Friday, June 1, 2012

Notes for Dharma valley - a summer trek to the Panchachuli base camp

Note# 4. All uphill (Urthing to Nagling 13 Km)

Started from Urthing after a heavy breakfast and along the way we hit the ITBP checkpost. They had a telephone we could use and we all called home. My mom didn’t pick her phone as usual and they got a few calls back from her much to their amusements. A remote trekking route with an ITBO post is nothing for her… she was used to checking on my father at every Army TCP (transport checking post) much to my father’s embarrassment, when he would be greeted by sir maam ka thodi der pehle hi phone aaya tha”(Sir maam just called a while ago)… this is when he was travelling to really forward border areas. I had half a worry that she might get the number of the 2nd post at Bongling and call me. But well she didn’t know when we would reach there…so it figures:)
Well from there it was an endless up and down trail. We passed raging streams, bridges, scree, snow field, frozen rivers and such. Given my ankle this time I wasn’t doing very well but Jyotsna and Nidhi patiently pepped me up and walked with me. I am grateful. We were all tired out and finally reached the village of Nagling after a bit of a climb. 

It was still the early part of the day nd the sun was blazing. Just at the top of the path that led us into the village were a gaggle of girls…one of them more forward and forthcoming welcomed us and pestered all of us for chocolate. When we told her to come in the evening, she cheekily said that she would be asleep by then so it’s better we hand it to her now. 

It was a village to behold. Beautifully built houses of stone and wood, with doors and facade decorated with goat horns, paintings and carvings of statues of Gods and spirits…and some doors painted a deep deep lapis lazuli blue. The houses had cattle bedding in the lower quarters below the kitchen and bedrooms of most houses. The wealthier had a full courtyard covered with barns and storerooms and different utility spaces, but most others made do handsomely with their flat dwellings.

sridevi nair
sridevi nair

they are built from the granite stones collected from the hills around and then cut to rough slates and stacked over one other. The mortar in between can’t be seen, and from the outside it looks like a tight and perfectly stacked wall of stones. Houses are plastered with mud from the inside and then painted. These old houses need masons who are expert in it…now a dwindling tribe, what with villagers preferring modern brick and mortar houses. These houses absorb the sun heat and stay warm for longer and in summer keep the house cool.

We were the guests of the local prince!... he is the wealthiest in that village so I suppose he can say call himself so. The food was delicious as usual and we had a proper toilet with a bath here. We took a well-deserved nap and then got out to explore the village. Avinash and Dhiren our guides took us around. Dhiren’s parents were from Nagling and we went around seeing his house and also met his parents. We then moved onto other important spots in the village and both Avinash and Dhiren told us of many local lores and legends. I repeat that it’s hard to not believe in larger than life entities. Everything around is so surreal and beautiful and wild and seen in another light can also be threatening. Thy told us about the man who went across the river and was spirited away by fairies. If you look hard at a spot on the mountain across the river you can make out a face of a man and his dog sleeping by his feet. They say in some beautiful enchanted places one should never sleep off…as these other worldly beings might carry you away.  The other story was of a wish fulfilling vessel and a ghost but I have kind of forgotten the flow.

1 comment:

  1. I envy a good way of course :) you are no longer a Mumbai girl. You are a mountain girl....I can see it. The way you have fallen in love with the mountains, the air, the legends :) Loved reading your travelogue. Takes a lot of hardwork to write it out. Thanks :)