An extended Weekend…what else can one be thankful for! And this time it was super-extended. But for Ph.D. students it made no difference, sadly. So, when the vacation was about to end, we decided to make at least some use of it. Didn’t know at that time that it would turn out to be so great. At first we thought that we would go to Tirthan valley, the gateway to Great Himalayan National Park. But after consulting a friend, came to realize that it would be too hectic just for one day. So we changed the plan to Triund…The Heavenly Triund. Due to the crazy extended weekend, hardly any bus tickets were available, but we got ours luckily! From Chandigarh to Dharamshala or Mcleodganj, other than HRTC buses, there are a few private ones also. Details are available in http://www.redbus.in. On reaching Mcleodganj at around 7 in the morning, we quickly got a room to freshen up and started our journey at around 9.15 am. Two trails start from Mcleodganj towards triund. One is via Bhagsu and the other via Dharamkot. The one via Bhagsu is a bit roundabout so we took the one via Dharamkot. And its always advisable to get some food, chocolates and water packed from this place as the shops uphill are a bit costlier. But carrying overloaded backpack is also not advisable. Reaching Dharamkot there are again two ways towards Gulu devi temple. One is motorable. The other one is a bit strenuous shortcut, but absolutely beautiful one. And the place where this shortcut meets the motorable road near Gulu devi temple, is absolutely serene. The thick and green alpine vegetation would surely cast an everlasting imprint in your mind. The peace, the calmness and the purity seem so special, its not only rare, its out-of-this-world. There is another shop (Rest-a-while cafe) in Gulu devi temple to get re-energized. The main track for Triund starts from here, just behind the temple. From here its an amazing up hill walk, of which the first half is moderately easy, but its nothing compared to the last half in terms of difficulty. After completing the first half, you would come across two shops with amazing views down the mountains. Thus the names: Magic view cafe and Best view cafe. All these cafes are loaded with soft drinks, energy drinks, and snacks. There is nothing more pleasant than to have a hot bowl of maggi, a hot cup of strong tea while clouds will float around you and carry away your tiredness. After stretching our legs for a few minutes, we continued our journey. Just after the monsoon, the surrounding was lush green. The only sound of birds chirping was a treat to the ears. The floating clouds, the cool breeze, the green heights and the apparent sense of reaching a misty mountain top…the feeling was indescribable. Now that the easy part was over up to the mid point, a more strenuous journey begins. The last part is really steep and all the way more beautiful too. before reaching the top, there is one more cafe to stretch your legs for another few minutes. After that the track becomes a bit more harder considering the fact that it has already gained height too. We had to stop and take a few breath every few minutes but finally we managed to get to the top. On reaching the top, it reminded me of Tolkien’s Misty Mountains. The beauty of the place is indescribable for me. It was peaceful. It was ethereal. It was calm. a few hours in that incredibly awe-inspiring place will surely wash off all the wary in our mind an heart. It was larger that life. You have to be there to experience and believe it. we started our descent after spending almost an hour. The descent was quick and easier. if time permits, spending a night there on top in a tent is highly highly advisable. We did not hav that choice. So i can only imagine the feeling. We came back promising deep within myself, that i will come back, again and again.
This is my first ever travel blog. What they call it? Oh! Yes, travelogue! And what could be better than the great and majestic and dangerously beautiful Kinnaur!!!
Although the Earth has been round the Sun for one complete circle since the trip, the memories, the colors, the cold breeze, the chill in the air and down the spine (why, I will tell you), the awe in the eye, everything is so vivid in my mind that I can literally take a mindtrip without even looking at the pictures. To quote Brad Paisley….”And who needs pictures with a memory like mine”. No, actually, the credit goes not to my memory, but to the absolute tranquility of this place. One must visit this place to believe it.
It was the onset of the festive season. joy was in the air. But I had no idea that this joy was about to get multiplied infinite times to absolute ecstasy and to fetch me the memories of one of the most unforgettable outings of my life. I am not saying “till then”, as I am sure it will remain so for the rest of my life as well.
So, the journey began, hand in hand with the festive excitement along the National Highway 22. The first halt was Shimla. But because of the festive season, tourists crowd was exploding. most of them would go to Manali-Rohtang pass and then back again to their daily business as the festive season would end. The crowd this time of the year is generally conservative. families along with children and elders tend to stick to the conventional track. But to avoid this crowd and to be drenched in the shower of grandeur, one should take the NH22 which runs up to Khab on the Indo-Chinese border. And Nature doesn’t disappoint as soon as one escapes the over-crowded town (cute though) of Shimla.
The thick alpine forest, the misty mountains and the unfathomable abysses add up to the nature lovers’ delight. what else can one ask for being surrounded by trees so tall that only they can do justice to the bottomless depth of the gorges.
The whole experience is as beautiful as thrilling. As soon as the road gets into Kinnaur, the thrill gets morphed in to chill. Not only in the air, but also down the spine. and the sole responsible reason is the road itself. Sometimes its hard to find the road only. it would lie in front but the very definition of road would vanish. in fact, at some places the road itself would vanish and the only option left is to tread up or down some rocky and muddy and dusty ground that resembles the God of Death stretching both hand more than a road.
en route, there is Sarahan housing one of the 51 auspicious abodes of the supreme Mother. The uniquely grand temple complex reflects the perfect combination of Indian and Tibetan architecture. The Bheemakali temple has two main look-a-like structures inside which there are frail wooden stairs which goes to the sanctum sacnctorum. The entire temple is made up of mainly wood and in partly rocks. the beauty of it truly stands proud amidst high mountains.
Sarahan is the gateway to Kinnaur. once inside Kinnaur, the surrounding terrain changes abruptly from a lush green to a desolated rocky nature. loose rocks, landslides and rock slides dominate the area as well as the road.
Deep inside Kinnaur, there lies the land of Kalpa and Chitkul, Most beautiful of places seen by me. Reaching Kalpa, one would feel a sence of peace that is so superlative and scarcely inimitable that one would definitely shed one or two streams of tears. The entire town is wrapped up in devine apple orchards which, when bear the red fruit, is not only a treat to the tongue, but also for the eyes.
Also this place overlooks the Kinnaur-Kailash range, Kinnaur Kailash being one of the five abode of lord Shiva in this world. the tranquility and the grandeur of the peaks, the sense of being so helplessly small and the fact that this whole experience is so temporary, leaves you absolutely helpless and awestruck. Hours seem to fly in a moment while gulping in all these majestic magnificence.
One can hardly absorb all these splendor in such a short time, and there is another place waiting for you to strike again with uncanny and unnatural beauty. Chitkul is the last Indian village in this area before Indo-Tibetan border and the last place to travel without permit. The valley can not be put to justice untill and unless at least one night is spent there. there are no lavish or grand hotels. But the small and clean ones seem perfect for the small valley. The road towards Chitkul from Kalpa is another worth mentioning one. It is absolutely absolutely absolutely serene. It defines divinity. People there lives a peaceful life away from the traffic jams and the mall-culture and all the frustrations of city life. Simplicity, peace and happiness prevail.
This is one of those few places on Earth, which makes you realize about the futility of the worldly worries of daily life and strengthen the idea in your mind that go there, experience it, and know the grand design of which, we are merely a part. This will definitely make you wonder that we have achieved so much but love, we have loved so many but the lovable, we have worried so much but enjoy, we have shed too much tears of agony and pain but of joy, we have run so many paths in vein just to compete with the omnipotent, we have seen so much but the omnipresent, we have known too much but the omniscient.