Friday, September 10, 2010
Pinewood and deodar
After Mussoorie came Rishikesh and after that Almora, but I skip them for now because since autumn arrived to Belgium I long for two things: the bright colors of Rajasthan and even more, the majestic forests of the Himalayas. I saw a postcard of the Jageshwar temple in 1999, when I was following the Char Dham yatra (Badrinath, Kedarnath, Ganotri, Yamunotri) and even so, with my mind fully saturated with the mountains and shrines, even by a faded little photograph, I felt attracted to that beautiful place and wanted to see it ever since. This year I did, and the shrines Jageshwar, set amidst a heavenly forest where the smell of pinewood and deodar lingered in the air like parfume, impressed me deeply with their tranquility and serene beauty. Jageshwar was a trap - it called me for years, and now it will call me back for even more years to come.
As Ruskin Bond writes: "The last puff of the day wind brought from the unseen villages, the scent of damp wood smoke, hot cakes, dipping underneath and rotting pinecones. That is the true smell of the Himalayas and if once it creeps into the blood of man, that man will at last forget all else, return to the hills to die."