Ab­hishek’s tryst with Kedar­nath

HT Cafe - - LIFESTYLE - Nishad Nee­lam­baran [email protected]

Adi­rec­tor who has de­liv­ered hits in var­i­ous gen­res, Ab­hishek Kapoor, with his films — be it, the mu­si­cal drama Rock On!! (2008) or the buddy flick set against a tense po­lit­i­cal back­drop, Kai Po Che (2013) — has been slowly mak­ing a mark in the Hindi film in­dus­try with his work. The 47-year-old, who travelled to Kedar­nath, talks about his ex­pe­ri­ence in the snowy re­gion of Ut­tarak­hand. Ex­cerpts:

Tell us about your ex­pe­ri­ence in Kedar­nath.

Kedar­nath was an en­rich­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. The peo­ple, their cul­ture, the lan­guage and the ter­rain are a stark con­trast to cities. There is a men­tal el­e­va­tion that sparks in­stantly the mo­ment you step out and leave the ur­ban set­ting be­hind and en­ter the moun­tains. It’s ex­hil­a­rat­ing. What was the most beau­ti­ful mo­ment of your trip? Un­doubt­edly , the dar­shan to Kedar­nath Tem­ple. I can’t shake off that heady feel­ing. The morn­ing aarti starts at 6.30am, the sun hasn’t risen yet and it’s freez­ing — but you’re in union with all the devo­tees and their over­whelm­ing de­vo­tion. The pas­sion in the at­mos­phere is in­de­scrib­able — just ex­pe­ri­enc­ing it is enough.

Tell us about the food cul­ture in Kedar­nath?

Sim­plic­ity is the essence of the food there. We ex­plored the lo­cal dhabas, and ate veg­e­tar­ian home-cooked food. When it comes to restau­rants, there are a few op­tions around the tem­ple, but not while trekking. For­tu­nately, we stum­bled upon an old Garhwali cou­ple who of­fered us a de­li­cious feast.

What did you shop for, and how was the whole shop­ping ex­pe­ri­ence? Did you buy any­thing that is ex­clu­sive to Kedar­nath? This time, shop­ping was an in­dul­gence out of bounds. Rest­ful sleep meant ev­ery­thing. Though, I did take home some­thing ex­tremely valu­able to me. I vis­ited the home of a revered saint, a few miles away, and he gifted me a rudraksh mala that I hold close to my heart.

Did you hap­pen to wit­ness any lo­cal mu­sic or cul­tural per­for­mance dur­ing your trip? In Kedar­nath, the gen­eral tenor of mu­sic was re­li­gious. Some of it has stayed with me. That’s usu­ally the case with me.

Could you de­scribe a few des­ti­na­tions in Kedar­nath that you vis­ited, and what did you like about those lo­ca­tions?

A few hours out­side of Kedar­nath is a moun­tain trek called Chopta. From there, we trekked to Tung­nath Tem­ple. The en­tire land­scape is idyl­lic, tran­quil and serene be­yond com­par­i­son.

If given a chance to high­light a few as­pects from this trip, what would they be?

The cold may have been freez­ing and the ter­rain treach­er­ous, but peo­ple ev­ery­where were warm and wel­com­ing. We all came back fit­ter, hope­fully evolved and a lot more grat­i­fied with life.

Ab­hishek Kapoor

PHOTO: NITESH SQUARE

A panoramic view of the town

The lush green land­scapes of Kedar­nath

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