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

LET’S GO

Over ice, I’m freezing
Beautiful eyes, deceiving
We may die this evening
Coughing, wheezing, bleeding
High, I’m an anxious soul
Blood moons are my eyes, stay low
Red and black, they glow
Under attack, in my soul
When it’s my time, I’ll know
Never seen a hell so cold
Yeah, we’ll make it out, I’ll know
We’ll run right through the flames, let’s go.

Gurupreet Arora

Instagram Handle:

https://www.instagram.com/_gurupreet__arora/

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

https://www.instagram.com/cliffclimber_/

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.

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

BEST WAY TO BEAT CORONA VIRUS

There is a lot of chaos and fear because of the Corona Virus these days. Since 31 December 2019 and as of 6 March 2020, 98 171 cases in the world have been reported, including 3385 deaths.

According to The Telegraph – The source of the corona virus is believed to be a “wet market” in Wuhan, China which sold both dead and live animals including fish and birds.  Such markets pose a heightened risk of viruses jumping from animals to humans because hygiene standards are difficult to maintain if live animals are being kept and butchered on site. Typically, they are also densely packed. The animal source of the latest outbreak has not yet been identified, but the original host is thought to be bats. Bats were not sold at the Wuhan market but may have infected live chickens or other animals sold there. 

Image result for coronavirus

We don’t want to blame any country but messing with animals can have serious consequences.  But there is a way to beat the virus, and it is all about simplicity.

Imagine a vast plain ground of grass, a huge meadow. And now, imagine yourself as a kid visiting the Disney land of grass. You inch up to the hill and the cards of nature will flip as the view changes from forest to a magnificent view of large number of clouds drawing beautiful shapes with shining light of a setting sun falling on the snow-capped peaks.

Surrounded by mountain peaks all around this ground is a beautiful place called BuniBuni. With a 360-degree view of the beautiful snow-capped mountains.

A mountain peak in the shape of a crescent moon that we used to see on top of us from Kalga in Parvati Valley, Himachal Pradesh, India.

It is so mesmerizing that it radiates a feeling of ultimate happiness.

Buni Buni pass is a hidden paradise in Parvati Valley. It takes a day hike from Kalga Village to reach this beautiful place of big meadows surrounded by Snow Capped Mountains.

Just enjoy simple cooked food with the locals, the uphill walks with dogs who accompany you, smell the flora and fauna around, and always respect nature.

This year trek with us to BuniBuni pass and beat the fear of Corona Virus.

For queries contact us at at theinneroutdoors@gmail.com

TRIUND TREK

Eleven hours from Delhi lies the majestic Dhauladhar ranges at a height of almost 3000 meters which surges up to 6000 meters. An abode of highly technical and intense trekking.

An overnight bus journey is not comfortable but adventurous, and if you are willing to drive all the way up, it is advisable to take half day off on Friday because you might have to stop and take frequent breaks, it is an exhausting drive. But parathas at Murthal will rejuvenate you.

Instead of waking up to your phone, pollution and noise, when you reach Dharamshala, you will witness cleanliness and cold weather, that will beguile you and convince you to make it your residence. It has an an aura of spirituality and peace, being the headquarters of Central Tibetan Administration- the Tibetan government in exile, and the residence of Dalai Lama, His Holiness.

A must – visit for every traveler, novice or a veteran is the Namgyal Monastery which is the training institute for Buddhist Monks. Experience Buddhist Art and culture that will sooth your senses and make you a wise and profound being. McLeodganj, a suburb of Dharamshala is 30 minutes away and the mall road is a hub of Tibetan handicrafts, carpets and other souvenirs. There are plenty of cafes and restaurants in the range to suit your palate from Italian, Tibetan, Japanese and even Book themed cafes. Some of the top places to eat in the range are:

  • Morgan’s Place
  • Nick’s Italian Kitchen
  • Tibet kitchen
  • Café Illiterati- if you are a book fanatic
  • Jimmy’s Italian Kitchen
  • Lung Ta

If you are seeking out for an adventure on the weekend, head to Triund hill located at the foot of Dhauladhar ranges. A 10 km trek starting from Dharamkot passing through the oak and cedar trees. Make sure you have a good pair of trekking or hiking shoes because the path is rocky and you might sprain your ankle, carry Relispray, crepe bandage, a few basic medicines, good backpack and a tent if you plan to stay overnight and mingle with other wanderers.

Triund is an ideal spot to meditate

HATU PEAK & NARKANDA

Narkanda, in Himachal Pradesh is at an altitude of 2708 meters on the Hindustan-Tibet Road and 65 kms above Shimla, the capital of Himachal Pradesh.

Narkanda is famous for its apple orchards and it also becomes a major ski center in winter. There are about 20 hotels and guest houses in the area so one has to book accommodation in advance. People say it is an ideal retreat for tourists who seek seclusion in the mountains but it is much more than that. It is as if the mountains want to communicate with you, as if the sky is generous and allows our existence beneath, it pours as if the showers are meant to baptize us, as if all of us were meant to be there and expand our horizon about nature.

As you walk on the Hindustan- Tibet Road in Narkanda, you will come across an open
stadium with synthetic turf on your right, called the Shilaroo Hockey Stadium. Just the right environment to play sports surrounded by mountains.

The locals are warm-hearted and helpful, and are very enthusiastic to talk, so be ready for a conversation in the local buses and on the roads. 8 Kilometers from Narkanda is the Hatu Peak, where the Hatu Mata Temple is located. A wooden temple that was dedicated to Mandodari (wife of Ravana).

The path is well built and motorable too, the trekking trail takes you through pine, oak, rhododendron, deodar, sil, fir, and spruce trees. Halfway, you also pass through temporary shelters of Gujjars. The open grazing ground Joh Bagh is located 2 kms from the Hatu Mata temple. Almost an hour long trek via a forest area consisting of Oak trees takes you to the verdant meadows of JauBagh. The meadows are ideal for pitching your tents and camping.

A perfect destination for kids to learn the importance of outdoors and connect with nature and get off gadgets. It’s an easy and doable trek assisted with guides or parents.

Level- Easy

Distance- 14 kms, it will take around 6 hours to reach the peak. You have an option of staying overnight and camping the next whole day. A good weekend camping location with your family and friends.

Ideal season- May to June & September to November

How to get there- Train or car.

Train- Delhi to Kalka and Kalka to Shimla. Shimla to Narkanda by car

HAPPY MAHASHIVRATRI

When we are traversing the path to the absolute, we have to come in contact with many variegated entities from – hobgoblins, ghosts, witches’ demigods, sages, and monks.

Lord Shiva guards the doorway to what matters the most – our transcendental life. He guides all those who are willing to traverse the path to the absolute, assuring them safe passage through all the stages of devotion. He guides us to the summit and through the summit we will reach our transcendental life. A life that should matter the most to us.

We can all pray to Lord Shiva, in fact we can all pray to anyone and everyone, there is never a restriction. It is a myth to pray according to our religion. Each god has a role to play and if we carefully comprehend the roles of each god, we will further comprehend our roles in the big schemes of things in life.

This year we urge you to take blessings from Lord Shiva and visit the Mantalai Lake trek that falls on the way to Pin Parvati Pass. Mantalai Lake is the source of Parvati River, a holy lake situated at almost an altitude of 13,500 Ft. The lake is situated deep and mysteriously in the middle of shiny and snowy white mountains of Parvati Valley. For more queries on the trek, e-mail us at theinneroutdoors@gmail.com
Happy Maha Shivaratri to everyone, let’s overcome darkness and ignorance together and climb as many mountains.

THE MOUNTAINS ARE POWERFUL

The wind is vehement and cold, the shepherds with their herd of sheep are ascending the steps adjacent to the ridge, besides the river. The tall and lush green trees stood profusely and majestically as if greeting the azure sky. The pleasant fragrance of wild yellow and purple flowers spread its magic. It is a lovely morning, crepuscular rays giving a glow to the environment. He sat on a mossy rock at the edge of the river devouring the weather. He took a deep rejuvenating breath and realized he needed no one, but this picturesque view of the mountains that he is sheathed in. The only sound he could hear is of the birds chirping melodiously, flying past over him making the atmosphere livelier.

He wanted to know himself, so the words came out. “I only have mountains as my mentor. Mountains give me peace and perspective. Living in the city makes me feel adrift despite the comfort and the visionary aura. My heart craves for calm, not the solitude, but that innocent and pure spontaneity. It is, when I am in the mountains, I feel purposeful, loved and protected, as if, the mountains want me beside them, don’t want me to go. I don’t know if anyone is aware of the fact that mountains speak to you. All you have to do is to be willing to hear them”. The mountains are powerful and well spoken.