Mountains Love

Enjoying Indrahar Pass -

Mountains Love

 

This is not about the height or difficulty level of Mountain Pass….it’s more than that! 

I got up early by 03:30 am to get ready for my third High Mountain but first long duration and length hike with all ration and cooking stuff on backpack. Left home around 5:40 am and was at Dramman around 06:15 am and the good thing was like election campaign days and marriage functions, for all taxis were engaged, so I’d to kill myself at Dramman for almost 2 hours and finally at 8:30 am got the lift up to Kandwari….

I remember my first high mountain hike of Indrahar Pass in Dhauladhar Mountain Range..during my first climb and stay in Indrahar Jot, the feeling I had was just like a child has once he/she sits on the shoulders of parents and seeing the views around that are generally barred owing to once height!

Pir Panjal Range and ManiMahesh Kailash Peak Chamb

Pir Panjal Range and ManiMahesh Kailash Peak Chamba

But before my climb to Indrahar Pass I’d been invited and confined only to Triund and Snowline cafe of Triund Hill for many many times, many times…even Lahesh Cave was far for me…but then on July 19th 2011 with a hint from Dhauladhar, I finally dared to climb up to Lahesh Cave through thick fog humanly alone but accompanied by mystic sounds coming from melting glaciers waterfall and since I had no clue of Lahesh Cave, I just followed the Red Arrows (here Om letter has nothing to do with Religion)

Om Letter with Red Arrow Marks

Om Letter with Red Arrow Marks

but soon they also vanished in thick fog and all I could hear was the mysterious sound of glacier waterfall (just like some women/girl singing with smooth and thin voice)!

Never judge a Mountain and Hill by it’s height!

It was only in August 2013, when I was accompanied by Gordon Cole (his was also first climb for Lahesh Cave) we reached the same spot where I’d lost the Red Arrows in thick fog and had seen only the glacier waterfall, I realized that on July 2011, I was standing right in front of the Lahesh Cave but could not see the cave due to thick fog!

Leftover Glacier Waterfall in front of Lahesh Cave

Left over Glacier Waterfall in front of Lahesh Cave

Mountains O Mountains, mountains love have fascinated my soul ever since I opened my eyes to this amazing planet and was of 2 feet height and during my stay in Dharamsala things just went like crazy, the sight of Dhauladhar and Triund Hill were so tempting I’ve no words to explain but since I’d no company that time so i could not think of climbing up..but the night of December 31st, 2000 and a badly planned group hike to Triund Hill was a nightmare, but even after a cold feet night in the caves of Triund, the first campground of Triund Hill, I enjoyed the morning views of Dhauladhar and TriundHill.

But that joy was short, as after consuming water stored in kerosene can made my tummy go mad and we were forced to climb down early in the morning…and that mismanaged trek to Triund re-ignited my desire of Solo Hill walks and post that year I went hiking to Triund infinite number of times all the way from Chandigarh (I’m not trying to impress and ignore many other hikers and tea stall owners in Triund).

But every time I’d been to Triund, always gazed at the Mun Peak and tried to locate Indrahar Pass. Even from the Temple of Kunal Pathri Devi (located at the real top of Triund Hill), it was only gazing Mun Peak and tracing Indrahar Pass.

Temple of Kunal Pathri Devi at real top of Triund Hill

Temple of Kunal Pathri Devi at real top of Triund Hill

Every time, I only got directional words towards the trail to Indrahar Pass from cafe owners in Triund, the first campground of TriundHill..and finally on August 2013 another unplanned trek to Lahesh Cave with Gordon Cole also with thick fog we managed to reach Lahesh Cave and further were followed and accompanied in by Manu Singh Panwar and his friends in Lahesh Cave (now all were new on this trail).

Manu and I took the lead and followed the Red Arrows and we were tailed by Gordon Cole and friends. On trail we were greeted by another stream of thick fog and mild rain and bit of hail…we took shelter under overhang boulders, wherever we could find and then a blue hole appeared through thick black clouds giving us hope and strength to keep on climbing and trekking.

Here I must thank Rijul SherGill (Dhauladhar Trekker) and other trekkers for sharing photographs of Indrahar Pass and the temple of Jota Wali Mata a top.

Jota Wali Mata at Indrahar Pass

Jota Wali Mata at Indrahar Pass

After trekking through boulders, fallen rocks and crawling through stairs like trail we got the sight of Trishula and that re-energized us.
As a welcome gift Dhauladhar again showered us with thin hail and mild mild rain but with cold winds…and finally we were hugging Indrahar Pass in Dhauladhar Mountain Range and were blessed by Jota Wali Mata.

“Respect Nature, please do not throw your garbage in Nature”

Amazing views, you have to see it to feel it….it was still raining and fog was climbing up from Chamba side thus barring the views of Pir Panjal Range and Triund Hill and after spending about 45 minutes, we decided to climb down and luckily one of our friend slipped over the moving rock on trail but was gifted with life by sacrificing an injury to his finger….and we were back in Snow-Line Cafe for sharing our experiences and some folk song numbers on Guitar by Manu Singh…and my second call to Indrahar Pass was on October 2013 with Raman Sharma of Simla and this time the views were all crystal clear and we spent a good 01:30 hours at Indrahar Pass, enjoying the company of Dhauladhar, Jota Wali Mata and bright Sun shine for the tan…we even got the views of  Pir Panjal Range, the trail to Kuarsi and sight of Holy home of SHIVA and PARVATI the MANIMAHESH KAILASH PEAK and many other peaks.

So back in Kandbari and so much awaited climb for Waru Pass.

We burned most of our energy from a steep trail with a Speedy Race to Satchaali the base camp for Waru Jot. As per standards of Hiking, this was not hiking but a race. By the time we reached the base camp, I was tired to the bones with tummy going nuts. Lessons I learned – (A) “Don’t drink water from every source!” (B) Walk with steady steps and not run.

“Never walk or climb mountains and hills as a race, rather be like a shepherd, who guides his flock of sheep and herd of goat.

Base of Waru Pass ahead Satchali

Base of Waru Pass ahead Satchali

“Never walk or climb mountains and hills as a race, rather be like a shepherd, who guides his flock of sheep and herd of goat. Enjoy the walk and the views, keeping a tab on Sun shine”

The thick snow on trail to Waru Pass from the base was just like, you must not Hurry and have Patience, Observe , Learn and once you are ready then come to me…..that’s what Waru Pass also sounded saying to me…just like Indrahar Pass had taught me, before letting me hug Dhauladhar and this is also what GOD tries to teach us humans to Learn and Purify yourself before Salvation and Moksha from the cycle of Birth and Rebirth ~

Again I don’t want to Prove anything to Anyone and I am not Above Nature also, I have no Grudge to anyone (it’s not easy to overcome this but Work is in Progress)  So I will come again…..

Inside View of Lahesh Cave

Inside View of Lahesh Cave captured during our Lahesh Cave Clean Up 2. The interior is stuffed with empty bottles and plastic while outside also lots of bottles and non bio degradable trash is stuffed. This is in no way how a Responsible and True Hiker, Trekker and Mountain Climber or Nature Lover treats Nature!

Lahesh Cave Clean Up

During our first Indrahar Pass trek we noticed badly trashed vicinity and Lahesh Cave so decided to come back and clean up some of bit. Though our First attempt to Clean Up Lahesh Cave was success but still there were plenty of bottles stuffed around and we had planned our 2nd Lahesh Cave Clean Up drive by the end of 2013 but were barred due to sudden change in weather followed by snowstorm and hence 2nd drive was postponed till 2014.

July 15th 2014, we conceptualized our second high mountain clean up drive. On July 20th left for Lahesh Cave after our sponsored (sponsored by Manu in terms of Lunch and Mat) day halt in Triund Hill we continued for SnowLine Café and Lahesh Cave.

Since thick fog was inbound so after 1 hour trek we crossed SnowLine Café without a pause and met few returning villagers who were in Laka it was 04:30 PM and we were getting doubtful of reaching Lahesh Cave as thick fog had covered whole of Laka and the trail.

In Laka we stopped for a few minutes to decide whether to continue or not and halt our event….then in thick fog a glimpse of human presence enticed us to reach and ask for suggestion. It was the seasonal shepherd hut and we talked to the shepherd and he advised “if you can go then go as the weather will be ok and if we don’t feel ok then come back to his hut for the night stay”. Those words were kind of encouraging….so we continued slowly looking out for Red Arrow marks….but they were nowhere to be seen.

We continued and after more of 10 minutes walk we saw one Red Arrow and followed that one (it is very easy to get lost in this little stretch of 100 meters and presence of fog just makes things worse)…to our surprise the Red Arrows suddenly got lost in thick mixed blanket of Glacier and Fog as we were also trying to spot the OM mark but found that the very 7 feet boulder over which OM mark was painted was itself covered by Glacier and only its small tip was visible luckily with a Red Arrow mark on top…..fog was still strong.

So here again we lost the courage…and stopped there for 10 minutes pondering at one point again the thought of cancelling the event loomed over…but then we looked toward foggy Dhauladhar Range and decided to be on the wishes of Dhauladhar Mountain Range…and after 15 minutes we finally stepped on Glacier and trekked up taking note of single visible Red Arrow on the tip of the boulder with OM mark (OM mark was covered in Glacier) and goat droppings…and made our way to the other side, the starting climb for Lahesh Cave and from there we had a sigh of relief and after crossing over the Glacier even fog was dispersing leaving behind the crystal clear views and by 05:30 PM we were in Lahesh Cave.

Lahesh Cave

The Outer View of Lahesh Cave

We looked around and once again crossed slippery Glacier to fetch water for dinner and coffee.

Glacier Waterfall

Glacier Waterfall

Sun set from Lahesh Cave

Sun set from Lahesh Cave

It was really a relief to be in Lahesh Cave all Peaceful with the flow of Glacier Waterfall nearby and play of clouds with Dhauladhar and it was really good choice to carry fuel with us for cooking (Since it had rained few days back and the woods were damp).

Camp fire

Camp fire of Lahesh Cave

Glacier View

Glacier View near Lahesh Cave

Blue and Clean Sky

Blue and Clean Sky

Dinner with Lahesh Cave

Dinner with Lahesh Cave

The clouds and fog were changing the views like some 3D movie with True Colors that was really worth of climb and attempt. Beside the sweet sound of Glacier Waterfall there were Dhauladhar Alpine Accentors tweeting around detailing beautiful views. On the opposite distant ridge there was another seasonal hut with flock of sheep and goat herd. So we were not that alone. Though the inside of the cave was damp and bit of soaked but there was enough dry space for our sleeping bags and the sleep was sort of Cat Nap but was all good with some resident cave owner Pika constantly running around.

The morning arrived and we had once again go out to fetch water and realized the Glacier slippery and hard like stone and it proved really tricky to get to the other side of the Glacier to get water…heart pumping but it was all good.

The morning view were more of surprising like thick blanket of clouds over Triund Hill, Dharamsala and Kangra Valley and at same time Clean Blue Sky over Indrahar Pass, Lahesh Cave and Dhauladhar Mountain Range.

Sun Rise over Mun Peak

Sun Rise over Mun Peak

Blanket of Clouds over Triund Hill and Dharamshala

Blanket of Clouds

After breakfast we decided to do for what we had hiked up there…after some time our rucksack was full with alcohol bottles and other non-biodegradable waste.

 Blanket of Clouds over Triund Hill and Dharamsala


Blanket of Clouds over Triund Hill and Dharamsala

Green View from Lahesh Cave

Green View from Lahesh Cave

Most of us the humans have the tendency to act without considering much for others and this very trait is passed on from generation to generation and this very trait most of time cause hell of trouble and it still is. No matter how Developed or Rich or Poor humans are they (most of) just follow this very trait unconsciously…and teach the same to our own children making things more worst.

If we ourselves can’t understand the importance of keeping our home, surroundings, rivers clean than how come we can do justice to Nature and this is aped by our children.

We take the bite of chocolate or chew in bubble gum and throw the wrapper on road or trail without a second thought…imagine billions of people acting like this around the globe in the same moment!

Our Ngo’s do clean but only in places or points where they get noticed and praised.…and if they really really get in to the real business of making and keeping places clean, we’ll have not to worry for the trash and first most we’ll be disposing off the garbage in proper and useful way. Only in Bhagsu, McLeod Ganj and Dharamsala if we wander off from public we can see plenty of corners all trashed!

Well we had collected much of garbage on our rucksack and were about to get ready for Triund Hill, from nowhere the Gaddi sun of Laesh appeared from Nag Dal…..son of Laesh!! Well here is the clarification…years ago when Chamba was not connected to road, people used to cross over to Chamba and Bharmour Valley via such mountain passes like Indrahar Pass and during such one travels and hikes a baby was born in one of the natural caves behind Lahesh Cave hence the family decided to name the new born Laesh…and we happened to meet the son of Laesh (no joke) and as we introduced ourselves he was surprised to see that we were there to collect garbage and he ended up asking us “Do you get paid for this job”!

We explained why we do that and that we don’t do it for money or anything similar to that! It is just a kind of Responsibility toward Mother Nature, who nurtures us and bestows upon her immaculate and immortal beauty.

We talked and son of Lahesh explained how hard their lifestyle is but it is more rewarding in terms of health and satisfaction as compared to our modern comfortable, egoistic and glamorous city lifestyle.

In Gaddi style he helped us organizing the rucksack on back and climbed down up to Glacier and upon touching Laka he again asked that we must be getting paid for doing that (cleaning up job) and again we explained  we don’t in fact it is more than money and fame that encourages us to do that cleaning job.

In Laka we met the shepherd again…and after some chat we headed to SnowLine Café

SnowLine Cafe

SnowLine Cafe

The Woods and The fog

The Woods and The fog

slowly climbed the ridge and spent a good 2 hours in SnowLine Café enjoying the play of fog and greenery but were surprised to see alcohol bottles and other trash stashed inside boulder gaps….that was disappointing and even in Triund Hill there are plenty of such spots…where people stuff garbage hidden away…..if some-one really cares then they can be removed! We were all over capacity so we just memorised such spots for next time…next time because no one looks there…as there is no one to take note of  😛

Best Views in Triund Hill

One of the Best Views in Triund Hill

We spent one more night in Triund Hill and there we overheard tourists (professional looking well educated guys) discussing about cleanliness and were saying at least “someone” should take the responsibility to Keep Nature Clean!! That was really surprising to hear and then there were some ngo guys too and they were also saying that yes we do trash collection on salaried basis full time. 😀

Intermediate Habenaria

Front Close Up Intermediate Habenaria

Intermediate Habenaria

Next day we carried the rucksack up to McLeodganj trash bins and to the astonishing civic attitude of us the tourists, we collected plenty of trash even from trail to Triund. We were pondering when will we learn to be sensitive toward others and Nature.

 

Triund Hike August

Triund Rainbow

Triund Hike August

We started our Triund Hike on August 17th 2013 at 10:00 am and with brilliant views and company of fellow tourists and hill walkers we reached the top by 12:00 pm. Though monsoon was in full swing we found plenty of tourists in Triund Hill, some were climbing enjoying the drizzle on the trail and some were preparing to head back to hot and humid city plains. The shield of dense fog was preventing the view of Dhauladhar Mountains and it was some movie like scene in Triund with fog all over and visibility up to 10 to 15 meters. Though everything was same still fog effect was making a great moment for the silhouette shots. Rest House of the Himachal Forest Department was reserved up to next three days and we still had not made any arrangement for our one night stay. We headed towards Sunil Tea Shop for lunch and noticed newly set up temple dedicated to Lord SHIVA. After setting up our place for stay we had our lunch and then it was time for more of rain and fog. The play of fog was showcasing amazing views of Triund landscape. After rains we walked to meet Lalu and there we met the youngest and courageous trekkers seen till now.

Father of Sumit DattaGordon got himself engaged playing with little black puppy in the shop of Lalu and I was standing watching Mun Peak of Dhauladhar. The western sky was opening up slowly and we saw two tourists/hikers coming from SnowLine Cafe….as they passed by we asked where to they been and they said the “PASS, Indrahar Pass”. By the time Gordon also joined me. We were discussing about Mountains in England (Gordon is from England). As we were chatting and enjoying ourselves, sun rays pierced through the clouds and lit up  a small part of Triund right in front of the shop of Lalu. Magic Rays in TriundThe mix of Blue tent, Green grass and Sun rays was the best view of the day and in the distant on the Eastern side we noticed a faint Rainbow (I’d been to Triund many times but this was my and Gordon’s first sighting of Rainbow).

Triund RainbowA moment later as the sun was going down in western horizon the rays were doing magic with Dhauladhar Mountain and then came another brilliant view of the day with angular sun rays over the trail of Indrahar Pass over Lahesh Cave and clouds throwing dark shade on the edges of Dhauladhar Mountain and Indrahar Pass (The words can’t do the justice to the moment and view you experience with your own eyes and soul).

Final Steps of Magic Show by Clouds with Sun raysAfter sun set we headed to Sunil Tea Shop and there we met two tourists from Finland and they were planning for another walk up to SnowLine Cafe and also asked if we were interested. Gordon looked at me with questioning eyes and then I put down my words “If I go to Snow Line Cafe, I’ll be tempted for more….!” Sunil served us Dal and Chawal and after dinner we headed to sleep. My mind was playing with decisions whether to go to Snowline Cafe or return and after arriving at the conclusion, I suggested Gordon to set up an Alarm for 05:00 am for the next morning and went to sleep. In the middle of night it started raining and while asleep I wished it should continue to rain till morning. Well it was 04:30 AM and I was up but still in bed….it was not raining and I heard the sounds of birds and raven. I got out of the bed and refreshed myself and asked Gordon to get ready. There were other tourists too from Delhi and they wanted to photograph the sun rise, but seeing the clouds in the East I doubted a clear sunrise. By 06:00 AM we were prepared and ready to leave….for SnowLine Cafe (I’d planned to take Gordon up to Lahesh Cave beyond SnowLine Cafe and Illaqa)……!