A long impending trip which had all the reasons to be postponed, cancelled, etc., somehow got finally scheduled. Despite last minute cancellations and scary weather forecasts, it started off on time. The 18 hours of the one-way journey was tiring and mentally exhausting but dumb charades, amazing songs, unlimited talks kept the momentum high. The beautiful glory of the mountains started giving its glimpse on the way. Finally we reached our camps, those little bundles of warmth and comfort provided everything that we all were craving throughout.
Staying amidst huge mountains and greenery, everything looked so calm and soothing (it was the first time when I didn’t bother to charge my phone). Life there is not about running for money or career, it was all about getting basic stuff – warm food to eat and happiness in small things. Resting and eating for few hours, we went to Gurudwara Manikaran Sahib, that was a walking distance away (which boys made it haunting!). Once we reached there we could hear the sound of Parvati river waves, the place is a beautiful blend of Hindu and Sikh beliefs. I heard aarti first time in a Gurudwara that had a mix of Hindu and Sikh dieties pictures put up on the walls. The Bhai ji explained the relevance of hot water spring and various other interesting norms being followed there. Then we went through a long corridor type tunnel to a room called Garam Kothi. The belief is that the hot waves there can cure people of many diseases like joint problems, skin issues, etc. It was difficult to sustain there for long as it was extremely hot to place our feet on the ground for long.
After tasting yummilicious kadha prashaad and the divine langar (and after clicking few pictures outside), we went back to the camps. The bonfire set up outside camps was really impressive as I didn’t expect it to be such. Though rain was a hindrance but we sat around the fire and sang songs which was fun.
Next morning we all were prepared for a 12km trek at Kheerganga. After having breakfast and after taking sticks and raincoats, we started walking towards the lush green valley. Not realising the difficulty level involved, I started the trek and the first few metres were all about crossing the big steeps of rocks which consumed most of my energy, and I started panicking as neither I could have gone back nor I was able to continue but thanks to all the trek mates, it literally got possible for me to cover the entire trek within the day light. I still remember the dog which accompanied me (not sure if it was the same throughout the trek), who was literally my loyal friend!! Murmuring Wahe Guru Wahe Guru all throughout (and just remembering mumma and Anjali), I completed it on time.
After reaching up there, we had another camps to stay, I was literally exhausted and was looking for food and some rest, but somehow looking at those mesmerising views, all tiredness got vanished. Not sure what’s the healing power in that air! It was time to trek a km more to reach up till the hot spring bath (though I was in denial mode but had to go as everyone else insisted). And it was great that I didn’t miss it, the warmth of the water just healed my feet completely, it was a little unorganized for girls to take bath there, but nevertheless everyone was supporting each other and it literally acted like a stress reliever.
Trekking down to the camps post the shower was a little different as now everyone was feeling a little charged up and was geared up for more fun. Sharing the dining camp with other tourists (some foreigners too!) also added a fun element. After having dinner together, we all came outside and sat in a circle and decided to play truth and dare. The game not only revealed everyone’s fear/dreams which were all relatable but it also connected all of us at different levels and got all of us a little closer. Next morning after having yummy parathas in breakfast, we packed our bags and started trekking down. We thought going down would be comparatively easier but it wasn’t. Descends got really slippery due to monsoon and the risk of falling was higher while trekking down. Many of us slipped but fortunately nobody got injured.
Seeing the destination coming closer gradually was the motivation to walk faster so that we could avoid the risk of heavy rainfall during the trek. And finally we reached. Back to our tempo traveller, munching on the fresh apples from the trees found during the trek, sharing our experiences with each other and motivating each other for the next 15 hour journey, we eventually reached the destination point.
Looking forward to such trips more!
Author’s note: All pictures used in the article belong to the author and may not be used in any form without prior permission from the author.
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