Text and Images : Arunabha (Arka) Datta
Text and Images : Arunabha (Arka) Datta
Arunabha is a Teacher by profession, Govt. of WB, a passionate traveler and an energetic nature-lover.
This is an account of unforgettable experiences of a nature-lover, an amateur trekker and an enthusiast keen to explore mountain valleys. This write-up is exclusively for those, like me, ‘Who Has Been Long In City Pent’!!
I have been planning for a trek (after completing Tunganath, Deoria Tal, Gomukh etc) in the Garhwal-Himalayas, specially in Sankri-circuit, for quite sometime but this idea or dream has not substantiated due to scarcity of time and resources. Few months back, I have shared my desire with a close friend of mine, Shoven of Wandervogel Adventures. He has readily and happily promised me to arrange everything in order to fulfill my dream and the rest is pure bliss!! Every part of our trekking is so precisely and meticulously arranged by him that we are simply overwhelmed!! It is a trek of a lifetime!!
Our trek begins from Sankri, a small village which is situated within Govind National Park region. One has to stay at least one day here for proper acclimatization and for last minute packing. The next day, after reaching Taluka by local vehicle, the hiking starts along the forest trail. The music of the gushing water of river Supin accompanies us all throughout the trekking route. Moreover, from Taluka the red fields of ‘Ramdana’ greet us in regular intervals. In addition to this, a great and advantageous thing about this trail is the frequent availability of the fresh glacial water, though it will be wise to carry at least two litres of drinking water for safety purposes. After crossing Gangar and Viraka (a flat table-mountain like place, ideal for camping), the trail moves on towards Osla/Seema via Paunigarat, and one may enjoy the scenic views of the dense forests which are sprinkled with walnut and chestnut trees. With every step, the views and the landscapes become more spectacular and entirely rejuvenating.
Osla is a nice small village and is almost 2000 years old. Someshwara Temple is situated in the middle of this hamlet with its unique architecture. It is my earnest request to those travelling to this part, to carry lots of toffees, chocolates, chips and biscuits as every village kid one meets is bound to ask for them and one shall be very happy and delighted to make them smile every time. The health-care situation around this place is just pathetic. Villagers stock up on whatever medicines they get from travelers, and self-administer them when it is required. Kindly carry enough medicines with you. Village-kids there are almost deprived of elementary education as the government-running primary school remains closed most of the time. Recently, a private primary school has been established in this remote village under the supervision of Mr Irbir Singh (my guide) and his friend Sundar from Mumbai. We are surprised to find the enthusiasm of Mr Irbir who has been trying hard to make the children literate. Please spend sometime with those lovely little angels, you will fall in love with them, I bet!
After crossing Osla, as we have been gaining elevation, snow peaks, visible from the trail, create a surge of excitement. Just before the arrival of Kalkattiyadhar, we are surprised again as white powder like snow, floating merrily in the air, greets us! Flakes of snow settle on our caps, stick to our eyelashes and we are immediately transported to our childhood days while trying to hold them in our tongues!
Though I am mesmerized by the natural beauty all along the trek route, still I am awestruck and become speechless after reaching Har Ki Dun valley! It is so beautiful, serene and virgin! Practically speaking neither the photographs nor the words can do justice to represent the beauty of the actual place! The valley consists alpine meadows, moraine ridges, glacier basins, pine forests, snow-capped mountains, dancing streams…and so on! The valley offers the stunning views of the humongous peaks of Swargarohini, Blackpeak and Bandarpunch. According to legends, the Swargarohini peak leads to heaven! This valley is also ideal for those who are keenly interested in star-trail photography. Watching the night-sky along with the snow-clad mountains under the moonlight sky is certainly an experience I will cherish for lifetime! One can also explore Maninda Tal, Borasu Pass and Jaundhar Glacier from here. At least one full day is required to feel the eternal beauty of this valley.
Last but not the least, I must say a few words about Mr Irbir Singh, my guide. I never met such an amazing person who is not only experienced, responsible and completely dedicated regarding his duties but also very gentle and humble in behavior with a very good sense of humor! Each and every person we have met throughout our journey, know him very well because of his ‘Down to the Earth’ nature. Within a very short period of time he has become a part of my family in true sense.
After exploring the ravishing valleys of Har Ki Dun one has to follow the same route while returning.