the next eight days and would pre­pare to bond for a life­time, at least with a few of them!

So far I called them unknown fel­low yatris for the trip — a curi­ous wait­ing ses­sion with peo­ple and lug­gage at NDLS rail­way sta­tion.

We vis­it­ed places like Rishikesh, Ukhi­math, Tung­nath, Chan­drashila, Gup­tkashi, Kedar­nath, Harid­war etc. The itin­er­ary was packed with trav­el across the Himalayas and treks to some of the moun­tain­ous Shi­va shrines which are oth­er­wise inac­ces­si­ble by road trans­port. The spir­i­tu­al and philo­soph­i­cal engage­ment not only makes one appre­ci­ate Indi­an Dhar­ma but also inspires and guides one to fol­low the path of Truth, that has emanat­ed from this part of the world thou­sands of years ago. It is just that the ancient ter­mi­nolo­gies, such as Rishis, Sad­hakas, Vaidyas, Tapaswis, Gurus, etc. have been replaced by mod­ern terms like researchers, sci­en­tists, his­to­ri­ans, teach­ers, spir­i­tu­al care­tak­ers, etc.

Arriv­ing at Rishikesh We trav­elled by bus from Del­hi to Rishikesh. I got to know many fel­low pas­sen­gers in the next few hours. We dis­em­barked at the Ram Jhoola in Rishikesh, in the wee hours of the morn­ing. It is a spec­tac­u­lar bridge across the mighty Ganges. Rishikesh is locat­ed at the foothills of the Himalayas in the Garhw­al divi­sion of the Uttarak­hand state. (Garhw­al is a munic­i­pal con­cern under Dehradun dis­trict). Rishikesh is home to many Sad­hus and Rishis who have embarked on an inner quest to real­ize the Divine. The mag­nif­i­cent riv­er can be observed from the Ram Jhoola. We walked across the bridge to the oth­er side (which is a good 1 km) to Para­marth Nike­tan, an ashram along the banks where we were sched­uled to stay that night.

Ram Jhoola in Rishikesh

An ear­ly morn­ing view of the Para­marth Nike­tan.

Set­up in 1942 by Pujya Swa­mi Shukde­vanand­ji Maharaj on the banks of the Ganges, it has a 14 feet Shi­va stat­ue over­look­ing the ashram. Para­marth Ashram is renowned for their spir­i­tu­al work, sci­en­tif­ic research, projects and glob­al out­reach, and their social work in terms of empow­er­ing peo­ple. It acts like a nucle­us for the soci­ety, inte­grat­ing all its dimen­sions. The ashram is home to Indi­ans and for­eign­ers alike, who come there in quest of spir­i­tu­al enlight­en­ment. The ashram under­takes sev­er­al upscale projects based on waste­water recy­cling, sol­id waste man­age­ment, agri­cul­ture, water man­age­ment, ener­gy, ecol­o­gy man­age­ment, etc. We fresh­ened up and went for a stroll by the banks of the Ganges to expe­ri­ence the pres­ence of the Sad­hus. We were told that the Sad­hus (monks) have giv­en up every­thing in life to lead a life of prayer and med­i­ta­tion. They accept only alms (bhik­sha) to sus­tain their body. Their med­i­ta­tion bal­ances the direc­tion of flow of the col­lec­tive con­scious­ness on earth. They do the great­est ser­vice to all beings sim­ply by being in God con­scious­ness.

Vashish­ta Gufa Our first vis­it for the day was to Vashish­ta Gufa, the cave where Rishi Vasish­ta did tapasya (med­i­ta­tion for the spir­i­tu­al uplift­ment of all). The scorch­ing heat reduced to a pleas­ant 20 degrees inside the cave. The cave held spir­i­tu­al vibra­tions that made one nat­u­ral­ly med­i­ta­tive. Around 20 peo­ple could be seat­ed with­in it. The place has been pro­tect­ed and main­tained by Swa­mi Purushot­ta­mand since 1928, who has been fight­ing a legal bat­tle with the land grab­bing mafia which intend­ed to con­vert the sacred place to a tourist hub. He has been suc­cess­ful thus far and it is now main­tained by the Swa­mi Purushot­ta­manand soci­ety, after his Samad­hi in 1982. We took a dip in Gan­ga and felt blessed by Ma.

A holy dip in the Ganges flow­ing by the Vasish­ta gufa

Entrance to Vasish­ta Gufa

Gan­ga Aarati We wit­nessed Gan­ga Aarati dur­ing sun­set. It was indeed a very unique expe­ri­ence to offer prayers to Ma Gan­ga eulo­giz­ing her for all the good things she has bestowed to mankind. It was enthralling to watch the young schol­ars from the res­i­den­tial school of the ashram, offer­ing prayers that mes­mer­ized thou­sands present there. The atmos­phere was filled with the sweet­ness of Bhak­ti. After the prayers, we were priv­i­leged to have a ses­sion with Sad­hwi Bha­gawati Saraswati­ji, whose talk enlight­ened our intel­li­gence.

Gan­ga Aarati in Rishikesh

Trav­el to Ukhi­math We retired ear­ly that night to start a day long jour­ney towards Ukhi­math. Here we spent the next 4–5 days. The dri­ve was rather long on the nar­row moun­tain­ous road. So we (group of 56) had to split into two small­er groups and board sep­a­rate bus­es that could nav­i­gate the turns bet­ter. The dis­trict man­age­ment had some issues due to which the trans­port was delayed. This gave us time to spend with Adi ji, and we lis­tened to the impor­tance of Man­av dhar­ma and how one resolves con­flicts, while still keep­ing one’s cool. We arrived at Ukhi­math late in the evening. We halt­ed by the Omkaresh­war tem­ple in Ukhi­math, which is as famous as the Panch Kedar. The deity of Kedar­nath is wor­shipped here between Diwali and Holi, as the Kedar­nath tem­ple remains closed due to heavy snow­fall in win­ter, and the deity makes a vis­it to this tem­ple in a palan­quin car­ried by the priests. This tem­ple is a wit­ness to the his­tor­i­cal mar­riage of Krishna’s grand­son Anirud­dha with Usha. It is also place of penance of King Mand­ha­ta, who was born from the womb of his father due to a turn of events and was a great ruler of his peo­ple.

In the Omkaresh­war tem­ple

Facts about the tem­ple

Tung­nath and Chan­drashila The next day we had our first trekking expe­ri­ence to the high­est Shi­va shrine on the earth. We start­ed ear­ly to Chop­ta, which is the base site to trek up to Tung­nath. The sun was just ris­ing. We ate one aloo paratha each (as the rec­om­men­da­tion was not to eat too lit­tle nor too much) to have the right amount of car­bo­hy­drates for a 4 km long hike that takes one from 1900 m to 3680 m above sea lev­el. There were options of horse rides for those who were unsure of mak­ing the jour­ney them­selves.

Var­i­ous horse rid­ers enroute to Tung­nath

A local lady shop­keep­er giv­ing a pose

Almost every­one in the group made the choice to chal­lenge them­selves and start­ed trekking to Tung­nath by foot. The weath­er was quite pleas­ant and sup­port­ive and the land­scape around us was stun­ning! We began to know more about each oth­er while jour­ney­ing togeth­er. We encoun­tered many local work­ers whose duty was to main­tain the trekking path. We reached Tung­nath in a cou­ple of hours. Tung­nath is one of the Panch Kedars — five holy places that have the pres­ence of Shi­va — that was cre­at­ed by the Pan­davas. (Kedar is the local name for Shi­va)

On the way to Tung­nath

Huts from cas­cad­ed stones

Men at work main­tain­ing the path

Leg­end has it that when Pan­davas killed bil­lions of Kau­ravas in the dhar­ma yud­ha (Kuruk­shetra war), Shi­va was ter­ri­bly upset with the loss of life. The Pan­davas set out to please Lord Shi­va and cleanse them­selves of their sins but Shi­va would not heed. He dis­guised him­self in Gup­tkashi and turned him­self into a bull and went south­wards. Dif­fer­ent parts of the bull appeared in five dif­fer­ent places in the Himalayas, which was then locat­ed by the Pan­davas. The Pan­davas built tem­ples in all those five places and are hence called Panch Kedars. The hump was found in Kedar­nath and is wor­shipped there. The arms were found in Tung­nath. The oth­er three places are Rudranath, Mad­hyama­hesh­war and Kalpesh­war, all present in the Garhw­al region of Uttarak­hand. The Panch Kedar tem­ples, except Tung­nath, are wor­shipped by priests from Tamil Nadu and Kar­nata­ka.

Arrival in Tung­nath Tem­ple: Pun­ditji, pos­ing for a click

We wait­ed for the fel­low yatris after our dar­shan. We had a breath­tak­ing view of Nan­da devi. Then we had Mag­gi for lunch! This is a stan­dard diet in the trekking region due to lim­it­ed food avail­abil­i­ty at the road­side restau­rants. Our next stop was the high­est point Chan­drashila, which lit­er­al­ly means “moon­lit stones”. Lord Rama med­i­tat­ed here after defeat­ing Ravana. A fur­ther trek of 1 km took us to a height of 4000 m above sea lev­el and offered an amaz­ing view of the Himalayan range glac­i­ers in the back­drop, includ­ing Nan­dade­vi, Trisul, Kedar Peak, Ban­darpunch and Chaukham­ba peaks. The trek demand­ed mod­er­ate effort, though the first part was rel­a­tive­ly dif­fi­cult for the begin­ners. It was not just the trek but the high-alti­tude sick­ness or pal­pi­ta­tion that took a toll on yatris, even if they were phys­i­cal­ly fit oth­er­wise. We had a brief ses­sion with Adi ji, whose knowl­edge of the his­tor­i­cal sig­nif­i­cance of the places and the log­i­cal con­nec­tion was mind blow­ing, giv­en that our cur­rent his­to­ry does not help us con­nect to our own sto­ry. I felt quite lucky to have come across Adi ji and Smrithi ji, who are pow­er­hous­es of pro­found knowl­edge and are amaz­ing in con­nect­ing sci­ence, his­to­ry and spir­i­tu­al­i­ty to offer a com­plete pic­ture. Accord­ing to them, all these three have a log­i­cal con­nec­tion. Real­i­ty is mul­ti­di­men­sion­al, but we are able to grasp only a few dimen­sions even with the best of our sci­en­tif­ic abil­i­ty. There is so much more to know and knowl­edge is vast. After a pow­er­ful med­i­ta­tion ses­sion on Chan­drashila, we began our descent.

Chan­drashila peak, 4000m above sea lev­el

Lit­ter­ing was one of the worst sights that I came across. The lack of aware­ness was sur­pris­ing, for even the edu­cat­ed peo­ple who knew about the pol­lu­tion and tox­i­c­i­ty of plas­tics did not take much action. We took a pledge and start­ed col­lect­ing the plas­tics lying all around the road and tried to cre­ate a com­mon spot for dis­pos­al. In my opin­ion, the gov­ern­ment needs to be more proac­tive in set­ting up dust­bins and per­haps cre­ate an aware­ness cam­paign for tourists to min­i­mize usage of plas­tics and pro­vide a means to recy­cle or dis­pose of them safe­ly. A min­i­mal toll at the entry point of Chop­ta for trekking could be a good ini­tia­tive to make the garbage col­lec­tion and main­te­nance finan­cial­ly sus­tain­able with­out bur­den­ing the gov­ern­ment. We reached Chop­ta by evening and fed our­selves well at the base site before head­ing back to Ukhi­math, which was a good two-hour dri­ve. Gupt kashi and Kali Math The next day was rel­a­tive­ly easy. We head­ed to Kali Math, which is a tem­ple in the vil­lage Kali­math (in Uttarak­hand). There is no deity in Kali Math. Leg­end has it that God­dess Kali killed Rak­ta bija by gulp­ing every drop of blood that trans­formed into an asura itself and there­after churned each piece into fire explod­ing her­self and thus appear­ing in dif­fer­ent Kali pithas around India. The series of bells hang­ing in the premis­es each res­onate dif­fer­ent­ly giv­ing one a sense of belong­ing­ness.

Kali Math, bells, joy­ous local school kids return­ing from schools

Before depart­ing from Kali Math, Hema, a fel­low yatri start­ed an con­ver­sa­tion with a local shop own­er. The locals were very wel­com­ing and offered us lunch! Such was the sim­plic­i­ty and warmth of those peo­ple; there is a lot to learn from them!

The greet­ing cou­ple of Kali­math

We moved on to Gupt Kashi, which is a rel­a­tive­ly big­ger town and home to the dis­guised Lord Shi­va. It is the place of con­flu­ence of Gan­ga and Yamu­na and is con­sid­ered holy, since it is believed that one can be free from one’s sins by tak­ing a dip at such com­mon points of rivers. Adi ji shared a pro­found expe­ri­ence of why and how he made a con­scious deci­sion to move back from US to do some­thing more mean­ing­ful in life and touch as many souls as pos­si­ble. It was heart­en­ing to see a few indi­vid­u­als’ incli­na­tion to do some­thing that ele­vates and expands one­self for the ben­e­fit of all!

A peek of Gupt Kashi tem­ple, the con­flu­ence of Gan­ga and Yamu­na

Fur­ther touris­tic infor­ma­tion!

Kedar­nath Yatra The talk of the yatra was about vis­it­ing Kedar­nath, one of the pow­er­ful shrines that remains open only dur­ing sum­mer and mon­soon. This trip is quite weath­er depen­dent since the path to the shrine is not motorable at a height of 3583 m. There­fore, the mode of trav­el is restrict­ed to foot or hors­es and of course heli­copters are com­mer­cial­ly deployed to be availed by the yatris. The expe­ri­ence of mak­ing the yatra by foot for a dis­tance of 16 odd kms, is actu­al­ly a chal­lenge but if one suc­ceeds in com­plet­ing the yatra, it becomes a ful­fill­ing expe­ri­ence which gives one a sense of accom­plish­ment. The last point of entry for the public/private vehi­cles is Son­prayag, where one needs to make a bio­met­ric data entry to vis­it Kedar­nath. A huge queue awaits the pil­grims, and I felt that time could be saved by intro­duc­ing mul­ti­ple coun­ters to reg­is­ter the bio­met­ric data entries. After a cou­ple of hours, we man­aged to reg­is­ter our entries. From Son­prayag, it is pos­si­ble to use the shut­tle trans­port to the base trekking point, called Gowrikund, a dis­tance of 5 kms. How­ev­er, there was anoth­er long queue wait­ing to avail the shut­tle facil­i­ty! We decid­ed to skip the shut­tle and instead trek the entire dis­tance of 21 kms.

Bio­met­ric data col­lec­tion cen­ter in Son­prayag

Yatris qoing up for the reg­is­tra­tion and also for the shut­tle to Gowrikund!

Before start­ing the 21 km yatra (at 9 am in the morn­ing)

The trek was dif­fi­cult in two ways, one — due to the road being shared by the hors­es, one has to con­stant­ly nav­i­gate the hors­es, and two, due to the dust that was gen­er­at­ed on the way. There is a pos­si­bil­i­ty of dust aller­gy if one’s immune sys­tem is not strong enough.

We kept meet­ing majes­tic Man­daki­ni at dif­fer­ent points and the peo­ple of course!

Due to the con­stant­ly chang­ing weath­er, even slight rain could lead to a land­slide, tem­porar­i­ly block­ing the path. Kedar­nath had a cloud­burst and flash flood that washed away the entire habi­tat killing more than 3000 — 6000 peo­ple and many went miss­ing in the year 2013. The Indi­an army has done a com­mend­able job in build­ing the roads and restor­ing access to the shrines. It reopened to the pub­lic after two years. The ris­ing alti­tude took a toll on our speed and sta­mi­na which was need­ed to reach the top. How­ev­er, after brief stop overs, we man­aged to reach the base camp of Kedar­nath after trekking for 21 kms and after 8.5 hours since we start­ed the jour­ney. This was an achieve­ment in itself as we man­aged to defy many odds on the way. The tem­per­a­ture start­ed drop­ping sud­den­ly with the approach­ing sun­set. (Kedar­nath record­ed a low­est of ‑1 degrees Cel­sius in the mid­dle of the night.) We pushed our­selves into the sleep­ing bags after a brief din­ner, while wel­com­ing the fel­low yatris now and then as they con­tin­ued to arrive till late evening. It was an amaz­ing achieve­ment for some to scale against all odds and final­ly make it. They sound­ed tri­umphant!

We emerged vic­to­ri­ous, and checked into the tent in the base camp.

We dropped the idea of vis­it­ing the tem­ple that night to give our­selves a break. The tem­ple is open between 4 am and 8 pm. So we start­ed around 4.30 am in the morn­ing the next day towards the tem­ple after call­ing it a day in the tents. The tem­ple stood against the back­drop of the Himalayan glac­i­ers and wel­comed all. The tem­ple was filled with the sound of Bhole­nath bha­jans and the vis­i­tors were arriv­ing as ear­ly as 3 am to line up for the dar­shan, brav­ing the cold. Some old gangs could be seen in very high spir­its wait­ing for the dar­shan. As we wait­ed, the sun rose, touch­ing the tip of the high­est vis­i­ble Himalayan range from the tem­ple, a rare and spec­tac­u­lar sight that needs to be expe­ri­enced. We final­ly made our turn into the mag­nif­i­cent tem­ple, which is a stone edi­fice on the shore of Man­daki­ni riv­er. The dar­shan was rather short as every devo­tee want­ed a sight of their Lord. This required man­u­al inter­ven­tion to main­tain steady flow of vis­i­tors in the tem­ple; a com­mon sight at any famous tem­ple.

The first sun­rise on the Himalayan peak as seen from Kedar­nath and a clos­er look.

After a short break­fast, we were on our way back to Gowrikund. The down­hill trek was not that dif­fi­cult since the oxy­gen lev­els were ris­ing. It took con­sid­er­ably less time to reach the base. We had suc­cess­ful­ly com­plet­ed the yatra, brav­ing all odds. Adi ji explained that this is a suc­cess­ful attain­ment for many who had doubts about their own capa­bil­i­ty. It also high­light­ed team work and how we sup­port­ed each oth­er moral­ly and phys­i­cal­ly to over­come what seemed impos­si­ble to begin with! The Kedar­nath expe­ri­ence could be repli­cat­ed in many occa­sions in life, when there is a con­stant strug­gle between mind and body to over­come the phys­i­cal odds.

Back to Harid­war and Del­hi This was with­out a doubt an inter­est­ing and mem­o­rable expe­ri­ence to reck­on with for the rest of my life. We were vir­tu­al­ly sign­ing off and com­ing to the end of the yatra. We paid a last vis­it to the Omkaresh­war tem­ple on our way back from Kedar­nath to Ukhi­math, which stands as a sym­bol of love, com­pas­sion and for­give­ness. The next morn­ing, we start­ed for Harid­war and had a brief stop over to wit­ness Devprayag, the con­flu­ence of the rivers Alakanan­da and Bha­gi­rathi, from where the riv­er takes the name “Gan­ga”. This was a sight to cap­ture in our minds as much as it was to cap­ture in the cam­era.

Devprayag sangam

We had to depart with Adi ji and Smrithi ji in Rishikesh at this point but with a lot of great mem­o­ries that were to be trea­sured for a life­time. It was indeed out of sheer self­less­ness that these two beings left behind their com­fort to empow­er many such yatris year after year, giv­ing them a glimpse of the Divine with­in. I am sure that all their efforts will come to fruition, as they have the sup­port and good­will of every­body around them.

We had a brief stopover in Harid­war to vis­it Hari ki Pau­ri, the major attrac­tion for Gan­ga Aarati. This is the place where Ma Gan­ga leaves the Himalayan foothills and starts flow­ing in the plains. We reached Del­hi in the morn­ing after an eight day long trip which began with 56 strangers but which end­ed with all of them becom­ing a big fam­i­ly!

The Himalayan yatra made me feel stronger, health­i­er, bet­ter as a per­son, and more impor­tant­ly, I delved into the world of spir­i­tu­al­i­ty, under­stand­ing the con­nec­tion between sci­ence and phi­los­o­phy thus com­plet­ing the pic­ture. I appre­ci­at­ed my past bet­ter and acknowl­edged the rich her­itage that once belonged to my ances­tors. I pledged to do more about expand­ing the Bharatiya (Indi­an) con­scious­ness in pub­lic life.

My sin­cere thanks to all the fel­low yatris, whose pres­ence, inter­ac­tions, love and mem­o­ry would stay with me always.

Our true cham­pi­ons

Awe-struck at the majesty

Acknowl­edge­ments Heart­felt thanks to Adi ji and Smrithi ji.

Spe­cial thanks to Tushar for keep­ing the tem­po high of the whole group, Prem and Shail for their lov­ing com­pan­ion­ship and not to for­get all the khakra and thep­ra.

Tejaswi, the youngest yet the most ener­getic per­son in the group, needs a spe­cial men­tion for his unend­ing spir­it despite his poor health towards the end of the trip.

Thanks J for a quick edit.

Look­ing for­ward to more asso­ci­a­tion with Anaa­di Foun­da­tion. Sug­ges­tions are wel­come:

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