When it comes to joy after hardship, the first thing that comes to my mind is my first pregnancy, where after complications in pregnancy and an extremely painful vaginal delivery, I had my bundle of joy thereafter, by the grace of God, also mentioned in –

Another incident, which actually isn’t quite a real hardship, but its worth mentioning. It was one of the most memorable trips with my family members, to Gurudwara Hemkund Sahib, which is located in Chamoli District in Uttarakhand, in the Himalayas, at an altitude of 15,000 feet. One has to cross the glacier to reach the picturesque holy spot. If it is not cloudy (which hardly happens), then you are lucky enough to see the glorious seven mountain peaks, surrounding the Gurudwara.

So, basically, the whole journey was divided into three parts:

Part 1: Rishikesh to Govind Ghat- 268 kms; by road- 5 to 7 hours:  This was an exciting drive as the way to Govind Ghat go through five sacred confluences, namely Vishnu Prayag, Nanda Prayag, Karn prayag, Rudra Prayag and Dev Prayag, hence this is termed as Panch Prayag. One cannot restrain self from capturing these exotic and spiritual confluences in a camera. There were few delays in our travel, due to frequent landslides.

Part 2: Govind Ghat to Gobind Dham/ Ghangharia- 13 kms; by footpath- 4 to 7 hours: We left Govind Ghat early in the morning. After crossing village Bhyundar, the trek got more difficult. After the Lakshman Ganga stream bridge, it’s only 3 kmtrs more, yet strenuous trek to Gobind Dham. I seriously thought that I should have conditioned my body prior the trek as I was really too tired and in pain. As we stayed overnight, we popped in our pain killers and prepared ourselves for the next stretch.

Part 3: Gobind Dham/ Ghangharia to Hemkund Sahib- 6 km; by footpath- 2 to 4 hours: The trek here was more difficult, with frequent drizzle and mud making it slippery. Although mules/ horses/ palanquins were available, I didn’t opt for one. Testing my core strength, mental and physical as well, I continued to walk. Another thing that left a beautiful impression was that the people who were returning from the Gurudwara were distributing ‘prasad’ on their way back to the hikers like us and motivating by singing chants. It was simply an exhilarating feeling on reaching the Gurudwara. But, one cannot stay there for long due to low oxygen levels. So, we had to return the same day to Gobind Dham.

The return journey was equally strenuous due to our already over-worked muscles. However, to my surprise, I gave support to my mother, by holding her hand as we walked back together. The religious trip helped me in recognizing my strength and it was a wonderful experience altogether.