07 October 2011

Valley of Flowers & Mana trek

A little late but here it is anyway - I've been dying to share some pictures from my Himalayan trek. Too lazy to go into details but I'll just say this - it was one hell of a mad wicked trek and I've never felt so proud of myself before. Ever.

Altogether, we did a total of..let's see..close to 40 Kms, mostly steep uphill climb through craggy paths. And don't forget the relatively less oxygen in that high altitude! Not bad for a bunch of city dwellers whose sloppy lives only involves sitting in front of the computer all day every day.

We (me + 2 friends) took the overnight bus from Hyderabad to Delhi, reached Del in the morning. We met up with another friend, then hired a car to take us to Rishikesh. This took us around 6 hours, and we spent the night dining on our last non-veg meal for the trip and chasing fireflies.

We left Rishikesh at around 5 am, another hired another car to take us to Govindghat. This was a long ride and took the entire day despite us having a suicidal speeding driver who was a little wonky in the head. There were some moments I was sure he was going to plunge into a gorge with us with him gleefully pumping his fist at the world.

There are certain memorable things about this ride - the beautiful scenery, and the roads...the roads!!! (GAH!!)
The roads were interspersed with little brooks and 'falling rock zones' and 'mud slide zones.' We were stuck in the middle of nowhere for over an hour because of a major landslide that had blocked the road, and several minor ones along the way to add more color to the trip.

There were some areas that actually had rocks crashing down on the road as we were passing through and there's nothing you can do as you zig zag through except pray that nothing too big falls and whatever falls doesn't fall on you. Scary!
We reached Govindghat in the evening. It was cold here, which was a relief after Delhi which was its usual charmlessly hot self, and Rishikesh too which was disappointingly stuffy and humid.

Govindghat is at an altitude of 6000 feet and is the last motorable point on our journey. It's quite pretty, surrounded by very TALL mountain ranges on all sides and with a big river running right through it. From here on we would have to continue on foot.

We checked ourselves into a hotel, stayed up late telling each other ghost stories and again got up very early so we could make an early start.

First picture of the day - the trek begins.
It was a 13 Km trek to Ghangharia. We covered the first few kilometres pretty fast and without too much trouble. Here we are posing after we finished our 5th kilometre, feeling pretty good about ourselves.
Little did we know that we had only covered the first few easier part and that the rest of it was going to be absolutely grueling.

The sun went down on us, trapping us in a freezing forested area full of langurs (I'm terrified of monkeys, but I feel slightly better about these langurs. I have a feeling they're smarter than the regular monkeys).
We stumbled into Ghangharia in the night. I think that was the most exhausted I've ever been in my entire life.

Ghangharia is at 10003.280 feet. It's only open for half the year, and for the other half it is apparently covered by 8 feet of snow.
This is where we stayed. The entire village runs on a generator and all lights go out at 10pm. You have to make sure you're in bed by 10 no matter what.

We had a little supernatural experience here. Will write about it some other time if I ever feel like it.

Okay, this is going to take forever so let's just post some pictures.

Here is the actual valley. This is at 10,500 - 21,900 feet above sea level.

After doing the valley, we decided to hire another car to take us to Badrinath because we wanted to see Mana, the last Indian village. Mana has no hotels so we had to stay at Badrinath and trek to Mana from there.

We bribed some locals to take us across the river with this condemned trolley.
Bonus pics:

I was thrilled to find these pomelos on tyhe way to Rishikesh.
Cabbage patch in Mana.
The famous Edelweiss. I promised before we left for the trip that if I found an Edelweiss, I will sing the song. This is the first time I'd seen an Edelweiss, so I wasn't too unhappy abut having to wheeze out the song up there in the mountains.
After all this great physical feat, I came back and then fell seriously sick with dengue fever and spent several days in the hospital instead. But now I'm out and happy and well and planning another trek.


diary said...

Beautiful pictures. Waiting with bated breath for the 'supernatural experience' post.

caribou said...

Thlalak a fiahfai tha hlawm bawk a, Jerusha zarah mit a tlai leh ta. Bonus picture chung ber ami khi, helama "Sertawk" kan tih ang hi a ni mai lo maw? A tui ka ti reuh asin. Bawm chhunga chuang chunga tui in kan dan mawlh mai khi.....

Anonymous said...

Great post, as usual. Wish I too could go there someday.....

Jerusha said...

Diary - hahah seeing how lazy I am maintaining this blog these days I doubt I will ever get round to writing it

Caribou - khua a fiahfai that azarah pic poh an rawn fiah ani, ka camera hlui tawk chhete a ka lak vel an nia. Aw pomelo chu sertawk ni chiang e. Tikhian kawng sirah an lo zuar a, Mizoram a kan sertawk twe ang chu tluk lo tak ani mahse rin loh deuh a ka hmu kha ka lawm lutuk a ka ei lui teeuh tho

Jerusha said...

John - You should definitely try and make it there. I'm sure you'll love it. Hope all's going good over there in Vietnam!

H.Vangchhia said...

Lung avan tileng vele. 1989 khan kan kal ve tawh a, a par vullai ani bawk a a mawi kher mai.

H.Vangchhia said...

Edelweis, Edelweis, every morning you greet me.... brings back my childhood memories. The children would sing those songs from The Sound of Music with dad and we were all so happy.

Jerusha said...

H.Vangchhia - I lo va han kal hma bik ve. 80's ah te chuan tiang hmun a awm tih pawh hre lo in ka hawi vel lawl lawl mai mai. A par zual lai hi kan nang lo min lo la ti, ruah a sur tam a, pangpar tam zawk an par tawh lo an lo tia, ka ui teh asin. Mahse nia a hmun han thlen chhoh chuan a par vul nasa lutuk a, Edelweiss takngial te ka hmuh phah a ka lung a awi khawp mai.

Lucy In The Sky said...

A nalh bawn let tawp tawp. Mana hi ka kal chakna a rei tawh, a la rem hleithei lo a nih hi :(

Ser khi... kan naupan laia kungzungpui pil pawp a an pet thrin kha a ang. Serpui an tia maw ni kha le. Hre lo ve chiangkuang asin :)

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Because the Himalaya, home of the snow, is the most impressive system of mountains on the earth, and for centuries the setting for epic feats of exploration and mountain climbing, are a world into themselves.

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