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


Thursday, 30 April 2015

Winter Deo Tibba (6001 meter) Expedition – Part 2

 Next morning I went to Manali’s very famous and divine Hidimba Devi temple which is around 2 km. This is four storied, Pagoda style roof temple. Wall and doorway is covered with colourful figures and symbols. Though it is early and cold morning but hustle bustle has start. I walk on road going upward between deodar trees. Many huge hotels and buildings are here but all are not really engage…

 After half an hour I reach to temple where morning rituals are going on. Devotees are standing outside the temple. Drums are blowing in high pitch and bells are ringing continuously. I join them and become part of it. Ritual over after 15 or 20 minutes and now we can go inside. Inside it’s dark and smoky. Only oil lamp is lighting there. Temple has no goddess idol. There are engraved footprints which worship by the devotees. I also prey and priest gives me few dry flower petals as blesses. I come out and stroll in temple campus then went to Old Manali…

I cross Manalsu River bridge and reach to another world. I am walking upward through a narrow road which is dividing Old Manali into upper side and lower side. Mostly shops and restaurants are still not open. Old Manali is absolutely a different world. This place is combination of new and old both. Here I can see ancient life along with new age technology and luxury. I can see traditional wood houses mostly have cattle house and farming land. I see an old man making iron tool with old traditional way. I stop to see him and then move...




Apart of all this I can see new style of restaurant, café house, massage parlor with wi-fi facility. I went to a café house which has wi-fi facility. From the window of café house I could see a family wearing traditional dress going somewhere with their Yaak, Yaak is very useful animal…

After having delicious coffee I move unto Manu Temple. On the name of Saint Manu Manali got his name. Few kids are playing here accept this all is calm and quite. I sit here for a while and then back. Road is still silence. Few locals are moving and few shops have been open. This place is like fairy land. I can see new and ancient both times together. Mostly houses are like guest houses. They serve all the comfort along with their tradition and culture. Though I don’t want to but I cross the same bridge and back to my world…

In Manali life has begun people enjoying group chatting in sun. I take walk on mall road and back. Before start trekking we went to a shop to rent out some climbing equipment like crampons, ice shoes, ice axe, strings etc etc. After finishing all the work we drive till Jagatsuk village which is almost 10 km from Manali. Weather is clear so the scenario of valley is beautiful. As we went up road become narrower and driving become tedious. We stop at Hydraulic power station from where trek would start…

First day trek is easy and short. I have to trek only 5-6 hours. I hang my rucksack and starts trekking. Monty, trek guide, is with me. When I move upward, valley become more beautiful. It’s not steep ascend so I enjoy walking. As Monty is far from me so I walk alone which I love a lot. After 3 hours walk I reach a point where Monty is waiting for me and said – You can rest here for a while. This is the first line Monty talks to me. He is less talkative…





After rest we start again. Now river called Jagatsuk river start follow us and this will follow us till our trek. Though it’s cold but due to sunny weather it is bearable. When I reach camp site one porter comes and show me a huge stone and said – Can you see that stone ? Go there. You will find something interesting. When I reach there I saw a big and clear snake fossil on it. One of local told me – This fossil appeared few years ago. Anyways I back to camp site and sit in the river bank. Everything is silent. I can only hear the voice of river flowing between huge mountains which become red when sun goes down. In night temperature is in minus so I sit near to fire finish dinner and went to sleep…


Continue… 

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Winter Deo Tibba Peak (6001 meter) Expedition – Part 1

 This time I am thinking hit the Himachal Pradesh for trekking. My destination is Deo Tibba Peak 6001 meter altitude. Anyway I am again in bus stand and waiting to move Haridwar. From there I will move to Manali. As this is winter time so trekking in Manali is seriously going to be very tough. Though bus should leave around 8 pm but for some reasons bus is late.  Anyways I am killing time watching the passengers next to my bus. This is marriage bus which is here for short time. When the marriage guest saw Nainital Lake they become mad and one by one come out and as selfie become uncured disease so all start clicking pictures. It is dark yet so don’t know what results they get but clicks are on and on and on. Meanwhile a guy and an old man, wearing glittering clothes comes out. Their attitude showing they are playing big part in the marriage and all are pampering them like Very Important Person. Situation becomes chaotic. They have to stop here for little time but all are busy in taking selfie and eating food from road side shops.  But for me these are the enjoyable moments…

Anyways after half an hour delay bus start and so as my journey. Only few miles have pass and a passenger stop the bus and rushes to the driver. He said his daughter was playing with mobile and through it out from window. He went out to search but no result. He back and says with disappointment – I lost my expensive mobile. I don’t understand why he open window in AC bus and why he gave mobile to his daughter to play? Passengers shuffle in Haldwani. Everything is quite and temperature dropped. In a railway crossing gate bus stop for one hour. Five or six trains crossed back to back. Due to this bus stuck in big traffic jam. Far from this chaos Nineties music, when Alka Yagnik and Kumar Shanu was leading singers, were blowing in tape recorder. After long time back I am listing these songs which remind me my school days…





Bus reaches Haridwar early 5.30 A.M. It was winter time so still dark and cold. I decide to stay in a hotel for few hours and then move to Manali. A rickshaw guy took me into a hotel and I book room. Around 9 A.M. I went to Haridwar Ghat but before that I booked my ticket for Manali. I spend some time there in hustle-bustle. Back to hotel take rest for few hours finished lunch and around 3 P.M. I went to bus stand and acquired seat…

Hawkers are selling their products and proving as if their products are best for every problem. One is selling pain balm and the way he convincing passengers is great. Mostly passengers are buying his product. After him a Digestive powder seller take place. He again starts convincing and for my surprise passengers again convinced and buying his product. Other sellers are also engaging passengers…

Bus starts after little more live drama. Weather is pleasant and everything is in control but when it become night temperature suddenly drop and become chill. Other problem with the bus is that it is stopping in every small and big station. I went out in few stations but as it is chill so I decide not to go out. After Chandigrah when hill starts it become bone chill cold. Around 5 in the morning bus reach Kullu. Kullu is very famous hill station of Himachal Pradesh. I am shivering badly but still 2-3 hours journey left…

Around 7.30 I reach Manali. It’s still cold and shivering. I move straight to hotel and fold myself into quilt. When I get warm I went out. It’s sunny now so I off to see Manali market. Market is busy but fewer tourists are here as it is winter time. I take walk in Mall Road and sit on chair. 26-27 years old tall fair and slim Himachali guy is also sitting there reading newspaper and gazing me. He did it continuously and honestly speaking I also want to talk to him but want him to start. Anyways I sit there for half an hour then finish breakfast and back to hotel for rest. In the evening I again went out but it’s very cold so I finished dinner and back to hotel where my Trek Guide is waiting for me…





Continue…


Monday, 13 April 2015

When I was In New Tihri – Part 2

I move to bus stand and ask for bus. One guy tells me – you can get bus from Rishikesh. I went to Rishikesh and get bus. Though bus is AC but God please save me from this sort of AC bus. Anyways I sit in my seat and in a while bus get full and ready to go. Again a 25-26 years old guy sitting next to me. He is sort of chatty so he himself tells me that he work for ARMY and going Tihri to visit her sister in low. He share me about his family and also tells me that once his family lives in Tihri but when Tihri sink into water, because of Tihri Dam, they move out. With hidden tears and emotions he said– you know I still miss my village, my land, my house, my cattle, my childhood friends and everything. That day was a black day of my life when my village sunk into the water in the name of progress. He said – after this we move to Dehrdoon. He is looking out from window and I am silent…

Soon Narendra Nagar comes and he tells - Nrendra Nagar is now a big city because all government offices are migrated here. Bus is going through the jungle and he keeps telling about his service, his family and others. Many small settlements are on the way but after Narandra Nagar, Chamba is another big city where that guy had to go. He bade me goodbye and move out…




 After an hour or so I also reach New Tihri and my struggle start to find out hotel. Men, who also stop here, help me to find out hotel though he himself new here. We both ask from the locals and eventually find the hotel. I am tired so will take rest for 2-3 hours and then go to see New Tihri. In the evening manager told me that there is a Covered Market where I could go this time. New Tihri is new settlement which is replica of old Tihri. Old Tihri had a rich history but all has been sunk into the underwater…

Covered market is array of shops which are roofed but nothing new or exciting here. I feel this has become a gathering point for youngsters. Soon I went out to other market which is not covered. However this is newly developed city but I don’t find any signs which can show me that the city is newly made. It’s looking like a jungle of concrete buildings only…


I am walking alone and all eyes are at me awfully. Most of them are young guys who don’t have any work but to stare girls and make comments. Between the clusters of buildings I could see some temples which are also newly made. I want to see the architect and talk if someone would be there…      

I ask way for temple to a middle age man. He looks my camera then to me then point out the way and again look my camera and ask - Where you from and what you doing here ? Before waiting my reply he himself said – I think you are journalist and here to see the Tihri Dam. I think I find right person to talk about. So I said – Yes, I am here for Dam. Can you tell me anything about it...

He stare me bizarrely and put his head down after a while he put his head up and says – You would be interested into praises of Tihri Dam and I am a wrong person for this. He moves off. I almost scream and said – But I want to hear story of old Tihri and what people feel when the whole city submerged. He turns and says – Old Tihri was our Tihri. This new Thiri is not ours. I cannot connect with it. I still remember the day when my city sunk deep into the water of Maa Bhagirthi, tributary of Ganga, in the name of development. We were watching our land, our houses, our culture, our civilization, our history sinking slowly slowly. People are so blind for the development that they can’t feel our emotions and cry. If they could they can made a better development instead of this. He is crying and I only see him. Far away yellow building of watch tower is showing his presence but time has stop everything is still if any voice is there that was his cry. I have no words to console him so I let him cry. Don’t want to go temple now so back to room but his cry is still hovering into my mind…


Next morning I take bus for Tihri Dam. Old woman sitting next to me also belongs to old Tihri. She ask me – Where you from and where you going ?  I reply – I am from Nainital and going to Tihri Dam. She gives me strange look and says – Why you come here alone ?  you should get your friend with you. I smile on her innocent argument. She then says – There is nothing in Tihri Dam. That Dam is killer of my home and my mother land. She becomes angry and emotions start floating in her eyes and tears roll down on her cheek. But the man sitting in front seat tells me – It’s Sunday so you cannot go inside Dam. I say – I know but I am not here to visit Dam as a tourist. I am here to see the behind stories which are still unsaid and unravel.




Bus move forward and Dam Lake appear out of window. Suddenly I hear a whisper. Man sitting behind is muttering a song though I could not understand the words but I can feel the emotions which are nothing separate from others whom I am listening since yesterday. A vast new city is in front of my eyes. Everything is here but what about the emotions ? No one can answer this…

I reached to Tihri Dam Lake and take a walk till Dam. Gigantic lake is there which has swallowed an ancient and historical city. I can feel the cry, I can feel the hidden tears, I can feel the memories of the people and suddenly that bus guy that man that lady and that singing man appears on the lake and I am watching them sinking into water and hearing there cry but cannot do anything. I am so helpless…

I back to my hotel take bus and back to Dehradoon so that I can pick up night bus for Nainital. In Chamba I stuck in a big traffic jam. I must say development is doing great things. May be we should ready for next Tihri Dam…   


End

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

When I was in New Tihri - Part 1

 I am sitting alone and suddenly thought came to my mind that why not this time I should go to Tihri for experiencing Tihri Dam, India’s largest dam and feel the sad truth behind making of this largest dam. Next morning I am in a bus going Haridwar. I will take day rest in Haridwar and then move to Tihri or New Tihri as it is known now…

It’s still winter in Nainital. I shivered till Haldwani, Plane area of hills, after Haldwani cold get away. Bus is almost full and warm become hot now. This road is one of the roads which are full of my childhood memory but scenario has been changed now. Anyways I am enjoying what I see like jungle like town like big farming land like advertisement on walls specially advertisement for the sex problems…

Reached Nazimabad, a small town, where bus stop for the lunch. After lunch when bus starts again it was a brutal road accident. Some vehicle hit the bike and guy was thrown on road. Everybody watching dead body and moving but no one has time to stop for a second. Bus stops so I went out and asked to a roadside shopkeeper about it. He said – it’s not my job and what I can do, we have informed the police. Police will come and do whatever they have to do and he got busy to attend customers…

We become so much inhuman or may be our law and police investigations are so unfriendly that everybody wants to stay away from all this. It’s pathetic. I back to seat and wait for the bus to move.  Guy sitting next to me is a young who is busy chatting in whatsapp and listen music in headphone. Life becomes technical now… 

I reach Haridwar by 1.30 and search out my hotel with the help of local GPRS means I prefer asking people instead of mobile GPRS. According to me it makes connection with new people. Though I am a gazette freak person but I don’t like depending on them every time. After some struggle in hot weather I reach to my hotel acquire room get fresh and went off to the streets of Haridwar.

Don’t know how many times I have been walk alone on these streets but every time they give me new feelings. I walked a long distance to reach River Ganga and then sit in a silent corner of river start watching the flow of celestial water of Ganga and also people busying with their lives…


 After half an hour I walk in Ganga Ghat upto Har ki Paury the main part of river where big Arti would perform after a while. Nothing is change here and nothing is change in me too. I went to shop buy a flower wick lamp went to river give my reverence to River Ganga ignore all stupid talks of pandas. I do this every time when I come here…



  
I then came to opposite end of Ganga so that I could see the main ceremony of worship. Next to me a Japanese couple is sitting who are so much engrossed by the shaved head and little pigtail on the back of saints’ head. They clicking pictures with enjoy and laughing. I am also enjoying the moments with my camera…




 Main ritual starts and all become quite. I only hear voice of chants buzzing by priest. This is so spiritual so pure that I feel relax, calm, quite and completely unburden. I can feel the purity of it and want to be a part of it. It goes around one hour but after this I again sit there for more time and then way back to market finish food and get back to room. After a while I fall asleep…




 Morning I again walk toward Ghat which is bustling with pilgrims. All are busying to wash off their sins but I don’t want to so I give my offering to River Ganga and back as I have to go to New Tihri today…

Continue...

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Old Manali : Another world on Earth

A bridge over Manalsu River is a gateway to another world known as the Old Manali. The village has an exotic charm. It’s like as if you have crossed into another world. Old Manali has somehow chiseled out a world of its own guarded by Manalsu River. The village like fairy tale but it also exposed to the comfort of today’s world. We have the idyllic village and the locals on one side and the fast growing tourist population and guest houses on the other side. Both are unique in their own way and each has their own distinct space…








Thursday, 1 January 2015

Deo Tibba Peak (6001 mt.) Expedition in Winter

Deo Tibba is a beautiful 6001m high peak in the Pir Panjal range of the Himalaya in Manali, Himachal Pradesh. Deo Tibba consists of an extensive ice cap. The actual climb being a snow hump accessible once the edge of the ice plateau is reached. It also has the beauty of just being over the 6000m mark which is a great achievement for any climber. In summer time it is bit easy for trekking and climbing abut in winter it become an expedition and in 1st December 2014 I went to summit the peak… 

Here I am uploading some of my trekking pictures… Will write travelogue soon…