Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Har ki Doon Trek

Har ki Doon means Valley of God. So with some of my friends I planned to do a trek to Har ki Doon and experience the magnanimity of God in those snow clad Himalayas. We booked the trip with the Yuvashakti group pf Pune. The main group started their journey by train. As we are so busy people (that's the impression we carry about ourselves all life), we chose to fly. It's difficult also to get so long vacations of 10 days. That's what many married people has the excuse with them. So the map of the trip that we are going to follow
The whole group is as follows.
  • Arjun Petkar (Team Leader)
  • Yograj (Local Guide)
  • Babu and Mohan (Our chefs)
  • Nikhil Sahasrabudhe (I am sure he never took a bath in the trip)
  • Amit Kumar (The eternal perfectionist - but always gets confused with how to define perfection)
  • Vasant Kulkarni (See the world through camera but has to be scaled properly)
  • Manoj - (
  • Chandar Panjwani - (He almost sponsored my trip till I could find my cheque book)
  • Martin Kosters - (The Anda guy - surviving on boiled eggs)
  • Atharva Kulkarni
  • Adwait Pande
  • Trupti Phalak
  • Shravani Yalsangikar (The quintissential adventurer)
  • Swapna Patwardhan
  • Atharva Karkhanis
  • Sanmit Mallapur
  • Akshay Manjare
  • Vasant Dhupkar (Kaka)
Let me also tell about Arjun our team leader. The trip became much better because of him. He is an avid mountaineer and keeps coming back to Himalayas. He is planning to climb Mt. Everest in 2011. Best of Luck, Arjun. We wish you all the success in your adventure.
Before the trip there was a lot of excitement as many of us were never been to Himalayas. I basically belonging to Himalayas was chilling out.(Looking like a cool dude). Amit was trying to perfect the list of what to take with Vasant helping him, for almost 4 months before the trip. At the end they outlined everything possible and impossible.
So on the D-day, we took the flight from Pune. It was Kingfisher Red. As part of the stuff that we have to carry, a plate for eating was part of the list. Manoj didn't have it. Amit explained the story to the air hostess and Manoj became the proud owner of the Kingfisher plate. It was plate's destiny to be at Har ki Doon. Vijay Mallaya will be proud of this customer enlightenment. From Delhi airport, we took the taxi and reached to Delhi station. We had our dinner at a restaurant at Delhi station. At 12 midnight, we boarded the train to Dehradun and slept comfortably through the night. The train reached Dehradun at 5 in the morning and from there we reached to the Hotel where the rest of the group was staying.
After doing the daily chores, we were ready to move. The next part of the journey was a 10 hours drive in the bus to a place called Sankri. From Dehradun the bus traveled through VikasNagar, Damta, Nagaon, Purola, Netwar and Sankri. The bus travelled almost next to Yamunaotri for most of the journey. At Netwar Pupin and Supin river meet and become Tonse. There were couple of vomiting cases, otherwise the journey was eventless, with half a km gorge on the side of you. On the way we had chole rice (cost - Rs. 15 per plate).
We reached to Sankri around 5 in the evening and boarded GMNV (Garhwal Vikas Nigam Mandal) guest house. In the whole trip we will be staying in the GMNV guest houses. The first experience of getting cut from the humans made up life - No mobiles working. The only way to communicate was a satellite phone in the Village (cost - Rs. 5 per Mnt). There is electricity in the Village and it is not there more often than otherwise. The good thing is that people have adopted solar power here. Altitude at Sankri - 1800m. And from next day our trekking starts with almost 12 Kg of stuff on the back.
Day 1

On the first day, we trekked to Taluka, around 12 Km distance. The trek started at 8 am. Two dogs Chintu and Sheru accompanied us from Sankri. They were going to be our companion for the next 6 days of trek. It was a flat journey with very little altitude gain. The idea was to acclimatize to the climate. On the way we saw Rodendrum flowers which are only found at high altitudes. The conifer trees look magnificent on the slopes. Also we saw Sinno (the local name), a small green plant on touching of which one get heavy itching. We reached Taluka around 1 pm. Taluka is next to Tamsa river. The village is located in a valley with a ground right in the middle. The ground was hosting TPL (Taluka Premier League). We played cricket with the villagers and were beaten by them black ad blue. In 5 overs they scored around 90 runs and we managed to make our score in double digit. Arjun made it a rule that no one will be sleeping in the day and made sure that we are always engaged with something. Amit and I tried to have chicken in a local hotel. For that we purchased the bird from a local villager in spite of their warning that it will not be easy for us to eat mountain meat. But we persisted and got it cooked. And when we tried to eat it, it was tough,real tough. We donated the meat to the villagers and let them have the party. Around 9 pm we all went to sleep. Altitude around 2000m. All the altitude are courtesy Martin's altimeter which he kept on calibrating all along the trip.
Day 2

The next day started with breakfast at 6:30 and trek starting at 7:30. The destination was Seema, around 14Km. It was a trek involving both going up and down. On the way, we crossed the point where Snehagadh river merges into Tamsa. It was a beautiful sight. We took an hour halt midway at Gangahad and had Maggi and Eggs. Maggi never tasted so good in the life. When we reached Gangahad, we got a message that there is an urgent call for Vasant. He has to go in the Village which was on the top of the hill, almost 25 minutes walk from our trek way. We had a bad news that Vasant's father has to be hospitalized, but the good part was that he is stable and out of danger. That was a big relief to Vasant and everyone. Finally we reached to Seema at 3 pm in the afternoon. Seema is just opposite to the Osla village. I got my first stiffness in my thighs. At Seema camp, we again stayed and GVNM guest house. The caretaker Mr. Rana was a wonderful guy, who made the evening with his stories. Altitude - 2769m.
Day 3

We started the day again 7 in the morning with 6:30 breakfast. It was the toughest part of the trek with 12 km to trek but most of the way up. We followed Tamsa river all the way. With my stiffness, this journey became more tougher for me. Fortunately we left some of the stuff at Osla itself, which made my backup lighter by couple of Kilograms. Thought by this time, the backpack becomes a part of the body. In terms of habitation, there is just one Tea stall midway. On the way, we saw the peaks of Bandarpunch, Blackpeak, DumdarKoti and Bali pass. We had our first encounter with snow in the trek. We have to cross a frozen river cum waterfall on the way. We reached the GVNM guest house at around 2 pm, but the view of the valley took all the tiredness away. It's a beautiful valley with snow clad mountains all around it. Aptly called the valley of God. The major peaks visible are three Swargarohini peaks. Swargarohin 1, 2 and 3. The swargarohini 2 and 3 has been scaled but all the attempts to scale Swargarohin are still not successful. Swargarohini is also associated with the Mahabharta. It's the same peak which Pandavas started scaling up as their last journey. A dog accompanies them in the journey. All the brother except Yudhishthir dies on the way. Only yudhishtir and the dog reach on the top, where the dog reveals his identity that he is the god of death. From there he takes the truthful Yudhishthir to heaven. The story can be accessed here(external link). Altitude - 3500m
Day 4

We spend the day at the valley itself. We went towards Atta peak and gained some more height. There was snow all around and we enjoyed sliding on it. It was a kind of sledging with our rain coats. Than the climate started changing suddenly so we have to retreat to our guest house. It kept on and off raining through out the day. Arjun and some of the members got a chance to see the Golden Eagle. Arjun told that he has seen the eagle for first in last ten years that he is coming to Himalayas. We spend the rest part of the day playing Mafia(external link)(cache), a very interesting game. Maximum altitude gained - 3800m.
Day 5 and backward journey.

Next day we climbed down back to Osla. Quite uneventful and all the way down and down. We took a little diversion and visited Osla village. From there we did telephone calls through a satellite phone. (cost Rs 10 per minute). The village has a very beautiful temple of Lord Shiva. In Osla, don't miss to visit the waterfall which is about 200m from the GVNM guest house. We again spend the day playing some games. Next day we took the journey to Taluka. From Taluka I left the group and accompanied other group as I wanted to reach Delhi early and spend some time with my parents. Also on the way back, I wanted to experience a mountain town. So I chose to spend my night at a place called Purola. Though I did not experienced what I was looking for. It was like any other town with most of the shops selling mobiles and dish TV's subscriptions. Next day I reached Dehradun and spent the day in the city at my brothers in laws house. In the night I tool the bus to Gurgaon where my parents live. And on Monday morning I have my flight back to Pune with a promise to visit those mountains as much as possible.
Come on it's time to do some work now. Start coding.

Photograph Links of the Trip:

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