Photographer's Note

1. I am again back to Madmaheshwar after 6 years with my brother Ujjal Banerjee. Madmaheshwar is one of the five Kedars in India. According to legend, Lord Shiva's navel fell here torn apart by whom else…Bhima! When lord Shiva was trying to avoid the Pandavas in the guise of a buffalo, Bhima recognized him with a trick and caught hold of the buffalo. The resultant tug-of-war dismembered the buffalo into six parts. The five places where the five parts fell are the five Kedars – Kedarnath, Madmaheshwar, Tunganath, Rudranath and Kalpeshwar. The sixth part fell in Nepal, and that is the Pashupathinath temple. Other than being a pilgrimage to Lord Shiva, the place is rich in flora and fauna and offers all the diversities a trekker can dream of. We start from Hardwar as usual, reach Rudraprayag at a distance of 162 km by bus. We stay overnight at Rudraprayag.
2. Next morning we reach Ukhimath, a distance of 43 km from Rudraprayag. The idols of Kedaranath and Madmaheshwar are brought down here during winter by a spectacular ‘Doli-Yatra’.
3. We reach one kilometer ahead of Uniyana village by jeep, a distance of 22.5 km from Ukhimath. I have visited this area two times before, once in 1996 and the second time in 2001 with my mother. The first time, we had to trek all the way from Monsoona, a village 7 km from Ukhimath, and the second time from Yogasu, a village 7 km from Monsoona. Then, it was a trek of about 70 kms (up & down). Now it is only 36-38 km (up & down). There is now rapid development in Uttaranchal, and the road-project upto Gaundar village will leave a trek of only 20 km (up & down). Good news for locals and businessmen, but certainly not for Himalaya-lovers.
4. We reached the Buda-Madmaheshwar top after a trek of about 1 hr from Madmaheshwar. After we reached the top this is the scene for which I have traveled thousand miles for the third time. There are four pools of water in Buda-Madmaheshwar-top mirror-reflecting the mountain ranges. And the top is also a nice Bugiyal (grass-land).

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Additional Photos by indrajit bandyopadhyay (indraajeet) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 169 W: 0 N: 138] (1912)
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