2008 I traveled to India and completed the “Chota” Char Dham by visiting the four Hindu temples; Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedranath and Badrinath.

Journal-The loose dirt gave way under my feet, spilling rocks down the slope as I made my way to the river. I reached the bank and stepped on a flat rock where I could kneel down to touch the cold glacial silted water. A hundred yards upstream it rushed out of the bottom of the ice wall. This was the “Mouth of the Cow”, Gaumukh, the source and headwaters of the sacred river Ganges, beginning its long  journey into the plains of India. I cupped my hands in the frigid water and lifted it up over my head and let the drops fall, wetting my hair.

As I walked back along the trail I passed an elderly man on his own pilgimage who smiled and said what a happy day this was. I grinned and agreed that yes, this was a happy day. He looked intensely into my eyes and hugged me as he said “Yes, this is a very happy day.”  Kim Hood