After Kedarnath, the next destination was Rudraprayag.
All this while, I had seen rivers in the valley; Alakananda, Mandakini, Nandakini, Pindar…. But I had not touched the water anywhere.
It was Rudraprayag where I decided, I would make my first contact with the water of the mountains.
The word prayag indicates confluence of rivers. There are five such prayags in Uttaranchal. Devaprayag, Karna prayag, Vishnu prayag, Rudra prayag and Nanda prayag.
Rudraprayag is where the confluence of two major tributaries of the Ganges, Alakananda and Mandakini, takes place.
Mandakini comes from Kedarnath and Alakananda, from Badrinath. As the two become one, Mandakini looses her identity and the river continues to be known as Alakananda which will, in a few miles, a few hours, loose its identity too for the privilege of becoming one with the mighty Ganges.
Every evening Ganga Aarti takes place here. The aarti for Ganga and her tributeries happens every evening in every village, town and city that stands on her banks.
What a magical country this is…..where everything from mountains to rivers to animals is held in religious sanctity! Truly India is incredible!
It is here, that an epiphany struck me as I stood on a rock right at the epicenter of the confluence with Mandakini on my immediate right and Alakananda on my immediate left.
An epiphany, that science is ludicrously inadequate.
On my left was a water that was characterized by really fast currents, turbid muddy waters, brown in colour and roaring boisterously – Alakananda.
The two waters were so different although they flowed just a few hundred meters apart. Each water had a unique identity, a unique appearance and unique properties.
And science attempts to define water as H2O – 2 molecules of hydrogen and one molecule of oxygen. Thats the definition for any water and every water. What an inadequate definition!
One has to go to the mountains and take one look at the many rivers to understand that there is so much more to water than just 2 molecules of hydrogen and one of oxygen!
Verily, science has the potential to drain the romance out of even the most romantic aspects of life and nature.
Thus I contemplated, with a sardonic smile on my face, as I witnessed the confluence of the two waters in awe.