Tuesday 5th March
Today was a day for bumping into the gods.
Hayley and I were explaining ‘stratigraphy’ to Dil, our guide, as we were walking along a section that had been cut by construction works along the route. There were layers of large and small rocks and fine sediment. We told Dil that this probably showed that water had flowed through here in the past, and had gradually carved out the valley. We were at least 100m above the river.
‘My grandfather said that 1000 years ago – no, a century ago, this is the land where the gods like Vishnu stopped and rested,’ said Dil a few minutes later.
I was trying hard to understand Dil’s accent, and not to scratch the pulsing bites on my leg. Hayley didn’t seem to have a problem with either.
‘Vishnu used a…’ said Dil as he made pulling and steering actions.
‘An ard?’ we both said together.
‘Yes, an ard. He used an ard to plough all of India and the flat land so that it was smooth to grow crops. But he stopped here,’ said Dil, indicating to the mountains around him. ‘That is why we have the mountains.’
It just reminded me that there is always an alternative to any scientific explanation.
Later in the day the god of thunder, Indra also became known to us, everyone is asleep now and I may have misremembered the names of the gods, I think it was Indra. We’d just finished recording a small scattering of exciting sites, and as soon as we turned back onto the path the sky darkened, Jim suggested it was smoke. The thunder said otherwise. We took shelter at a tea house for 30mins where we met the boy in the photo, his sister and their kid goats.
Dil explained that the blanket the boy is wearing is a local ‘waterproof’. They don’t own coats. The blanket is sewn-up along the back to make a type of hooded cape, which gives protection in a downpour.
Once the wrath of Indra had subsided we continued on, mindful to be respectful of the gods.