Human beings, in general, are not easy to be comforted. Maybe it is a basic need in us to look for distractions and attractions – never satisfied, always looking. I am not talking about the sages or similar individuals, who meditate still like a rock, devoid of wants and desires. For them, I have utmost respect. Marvelously, there are times, when even normal cribbing humans like most of us, are satisfied and content. That’s when we exclaim, “God is equal to all!”
One such immensely satisfying experience I have had was at a hot spring, high up in the Himalayas of Himachal Pradesh. It was a few years back when I’d embarked on a solo backpacking adventure to the region. I had visited the famous hill station of Manali, from where I went off exploring the mysteries of Parvati Valley, where the Parvati River flows in all splendor and glory. It was my first time in the mountains of up north. It was blissful and contagious; the peaceful countryside, the happy people and the greenery. It was in this valley of joy I got a chance to indulge in my first hot water spring bath. Located at Khir Ganga, the hot spring took me nine hours to reach from Manali, out of which, five hours were spent trekking through gorgeous landscapes and pine forests. Upon arriving, I was welcomed by chillum smoking sadhus and hippies, colorfully dressed, and occasional devotees and tourists. But it was not crowded. A peaceful ambiance enclosed the place in silence and mystery. The steam rising from the spring was easily visible due to the coldness in the air. Shivering, I couldn’t wait and joined the others. Once in the warm water, it took about ten seconds to attain realization, after which, I smiled in satisfaction. It felt as if all needs had disappeared, nothing could distract me. The warmth of the water infused me with newfound calmness, the slowing of heartbeat followed by floating away in an unconscious pleasure, like an Alive is Awesome experience. Moreover, I am sure the minerals in the water had therapeutic properties. I was in a cold place but embraced in steamy heat; an oxymoronic reality. I stayed in Khir Ganga for a few days, taking in the high mountain vibe, bathing in the relieving hot waters, and having meaningless conversation with fellow strangers. It was good times! By the time I was down in the plains again, I felt calm and alive, ready to take on the stresses and noises of an demanding urban life.
* This post is part of a series showcasing Alive is Awesome experiences for Cinthol.