Thursday, July 25, 2013

Trek To Remember..Kashmir Great Lakes Trek

“What we get from this adventure is just sheer joy. And joy is, after all, the end of life. We do not live to eat and make money.”

                                       George Leigh Mallory

There were some desires which I had as a child and which I was not sure would ever fructify. But as they say no desire remains unfulfilled. Thanks to Indiahikes I was able to do Kashmir Great Lakes Trek which was not a trek but a spiritual odyssey and a journey about rediscovering myself.

 Kashmir has been integral part of my being. In every mountain, in every valley, my soul resides. I had to leave Kashmir due to militancy in 1990 and I was a little child and went into oblivion and put a lid on all that my heart desired. Stories were only thing which were told and through stories I lived elusive dream not quite sure if I could redeem them one day. My father being an avid mountaineer, I was always fortunate to hear stories of his adventures and various peaks he climbed. One that always fascinated me was 50 Miles 50 Lakes. It was always trip in fantasy world. Looking at those pictures I always thought will I be able to experience the magic which my father had eons ago. And trust me it never looked like the reality till I stumbled on Indiahikes website and saw that they are conducting Kashmir Great Lakes Trek. I couldn’t believe it. It seemed surrealistic. I booked for 7th July trek which coincided with my sister’s birthday who also was supposed to go with me but due to some official work had to cancel. Now looking in retrospect, I see it as a blessing because my experience as a solo trekker has been exceptional and soul nourishing too.

Excerpts from trek diary:

I have tried to retain it the way my mind and heart felt back then.

I reached Srinagar after 13 hours bone denting ride, thanks to Amarnath yatra. I met Anand who was a fellow trekker who was also going by road but Anand was sleeping for like 12 hours so I was literally on my own ;)

DAY1: Srinagar to Sonmarg

I reached TRC and first people I met were Vaidehi and Mich who would be my future best buddies and tent mates too. Vaidehi looked all ready to go for trek with her camera dangling around her neck looked all excited. Mich was an extraordinary women, calm composed and one with great determination carrying her back pack and two trekking poles. After formal introduction, we met other fellow trekkers. I met Anand who looked in better shape, Deepen whom we would tease so much in coming days, Jasmine and Naman brother sis duo with whom I would have in coming days so much fun. Anurag(mamu;P) and Neera another brother sis duo who were seasoned trekkers, Bhawna and Khurram(The Mafia guy;P), Tanuj and Chamara from Srilanka,group of three friends from Mumbai who remained more or less with each other, Vainik and Chris and Tanya from Denmark. And not to forget Mr sloth Roopesh who could sleep anytime anywhere. I was also the Team Doctor for the trek.

I boarded Tata sumo which was to drop us to Sonmarg our first campsite, all excited and raring to go. Our campsite was at Shitkari on top of a hillock. I met Vikrant, Josh and Saranbir our trek leaders who gave us formal introduction about the trek.  The best thing about Indiahikes is the concept of green trails, preserving the ecosystem and not spread litter around and carry garbage which we found on way in our garbage bags.I felt so thrilled looking at mountains and general aura was mesmerizing. Snow clad mountains, overflowing river, chirping of birds and garam chai; it was beginning of bliss. My tent mates were Mich and Vaidehi. All fellow trekkers were excited and were seen soaking in bliss which surrounded them. At night sky looked overcast and it started to drizzle. We all hoped weather to clear for coming days and I can tell you for rest of the days it was such a great weather on trek, clear azure blue sky, pristine lakes, reflections in lake and nature in it’s magnificence.

                                                     Sonmarg camp site

                                                      whole team

DAY2: Sonmarg to Nichnai

We were supposed to leave for Nichnai at 8 am but due to rains managed to leave only at 9am when rains stopped. It was fun packing our tents. So we started at 9 am in the morning and reached Nichnai by 2.30 pm. After group photograph we left for Nichnai. We reached Shekdur where we filled our bottles and singing songs and chatting along with Naman  reached Nichnai. I wanted to reach Nichnai early as I wanted to learn how to pitch tents which thanks to our trek leaders I learned. For rest of the days I was part of sweeper gang as I walked leisurely soaking in beauty of nature, absorbing the aura and since I love photography clicking pictures was mandatory. We all stopped by river to have our packed lunch which was much needed. Weather had started to clear up and it was bright Sunshine. Finally reached Nichnai base camp where hot tea and pakoras awaited us. Rest of the day was spend in leisure chatting ,basking in Sun. I still couldn’t believe that I was finally on trek that I had envisioned. It was sky full of stars at night and such a treat to watch the Starry nights. Next morning was the beginning of dreams I envisioned.

                                                       on way to Nichnai

                                                altitude surely gives perspective..datz me;)

DAY3: Nichnai to Vishansar

We started from Nichnai towards Vishansar base camp. We left Nichnai at 8.15 am and reached Vishansar base camp at 3 pm. Our journey to Vishansar started with river crossing in freezing waters and it really was chilly. We could see our camp at Nichnai on other side. After a climb, panorama changed drastically as we crossed the Nichnai Pass. Snow clad mountains, overcast sky, melting glaciers, ferocious streams. Jasmine felt quite cold at Nichnai pass and had to be stuffed with whatever jackets, mufflers we had. As soon as we crossed Nichnai pass, it was walk through flower beds, wild flowers who owed nothing to nobody.

It was carpet of flowers. It reminded me of movie Sound of  Music and the song, The Hills Are Alive With Sound Of Music. I hated walking on flower bed for I did not want to crush them but as someone rightly said; “ Forgiveness is the fragrance violet sheds on the heel which crushed it”. I would stop after every few steps soaking in the beauty and clicking pictures. We sweepers (term for people last in trail) walked and enjoyed. For us journey mattered. But the award for consistent sweepers goes to three friends from Mumbai who held the sweeper banner high till the end;) I kept asking our team leader when will I see Vishansar. I reached  base camp but that was not our camp but of earlier batch of Indiahikes. People over there were very warm and they showed me way towards my Camp at Vishansar. By that time Vaidehi and Saranbir also had reached there so we didn’t leave before eating mouthful of aloo paranthas;) Again a river crossing followed and still Vishansar lake was not in sight, it was behind the small mountain which had to be crossed. We reached base camp and found everyone basking in Sun or taking a nap. Vishansar continued to elude me as they say “Hidden is more beautiful than apparent” so may be I had to wait more. I couldn’t wait. Wasn’t this the moment I was waiting for? And I wanted to be alone in this moment, in silence and in peace. Thankfully  none wanted to go as tomorrow we had free day exploring the lakes. I had my lunch quickly and left for lake, climbing each step till I got the first glimpses of the lake, green pristine, crystal clear lake not affected by time or vagaries, lying there in calm solitude. And I thought emerald was only green! I started trembling and tears welled in my eyes, tears of joy as they say could fill the lake with happiness. It was a deeply emotional moment for me. I had never thought I could be there and feel the same way my father must had felt. I realized my life was mountains and if I drop the parenphelias I associate myself with, My soul lay bare there in all it’s nakedness. I walked around whole lake as if some lost traveler is reconnecting with it’s roots. It was almost sunset when I realized other trekkers had come. I asked someone to click my picture on the same rock which my father had. It was a immensely gratifying day. A day I would not forget at least in this lifetime.

                                                        Vishansar lake one end

DAY4:Exploring Vishansar and Kishansar lakes

It was about exploring Vishansar and Kishansar lakes. Since I had seen Vishansar I headed to Kishansar lake.It was a different experience altogether. Kishansar Iake is a lake of reflection.You meet your soul,your essence in the clear waters of Kishansar. It bares your soul and you are naked without a fa├žade. Reaching there I realized what life was and what it meant. How foolish I was all my life chasing things and goals which never mattered. What hurts me is the fact that why I took so long to realize that. I am peaceful now, at peace with myself and giving my life for things which define me and matter to me.

Coming back from Kishansar, Khurram introduced Mafia and trust me for rest of the days mafia addiction engulfed all;)Deepen’s logic, Chamara the perpetual mafia, Jasmine the good citizen..hahahaha. I had found amazing company in Vaidehi,Jasmine,Mich my amazing trio!!Anand,Me,Vaidehi,Deepen,Naman,Jasmine wouldnot sleep till 12am and would laugh laugh and laugh and would do all bakr bakr;) and I am sure everyone wanted to seal our mouths with fevicol.  Anurag(mamu) was equally entertaining. My symphathies with Vikrant who had to bear the brunt of our laughter;)

                                                      wild flowers

                                                         green trails
                                                  saranbir defying gravity

                                                        our,mich and vaidehi
                                                     anand posing at kishansar lake;)

DAY5:Vishansar to  Gadsar

We left for Gadsar at 7am in the morning and reached by 1pm. After crossing Kishansar lake which was engulfed in fog, mighty Gadsar pass waited for us. It was a steep ascend, Sun was blazing. Finally view from Gadsar pass was worth dying for. One could see both Vishansar and Kishensar lakes. It was a magical moment. After crossing Gadsar Pass, a slide through the glacier awaited. Mine was the funniest.I twirled, twisted and did acrobatics in full 360 degrees till I landed with head first;) After crossing glacier walk through beautiful valley follows. Zillion of wild flowers and riot of colors. Next is descent and long walk till Gadsar camp site. Gadsar also called Yamsar according to Kashmiri mythology is a lake of monsters. Finally reached Gadsar camp site. Gadsar lake is also very serene and peaks high and above bath in engulfed lake.I sat amongst wild flowers and flowing grass and kept gazing at lake and Friedrich Nietzsche Thus Spoke Zarathustra to give me company  . Sun rays shone in lake like mini diamonds.I dont know what else is bliss. Let this moment last forever. Mid afternoon nap in mountains and a raindrop hits my face and I realize whole nature is around me and I  feel a lost child who has come back home to where she belonged. It was a balmy evening at Gadsar which felt so invigorating to senses.Every blade of grass leads a dignified life. Each flower is happy to bloom. What more is to life than this moment?
 Thanks to Mich, was able to see moon for first time during trek, a crescent hiding behind mountains. I was soaking in every moment of my trek. I couldn’t had asked for more.
                                                         Climbing up the Gadsar pass

                                                     at Gadsar pass

                                                     Jaminez smooth slide
                                                      My turbulent fall

                                                           one soul in three bodies:)

                                                          Gadsar lake

                                              scribbling my thoughts at Gadsar lake

DAY6:Gadsar to Satsar

Trek from Gadsar to Satsar. Long long long walk through valley of flowers. We have to cross Gadsar army camp in way. They were very warm and cordial with us. Jasmine got a French plait done by Tanya and I stud it with wild flowers. A lone tree you meet on trail. Trek to Satsar is long and tiring too.What keeps your spirits up is the beautiful meadow and wild flowers which are so captivating that you feel like staying there only.Finally  we reached Satsar camp site.I was tired at the end of this day and I had stopped at so many places clicking pictures. Also I started feeling saddened that trek was about to end. I took a midday nap to freshen me up as normally I would never rest but keep on exploring. Satsar lakes area was collection of 7 small lakes. I could spot five lakes. Next day was trek to Nundkol and Gangbal and climbing up the Zaij Pass.

                                                       Bakr bakr gang;))
                                                       Finally a moon at night at gadsar

                                                  French plait studded with wild flowers

                                                        4 leaf am i lucky???

DAY7: Satsar to Nundkol and Gangbal

We started early morning.First there was river crossing and then boulders, boulders and boulders of all shapes and sizes and then climbing up the zaij pass to have view of majestic Harmukh and Nundkol and Gangabal lakes. Ah! The view was majestic. My all tiredness vanished. I couldn’t believe I was seeing mount Harmukh called in kashmiri mythology as abode of lord Shiva. It was Deepen’s birthday also and he got birthday bumps at 13500 feet;) After ascent ,steep descent followed and we could see ourselves inching close towards lakes. Both lakes looked magical and pure. While everyone else moved towards camp site at Nundkol lake, I proceeded towards Gangbal lake. That walk towards Gangbal with all tired body and hungry soul was nevertheless enriching. As they say save the best for the last.So was Gangbal. I cant say how I felt. Mount Harmukh overlooking Gangbal, I felt a strange serenity ,silence which had eluded me. I sat on rocks and washed my face in rejuvenating waters of Gangbal. It is the same lake which had ashes of my Grandparents and Forefathers and I know my ashes too will have to be immersed in Gangabal when I die because that is only place where I shall find solace. Last year when my Grandmother died, my uncle came to Gangbal to immerse her ashes in Gangbal as it was my grandmother’s wish. I could feel a strange connect with demons and Gods, Ying and yang of life which existed. I sang bhajan in kashmiri which is about Harmukh and devotee waiting at Harmukh for lord Shiva. I really missed my family at that time for the first time on whole trek.

I sat for few hours at hill overlooking both lakes.Gangabal reminded me of centuries of requiem showing exultation with garland of many peaks and Nundkol getting wary of not annoying Shiva.

I came back to camp site in evening having witnessed Godliness in Wilderness. I melted in the melee but I knew one part of me stayed at Gangabal forever. Tonight was the last night of our trek.We had camp fire in evening,celebrated Deepen birthday, sang songs and soaked in the jamboree.

                                                      Deepen bday bumps at zaij pass
                                                     team at zaij pass

                                                   me at gangabal lake

                                                        Night at nundkol
                                                          trek completion certificates

                                                 our trek leaders


                                                      day of descents

DAY8: Gangabal to Naranag

It was the last day of the trek. Day of Descents.Our knees were rattling and through Birch and Pine forests  we reached Naranag.I never wanted the trek to end but endings are necessary for new beginnings. I came as a solo trekker but was carrying truck full of memories, many friends, connected with nature (thanks to Saranbir for that) and tantalizing memories of mysterious lakes which will envelope my mind and soul for time till I visit them again.

My heartfelt thanks to our Trek leaders, supporting staff, fellow trekkers, weather and especially to Indiahikes who gave wings to my dreams.

My journey wouldn’t have been as amazing if not for you all…Mich, Vaidehi, Jasmine, Anand, Naman, Deepen, Roopesh:)

PS: All photographs are copyright protected. 
More pictures at
 Varuna raina Photovisions

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Mysterious Roopkund..Hidden is more beautiful than obvious

"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life."
   Henry David Thoreau

These lines from Walden Pond by Thoreau have always summed up my zest for life,for my need to be in mountains and to live as close to mountains as i could.As you shall be with me on my journey to Roopkund which I couldn't reach due to inclement weather conditions and massive landslides at Uttrakhand, I realized nature doesn't reveal itself that easily.I saw fury of nature and and left with a promise that I shall return.This trip was enriching for I met so many amazing people.I came as a solo trekker on this trip but had three amazing friends at end of it.I received more than I could give..
pure undiluted love,vistas of nature and break from the monotony and cacophony into realms which were magical.I wrote a diary on trek with each days account and it somehow speaks how my mind and heart felt back then:)

14th and 15th June:
I booked my trek with Trek The Himalayas for 15th June2013.On night of 14th i left for Kathgodam via bus (never travel with Kalpana Travels). Bus promised to leave at 9.30 pm but it didn't leave before 12.10am.So it was massive chaos at Anand Vihar ISBT.Thank God I had my sister for company.So finally my bus left for Kathgodam and I was thrilled and skeptical too.Due to landslides on the way my bus reached Kathgodam at around 8 am.I alighted at Kathgodam Railway station where we all trekkers had to meet.I boarded the bus which was to take us to Lohagunj from Kathgodam.There were around 8 people who introduced themselves as Banglore group.I sat on the last seat not quite sure how journey of 12 hours would be. Bangalore group starting chit chatting in their regional language and to be honest,I started feeling bored.Finally a girl gets into a bus,says a hello and sits on seat before mine.After 4 minutes she introduces herself..Hi,I am Toolika and i am from Lucknow.I heave a sigh of relief.We both click instantly.We shared love for mountains among varied others.The girl was nothing short of extraordinary.She had climbed Mount Everest alone with two sherpas in summer of 2012 and had developed frostbite in her feet but she continued climbing.So our journey passed singing and hearing stories of her extraordinary mettle. We had our breakfast of aloo ka paranthas and roamed in orchids and delicious gulab jamuns.We reached lohajung at 10 pm at night.
                                                    on way to lohajung

 For me it was a I bone breaking bus ride first from Delhi to Kathgodam and then to Lohagunj.It was raining heavily.Toolika and me get into quaint little room.We met our fellow trekkers there.We had dinner with rajma,rice,pumpkin and chappatis.We meet our team leader Prakash who briefs us about the trip.W e have hot cup of tea to end the bludgeoning road trip. It was a foggy and dreamy day.Rain drenched soul,foggy realms and cool wind in my hair and lush greenery all around.No sun in sight,but in that rainy day i could see my free liberated soul.This trek was special in many ways mainly because we never knew what would happen next.So it was adventure in real sense.This was not sort of trip where Sun is shining and everything goes as per plan.It was different.Plans were laid bare.We were living life moment to moment,enjoying every bit of it,dangling in uncertainties and going on trails which people seldom followed.
                                 foggy realms

                                                      Toolika enjoying gulab jamuns
                                               on way to didina in rain

16th June

I got up early in morning and it is still raining,raining and nothing else.Torrential rains and complete white out. We all kept staring at sky hoping that rain would stop but it just didn't relent.We were supposed to leave for Didina at 8.30 am but it didnt happen due to rains.Finally our team leader Prakash said that we will leave at 11.45 am for Didina in spite of the rains.We were happy that at least our journey had started but were skeptical about our onward journey if rains continued.Thus began our rainy journey and failure of all rainproof stuff.Some important things i wish to share..always carry a backpack cover,put your stuff in polythene bags in rucksack,carry extra polythene,don't buy ponchos from lohajung,they are useless.
I was drenched to core,my Quechehua  shoes all wet(who said they are rainproof??all sham!!),and nasty poncho adding to my woes.Only Good thing were backpack covers and intelligent packing of clothes so my clothes in rucksack were not wet.It was walk through mud,slush,rains and landslides.12 km walk and we reached Didina at around 5 pm,really exhausted from steep climb and rain induced chaos and soggy clothes.We quickly shifted into our makeshift rooms and it was a cluster of rain drenched clothes hanging and dripping water.Rain hadn't stopped for even 1 second and we were all soggy.We changed into dry clothes and quickly ate food.I ate like a glutton.We had juice make from flowers of Baransh,a local flower.We kept sitting in the room,ordered maggi and kept discussing what to do next if weather doesnot clear.We had discussions with team leader and he said that we would stay in Didina if rains continued the next day and our trek would be aborted.That was the last thing we wanted to hear.It was the beginning of dangling good news and bad news which followed us till we would be back..In Hindi jargon as Kabhi Khushi Khabhi Gham.It reminded me of Zen way of life..Ying and Yang! We were unaware of situation in rest of Uttrakhand and were really annoyed that trek should not had been started if weather was bad.I had dinner with heavy heart and hoped that it would clear in morning.

                                            Our home away from home at didina

17th June:

Morning of June 17th.My mood is all low as rains are continuing without stopping so we might not be able to go any further if rains continued even tomorrow and our trek would be cancelled.
What did i learn? Nature doesn't reveal itself so easily. Nothing is above nature.We are tiny specks in grand plan of universe.We have to bow before nature.Humility,patience,understanding comes and HOPE is that four lettered word which is the most important thing we live for...To see a sunny day!But all said and done whatever has to happen will happen.So the whole day is spend in Didina village in most exhilarating manner amidst continuous rains.We all laughed,sang songs,played dumb charades. Bangalore group came up with quirky  pictures like Dayavan the humble man,howrah bridge par latki chudail,saleem langde ko mat maro etc...I was really amazed at their filmi sense.It was a laughter riot.Interspersed with that we had pakoras and chai and intermittent glimpses of clear weather in which we all would do some photography.
That night after we had our dinner Santanu came running and said sky is clearing, I can see moon and I saw three stars.Everyone was thrilled.We never had viewed sky with such keenness and love before.

                                                    oak forests

                                                    ali bugyal


                                                       madness maddened people...

                                                         defying gravity
Rohit in his elements
Silkworm farm

                            Sight of moon and two stars

I heard people saying saw one more star,two more...and with a hope we all slept that tomorrow we could continue our journey.
I had never valued moon,stars and clear sky so much before.Isn't that what life teaches us..valuing things which we don't consider important or we choose to carelessly ignore.

                                               didina in rain

                                                    beauty of didina
                                                girl power

                                               The fellow trekkers at Didina

18th June (day4):

We wake up to a clear sky with no rains so we are happy but it soon turns cloudy and starts to drizzle.We have our breakfast and leave for ali bugyal at 8.45 am.It is steep climb till we reach magnificent Bugyals.We eat boiled egg,potatoes and nutrela. which are absolutely delicious.Sight of bugyals verdant green is a feast for eyes.All my fatigue just vanished away.We were told as for always that we would go to Bhagwawasa tomorrow if weather permits.Meanwhile sleeping bags at Bhagwawasa camp are all wet so really don't know what is in store for us.
At the end of day 4,I had found three amazing friends Toolika,Priyanka and Rohit who were little more bohemian than rest.Our group was named the M square..madness maddened group.We roamed in Bugyals as if we owned them.We slept hoping that tomorrow weather would be fine.

                               ali bugyal

   me and priyanka at Ali bugyal

                ali bugyal

19thJune (day5) :

We wake up to slight drizzle and cloudy weather.I whole night keep peeping though small window in that hut to see that whether weather had cleared or not until I slept.We have our morning breakfast and we are told that we are going Bhagwawasa and we all are so thrilled.Amazing feeling and we are told to pack our bags. As soon as we pack there is another twist in story,we are told we cant go as all tents have uprooted and weather is bad.My heart sank and i felt like puppet in hands of weather. Felt shattered that we were not going Roopkund.It seems that Roopkund was not yet ready to reveal its mystique yet and we still will have to toil mebbe at re trek next year which TTH promised.
So,our Roopkund plans got shelved and we moved to Bedni bugyal from ali bugyal.Bedni Kund had clear pristine look and is invigorating to senses.This splendid greenery never moved me this much before.We came back from bedni to ali bugyal and moved back to didina from there which was clearer and brighter than what we left.It isnt easy to come back without completing what you intended to but we have to bow before natures will.and we didn't let it spoil our next few days.Our downride from Bugyal to Didina was fun filled with Prakash our team leader singing husn pahadon ka from ram teri ganga meli which had become viral on our trek and everyone humming it on their way.Prakash had nice voice and he would sing very soulfully but he never allowed me to record it for reasons best known to him.Since road was slippery we would count falls each trekker had and called them grand bugyal falls.We reached didina at 7pm after leaving ali bugyal at 3pm.No Roopkund this time for reasons i cant fathom.Weather was brighter but may be this wasnt our time.As they say Man proposes,God disposes.

                             Bedni kund
                                                         bidding others bye bye...

                                                            me and kaveri:)
                                                               masti time
                                               campfire at didina
                                                mahavir,amar singh ji,prakash and rohit

                                                          Prakash..our team leader
20th June (day6):

We all get up in morning to go from didina to lohajung  and from there trek till dewal as road connecting had massive landslides and was all washed away.We 4 friends decide that we are not going lohajung today as days in our trek are not complete yet.So we four (me,toolika,rohit and priyanka) stayed at didina and while rest all left for lohajung.We bid them adieu.So one more day at didina and it already feels home.Prancing around is kaveri,amazing girl full of nerve and verve,always smiling with carefree abandon and as pure as snow.She was exactly how nature intended children to be.I stayed back at village as i had blisters in my food while rest three went with kaveri exploring village.I sit in quiet solitude with my diary,cup of tea and soulful rafi music..Dil ka bavar kare pukar..
What could be more blissful..silence,dancing clouds.chirping birds,Sun playing hide and seek,Green terrains,Women working in fields with a smile,men lazying around,Smiling Kaveri and eternal satisfaction in faces of people.Here people were so kind and jovial and i already had formed bond with them.I discussed local issues with them,difficulties they faced and getting to know the fact that I am Doctor so many people came to me with their ailments.I was happy that i could help.
I remembered the day when leeches attacked me and i started screaming and everyone was laughing as they said doctors suck patients blood and leeches suck doctors blood...Poor corollary i must say;P
With rest all trekkers having left,there is an eerie silence,music of parting and bliss.I dnt think i want to go back yet.I am happy oblivious of day,date,time,free of facebook,emails,phone,internet.
Isn't simplicity the best and prized possession.We have made our lives so complicated that we have forgotten to enjoy simple things which life offers.I feel blissfully happy.Scum of my mind has washed away.I can see life with afresh perspective where i have to be selfish to pursue happiness relentlessly.We enjoy local life in village,eat local vegetables and Kaveri takes us to silkform farm and little streams and rivulets.We all kept hoping that night shouldn't descend but it did.We had campfire and amazing dinner by Amar Singh jee.He was amazing cook and hard taskmaster at least for Priyanka for she never used to get up early.That black dog Kallu sitting and guarding didina village.Tomorrow all the way to Lohajung and back.Hope roads are cleared so that we can go by bus.

21st June:
Finally we start our journey from didina to lohajung at 9 am and reach lohajung at 1pm.It wasnt easy bidding farewell to didina.It was emotional farewell.We promised them that we would be back again.When we went to kiss Kaveri she just ran away..She said jana hain to ja and ran into her room hiding her face benath acloth.She was amazing.She was attached to us a day before and yet was so detached.She was meant to be happy at all costs and that happiness didnt depend on people or things which was such a great lesson.It was she who had given us so many important life lessons.Since i love Photography and it was treat to click Kaveri for she was never short of poses.Finally left didina and on arrival at lohajung met Prakash and warm sunshine welcomed us.We had bath after 7 days and ate food.While on our way back from didina to lohajung,Toolika said that if we pick up stone we will have to come back again to that place according to local myth.We all readily picked stone for we all wanted to come back to Roopkund which eluded us.
At 4pm,sitting and overlooking the vale,Toolika and Rohit go for last trek to Arjan Top and me and priyanka soak in Sun reflecting at amazing time we had and that we were yet not ready to go home.So when Rohit and Toolika returned we all made a plan of going to Nanital and Jjim corbett park to spread the wings of madness further.People were rushing towards plains and i was in search of Mountains for i always felt i would prefer to die in mountains than anywhere else. So on the morning of 22nd June we left for lohajung but not before Prakash gave us box full of Rasgullas for we always pestered him to give us gulab jamuns.That was not yet the final surprise in offing.There were many more which i shall write some other time.
       bye bye lohajung

As Toolika said;"Purpose of this trip was not to reach somewhere but to meet people and blend in the aura" and that is what happened.I was head to toe dipping in sweet memories,amazing times,uncertainties,vagaries of weather and was carrying bountiful of amazing friends with whom i shall come back to unravel mystery of MYSTERIOUS ROOPKUND...


 “All that is gold does not glitter,

Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither, 
Deep roots are not reached by the frost"

J. R. R .Tolkien

For some pictures of Roopkund trek u can go to