LAMADUGH – A LAND OF SERENITY!

Lost somewhere in between the dense pine jungle of Old Manali, I and my buddies saw the Lion king rock from afar but the way to reach there was blocked due to a minor landslide which is a frequent sight in the mountains.

That’s when we heard a sound from the bushes. We got scared because earlier a local informed us about a bear that was spotted in the trek a few days ago but it was not what we were expecting.

The mountains did their magic and sent their cutest guide for our rescue. We saw an adorable mama dog wagging her tail and running towards us. She greeted us with all the love and kisses she had and took us to her pups who were hiding inside a small cave just below the Lion king rock. Those fluffy balls of love started jumping all around us inviting us to play with them. They filled us with happiness and unloaded all the fatigue from our bodies.

The view from Lion king rock was also mesmerising with beautiful glaciers on the horizon and the town of Manali beneath us. There was dead silence and in that silence, I could hear the mountains talking to me, urging me to stay in their lap. This was just a gist of the captivating sights and serenity the mountains had kept hidden for us.

We bid farewell to the pooches and started to move ahead. The climb was steep and melting snow made the path muddy and slippery which meant more hard work to reach the top.

There was a dramatic change in the surroundings, the dense thicket transformed into a lush green plain filled with alpine flowers. My mind wasn’t willing to believe what my eyes saw. Something so beautiful yet so tranquil. The serenity of Lamadugh enslaved my soul and the picturesque setting of the plains looked like a beautiful masterpiece created by mother nature.

I closed my eyes, raised my hands high up in the sky and took a deep breath of the fresh air in Manali. The breath-taking views of the different faces of Indrasan, Deo Tibba, and Bara Shangri glacier were the incentives we got for our efforts. I was asking myself “Is this all real or is this just a fantasy?”. My rendezvous with Lamadugh changed me as a person, it helped me realise the fact that happiness is not where you think it is and peace is nothing but freedom from your inner fears and boundaries. There’s more to human existence than material luxury and social status. It taught me how to deal with my mistakes, find my way in life and never stop moving forward no matter how difficult the journey gets.
This is the power of the mountains, they change your perspective towards life.

If you’re voluntary to rewrite yourself and dwell in the ataraxy of Lamadugh then here’s how you can reach this otherworldly tableland:

The starting point of the trek is easily visible. It exists near a water tank which is just a few minutes of a walk ahead of Hadimba Devi shrine. The trail is clear, well built which after a while gets narrower and turns deep inside the dense forest of Deodar and Pine trees which runs on the borders of the Manali wildlife sanctuary. The charm of this trek shortly wiped out the terror of the carnivores roaming in the wilderness from our minds. Cross the Lion king rock and keep moving upward till you reach a small but ravishing plateau. You can sit and recover your breath here amidst the equilibrium of the mountains. Lamadugh is just half an hour of an uphill hike away from this point.
Lamadugh is a deserted alpine plateau, untouched except for a small government made a hut for the shepherds and a thick growth of alpine flowers.

I feel blessed that our hunt for an offbeat place took us to one of the most enchanting treks we’ve ever been to.

Gurupreet Arora

Instagram Handle

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DHUNDI VILLAGE – TREKKING IN AVALANCHE AREA

Sitting with three of my likeminded friends in a room in Palchan, a small village situated 11 km ahead of Manali, we were talking about places to explore nearby. We didn’t plan this trip, we just followed the tune of nature and synchronised our movement rhythmically, that is rather summing up sophisticatedly for an excuse by teenagers who have no clue about life.

That’s when we came across something called ’Dhundi’. Dhundi is the last village in Solang Valley and closest to the Beas river. It witnesses the intersection of the mighty Beas river with its first tributary originating from the Beas Kund and the Rohtang Pass respectively. It is also the first village from the south portal of the Rohtang tunnel, which is now called the ‘Atal Tunnel’.

Our hotel was adjacent to the Palchan bridge and Dhundi was around 10-11 km ahead of us. So we decided to visit Dhundi next day and fell asleep all excited. The next day I woke up at 7 am and the temperature was -10 degrees Celsius and the sun hid behind the mountains, maybe a little angry with us for not getting up on time to see it’s first rays.

With that thought, I forcefully woke my friends up and we headed towards Solang Ski and Ropeway Centre. We were stopped by the Border Road Organisation’s ranger, who at first was very friendly but as soon as we told him about our destination, got a bit sceptical. We asked him the way to Dhundi to which he replied – Bhai Ji, you have already crossed Dhundi and there is no village named Dhundi ahead. But when it comes to travelling, we need to rely on our instincts, so we found an alternative route other than the metal road because before proper roads were made, the Himachali people used hidden trails in the mountains to travel.

We eventually were treading on a rock trail which was on the outer edge of the mountain but gradually curved into a narrow trail which led us to a pine forest. Suddenly we were amidst a thick blanket of snow and we had lost it. Each step we took made us feel heavy than the previous one because the snow got inside our shoes making them wet and heavy. We thought this is probably our last trek.

Our trail suddenly ended on what I think was an intersection of two adjoining mountains, it forced us to take a left to find us ourselves in the middle of a snug waterfall flowing over the trail we were supposed to take. We were stuck again. One of my friends went to look out for an alternate trail but came back disappointed.

There was only one way to cross and that was to jump on the other side. Luckily we found a tree to grab onto so we land safely. So I jumped first and barely caught it because my feet slipped, I quickly cleared away the snow from the landing spot for my friends to jump. We came back close to the highway and clearly saw the intersection of our trail and we all were pleased to see the road again but it was short-lived. We heard a rumbling sound and found ourselves looking at two big boulders tumbling down from the mountain bringing with them kind of a mini avalanche just a few hundred metres ahead of us. We never had an experience like this before feeling so helpless in front of nature. All we could do was to run for our life. We discussed taking the road back to Palchan.

But we didn’t come this close to go back without entering Dhundi.

After a kilometre, we saw a partially completed tunnel just next to a tunnel which was entirely destroyed by a landslide. After crossing the tunnel and covering another kilometre, we saw massive cranes, excavators and road rollers. We found the supervisor of these massive machines and asked him about the place. He told us we were near Dhundi. He asked us about how we got here, so we told him about the ranger and the trail we found. 

He blatantly told us – you shouldn’t have taken the trail because this whole area is an avalanche and landslide prone area and in the winter months this place is unpredictable.

Tourist cars need prior permission before entering this area and that too on a very tight come and go schedule because there can be an avalanche anytime”. He was clearing the highway which was blocked by a landslide which struck 3 days before we visited. He also told us to return before it gets dark because temperature reaches as low as -20° Celsius in the evening itself.

I looked at my watch, the time was 1:30 pm and we still had 2 kilometres to cover so we increased our pace and reached the Dhundi bridge. 

Being a snow-fed river in Solang Valley region, the Beas river was almost frozen and there wasn’t too much water so we decided to find the intersection point following the river and we were successful.

Two rivers with water as so clear that even the tiniest of the pebbles on the riverbed was visible to the naked eye. As soon as I reached the intersection, I removed my gloves, sat beside the Beas river, dipped my hands in the icy cold water and took a sip of the cleanest water that I ever drank in my entire life and probably the cleanest water in the entire Himachal Pradesh at that moment.

We were walking on snow that nobody had walked on for months. We were finding solid ground by poking a long stick in the fresh snow.

There were massive rocks in the then dried up Beas river which we used to sit and admire the beautiful scenery that Dhundi showed us. We found a perfectly elevated rock to sit and admire the view.

We were completely isolated. During sub zero temperature, the villagers of Dhundi go to a lower region and make a temporary settlement to be safe from avalanches and landslides. So it was just us, the endless mountains and the crystal clear Beas river flowing beneath us.

This was the most thrilling and the most frightening adventure of my life.

From jumping over a waterfall in the edge of a mountain to witnessing an avalanche in front of my eyes. This adventure made me rethink our existence.

How easily our life could be taken from us.

We should live life to the fullest and do what our heart says because life could be unpredictable. 

So travel as much as you can and as soon as you can.

Gurupreet Arora

WHY DOES HE TRAVEL TO THE MOUNTAINS?

Screenshot_2020-06-21 R O B I N ( cliffclimber_) • Instagram photos and videos

According to him, the Mountains are the best places on Earth to go for an adventure. He can be completely free and is able to do many activities in the Mountains. From nature walks, hiking, camping, trekking, rock climbing, mountain biking, paragliding and much more.
He loves to indulge in one or more of these activities whenever he travels to the mountains because it fills his soul with simplicity, adventure and joy.

He Travels to the Mountains because he constantly wants to appreciate the beauty of nature, and he thinks that Mountains are the best creation of God. Trees, river, lakes, glaciers, birds and animals – he loves everything which makes these mountains worth admiring.
He travels to the mountains because he just wants to sit on a cliff and be thankful to Mahadeva for the blessings and got a chance to live this life and witness his beautiful creation.
He Travels to the Mountains because he wants to know himself, he is curious to know his strengths and weaknesses, the more time he spends in the mountains, the more he gets to know about himself.

ROBIN RAO

3 BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS FOR MOUNTAIN LOVERS


For all the mountain lovers, just like us, there is some relief despite the grave situation we are facing. We know it is not easy to let the adventurous bug be suppressed. The trekking season usually starts in May and ends in October. A period of five months full of exploration, camping, hiking, trekking, discovering new trails, Off -roading and making new friends has gone down the drain.

But we have got you covered with three gripping books written on the Himalayas covering the entire region, if we can’t travel temporarily, we can read about the adventures and plan for later what we have missed, so check it out.

A Bond with The Mountains by Ruskin Bond

The famous mountain man Ruskin Bond wrote this book back in the ‘90s and the book was first published in 1998. Simple, innocent and childlike, the story will probably make you fall in love with the mountains like a child’s unstoppable enthusiasm. Things like wayside stations, children waving at the train and the people in it, the exotic plants in the hills, birds, leopards, deodar trees, rhododendron plants and fireflies. A must – read in times like these when we are frustrated with overthinking about the economy, career and profundity, not realizing that; it’s the simple things usually that are most profound.

The Land of Moonlit Snows & Other Real Travel Stories from The Indian Himalaya by Gaurav Punj

If you are someone who has hiked and trekked a number of times and are ready to take the next step, this book is for you. The book covers real stories of Gaurav Punj, his wife and a few of like minded friends journey to upper Himalayas – Leh, Ladakh, Spiti, Kalpa, Sangla, Jolinkong, Kugti and Sikkim. The simple life of people in the mountains, their hospitality, culture and festivals, tips and information, raw adventure, and good humour. Gaurav has written an authentic and interesting travelogue covering his adventures that will help us all adventurers, so you can’t afford to miss it.

Walking the Himalayas by Levison Wood

Levison Wood, ex British Army and now a full-time explorer, writer and photographer walked the most dangerous and rugged terrains of the Himalayas. From Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal and Bhutan, meeting His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Dharamshala – the Central Tibetan Administration headquarters. Meeting nomadic tribes in Afghanistan and Pakistan border and reminiscing hitchhiking times in Nepal at the time of political conflict. Most of the journey is done on foot because as Levison Wood says – travelling on foot is the only way to really explore the back country and villages hidden from the main trails and roads and there is a unique bond that unites walkers everywhere.

We hope these books bring you joy and make you dream about the mountains more often. You have a book to recommend and join The Inner Outdoors community?  Email us at theinneroutdoors@gmail.com with “TIO” in the subject line.

Jayant Jayneel

HE/SHE TRAVELS WINNER

Why do I travel? It makes me free and digs deep within. It eventually and constantly lets me know; nature is always around us no matter whatever you do and wherever you go. Travelling gives me chills and makes me feel alive. Travelling is not just about reaching a particular destination, it’s about the journey you take where you get an opportunity to feel and see new experiences.
While travelling, we take so much with us, our bodies longing for relaxation to a broken heart and so much more. We try to live every moment to overcome all our fears and sadness, and when the journey is over, we come out as better and evolved human beings.
I heard someone say ‘This world is a beautiful place, and we have very little time to see and experience it all’. So, pack up your bags and travel, but live your travels and choose to take the positives along with you.
It is all about the mindset.

Rohan Kataria

Instagram Handle

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Pin Parvati Pass – A Must Do for Experienced Trekkers

What can I say about Pin Parvati pass? It is a dream. One of the best treks I have ever done in my life. Pin Parvati offers everything a trekking enthusiast expects from the mountains. This trek is magical and ideal for adventure lovers, as it fills you with thrill and a high dose of adrenaline. The Trek starts from the Green Parvati Valley in Kullu district and ends in deserted Spiti valley. Let me be very clear. Pin Parvati Pass trek is not for beginners because of the difficulty level. It falls in the challenging category.

It is challenging because of the following reasons:

  1. It is a 7 days’ trek with high intensity and a distance of almost 100 km. That means on an average, one needs to trek for 4-6 hours each day which is not easy at high altitude. A person should possess good physical fitness to complete this trek
  2. There is no communication and help if something goes wrong in between the trek. For example –  falling sick, mountain sickness or any major injury. There is a good amount of altitude gain every day on this trek, with maximum altitude being 17,500 feet at Pin Parvati Glacier
  3. There is no mobile network connectivity for around 8 days, no civilization and help, so one needs to take extra precaution
  4. This trek offers walking on different kind of terrains, which becomes treacherous. Walking on steep, narrow trails, ridges, stones, glaciers, crossing multiple streams and rivers

If you are an experienced trekker you needn’t worry about these difficulties and can handle most of it. But trust me, this trek is worth all the mental and physical effort that a trekker faces during this journey as each day is filled with new beautiful places which you would have rarely seen. I was fascinated by the beauty of mountains and nature which you encounter during this trek. The campsites are so beautiful you will want to make it your home.

Why should you do the PIN PARVATI PASS trek?

  • If you have prior trekking experience and want to take it to the next level, then Pin Parvati is the trek that can add a lot of weight to your ‘Trekking Resume’. The trek starts with gradual ascent and Parvati river flowing on the side. The trail comprises of crossing forests, walking on steep paths continuously, snow, slippery ice, moraines for hours at high altitude and hot sun which is really exhausting but worth all the effort because of spectacular views.
  • If you are in love with the beauty and thrill of high altitudes. This trek starts from an altitude of around 7500 feet and with each passing day there is a gradual altitude gain and reaches maximum of 17,450 feet at Pin Parvati Pass.

As you go higher, the landscape and terrain changes with the altitude. From lush green Parvati Valley to crossing a vast glacier and ultimately landing up in deserted rough terrains of Spiti Valley, the thrill never stops.

  • You want to Camp every day in a Different Terrain and Setting.

Conclusion:

Pin Parvati Pass trek is a versatile trek. Each day you will get a chance to camp in an entirely different setting.

On the First day you camp at Kheerganga, a place famous for hot water springs.

Second day the campsite is at – Tunda Bhuj with green lands on one side and huge waterfalls falling from humongous mountains on the other side.

On the third day you enter the Valley of Flowers and camp in the middle of a place called Thakur Kuan.

On the fourth day, you reach a place called Odi Thatch which is usually described as the Big Garden. It is nearly as big as a football ground, no exaggeration. All the sides are surrounded by snowcapped mountains.

The tents are pitched in this big meadow with a breathtaking night sky and the milky way galaxy.

On the fifth day you will reach a beautiful lake called ‘Mantalai Lake’. This is one of the major attractions of this Trek. This Lake is the source of Parvati river and considered to be a holy place. A paradise where you can sit beside the lake and enjoy its beauty.

On the sixth day, you start trekking towards the glacier and around 5-6 hours of trekking you camp for the night just at the base of the Pin Parvati Glacier.

On the Seventh Day you cross the vast Pin Parvati Glacier, Ice walls and magnificent views of snow-covered mountains and peaks of the Himalayas and finally after some time you are at the top of Pin Parvati Pass.

Reaching at the top is quite satisfying and a feeling of accomplishment. The views from the top are truly remarkable and you cannot stop appreciating the art of God who has created this beautiful nature.

After crossing the glacier, you enter the Pin National Park of Spiti Valley and after crossing a couple of water streams you will reach the final camp.


Robin Rao is a passionate mountaineer and a fitness enthusiast. He started rock climbing at an early age and then started mountain trekking and climbing avidly in the Himalayas.. His passion for outdoors made him discover another passion in his life i.e Fitness.
Staying Fit has become his priority now and he truly enjoys his passion by indulging regularly in Fitness activities like cross fit, functional training, cycling and running. He is also associated with Decathlon Sports India as a Brand Ambassador.

Instagram Handle

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MUSSOORIE! WHERE IT ALL BEGAN

Do you remember your first trip? what is it that influenced you to travel? was it a place? A specific experience? Or just various people you met in your travels? Do tell us, we are curious. Read our Head Of Copy Jayant Uppal’s story on his love with the world of Travel began.

Jayant Jayneel

1990, Mussoorie, somewhere near Kempty Falls. It was my birthday and my parents took me on my first trip. With a heavy heart, I have to say that my parents are not together anymore, as much I desire togetherness and a strong familial bond, some things are inevitable and they are not meant to be. But then, on the other hand, some things are certainly meant to be and so deep-rooted that no matter how many ever times you go off track, they will lead you on the trajectory you’re meant to tread on. My first trip has made me into the traveller I am. The way I look at the mountains, the way I talk to them, the way I’m so comfortable in their presence, the endless conversations I can have with people while I’m travelling is all because of this trip. Maybe my parents trained me, maybe…

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SHE TRAVELS

She is out of the bus and inhaled as much mountain air she could. She fretted the dirt from her lungs of the city’s polluted air. The chores and tea break is over and everyone is going back to board the bus, the driver started the bus and she put herself back to sleep patiently waiting for her destination. The patience is worth all the inevitable pain and trouble that the bus travelling entails; back ache, nausea and dizziness. It is inexplicable how she longs for the mountains, but if put to a very simple theory, it is as equivalent to how a young woman feels and desires to wait for the right man and her first kiss. Maybe that is how she is feeling.  To her every onset and eventuality in the journey of life is nothing, but a step further towards it. As if the whole life is a mountain and the current moment is the peak. As if all our lives are waves of thoughtless storm and the present moment is the shore. Everything that has happened and everyone and everything she becomes is one step closer towards – This Calling!
As if all the paths she has ever walked upon, were to reach the peak of this moment.

HE TRAVELS


He packed his bag pack with a few basics, windcheater, hiking poles, some other trekking essentials and booked a one-way ticket after a lot of struggle with the availability, but struggle, for him is always ephemeral as he has mastered the art of overcoming every obstacle with dedication and endurance. He managed to book a ticket for the last bus of the day.
He wants to escape, escape to explore diversified things. From meeting honeymooners, attending wild parties, indulging in adventure sports seeking peace and serenity. He has a special affinity for the mountains. His previous trips being transformational. He thinks the hills soak the person in its extraordinary magnificence. But he has higher intentions. His sole purpose is to brush up his mind in the lap of Himalayan mountains and start afresh. To him, peace, perspective, and wisdom are best derived from the mountains, and they generously impart it to the surrendered beings who seek to live life to the fullest.
He thinks the mountains stand mighty and majestic despite all weathers, making a person drawn innocently towards their mystical aura that exudes compelling purity and sanctity, enveloping the earth entirely in its inextricable fold.

HAPPY HOLI 2020

We hope this Holi onward, everyone will tune into the colors of adventure. When the weather is pleasant with balmy breeze, the mountains and the river on either side are your personal trainers pushing you to go forward and explore more amidst the lush greenery. You get mesmerized with such amazing scenic beauty: water, mountains and greenery all together. There is no one but just you on the street with birds above flying and guiding you on the path and you finally stop to take a good view and inhale fresh air. This is the best way to enjoy colours, colours of adventure. This is the way we want you to celebrate Holi every year. So, are you game?

We are organizing some mystical adventure trips next month, on the sweet occasion of Good Friday. So feel free to contact us at theinneroutdoors@gmail.com