The Shiva Temple in the Townlet
And so, the time has come to talk about the last place we visited. After Rishikesh, Kunjapuri, Neelkanth, and Haridwar, we went to Kankhal. I don’t know how to describe Kankhal, because it is not a town, neither is it a village or hamlet. Nor is Kankhal a colony of Haridwar, though some may call it that. After much cogitation, I used an unfamiliar word–‘townlet’. People visit Kankhal for the Shiva Temple, and they also consider it as the summer capital of Shiva. Hindu mythology is complex and many-layered.
We traveled to Kankhal by auto-rickshaw and, if I remember the morning well, we hired the driver for the morning. On this occasion, I did not indulge in my usual pastime of chatting with people like him, because we were bumping all the way to the townlet. Our first stop was at the temple, which is quite a good-looking temple. As usual, I didn’t enter the temple, because my principles prohibited me from doing so. After wandering for a short time, I walked down to the banks of the canal, where the Ganges flowed past the town.
By the time the waters reached Kankhal, they lost some of their steam, and the flow was gentle. When, and if, you get into the waters in Haridwar without holding onto the chains, the water will wash you away. However, you can play in the gentler flow in Kankhal, and I watched some kids doing just that. Contrasted with Haridwar, the water here is considerably dirtier, but not as filthy as the water you find in Benares.
Peace on Earth
Again, I don’t remember the entire morning well, and I think we visited a few more temples in the townlet. One has a Shiva Temple has a Lingam, which people claim to be constructed of mercury. I doubt they constructed the lingam of pure mercury because the metal is liquid at room temperature.
But overall, I liked the peaceful atmosphere in the town. No one bothered us as we walked in the temple compounds: no hysterical screams at our cameras, or grubby fingers grasping for money.
Peace on earth, my brothers, and sisters is what the townlet seemed to say. Peace on earth, between people of all races, castes, and religions. However, this may just be my fantasy. I will never know.
I’d like to leave you with a few images
This is the end of that old, old trip I made in March-April 2014!
I’ll end with a commercial break! I edited the images with Luminar AI