India is a remarkable, diverse, vibrant country that I come across frequently in my exploration of the elements. It is a country that has developed philosophies, arts, medicine and sciences that use the elements as fundamental building blocks. Earth, air, fire, water, ether/sky – and consciousness – are abundantly expressed. So far I have touched on Praktri, mudras, Vastu Shastra (embedded in various posts), Ayurveda (ditto), Vikram Seth and other references to the elements in India. These posts draw on a range of books written by Indian and other authors. On a more immediate and intimate level the blog ‘Enchanted Forests‘ written by Mukul Chand has opened up a whole other world of India, and the elements.
Mukul’s blog, in his own words, “is about discovering the magic of forests in every aspect of life from a small plant in a metropolis to the forests themselves.” It shares his joy of, and pride in, his local environment and India’s rich culture. Each post is plentifully illustrated with photographs, which is one of the attractions. Often Mukul provides insights into the medicinal uses of the plants, Indian customs, and connections with other countries that otherwise would be hard to discover. He writes about more than forests, thus sharing a broad spectrum of Indian life and lore with his readers.
Not surprisingly I read Mukul’s posts with an eye for the elemental connections. In a way they are embedded in every post as the author writes about aspects of nature that have caught his attention on a day to day level. A recent post that caught my eye was titled ‘A River Worshipped‘. It shares the story of a remarkable ceremony held on the River Kshipra in Ujjain every 12 years. The colours and imagery in the photographs are stunning. Quoting from Mukul’s post “The “Aarti” or offering prayers with Fire as a Holy Witness is an ethereal sight as the banks of the River Light Up with Oil Lamps.” The essential element of water is a recurring theme in Mukul’s posts. So is appreciating the beauty that surrounds us, an important reminder to us all.
Telling stories through the medium of blogs is enhanced when you can draw on personal experience. Mukul’s personality and passion come through in bounds in his posts. With over 5000 people following what he writes, his observations have captured the attention of many. Of the tens of millions of blogs in the world, I am highlighting Mukul’s because of its spontaneity, energy and connection to elemental and enchanting India. It adds a dimension that only someone living in this intriguing country can bring. Thank-you Mukul!
Afterword: In early March 2017 Mukul’s posts stopped. He spoke of upcoming surgery and being tired easily. I really missed his insights and images and wondered what had happened. Another post appeared in April 2017 saying he had returned, as it turned out only for one post. Several months later, in early October 2017, Mukul resurfaced. He said that he was back to the world of blogging and was alive and kicking once again. That was the last his followers heard from him. Three years later we are still waiting for his return. Whatever the reason Mukul is no longer able to share his love and enthusiasm for the nature and divinity of India, I hope he is going OK. Fortunately his WordPress account is still active (as of September 2020) so it is possible to view his posts. They are timeless and well worth making the effort to read.