Saturday, 4 July 2015

Ganesh Chaturthi Festival in Pune : Part 1

Once again, I am at Delhi’s Anand Vihar Bus Terminus; yes, the same Delhi which most of the time fills with hot, humid, Pollution and irritating touts who ask for Auto or Taxi then fool you demanding surplus money. But I take DTC bus for Nizamuddin Railway Station in 10 Rs ticket. Sun is rising behind the cluster of huge buildings. What an irony, in metropolitan cities sun comes from behind the buildings. Inside bus, everything is in super mess due to office workers and students. I reach railway station in half-n hour where I cross ocean of passengers to find out AC waiting room. I drop my sack on empty seat and turns to washroom meanwhile woman sitting next says – washroom is unclean and stinking without water. But as it’s nature’s call so I have to go. When I entered, it was seriously stinking. I already have many weird experiences about Indian Toilets so somehow I managed. I have to wait long for train so I roam around station. Filth, dirt, garbage and ocean of crowd making it hazardous. Railway announcements are echoing everywhere and in displaying on large screens as well. I pass 2 -3 security checks and reach other part where I found a cafeteria. I sit there with sip of much needed coffee. Spending good time, I back to waiting room where passengers of my train have started to come.

A family, a couple, couple with newborn baby. Mother of newborn baby is very smart. She entered into room and starts doing everything quickly along with giving instruction to her husband, which he follows like a good child. Poor guy taking care of baby and attending his office calls too. A woman with her teenage daughter is next passenger to enter, who sit next to me. Girl has all the new-age tantrums like she has smart phone, on which she is calling, messaging, chatting on whatsapp and updating profile on facebook. After finish, these serious things she comes to her makeup and starts from hair. She removes 1 hair clip 2 hair clip 3 hair clip 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10……….21, 22, 23, 24 and so on... I am amused how she had managed that much pins on her head but she did. Anyways now it’s time to study so she keeps out Arundhati Roy's book 'God in a small things'. I could not stop myself asking her - why you reading this book ? Her straight reply comes - this is bestseller book written by famous writer. She only knows this much about book and writer.

My waiting time passed with these sweet and small stories. I move to platform where train comes after 10 minutes delay and everybody ran like anything. Anyway, I am the first one, who entered into compartment then two young guys enter. Last entry is old couple, who are carrying a factory of luggage and now adjust it everywhere in our compartment, next compartment and next other compartment too. Sweet lovely people need everything to survive for few days. When everybody adjusted, lady introduce herself then we all follow her. Now I came to know that one is army guy and second one is singer and couple belongs to Meerut. Couple and army person are quite talkative. Singer is less talkative. I am happy that someone on this earth is less talkative then me…
Train crossing through Delhi’s slum but from yellow glass of AC everything looks amusingly tremendous though reality is just opposite. One after one train crossed many stations and reaches Ballabhagrah, a small station of Uttar Pradesh. I remember this station coz architect of station gave me hunting feeling which I saw in many horror serials and movie. Anyway lady start questioning and first is me – what you do ? I answer looking out from window – journalist. Why are you going to Pune ? For Ganesh Chaturthi Festival. I start watching out.  now it’s army guy turn – where you from ? what you do and why are you going Pune? Bunch of questions together. Guy reply – I am in ARMY posted in Leh and going Pune for transfer. He is beyond his personality like he talks like Haryanavi but belongs Jaipur and worked in Leh now going to Pune. Before singers turn comes, he move to upper berth and lay down. She is still talking but no one is there to listen…

Everybody come together when lunch arrive. Couple is still chattering. Suddenly singer look at me with smile and offers me his curd saying – my throat will caught cold so can you take this ? I accept it with pleasure and big smile. When ice cream arrives, he offered it again. I ask him – what singing you do ? classical – he replied in short removing hairs from his face. I went Delhi for music test. He smiled and went to his berth. Train is in full speed and has been crossed a long way. I wanted to sleep so everybody went off to their berth and don’t know when I fell asleep. T.T. came and woke up us all. We are now in Kota, Rajasthan. Topography has changed. Rocks are all over as Kota is famous for stones. Now all come together except singer…

Scenario changing quickly. Now it’s all green everywhere, no sign of drought, as I came to know that due late rain drought is everywhere but might possible that few rain gave life to earth and it become green. I saw a woman working in field below scorching sun wearing bright red long skirt, yellow blouse and long red scarf on her head. She is looking beautiful amid of green field but thought shakes me that they do such a hard work then why they get suicides in result. They should have to be prosperous but no, they are not. Scene changes quickly and small thatch appears on screen. This always gives me feel of live movie. Inside compartment old couple still busy in chatting with Army guy. Man have habit to say ‘you understand you understand’ after every sentence or sometime after a word. Its evening and I can see sun set and all become beautiful red then become dark in a while. Now it’s dinner time. Singer again gave his curd to me. After dinner soon all fall asleep.

Mid night I woke up when, train stop in station it dark all over. Train is also in silent mode I also lie down. After 2 hours, all are wake up. We are in Maharashtra and place is Lonawala. It’s rain, fog and green everywhere. I saw small mountains, stone roof houses and people wearing local dress, men dress is similar to my hills. Between these, I reach Pune…

My Marathi brother Prayag is there to pick up me with whom I went to my room where I will stay for next few days. Its early morning and city is still sleeping. I am sure as day will come city will also get ready to run. I am hungry so Prayag take me into restaurant where I first time ate Maharashtrian dish Missal Paw n coffee. Crossing huge buildings of metro city, I reach to my room. Prayag drop me there and tells that I can attend Ganapati Sthapna Ceremony at his friend’s office. I got fresh and went to his friend’s office…



 When I reach her office, everybody was ready to take Ganesh ji from shop which is also a big function. All office works walking with band and shouting GANPATI BAPPA MORYA. Whole city is echoing with this phrase. I think whole Pune is going to take their own Ganpati Bappa according to their status. My group is singing, dancing and enjoying. When we reach shop, I amuse to see different type and size of Ganpati. All shops are pack with customers. We took our huge Ganpati but before taking him out they did some rituals and cover Ganapati’s face. My friend tells me that face would reveal after completing more rituals in office. All set up Ganpati onto Truck and move beck to office with same passion and enjoyment…






 In office, they establish Ganapti on a decorated place where priest is waiting for further ceremony. He starts worship, which goes almost hour or more and after completing all rituals he uncover face of Ganapti. After scrutiny of Ganapati face, everybody has their own opinion like face should be like this or that day face was not like this or statue should be little more big or color should be like this and so on. I move off from there now as Prayag is taking me to city for more Ganapti Pandols…    

Continue…

Monday, 15 June 2015

Kedarnath Door Opening Ceremony 2015 – Part 4

Morning I wake up early but there are no signs of life so I went inside again. After 1 hour when I back helicopters carrying urgent supplies have started hovering simultaneously on clear blue sky. I went to temple. Decoration is still going on. I sit in front of temple verandah and watch everybody working. One policeman come and says  I am working here since last 3 months. He describes me the same scenario, which already many have told me. I was here when that tragedy happens. What an atrocious time, luckily I remain safe. I sit there for long watching up above Himalayan peaks, sky, clouds and working people. Far from temple, River Mandakini is flowing slowly with sweet whisper. Religious songs are echoing in valley. I returns for lunch and came to know that procession of Lord Shiva could be reach anytime. Guy who serves me lunch tells me – Madam local village people and other pilgrims will be come with procession then you would be no more alone. I give him smile and concentrate on delicious lunch. When I back to tent site, I could see lots of hustle bustle there. No need to say that security personal and journalists has started coming now. Meanwhile procession also reached with array of pilgrims. I saw few women too so now nobody would say I am the only woman here. Anyways they are dancing, singing and enjoying the moment a lot. Now I am also part of procession with my camera…



Temple is now a chaotic place. 3-4 hours later, everything becomes silent. I also back to tent where five members  of very reserve Maharashtrian family, one old man, three guys and one more trekking loving man are accompany me today. Trekking loving man and three boys introduce themselves to me. Old man, sort of talkative, shares his adventures stories nonstop. One of three boys tells me – my neighbor’s family was here in that fled flesh and they lost. Their family still waits for them. Can you imagine how difficult it is to believe that their family has been lost. I can feel the pain coz I see them hysterically waiting for family. His eyes fill with tears and mine too so I walk out. It’s drizzling and temperature is going down. I can see bustle everywhere. Spending sometime outside, I back to tent where without waiting for anything man starts again with his adventures stories. It was dark so we went for dinner. We had to wait in a long queue for dinner and now I am sharing my dinner with lots of moths flying over lights. I back to tent and lie down…



 Morning I wake up early but I had to wait long to get fresh. I went to temple though door would be open at 8.54 A.M. Trekking loving man accompanying me. We went backside of temple. He tells me - when I came here in past years, it was a cluttered with huge buildings and luxuries hotels and River Mandakini was in opposite direction but now I am amuse to see that except snow nothing is left here after fled flesh. When we back, temple was bustling with police activities because VVIP’s can reach here anytime. Pilgrims starts making queue for opening ceremony. I also join them but suddenly all become chaotic coz Door Opening is getting close and VVIP’s are also reaching. All media is here and journalists coming again and again for asking same silly questions like – How you feeling now ? How are the arrangements ? Do you think that Yatra could be manage successfully? Are you happy with arrangements and so on. In every second, journalists coming and asking the same questions. All become hectic, messy and irritating...


Suddenly I saw saint sitting on snow cover roof far from this chaos and enjoying Hukka (Smoke). Meanwhile queue amalgamate into mismanage mob. Temple premise is echoing with prayers enchanting by pilgrims. Around 8.58 Door Opens. VVIP’s take first Darshan and went off. Now it’s others turn and all want to go first so no one is following line and I stuck between mob.  I am struggling to come out but now there is no point to back so I flow in this huge ocean. Somebody push me from behind and I hit with long stone stairs. Crossing stairs I entered into big room carved with ancient statues of god and goddess but its dark, smoky and jam packed with pilgrims. I am struggling to keep my steps forward. Most of the time I was not moving but I been pushed forward through mob. Anyhow, after 1 hour struggle I reach to the holy serene of Lord Shiva. Now I can say I have completed my trek successfully though going out is another struggle…




After lots of struggle, I came out and stand for a while to take a look to the temple, chaos, snow, peaks, sky, workers and everything then back to tent. I will back through Helicopter where again it was long wait due to VVIP’s movements. Atlast I get Helicopter, which will drop me Fata village. I am too late so worrying for bus to Haridwar coz I don’t want to go by same root which I took for arrival. It’s 1.15 and after half n hour I get taxi for Guptakshi and from Guptkashi to Rudrprayag. It’s 4 O’clock now but luckily I get another taxi for Rishikesh which is near to Haridwar. Now I can enjoy the beauty of valley but wishing to reach soon. Around 10 P.M. I reach Rishikesh and take bus for Haridwar. It’s been 11 P.M. but my luck favor me again and get bus for Nainital.

I been part of one devastating story, which is still scaring me, but when I back to Nainital I open news channel to keep myself update but heard one more heartbreaking news about Nepal Earthquake…


End

Monday, 8 June 2015

Kedarnath Door Opening Ceremony 2015 – Part 3

 I wake up early in cold morning for trek. Today I have to trek tough 16 km. Labors and remain catastrophe marks and River Mandakini is again my company. This area was badly damage in 2013 fled flesh. Old root is history now and new root is in opposite direction. Labors are amusing to see me walking alone and some wants me to take their pictures.  Public toilets and drinking water has arranged here. After walking almost 4 km I get a small teashop. Still it’s very cold and sun is nowhere. I ask to shopkeeper about this season – Hoping tourist will come now. Last year only few tourists came. Conditions were also in mess but this year conditions are much better. He says making tea  - my shop was also damaged which I reestablish again. When I came here first time, I was stunned thrilled and scared to see dead bodies all over. He then asks about myself and says - you are the only girl whom I am looking going upside alone…

After short break, I move again. Birds’ sounds are echoing in this wilderness. Huge waterfalls are suddenly existing on the way which is refreshing mood. After crossing a band magnificent view of Himalayan peaks Meru-Sumeru surprised me. I stop for a while and glair Himalaya and its hugeness. I reach Rambada after 2-3 hours walk which was dangerously vanished in 2013 fled flesh. Snow is all over in Rambara and gang of labors clearing snow welcomes me. I cross narrow road between snow. Leader of labors tell me that he is here from one month and has been clear tons of snow. He shows me few glaciers, which slipped and shift onto road…




From Rambada trek become steep up with snow all around. I cross one steep ascend and meet another gang of labor clearing snow. They invite me to have tea. I am tired so I accept invitation. They offer lukewarm water and black tea. This gang is working since 3 months. Raj Bahdur says - When I came here, area was dump under the snow. We worked hard to clear snow but unfortunately whole day we cleared snow and in night, it became snow again. Now weather is much better though still lots of snow. I ask him about Monal bird, which found in this region. He screams and says – I saw this bird often on land. We call it Monali. I can show you right now if you come with me. I follow him and for my surprise, he shows me Monal, a big blue bright bird. I sight Moanl first time here…





After this surprise treat I move off. Snow is increasing in every step and I have to walk between huge snow walls. Luckily, temperature is good for walking. I can see Pink and white Rhododendron tress on the way. When I reached Lincholi, one more stoppage, some government officers stop me to check my Biometric Card. They also ask me the same questions, which I have answered many times before. They tell me I am the only female who is going to Kedar…

After Lincholi 7 km. strenuous trek remain. Steep ascend and with both side towering snow walls. If in any case walls shift a bit I will press below the tons of snow. Where its not possible to clear snow they made stairs on snow which gives feel like going to touch the sky. Stunning scenario is only factor, which is keeping all problems easy. Deep blue-sky, small clouds, lovely view of Himalaya, snow is all over like film story. But in this extreme conditions labors are working hard without any basic facilities. They don’t have good shoes. They don’t have good clothes. They don’t have good equipment too but they have big smile on their faces which is making me smile too. For me they are the real heroes…




By the time I reach Kedarnath it was cold, cloudy, windy and snowing. I went to Tent site and book tent. I dumps sack and went to temple, which is 1 km.  All including debris of buildings divested by fled flesh is under the snow sheet. Huge machines and thousands of workers, working hard to make this place energetic. Officers’ quarters and other public facilities all are available here. I saw temple from far away. Once temple was invisible because of shops and other buildings covered it from front but now view is clear – Labor working here tells me from behind. He again says - Behind the temple, there was a complete town but fled flesh washed away everything. Now people should aware of their limits otherwise nature won’t wait to teach them another lesson. I shake my head in agreeing position and move near to temple…



Temple is decorating with flowers and garlands for tomorrow s’ big day. Surrounding of temple is still cover under snow. Weather turns horrifically so workers working here call me in there shelter for tea. I went inside sit there with glass of tea. Workers are still working in this awful weather. Their cloths have been wet but without any complaints, they are working nonstop. Keep them active they are making fun with each other and enjoying these harsh conditions. Due to snow and cold winds temperature drop quickly. Worker tells me – Don’t worry madam! Sky will get clear by the evening and morning sun would be sharp like today. I trust on him afterall he is working here since last three months. I enjoy their company and learn how to stay happy in weird conditions. After spending lovely moments with them, I back to my tent. I am alone in this 100 or more tent’s colony but they provide light through solar power so not scary. Around 7 P.M. I went for dinner. Kitchen team serves delicious food with delightful manner. I am delighted. Around 8 P.M. snow stops and sky get clear as that guy told me…

Continue… 

Monday, 1 June 2015

Kedarnath Door Opening Ceremony 2015 – Part 2

Bus is going upward through a narrow road between thick jungle.  On the way, I saw few parts of huge and historical Chandrapurgadi King’s palace. Many small settlements coming on the way and temperature are still down. Adi Badri is another settlement, which is famous for historical and ancient temple. It’s chilly here. Passenger sitting next to me says - This is coldest area. Only few days ago it was a snowfall here. Soon bus reaches Karnprayag, which is confluence of River Bhagirathi and River Alaknanda.  River Alaknanda is vast and huge rapid’s river…

Karnpryag is pilgrim city. Old Karnprayag has remained sign of traditional time like traditional market, traditional house, traditional roads but New Karnprayg is combo of concrete jungle and bursting traffic. Through the beautiful and warm road bus reach Rudraprayag in 2 hours and I walk 1 km. for bus station. After finishing lunch, I get share taxi for Vishnuprayag. 70 years Wrinkle faced, baldhead man sitting next to me. He start saying– I come here every year for door opening ceremony. I want to know about devastating fled flesh year 2013. He says – I was not here but my known family was witnessed that. Road going along with river Alaknanda and I can see the fled marks, which are showing velocity and volume of fled. All huge constructions near to river have been vanished and river level came up because of silt. I reach Vishnuprayag in 3 hours. Here it’s drizzling, which is increasing wrinkles on my face. Here again I ask bus for Gaurikud. Vishnuprayag is main Pilgrimage city but locals are not seeing excited. I go to teashop and wait for taxi. Teashop guy tells me – we are not yet interested in pilgrimage but let see how it goes in May and June…

I get bus for Saptakund after long wait. Shanta is my co passenger. I ask her – why not locals are showing interest in pilgrimage ?  She replies adjusting her bag – all are still in trauma of 2013 fled flesh. We are still struggling for our lives. Many families have lost everything in fled. Many people are still lost. Houses, lands, and shops everything has destroyed badly. However, Government gave some relief but that was not enough to reestablish. Light drizzle makes people terrified though they are recovering but it will take time.  Her voice start trembling and she keeps silence. I also left her with her silence…


I would have to walk 6 km from Saptkund to Gaurikund but police officer stops me to go due to security and safety reasons. When I explain I am journalist he let me go but before leave, I had to make biometric card. Meanwhile procession of goddess comes from village, which will also move to Kedarnath on 23rd.  I start walking and now River Mandakini and labors, working on road, are accompanying me. Though Mandakini is very calm and slow river but that fled night river become horrible. One labor says –Human bodies, animal bodies, cars, buses, mud & stones were flowing in water. River changed the direction and swallow whatever and whoever come in front of her way.  Awful scenario. I even don’t want to talk about it. Don’t Know how many bodies are beneath this road. He back to his work and I starts walk…




Huge JBC machines and workers are working hard to make journey possible. Walking along with river, I reach Gaurikund in 2.30 hours. Crashed buildings debris welcomes me here. I can visualize where would have been water level that day. Apart from these, Gaurikund amazed me because I was thinking here I will get pile of debris only and would have to spend night in tent but 15-16 year old boy surprise me to ask if I want hotel. Hotel room astonish me again coz room is decorated with double bed, one table, two chairs, TV in corner and charging plugs. Bathroom is also clean and comfortable. Just opposite from Gairsain hotel. I take bath with hot water, which needed badly. After getting fresh, I went to Goddess Gauri Temple. Temple is anciently architect with white walls, blue wooden windows and doors…



 I met an old man who works in hotel. My straight question to him -  Are you here that fled night ? Yes. I was here that night. My son called me, who was at Kedarnath, and said – Its heavy rain here. All buildings have been damage and water coming down vigorously along with mud and stones. Go to safe places. I alerted all in hotel and went to upward. One family, whom I alert, has husband wife been in room but kids were outside. Husband left her wife in room and went to search kids but when I saw after few days wife has been dead in room. Thousands of Dead bodies were all around. He stops after this. Few minutes later, he smile and says – I am lucky my son back to home safely. He invites me to attend temple worship at 6. I went to see natural hot water pond known as Gaurikund but this also has been vanished. River Mandakini change direction in opposite side. Huge buildings are now heap of debris. Don’t know how many bodies are under my foot. This thought is killing me. I goes to market where again I can see the fled marks in broken shutters and walls. Many shops are still closed. Man sitting here says - Road had been damaged so we have walk till Gaurikund for every little thing…



Around 6 P.M. I reach temple where priest has start worship. Ringing bells echoing inside tiny dark room and aroma of sandal is all over. Priest has oil lamp in his hand which he moving circularly. This went till 20 minutes and then priest gives me flower petals as blessings.  I went to tea-shop where 19-20 years old guy welcomes me. He serves tea and says - you are only girl whom I am looking here in this season. Are you alone ? You are not scarring here alone? Reply his questions I ask him – are you here that fled night ? No. I was not here but when I back, I was shocked to see everything. Debris was all over. My shop had damaged and filled with silt and three dead bodies. It was difficult for me to clean everything. Bodies spoiled badly so not able to recognize them and who are alive, was surviving for the life coz nothing remain to eat. We get food from village to help them as much as possible but our village was also suffering from shortage of food and government was nowhere to help us…

Heartbreaking stories are coming one by one. I back to hotel and sit in verandah till late night. I am still thinking about moments, which made Kedarnath into a ghostly place. Suddenly sounds of new film songs hit my eardrums. I saw men and women are dancing and enjoying a marriage party. This brings me back into life. It feels good that people are enjoying their life in this ghostly place. Suddenly I feel hunger coz I haven’t eat anything since morning. After dinner, I back to room and lie down…

Continue… 

Monday, 25 May 2015

Kedarnath Door Opening Ceremony 2015 – Part 1

 I was sure that once I would go to Kedarnath Temple for its Door Opening Ceremony as in winter temple close for six months and open in summer for another six months. Opening and closing the door of temple has a big ceremony.  This time opening ceremony is on 24th April 2015…

To add new experiences I am going via long root so I start early morning of 20th. It’s raining since night and I went to bus stand in drizzle and storm. I went to Bhowali and now I will get bus for Chamoli, which is almost 12-13 hours journey. I was thinking I would get bus easily but after long wait I get jam packed bus. My luxury seat sit is on passenger’s suitcase. Bus move little forward when driver stop and says– I cannot drive coz bus has been air lock. Driver and mechanic did best effort but result is zero. Conductor said – take other bus. I tell him – you should arrange bus for us? He has no reply and I have no time so I took bag pack and move off. After half-n-hour, I get bus till Dwarahaat. Now this journey is going to be adventures. In packed bus, I get luxury seat near engine, which is burning like fireplace... 


Women sitting in front seats are going Ranikhet to attend marriage. One of them is showing her gold jewelry and gaudy Sari to her friends and says – my husband bought for marriage. Until Ranikhet she talk nonstop. In Ranikhet When they off I had two reasons to get happy. First, I got seat second, I get rid of their talks. This is I called luxury. Due to road construction work, bus trapped in traffic for 2 hours in places where no beautiful scenario no greenery. Fume of charcoal, hovering dust and scorching temperature making this place more tiresome.  Men are out and women engage in nonstop chattering. I reach Dwarahaat next 2 hours. Dwarahaat is a small but historical place, which is famous for numerous natural water recourses which locally known as Naula. I saw some beautifully designed Naula and temples from bus. However, many of them have been destroyed now told me by shopkeeper whom I ask bus for Chamoli…



 After 20 minutes, I get bus. No doubt big relief for me. Atleast now I will reach my destination. Scenario has changed dramatically.  All become green with balance temperature. I can see huge paddy fields but mostly paddy crops have been destroy by untimely heavy rain. I am indulging in it but suddenly driver announces that he will go to Gairsain not Chamoli. I ask him with shock – why not you are going Chamoli when all passengers have to go to Chamoli ? Four other passengers also accompany me but driver is irritating character. He is not listening any of us. No idea what will come next? This journey is full of shocks and surprises. I again indulge in ribbon like River Ramganga and vast valley. Road is going between this vast valley. I can see women cutting crops, Children catching fish, Men working in shops.  In one stoppage newly married couple came into bus. Seems groom is going to bride’s house first time. He stops bus in shop and when he back his hands were full with sweet boxes and bride’s face delighting. Both are chatting loudly in their regional dialect…


It is dark, cold and vast valley has vanished. Through a narrow road, I reach Gairsain. Driver drop us and went off. This is disgusting. I am alone in this unknown place. Same time an old couple come with their son and asks if I am I going to Chamoli? I shake my head in yes. Old man advised for taxi. I agreed but taxi guy ask for double charges.  I decide to stay here so inquire for hotel in station shop. Who told me I could get hotel in market. I entered into market and went into first hotel I saw. Room is absolutely nonsense but I don’t want to go anywhere else so I hire room without any argument and went for dinner. I am tired I am hungry I am sleepy and badly exhausted by this adventures journey. After finish decent dinner, I back to room through the road, which is full with dirt and garbage. I lie down. Middle in the night I heard bike horn seems young guys doing bike stunts on road which goes till half n hour…

 Morning 4.30. I came out.  Except street dogs, all are in lap of deep silence. Around 5 I came to road. Few morning walkers appeared on road and sound of vehicle break the silence. Now I will straight go to Rudraprayg. From station I take a look to the town. After 15 minutes, I get bus and good seat both. I hope today my journey would be more comfortable and less shocking. Gairsian is beautiful and People should take market clean. Anyways it is cold and green is all over…


 Continue… 

Monday, 11 May 2015

Winter Deo Tibba (6001 meter) Expedition – Part 3

 Morning Mahesh Bhai wake up me with cup of tea. After finishing tea I came out it’s still cold and shivering. I went to fire finish breakfast and get ready to trek. Today trek is going to be long and tough. Me and Monty start together but soon he went away from me so I become alone again. Though it’s sunny day but rays are on mountain only valley is struggling for it. As I move up sun come close and become warm and comfortable. Trek is steep upward and rocky which is making it more strenuous. Jagtsuk River is flowing below but in most places it has been frozen…

Monty is top on the ridge when I will reach there he will start again. I am walking with my pace and enjoying silence. After 2 hours walk when I reach to Monty he said – This is good place for rest. I drink water from small creek flowing there. I deeply watch the design of mountains and stones. I found that they resemble with snakes. I ask to Monty. He replies in his low voice – You are right. This whole area is dedicated to snakes and snakes are main deity. Though, I haven’t seen any living snakes here. I want to know story behind this but Monty could not tell me and keep silent…

We start again. Trek is becoming tough coz ascend is getting steep and rocky. As Monty is far from me so I miss the trek 2-3 times but luckily find right direction. Weather is now hot and I can hear the roaring voice of Jagatsuk River which is breaking my silence. Anyways after 2 hrs steep ascend time for to rest and Monty is waiting for me at rest point. He said – Take short break after this trek is going very tough. Monty again becomes quite and I also indulge in beauty of valley with roaring sound of Jagatsuk…

After crossing one steep ascend everything changed. Here it’s no sun and it becomes bone chilled cold. Trek root is covering with snow. Jagatusk River and waterfalls are also frozen. I am shivering but sun is on the top of mountains. I trek almost two hours then reach to camp site…






 Frosty temperature and fast chilly winds are making me shaking. I am not even able to talk properly so I sit quietly in front of frozen Jagatsuk.  I wear one more layer then Monty and me went to sunny side which is upward. Sunlight is shifting position continuously and so as I. I start chasing the sun and soon it become play for me. By the time my other team mate reach there and set up camp…

I wrap myself into sleeping bag. Mahesh Bhai gives me tea and maggi which is big treat this time. In evening bare mountains and snow peaks turns into red. In few part or river where water is not frozen I can see the reflection of snow clad peaks. I wish I could spend more time watching these serene beauty but chilly winds are not in mood to allowing me this pleasure. I click few pictures and curl up in tent again. Soon I finish my dinner and went to sleep…

Morning it was cloudy all over. Seems it could be snow which is not good and safe for us. Me, Monty and Mahesh Bhai decide that we will wait for clear sky then only we will go further. It is more chilly and windy then yesterday. Jagatusk River has been completely frozen. There is no sign of flowing water. I roam around for warm up but sky is still not clear…

Around 10 AM sky gives us few sign of relaxation and so we move to base camp one. When I walk forward I saw I big pond which has been frozen and shining like thick glass. I went on it and start running. Monty and Mahesh Bhai also join me and we have a great fun which gave us little relief from weather. Crossing pond, field and jagatsuk now the real trek start which is in 90 degree ascend with full of snow. We are using snow shoes, crampon and ice axe. Though sky blue but full of chips sort of small clouds…

Monty is again walking before so I am walking alone. Clouds are giving beautiful landscapes but threatening too. Ascend is exhausting with almost 4000 meter altitude. We take rest in two places. Valley is looking combo of white and brown from upward. Anyways after one steeper ascend we reached to base camp. Weather becomes cloudier, chilled and snowy. Jagatsuk River is look like white ribbon which is going from one end to another. This is reminding me my Chadar Trek in Leh so I walk on it. All is cover under the white blanket and sky turns into deep gray. After some more fun we move to base camp one which is long but plain walk…





When we reach base camp one it’s horribly cold and windy. Temperature is minus in day time. Clouds are getting thick, dark and scary. Cooking is not possible so we eat chocolate and maggi. In night me, Monty, Mahesh Bhai and helper Harish decide to stay in one kitchen tent. Middle of the night I heard whisper on tent roof. It was hailstone outside. We are in big danger now…

We are waiting for morning. Hailstorms stops after 1 hour and it is snowing slowly. Scenario has been changed by morning. Our tent was covered with snow and still weather is not good. Yesterday we decided to locate the position to fix rope but now it is not at all possible. As a trek leader Monty decide that we are not going to summit and we will go back and cover complete trek in one day…




I have nothing to argue so I carry my sack look at the Deo Tibba Peak with wet eyes and turn back. I am not happy but satisfied that it was not my fault if weather is not in our favor. Trekking down is now more risky and chilly. It became warm when we reach our first camp site but Deo Tibba Peak is still covered with clouds. Anyways after reaching Jagatsuk Village we call the taxi and back to Manali…

End