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A mountain revelry called ‘INCOGNITO’

From the Photo Exhibition by Shri M. Madan Gopal
All the birds have flown up and gone;
A lonely cloud floats leisurely by
We never tire of looking at each other-
only the Mountain and I.

- Li Po, Alone Looking at the Mountain

And the result was an offer of Mountain revelry called ‘Incognito’. A Photo exhibition attempt to exhibit the moods and the grandeur of the unknown or less known Himalayan Mountains by Shri M. Madan Gopal at the Chitrakala Parishad, Bengaluru, India, on 26th august 2011.

Himalayas, ‘the abode of Snow’, who does not know them!

From time immemorial, the Himalayas have given out speechless invitations to Sages, Anchorites, Yogis, Artists, Philosophers, et al. They have touched every soul and elevated them by just a glimpse of the snow capped peaks. In the Bhagavad Gita, Tenth course, Lord Krishna says, “ ...Of the immovable things I am the mighty Himalayas".

From the Photo Exhibition by Shri M. Madan Gopal

The Himalayas are the youngest and the highest mountain ranges in the world. The Himalayas extend from west to east for about 2,500 km in a curve and a width of 100-400 km. The Himalayan range covers an area of 612,021 sq. km.It passes through Nepal, India, China (Tibet), Bhutan, Pakistan and Afghanistan. From south to north, the Himalayas can be grouped into four parallel, longitudinal mountain belts with unique features and distinctive geological history -
  • Shivaliks (the Outer Himalayas or the Sub-Himalayas with an average altitude of 900-1,200 meters)
  • Himachal (the Lesser Himalayas or the Lower Himalayas with an average altitude of 3,700 meters)
  • Himadri (the Great Himalayas or the Higher Himalayas with an average altitude of above 6,000 meters includes Mt.Everest)
  • The Trans Himalayas (Tibetan Himalayas well known as the ‘Roof of the World’ with an average altitude of 4,000 - 4,590 meters).

These ranges amongst them has ten top highest peaks in the world and over a couple of hundred peaks above 6,000 meters!

The wandering takes you from Char Dham covering Gangotri, Yamunotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath, Valley of Flowers, Hemkund Saheb, Kailas Manasarovar, Ladakh, Everest Base camp, Annapurna Base camp, Island peak, Mukthinath, Kanchenjunga Base Camp ( south and north face) and list goes on...

From the Photo Exhibition by Shri M. Madan Gopal
An addiction for more than 10 years, as Shri Madan Gopal describes his initiation as -“It was early hours of the day and i was supposed to catch the bus to return to some destination. I stood on the banks of Ganges and casually looked up to witness grandest formation of clouds across the mountains. I was dumb struck. I felt as if some huge bird with open wings coming down to lift me up. It was so near yet so far. From a casual visitor i became a serious trekker. From pilgrimage of Holy Amarnath to the recent trek to Kanchenjunga, it is more than 10 years. Every moment spent in Himalayas evolved me and elevated me to a reality that can not be described in any words.”

Over 100 odd enchanting, mesmerising grand photographs of Himalayas leaves you spellbound! Each captured moment is accompanied with the apt thoughts and sayings by Buddhist Monks and Spiritual teachers. W.J. Grant in his book ‘The Spirit of India’ describes the scenic Himalayan as - “ The grandeur of this region outwits description, its scale is so baffling. It is a dwelling place for gods. A throne of stupendous whiteness, mystery, power majesty. But above all mystery - that mystery which no science can banish and no reason to conquer. This is where Supernatural walks with regal feet.”

Photography has been one modern day invention which has regaled with the magnificent monument of Nature - The Himalayas.The photographs capturing the scenic beauty of the most frequented mountains like Mt.Everest, K2, Kanchenjunga, Annapurna is common. A total of 79,900 visitors were recorded in the year 2009 around Annapurna conservation area! But this exhibition had an exception.The Incognito is a tribute to the sidelined splendors whose beauty and calling have not been seen or heard. The artist has paralleled these grand silent mountains to the unsung, unheard noble souls and warriors who have served the humanity selflessly. Incognito means without being known, without revealing one’s identity, not to let others to know who they really are.These peaks speak to one’s heart and leave unerasable impressions.

The journey goes on... here and beyond.....

From the Photo Exhibition by Shri M. Madan Gopal

A similar experience echos in the words of Yogacavara Rahula, a Buddhist Monk in his treatise - ‘Traversing the Great Himalayas’ -. “ A Himalayan Trek is a metaphor for life itself. On a trek we are searching for a majestic peak or high plateau, a beautiful stream or waterfall, or a shrine or monastery. The destination or goal serves to quench our thirst, our desire. It provides a short respite from the rigors of the trail, a brief “One Night’s Shelter”. Then we have to descend, move on. We cannot stay there.”