English  Easy Winner

 English notes for the +1 and +2 students of  J.J.M.M.H.S.S. Yendayar

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+ 2 Lessons



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Beautiful Mandakini

Seeing a river joining with another great river is a special moment in time. So the writer was thrilled when he saw Mandakini at Rudraprayag where it joins with the waters of Alaknanda. Both are sacred rivers which will be called the holy Ganga further down stream. The writer fell in love with Mandakini at first sight. He is not sure if he fell in love with Madakini or its valley. But it makes no difference because the river and its valley are the same. The Alaknanda valley is a deep and narrow gorge with huge rocks looking dangerous to the travel­ler. But the Mandakini valley is broader and gentler. Its terraced fields are wider. Its banks are green in many places.

Rudraprayag is hot. In winter it may be a good place, but by the end of June it gets very hot. Rudraprayag became famous because of a man-eating leopard of Rudraprayag. This terrible animal killed 300 people in 7 seven years, from 1918 to 1925. It was finally shot by the 51-year old Jim Corbett. He wrote a book about the killing of this leopard and the book is called 'The Man-eating Leopard of Rudraprayag'. p. 5: The place at which the leopard was shot was the village of Gulabrai, 2 miles south of Rudraprayag. There is a memorial under a large mango tree. It was raised to Jim Corbett, who loved Garhwal and India. Unfor­tunately there are many buffaloes near the memorial stone. So if you want to reach the memorial you have to walk through a lot of buffalo dung.

In June Rudrapryag gets steamy and one does hot like to stay there for long. But as one travels up the river, climbing up the valley, there is cool breeze coming down from the snows, and the smell of rain in the air.

As you go up, you will see the township of Agastyamuni. Further up there is Chanderpuri. Here you see tender green grass sloping gently down and it is a wonderful sight. They are building a small rest house there. We can see banana and poplar leaves dancing there in the breeze. P- 8: Mandakini is not a slow river. The people of Garhwal complain that although there are many hills there with rivers, the water does not reach the fields and villages as it runs down. Cultivation depends on the rain and not on the river. Just outside Guptkashi there is a small temple in the midst of huge trees. The narrator stops there and enters the she of the trees.

The temple is deserted. It is dedicated to Shiva. In the courtyard there are several river-rounded stone lingams on which leaves and flow ers have fallen. Nobody seems to come there. Two boys come to talk I the narrator. They can't give much information about the temple. The say that buses do not stop there. This is the reason for people not there. It is a truth that where buses go, the pilgrims go. And where pi! grims go, other pilgrims follow. Thus far, and no further.

The boys call the trees champa, which is the Hindi name for magnolia flowers. The narrator has never seen magnolia trees growing so big. They might be some other trees.

Guptakshi gets busy in the evenings. There are mar people in the tea shops, mostly pilgrims to Kedarnath. A local bus callled 'bhook-hartal' comes and the passengers rush to a tea-shop famous its samosas. The narrator asks one of the samosa eaters how the bus got such a funny name, bhook hartal - hunger strike.

The local people wanted a bus service as all the buses 1 came from Srinagar or Rishikesh were taken up by pilgrims. The 1c people could not find room in those buses. So most people of the town went on a hunger strike. They got the bus because of the strike and the gave the bus that name. The tea-shop owner says he was out of business for two days because of the hunger strike.

There is no cinema or public place entertainment in Guptakshi. The people go to bed and wake early. The air is clear. The climate is mild. Okhinath is on the other side of the rive Guptakshi is not made ugly by the barrack-type architecture. Buildings are double storied made of stone and grey slate roofs. The paths cobbled and zig-zag through the bazaar. One path leads to the famous Guptakshi temple. Here, as in Benares, Shiva is worshipped as Vishvanatl Two underground streams representing the sacred Yamuna and Bhagirathi rivers supply water to the pool sacred to the god. The town gets it name from the temple - Guptakshi. It means the Invisible Benares. Uttarakshi on the Bhagirathi is Upper Benares.

Guptakshi and its surroundings have so many lingams. There is a saying here 'jitnes kankar itne Sankar' meaning As many stones, many Shivas. From Guptakshi pilgrims go north to Kedarnath. You car go there only on foot or on horseback. The temple is at a height 11,753 feet. It is encircled, by snow-covered peaks. Atkinson guess that symbol of the linga may have arisen from the pointed peaks round (God Shiva's) original home'.   The temple is dedicated to Sadadashiva who fleeing from the Pandavas took refuge here in the form of a  he-buffalo. After leaving Mandakini they visit Tungnath and Chandrashila range. But the narrator will return to Mandakini because it has captured his mind and heart.