The last time I had written, I was on my way to Kailash and was wondering what I would feel like when I returned from the trip. I can honestly say it was the most experientially vibrant yet confusing journey I have made in my life. It's still too early for me to accurately put words down. I'm still trying to make sense of the while thing, so I will leave it that for now. After finishing my fabulous trip to Mount Kailash and Lake Mansarovar, I headed back by road with the Tibetan tour operators, who dropped me of at a hotel in Kathmandu, after a 4-day return trip. Nepal is a wonderful place, and I was sorely tempted to visit Pashupatinath temple and the Bhaktapur are again, but I was too tired and exhausted from the seemngly never-ending road journey through Tibet. Though the Chinese have built fantastic roads, travelling through mountainous terrain at that altitude really takes it out of you. I don't know how the Tibetan drivers manage it.
So I flew out of Kathmandu barely 12 hours after reaching it. Most of those 12 hours I spent either sleeping, or washing up and bathing and trying to scrape of all the dust the Tibetan plateau has decided to bequeath to me!
From Kathmandu I went to Delhi, and from there I travelled on to Varansi (or Kashi as it is known). I had a stop-over before my flight to Puri Jagannath, to attend a marriage. While at the Delhi airport, I picked up a book on Chanakya called 'Chanakya Returns' by Timeru Murari, and found it was a fascinating read.
Chanakya is also known as Kautilya or Vishnu Gupta, and as most Indians know, he was the astute genis behind Chandragupta Maurya's rise to power in th third century BC. He wrote two books on governance and the duties of king, namely the Chanakya Niti [Hindi, English pdf] and the Arthashastra. Chanakya Returns is however, a contemporary tale placing Chanakya in the midst of 21-st century Indian politics. He essentially reincarnates and works with the daughter of a politician to help overthrow her father. After a lot of twists and turns, the whole story ultimately comes down to the wire, with the girl having to choose between love and power.
Anyway, by the time I caught my connecting flight at Varanasi, I had finished the book. A few hours later I have touched down in Puri and am taking a break at my friend's place. I've found out that the Odisha government and the tourism ministry are working to spruce up Puri and the Jagannath Puri temple. The Nabakalebara festival happens next year, marking the time when the idols of Krishna, Balabhadra and Subhadra will be replaced (the first time since 1996), the ministry was everything spic and span, especially the temple itself and the drains, garbage, beaches and everything else.
That is heartening to hear. Perhaps it is because of the knew enthusiasn shown by Indians for proper governance and self-reliance. I saw this enthusiasm in Varanasi too, regarding Modi's promises and the cleaning of the Ganga. The new government is finally getting to do some good work which has been pending all these decades, and I think Indian citizens want to join in the cause. I have personally signed up for the Clean Ganga campaign. Frankly speaking, I have always complained about it and whined about how no one is doing anything to save our environment and cultural heritage. I think it is time to stop whining and start doing. I think many others are going through similar thought processes. It's a smart move for the government to tap into all this and offer a platform for concerned citizens.