Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Trekking in Jungles of Kullu

Trek Organized by: Adventure Unlimited, Nashik
Duration: May 25-June 6
Travel: Nashik to Delhi by Train, Pvt Transport to Manali and by Jeep to Solang Nala.
Food Served (Manali to Manali):
1.Bed Tea, Breakfast- Porridge with loads of dryfruits, Pohe/Upma/Fondi cha bhat/Sandwiches etc, One Fruit-Banana/Mango/Apple/Apricot
2.Packed lunch for trek- 2 Cheese cubes, Cadburys and chocolates, Poli-Bhaji.Snacks- Maggi/popcorn/Bhaji/Bread etc
3.Dinner- Dal&Rice, Bhaji, roti, Pappad, Salad/Chinese/NonVeg. Sweet everyday- Kheers/Various types of Custards/Chocolate Cake/Kala Jamun

4. Good night wishes with Hot drinking chocolate served in your tent!
(Sadly they never allowed us to reduce any weight at all on the contrary we gained few kilos hahhaha!)


May 25 Nashik:
We were tense after seeing news on News channels about riots in Pujnab and Harayana. Keeping our fingers crossed we started by Mangala Express from Nashik Rd at 4.30 PM. The train was late by 0.5 hours. Reached Hazrat Nizzamuddin station at 1PM on May 26. After a hearty lunch on the ‘platform’ we proceeded by taxi for boarding a bus to Manali. Hey this was my first ever lunch sitting right on the platform. The taxi driver glad fully showed us few famous spots around Delhi while travelling to our pickup point. The 35 seater bus to Manali was a congested bus with very less leg space and you had to cling down on the seat to stop sliding down all the night. Had a dinner at some Dhaba somewhere in Haryana. After travelling 500 Kms we reached safely to Manali by 11 AM on 27th May. After a hours bumpy ride of 13 kms by jeep we finally reached our destination- Solang Nala.
SOLANG VALLEY is a splendid valley between Solang village and Beas Kund. Solang valley offers the view of glaciers and snow capped mountains and peaks. The Guest house was small but decent one offering view of a big snow capped mountain right across the window.After lunch we went for a walk to Shiva temple located 4KMs away. It was beautiful walk offering himalaya views. The horse trail existed with orange colored flags at various places leading the way. On the way you have walk across small stream with ice cold water. There’s a ropeway installed which probably functions when the water gushes in rainy season. The temple is located a beautiful spot with snowcapped mountain and a small waterfall falling from a great height just behind the temple.In the evening we enjoyed fun activities on the ground above the hotel. Solang offer Paragliding, Zorbing, Bungee jumping and Chinese Motorbike rides. We did Zorbing and tooks some snaps in HP traditional dresses. Paragliding starts with Rs 500, Zorbing is 100 and motorbike rides are 350 per person.

May 28-Rohtang Pass:

Rohtang Pass provides the only access to the Lahaul Valley, is open from June to November each year. Snowfall is, however, unpredictable and blizzards can close the Pass even during this period. A few km away from the pass is the Sonapani glacier and, slightly to the left are the twin peaks of Gaypan-jagged pyramid of rock, snow streaked and snow crowned.You need to start very early to avoid crowds and rains. As the traffic gets jammed and the crowd starts getting larger the Jeepwallahs will stop further below and you will get to enjoy only dirty snow. We started by jeep for Rohtang by 7 AM after the breakfast. The road is with never-ending curve, loops and is very treacherous with large boulders and mud at lot of places. The driver with his amazing driving skills drives smoothly while you start praying. You will see a nice waterfall formed because of water gushing out of huge pipe let out for power generation. On the way you will notice a small lake and few shops/hotels around it.On the last patch you have to cross very small –tunnel like roads with snow on both sides. There’s a large playing area available at the top. You can enjoy snowbike or sledge rides to Zero point from where you get amazing view of snow capped mountains all around. The guide will show you points where JabWeMet was shot. You can take HM photos with decorations made in ice or enjoy snow slides in rubber tube. Zorbing is a also available. One should avoid food and water sold by small Tapri/shanty that sell Tea, Chinese menus and Hot Maggi. The quality of oil they use is very low. You will need to carry skating equipments from Manali or hire on the way. There are ‘n’ of shops on the way that offer overcoats, thermals and skating equipments. The Skating equipments are available at rate of 250 onwards.We returned in the evening. The guide had already installed all our tents in the campsite which was right across the hotel. It was freezing night but the sleeping bag gave all the warmth and we had a good night sleep.

May 29: Trek to Bijli Mahadev (2460 Mt)
We started early in the morning to Kullu in small bus. From Kullu its 30 mins journey climb by road through apple, peach and orchard farms to a base village called Jaladhari. From there you have to climb for around 2.5 hours and 1300 steps gradually through the Kais wildlife sanctuary that leads to a temple of Lord Shiva. The twin valleys of river Beas and Parvati can be seen from the camp at Bijlimahadev. The legendary Bijli Mahadev Temple stands at 2438m / 8045ft. From here you get excellent views of towering snow topped mountains all around. You will notice a 60 feet high silver pole on the temple that attracts lightening every year. The lightening strikes the pole and travels down to the sanctum sanctorum where it shatters the Shivling. This is then made whole by the priest who joins the shattered pieces together with flour and butter and amazingly it's restored to its original form. This is repeated every year. It was very hot in Kullu till the base village but as we started climbing through the forest it started getting chilly. There are 2-3 shanties offering magi and tea at the top. The top is huge plain with the temple at one end. We played Dog and Bone in the evening and stayed in tents. This is was first halt in the trek.The day break was very early and beautiful. You can see clouds forming amazing shapes across the various ridges and mountains.

May 30: Bijlimahadev to Matikochor (2340 Mt)
We started late as it was slightly raining. A raw trail road leads to Matikochar where one can view the very lovely Kullu valley and the surrounding snow-clad peaks. The path is mostly flat with few and gradual ups and downs and very easy walk of 4 hours through dense-dark jungles. You can see various dead and dry trees forming beautiful shapes with moss and fungus all over. Lot of work of termites and other insects! The trail is used by a lone forest office’s gypsy to carry stuff across to Bijlimahadev. You can hear few birds singing and see clouds floating all around. A small white colored bird of size of sparrow keeps fluttering here and there while bright yellow, white colored butterflies play around.The various green shades of thick deodar forest across the mountain ridges are awesome. Thankfully it was sunny all the way and we were able to setup the tents. On the way we carried dry wood for the campfire. We played 1-by-ready-2-by ready in the evening. The lights of the Kullu town appear as sparkled jewels from the camp in the night. The cows ‘hambarne’ is pretty scary in the dead silent night.


June 31: Brinta Top (4-5 Hours climb)
We started early from Matikochor for Brinta top. Our guide Manahor was singing beautiful traditional songs along the way. The climb is extremely steep at some places and with ups and downs across various ridges. The path seems never ending. The Road initially appears well built trail but some many tracks might mislead you. The track is mostly through dense confers jungle untouched by humans. At some places though, you would get to see mountain goats or cows chewing fodder and counting melodious butterflies. There few spots which will remind you of Switzerland (I’ve never been there but that’s what some of them said)- Huge lawns on small hills with dense confers on horizon and pretty flowers. We also discovered another valley of flowers here There were white, yellow and violet flowers spread across huge patches of green lawns near the top of the mountain. This heavenly beautiful sight took all the fatigue out in matter of minutes.


The final destination was small lake in middle of nowhere mostly used by horses and goats. You had to climb down few lawns to reach it and can see Manala valley. After quick packed lunch we started back to base. Overall it was tiring and exhaustive but fun filled trek of 7-8 hours. Hot Maggi awaited us at the base camp. Later played dumbsherots in the night. Everybody had good night sleep in the freezing temperature.It was raining in the morning of June 2 and we had to stay back and take rest. We played cards and other games and slept for long time.

June 2: Matikochar-Jana-Naggar (20+ Kms 7-8 Hours)


The path is mostly flat with few and gradual ups and downs. The road till Jana is mostly like Bijlimahadev-Matikochar road but the density of forest gradually reduces as you proceed to towns. Breathtaking Kullu valley and the surrounding lovely snow-clad peaks are seen on the way. Roaring beas river can be seen from anywhere. I’m sure you will definitely stop to smell the sweet white and violet wild flowers creepers along as well as you will stop to admire the swift eagles and vultures gliding across the steep valley hunting for their prey.Jana is sleepy village mostly below the road level and locals are engaged mostly in farming with apple, apricot and pear farms on both sides. A cool small waterfall and a roadside tapri-hotel is first one that will help you to forget you fatigue and hot walk in the sun. The helping tapriwallah pulls out the colddrink bottle from the waterfall kept for cooling to quench your thirst. Jana to Nagar is tar road and a tiring walk of 11kms and you may easily tend to climb down some risky shortcuts. But ensure that road does lead to main road below. One of our teams had to climb back again from the valley! The road leads through beautiful Deodar forests through apple orchards, a few small old villages and paddy fields.
The jeeps picked up from Nashala village some 3kms before Nagar. In Nashsal we saw a HP traditional wedding the barratries were very friendly and wanted us to join them. Naggar is delightfully situated on a wooded slope and commands an extensive view, especially of the north west of the valley. Naggar was the capital of the Kullu Rajas for about 1,400 years. Artist Nicholas Roerich's art gallery is also worth a visit. We visited Naggar Castle which is now a well furnished Hotel Castle. We reached safely back to our guest house in solang nala in the evening to watch himalyan mountain fading away in the midst of clouds from our window. The hot bath after 5 days was pretty relaxing!It was challenging tasks to cover 2 days trek in one day and I’m glad I was able to repeat my feat of walking 20-22kms almost nonstop in one day.


June 3: Sightseeing in Manali
We all were now normal tourist prettily dressed. The jeep charged for 1600 for entire day. You get Jeep at 600 per day in Manali but then we need someone to drop us back in Solang.
We visited Vashist temple and hot spring, located on the left bank of river Beas towards Rohtang pass, 3KMs from Manali. It has natural hot sulphur springs with two separate bathing tanks for gents and ladies are always full of tourists.
3 kms. from the main bazar in old Manali lies the temple of Manu Rishi. It is believed that this is the only temple of Manu in India, who was the creator of human race on the earth. The local shops sell Chingoo a special blanket made of wool that is found in the neck some kind of pregnant mountain goats. The killing is now banned thanks to Maneka Gandhi back in 90s. The blanket are now recycled and offered with variety of discounts and a moneyback scheme from HP govt. They claim that after humans use the blanket for 4-5 years, the blanket gets some wool swells due to our body heat. These threads are pulled out and again fine 4-5 shawls are woven out of threads from one blanket which costs around 14-15K.

Hadimba Devi Temple 2 Km from Bazzar is okay types with some intresting local shops around.The market is mostly tibetian and local shops and you need to bargain heavily to get good price. Wool products, Jacket and some fancy made in china items are available at throw away prices. Not sure of quality but you will find few men selling Keshar for cheap prices and one out of tem will cheat you in dryfruits. The mall road is crowded with hotels and variety of cuisine available.It was hot and humid and a tiring day.

June 4-6: We started back to Delhi by evening bus on 4th. On the way had variety of sweet and mouthwatering Apricots. Delhi was scorching with 40degrees and we had to wait on platform from 10-3pm till Goa express arrived. We \got down at Manmad on June 5 at 1Pm. The train was late couple of hours. We boarded ST bus to Nashik. I drove back in the evening. Home Sweet Home.


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