On the Nature’s cradle

It was absolutely a fascinating journey—our kids accompanying this time!
Garhwal has long drawn us near and near for its varied landscape and myriad trails that lead to only peace and peace—divinity spreads over to explore the realm within.
We decided to keep trekking to moderate level as our younger son was just 7 plus then. So, we blended the trip with some favoured places and some short treks around.

It was a June end evening—quite off season—when we reached Gourikund. Reaching this place ever fills my heart with a strange feeling that I have reached where I really belong to. Why? I don’t know, but, I feel I have reached somewhere that I long wanted to be.

Next morning, our kids were thrilled to enjoy their first trekking experience! It was early at 5 in the morning, when darkness still prevailed, we did start.
It was quite chilly as there had been incessant raining for last a couple of days. We slogged along—none to distract—enjoying pleasure in everything around. It was a mild 14 kms trek that is usually interrupted by abundance of beauty laid wantonly by Nature. Fortunately enough, we were favoured with almost clear sky and visibility. As we neared our destination, weather slowly transformed to foggy and no sooner had we it reached Kedarnath, it started raining. The evening offered us a bit of snowfall—indicative of a much colder night proceeding. It was a full moon night and quite cold outside, but we could not resist our temptation to view Kedardome—with a little hope of clear sight—under moonlit sky. Nature was in her kindest mood! Oh! Entire range of silver mountains—freshly bathed in snow—showed up before our amazed eyes! So sacred they appeared, we were glued to for hours and time sped by as we remained simply speechless.

The morning was quite favourable for trek to Chorabari Tal and Bamak. Visibility was wide and clear and as we started quite early in the morning, crossing Madhuganga was also easier for the kids. On some patches, the road was a bit slippery, but finally when we reached Chorabari Tal (Gandhi Sarovar), our kids were far more enthusiastic to trek farther to Chorabari Bamak. Sunrays designed arrays of mountains with bounty of colours and we sat together on the bank of Tal—reflections of mountains kept on changing in colours and shapes on its green placid water. We moved on and our jovial guide-friend helped the little one in crossing glacial trail to Chorabari Bamak. We observed river Mandakini coming out of her snout. Entire scenario had changed with sun rising above. Clouds are cautious enough in hills, particularly during monsoon season, to rise up punctually as day proceeds. So, we decided to come down—clicking snaps endlessly.

We did not have any plan to trek down to Gourikund that day as we wanted our kids to visit Bhairab Mandir, Sankaracharya’s Saktisthal and enjoy peace in being with Kedarnath during evening Sringar.

We, again, were privileged to have a rainless trek down to Gourikund next morning and moved to Ukhimath after spending some time in Trijuginarayan. Trijugi is the place where Har and Parvati got married. It was unusually lonely—maybe, being in off season. But, we enjoyed such solitude—no haste anywhere! As everyone knows, Ukhimath is the winter abode of Kedarnath. The temple in Ukhimath always charmed us—me and my wife. We never felt that He was not there! So peaceful environment it was!

The morning brought us to a small village, Sari. The place where we knew many people—became friends by their innate simplicity within moments—whose names we remembered not. We had a plan to trek to Deoria Tal and spend night on the pool side. It was just a 4 kms moderate trek. When we reached the Lake, weather became quite cloudy. Only two more ladies—a team of an American and a British—also joined us for a few hours before leaving for Chopta. The Lake is a small one on the lap of a mountain ridge. It is surrounded by trees and plants, which qualifies its beauty manifold with Chowkhamba at its background. Our kids were seemingly disheartened for clouds preventing full view of the range, but serene beauty of Deoria simply mesmerized them and they ran around the Lake so many times that they finally got themselves landed up on chairs placed in front of our tent. The Forest guard, who usually stays in a single room office on the backside, was scheduled to go home and he was gone. After early poolside dinner, the shop/tent owner also bade adieu as it was already 8 in the evening. The night, with intermittent noises—some known, some ethereal—proceeded. We did not notice when it started raining so heavily, but, maybe, in the midnight, when candles were snuffed out in gusty wind, we felt it. We did neither notice when it stopped.

Morning still some time away to come, we rose up and ran outside to find a clear sky smiling with all divinity amidst woods and the solitary lake. It was just an ineffable scene when Chowkhambha glowed in first rays of rising sun! We kept on sitting by the poolside—birds chirping some unheard songs to some unfamiliar guests!

We would travel to Chopta—that was the plan. So, we walked down to Sari and spent some good time with some good hearts.

Chopta is one of our favourite valleys. But, this time weather was not that favourable. We decided to spend no much time there and started our trek to Tunganath.
This was a 4 kms moderate trek. Inclination varied between 50 to 60 degrees on some stretches as was in Deoria trek. Thus, kids did not face any trouble to enjoy every bit of its trail. Way to Tunganath opens up into a flat meadow type bugial some two kms above. We still count it one of the most endearing places that we ever want to revisit just to freshen up some old golden moments! On way back, one interesting event occurred, which I would surely like to share. Anyway, a couple of kms of trek brought us to Tunganath. Weather seemingly worsening, we decided to trek up to Chandrashila on that very day after visit to the temple. Chandrashila is near one and half km above Tunganath. People believe that Rama meditated and offered Pujas at Chandrashila. We were atop it by 3 in the afternoon. Visibility was quite low due heavy fogs. We had seen sunrise and sunset from this place before.

In Chandrashila, one can view nearly 360 degree ranges all around and in the morning it seems as if thousands of volts of lights are illuminated at a time! We were getting surer that weather would not favour much that time.
We started trekking down as it started drizzling. As the pathway mostly coincided with water channel, we could not speed up much for the kids to safely adjust themselves. Finally, we reached Tunganath, all drenched to inners. Weather marginally improved during sunset, but all for some half an hour. Our morning plan to trek again to Chandrashila did not succeed as raining did not stop till late morning. When it finally stopped, we set off to come down. It was foggy, but pleasant. We were together at the start. Now, I will tell about that event I hinted before.

While my wife accompanied the kids, I was delayed in one tea shop. Walking down up to the bugiyal, they kept on waiting for me to come down, but, unfortunately to save time I took a short cut route and reached Chopta only to find that they had not reached there. She anxiously waited for me above in the meadow as I was slightly indisposed of on previous night. I also kept on wondering why they were taking so much of time to trek down. Getting too concerned, sooner or later, she started a searching operation (literarily!) with the help of local villagers. Waiting for considerable time, I also began climbing up again. After an half an hour’s search, while my wife and those generous villagers returned to the inn where our kids had also anxiously waiting, I also reached to the meadow.

It simply unified us again with villagers pleased and happy on the vast expanse of that meadow. We share some more time with those unnamed good Samaritans!
We end our journey only to renew our bondage to the society, humanity and our kids now getting more part during treks and travels.

We know not how Nature moulds us. We feel just she does so—silently, with care that of our own mother; or even more!

 [ Published under the author’s permission ]

[ Original publication at www.saibarman.wordpress.com on July 03, 2007–the readers are requested to express their comments on the original Blog as mentioned above ]


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