Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Roopkund - Tales from a Distant Land..

Aug 19
Pathal Nachooniya --> Bhagwabhasa
What is this place?
Wild Himalayan Flowers
Today we leave Pathal Nachooniya to Bhagwabhasa. Hardly slept the night.
Tent was pitched on a slope...

After a quick breakfast we leave early. The greatest height gain would be today. Bhagwabhasa is at a height of 4667m and is our penultimate stop before Roopkund.

The Kallu Vinayak Temple
The Kallu Veinayak Temple
The walk along the way is beautiful. even though the height gain is significant the gradient is gentler than what we encountered on our way to Bedni. The total distance covered is close to 6 km. We keep running into mountain folk along the way. We are told there is some event of significance going on as a result of which a lot of people are heading to Roopkund.
We reach the Kallu Vinayak pass.
We stop here and have a snack of apples and cheese.
There is some speculation that the idol might have been got from people not native of this region, maybe the ones who were know to have perished in Roopkund.
Our stay for the night , this is where we camped in Bhagwabhasa
From here on its level land. But the Landscape gets Rockier. The paths laid are with sharp stone to make them last. A drizzle starts. The winds are merciless. Grass gets scantier and new flowers appear. The Bhram Kamal is seen widely at this altitude. Its structure resembles leaves rather than our idea of what a flower would be like (Coming from the plains :))
We suddenly walk into a place that resembles a ruin... Just as am wondering if I should take out my camera, Chandan announces that we are here. We have reached our destination. Am a little shocked. How are we going to stay here? , am thinking to myself.
We identify places to pitch our tents. First comes the kitchen tent. Then our tent and a little higher the four man tent for the guys.
Our tent is perched on a semi stone enclosure. Chandan explains that these stony structures were built for shepherds, to camp for the night. The roof normally is covered by tarpoline, something that the inhabitant is expected to carry if he lives here.

More Pictures of our Camp Site

Suddenly it gets too cold. So i run into my tent and sit there. My socks are drenched. Change to warmer clothes. But the chill is everywhere.
Just as we are settling in two more parties arrive. One from Bengal- about fifteen people!, created quiet a ruckus on their arrival. The other - just locals who are participating in some kind of temple reconstruction of the Kallu Vinayak we are told.
They are not exactly welcome. We are already cramped for space and this means a lot less privacy.

The Mules on our team who abely carried our luggage to great heights
Just as am changing , I notice a tiny visitor. The mouseeee...Eeeeks..
The cute little thing doesn't know his way out and he seems all set to get into the tent.. I call out to Bianca and somehow, he manages to scurry away.
The Mice in these places don't have tails. Some sort of adaptation to the environment here.

The Stony structure right upfront is where our tent was pitched..

I don't like this place too much. After Green Bedni, stony Bhagwabhasa is not very appealing..

I ask Bianca if we can trek Roopkund Tomorrow instead of the acclimitisation we had planned for the next day. Luckily the group has the same thought. Since we have a consensus we go ahead.

We lunch and do a short acclimatisation walk in the evening. Loads of flowers (Bhramakamal) strewn along the landscape. Am really in no mood to take my camera out.
Am beginning to really miss home and am glad we have decided to cut our stay in Bhagwabhasa short by a day.

As the clouds clear , the sun comes out and the peaks emerge into view. Its a captivating sight.
We retire early Tomorrows climb is going to be a challenge, especially at this altitude. As we make our way to our tents Bianca points to the night sky.. Spectacular!... Have never seen so many stars. This is how it is up in the mountains I'm told. The milky way spread out... I so wish Amma could have seen this.. Something she truly loved...

We get into our tents. But Somehow am freezing. The shivering doesn't stop for a while and on Bianca's advise i breathe deeply. Finally we settle in. The stones below are ice cold and it seeps in somehow. Just another night here I tell myself.
Am excited about the day ahead...

Luv
Meena

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