Sometimes, you should put a halt to all other connections in order to get closer to self

Amidst breathless hustle bustle of daily urban life,we want to get connected with the world,but somewhere, we loose that crucial connection with self. Sometimes, you need to put a halt to all other connections in order to connect with yourself. I got this opportunity to travel to this remote village Jibhi in Himachal for one of my project, and I just can’t stop myself from sharing this experience with you.

Masked men dancing on a psychedelic tunes on YouTube intrigued me to embark on a journey to unknown, a remote Himalayan village in Banjar valley.

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Walking through the snow clad, crooked narrow lanes, I could hear the drum beats getting louder towards Bahu village; Bahu is a traditional Himalayan community with vernacular houses which are believed to be more than 1000 years old; I finally saw the masked men dancing on the psychedelic tunes in “Faguli” festival. The procession was quite an organized affair; there were more than 40 people in the procession, singing and rhythmically moving their footsteps. The locals willingly shared the stories behind the celebration with me. They told that the mask is carved by villagers and worn in order to scare away the evil powers from their valley and then they swear those evil powers to safeguard their valley and people. Women were sitting leisurely on the corrugated rooftop of the houses and terraced fields to enjoy the whole act; it was quite unusual day for hard working hill women.

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Overzealous audience, men wearing skirts weaved with grass, colorful headgear, big drums, trumpets, masks and their rhythmically moving footsteps; all this was happening in front of my eyes in the backdrop of majestic Himalayas layered with snow, it was no less than a dream to a mother of a four year old who has gathered the courage to step out alone after 5 long years, this moment was so liberating. Suddenly I was rattled back to reality as one of the masked men had gone out of control, he seems to be trying hard to contain his energy, and he started murmuring something, when finally locals were able to calm him down, I came to know that the man was a shaman and he was possessed by some energy. Locals believed that a Shaman would bless the valley and foretell about any calamity. First time in my life I got so close to the concept of shamanism. Their culture and beliefs were so different from the world we live in today, and they were extremely proud of their identity.

Strangely in those unusual surroundings, slowly I was getting closer to myself.

I might not have got all my answers, I might not have overcome my phobias completely, but by the end of this journey I knew I was capable enough to handle them on my own, and I knew how empowering travelling could be.

You can watch a small video of this beautiful place and the festival in the following link.

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