Monthly Archives: March 2011

The River with Rainbow

In this digital age an artist’s creativity can be unfolded via plenty of image editing / illustrating softwares where some biggies like Photoshop stand out. There is absolutely no lack of artificial sceneries too. But compared to the sheer versatility and prowess of the ultimate artist, the Mother Nature, these artificial beauties often fall short. The example of ‘Caño Cristales’ is more than enough to justify this time-tested fact.

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Located in Serrania de la Macarena in the South American country Columbia, River Caño Cristales is now far & wide famous for its peculiar geographical wonder. Not its size or location but the amazingly colored underwater world.

In between Columbia’s major seasons, wet season and dry season, for a brief period when the climate becomes ideal for plants and waters alike, one can witness the astounding artistic skills of nature at some very remote locations of Caño Cristales.

This river is a haven for innumerable multi-colored algae and moss. When the climate is optimal and waters are crystal clear these underwater plants bloom to the fullest; displaying a wide range of colours resembling the shades in VIBGYOR.

Call these RGB (red, green, blue) or CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, black) palette shades with due respect to the digital age, but it seems even the term ‘colorful’ doesn’t adequately describe the real feeling of this eye-feast.

Set in a serene environment well away from the urban life, reaching the location of River Caño Cristales from La Macarena town is itself an experience… well isolated from roads, it requires a delightful couple of hour’s walk that any adventurer will cherish. Considering the importance of this region, the state government has organized guided trekking tours from La Macarena to Caño Cristales.

The silence of nature, soothing sounds of waters, dazzling display of colours where it seems the rainbow is flowing… by getting absorbed in this rejuvenating atmosphere, what more that a nature-lover could ask for!

This colourful river region is normally off the limit for visitor after November, when the fry season steals away the river’s charm. But still a few get dragged to this beckoning location – perhaps the irresistible nature’s call.

A Temple where Enfield Bullet is God

India is of course the land of uncountable mysteries and legends… but among all, this one is quite intriguing – it is about a peculiar deity that cannot be found anywhere in the world!

Hindu mythology, the belief India’s dominant religion, stated about 33 million gods (though it can be termed that all of them are different manifestations of one supreme deity). These 33 million takes vastly different forms and appearances of which the popular ones are the God with Elephant head, Lord Ganesha and the Monkey God, Lord Hanuman. But this above mentioned ‘God’ doesn’t belong to this 33 million — because it is a 350cc Royal Enfield Bullet!

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This may seem unbelievable. But the temple really exists. The place is a small village, Chottila’, located on the National Highway between Jodhpur and Pali, in the state of Rajasthan, Northwest India. Here the deity is the Enfield Bullet. The birth of this temple owes a very exciting legend.

Legend of Bullet Temple:
Not so long ago, in 1991 to be precise, there lived a young man named Om Singh Rathore popularly known as Om Banna. He was the son of Jog Singh, head of Chottila village. Om Singh alias Om Banna was passionate about Enfield Bullet as well as local alcoholic beverage. One fateful night, a drunken Om Singh was returning to Chottila in his new bullet, when he met with a terrible accident. His speedy vehicle struck a roadside tree and he was thrown into a nearby pit, of some 20 feet deep, where he died. Next day his body was recovered by the Police who took the bullet to the police station as a part of routine investigation formalities. That was the beginning of a series of nerve testers which rattled the entire village.

At the police station, the bullet disappeared on the very night. Next day it was found at the accident spot. Thinking as a silly act of mischief, the police bought back the bullet to the station. But again the bullet disappeared in the night; only to be found right back at the fateful spot. The angered police men once again took the bullet back to station, emptied its fuel tank and kept the vehicle tightly bound with iron chains. But the ‘jinx’ continued in the night… the bullet was back in its favorite spot like an iron nail to a magnet. The bewildered police handed the bullet back to Om Singh’s relatives. But the ‘troubles’ didn’t end. The same routine continued with villagers often hearing the roaring sound of the bullet in the night time. Om Singh’s relatives sold the bullet to a person in the far away Gujarat state. But still, the bullet mysteriously came back at its favorite accident spot, covering a distance of hundreds of kilometers! The new owner subsequently abandoned the bullet.

Another legend states… in that eventful night after the accident occurred, some kilometers away Om Singh (his spirit) asked for a lift to a truck driver. Who without knowing all these took him along. On reaching the accident spot Om Singh asked driver to blow the horn to fulfill any purpose and to make the journey an accident-free one, and subsequently vanished! All these events made the Chottila villagers to consecrate a temple dedicated to the Bullet at the eventful spot.

One more testimony is, a truck met with an accident at this spot and the driver, though injured, survived. He said the spirit of Om Singh appeared and lifted him out of the badly damaged vehicle; otherwise he couldn’t have been survived.

Afterwards the highway drivers took this legend seriously and all made a point to blow horn, as an offering to the bullet deity, when they pass through this spot. Then the journey will be free from mishaps!

In due course of time and fame of bullet deity (Bullet Baba) spread and, not only Chottila village folk but also many from neighboring villages and even faraway places come to offer prayers at this unique temple. This shrine continues to be a very simple one, without any architectural splendor. Here the ‘hero’ bullet stands decorated with garlands. Nearby is a platform (‘peeth’) on which Om Singh’s richly garlanded photo is placed, with a sacred fireplace (‘homa-kund’) in front. The legendary tree, the accident-cause, is also near majestically decorated with garlands, ornaments and colored ashes.

Devotees mainly come here for granting of wishes and also making the life’s onward journey problem free. An interesting thing is the increasing numbers of newlyweds and parents with new born babies. The main offering here is also one-of-a-kind… the locally brewed alcoholic beverage – beer (that was supposed to be the late Om Baba’s favorite). The beer bears the typical trademark ‘bullet’.

Here people usually offer worship by prostrating, circumferencing the bullet, garlanding Om Singh’s portrait and bullet, lighting ‘ararbattis’ (incense sticks), and pouring beer to the sacred fire place.

There are many who are ready to swear by the wish granting miracles of the ‘Bullet deity’. At night the villages hear (if not always but still!) the roaring sound of the Bullet which now stands with rusted fuel tank!

Well… be those legends are true or false, the Bullet Temple’s fame continues to spread far and wide and devotes are increasing in numbers. Practically no driver dares to cross this spot without slowing down the vehicle and blow horn as offering to the Bullet Baba! Among the uncountable legends and myths in this fascinating country, the Bullet Baba’s legacy also lives on and on.