It is just an after thought. I have been traveling for the last 20 years now and have traversed varied landscapes including mountains, deserts, cities, villages, pilgrimage, plateaus, forests, river beds, beaches and ravines. Today, when I look back, the astonishing fact that emerges is that I have explored all these places, other than hills, only when I was visiting my friends or relatives. Luckily I have many of them, and sight seeing was a convenient getaway from their places of residence. Other than that, all my trips have been to the mountains, primarily Himalayas.
I always travel in the company of my family or friends. After some of the arduous itineraries I even promised my companion/s that I won’t be repeating the journey to the mountains at least for a while but whenever I had sat down to plan the next outing, rest assured the destination always had been HILLS. What is in those hills that fascinate me no end? [I should clarify that in English dictionary hills mean any mount that is less than 1000 mts, but in rest of them hills & mountains mean the same].
Is it the Might? As I sit back and ponder, the first reason that comes to my mind is the apparent strength of the Himalayas. As one ventures couple of hundred miles or more into the hills and the greens turn into grey, then black and finally white. As the road ascends beyond 2500 mts and more and loses its bind of mortar and you find less number of fellow travelers on them. As the sound of the gushing water of the river along side the road or trail, if you are on foot [during treks], becomes deafening and the as the weather conditions become more and more unpredictable. As the brightness is lost in the shadows of the high lofts of hills that are around you and you can see sun or clear sky only when you strain your neck up. All this and other such factors instill in you a sense of fear and this fear in self is what that I long for.
Many do not undertake such trips and treks just because of their ignorance or because of physical needs. Some may have experienced it but only literally and not soulfully. I have experienced it but the question is why I wish to undergo it again and again?
The might factor is not so dominant just because of its physical impacts, it has some psychological impacts too. The fear in you makes you realize yourself especially when no one is around you. It is then that you realize that you are all alone at the mercy of Mother Nature.
Ever wondered why hills are abode to temples and monasteries? Throughout history mountains have been a place where serenity dwells and our learned ancestors and even Gods visited them to introspect and discover self. I surely don’t go there to meditate but the tranquility is inductive.
Don’t Know! But I believe that all the mystery behind it makes the trip to mountains all the more nostalgic. I will continue to traverse across them and try to conquer its obscurity. HA!