I first came across the term “Devbhoomi” on the day I flew to Chandigarh to begin my Himachal Trip. The airline’s in-flight magazine had an article titled “10 things to do in Devbhoomi”. Now, I detest anything that talks about top 10 or 5 or 21 or any number for that matter, for they never make sense to me. I almost always skip such articles in question.
But the name Devbhoomi, which means land of the gods, intrigued me and I read on. The article wasn’t particularly good or the “10 things to do” even half-way interesting for me. But the article did reveal one interesting fact: Devbhoomi is how the local Himachalis referred to their state, their land. Though this established that ‘Devbhoomi” was not a marketing gimmick like another Indian state’s claim of being “God’s own country”, I remained a little sceptical.
Over the 10 days that I spent travelling in Himachal Pradesh, I tried to understand why the locals referred to their land as Devbhoomi. Each day there brought in new insights through visits to sacred sites, listening to narrations of folk tales and legends of sacred spaces from the locals, and experiencing nature in its elemental form. Every glimpse, every experience of a sacred space was an appreciation of the tangible and intangible meaning of Devbhoomi.
This post is an attempt to put together all those experiences and I invite you to join me in this journey. Let us begin this journey in Devbhoomi with roadside shrines.