My head resting on the window pane feeling the light breeze and savouring in the mountains I pick my sleepy self as the bus moves past the winding roads of Uttarakhand. Ever since I stumbled on my first opportunity last year to experience the raw and pristine Himalayas during the trek to Hampta Pass, I constantly look for any prospects to be back. In order to nurture my volatile heart, I came back to the mountains again with a hope to awaken my inner soul.
This time it was my solo trip to the Roopkund Lake with Trek The Himalayas. With my backpack set, I moved from the bustling crowds of Delhi past small village clusters perched in the mighty mountains to reach Kathgodam. I walk along the road for my way to the Railway Station in order to reveal my concealed fellow hikers. Greetings exchanged we set for our journey to Loharjung, the foundation towards the trail to unfold the unknown.
After hours of travelling past the dense forests, sleepy hamlets and convoluting roads we settled at our base camp for the night. Post the introductions we were provided briefing sessions by the Trek Leader along with some knowledge sharing before commencing the trek.
Long distance hiking requires strength, endurance and agility and while tramping along the mountains it is advised to avoid alcohol and smoking of any kind. Submerging in the counselling provided. I start my hike to Didna Village along the mountain rocks sinking in the impressions of the surroundings. I am welcomed into a cozy homestay which will be our next resting spot for the day and served with scrumptious homemade lunch. Resting for a while exploring the neighborhood we prepare for the acclimatization walk. After checking up on our pulse rate and blood pressure, the group mustered together for merriment. Pondering over my inner thoughts, I lay off my knackered self to sleep.
Armed with the walking stick and rain protection gears, we make our way further into the wilderness passing though the smoggy impenetrable Rhododendron forests with sneak peaks of glowing sun and gushing waterfalls further beyond. Hours of walking we unfolded apparently best kept secrets of this known trek. Rolling grasslands stretched out as far as eyes could see with a magical rainbow smiling from above as we invaded these virgin lands. Surrounded by such beauty, uplifted my spirits in seconds. We bask under the setting sun, discussing over the hidden secrets this land beholds. Post the dinner I sit with a fellow trekker under the blanket of stars struck by our love for the mountains.
I am often asked what is the fun in hiking, the sweat, the exhaustion and tedious walks for long hours….But the feeling of accomplishment uncovering such treasures hidden in the mountains is a something that cannot be described in words…
The next morning we ascended upwards towards Bhagwabasa which was our campsite for the before we leave for the Final Destination. Prostrated while carrying the rug sack I slowly walked over the jagged mountain rocks filling in the gap step by step. Nestled among the barren mountains and snow clad peaks lies Kalu Vinayak Temple. Being lost in these unknown and unnatural surroundings makes me ponder over the thoughts about The One, The Creator and The Destroyer who looks upon us all.
I wake up to the howling of winds outside my tent and sub-freezing temperatures which contributed to my troubled sleep. The chill before dawn can be felt as I step outside the tent, amid arid peaks and silence of the night with the dark sky illuminated by the full moon. We started with the hike in the dark itself with only the natural light to guide us through the path. Making our way, slowly and steadily, we meander past the slopes. As the first rays of sunlight coincide with the Trishul Peak, the sky turns magical with its changing colors.
As the sun shined upon us, we set foot on the Domain of the Demise. The glacial lake calmly settles within the mighty mountains and awaits to be discovered. I sit along the primeval remains wondering what if I could transport myself to the day of the doom only to unfold the mystery yet undiscovered.