Saturday, January 10, 2009

An Account Of Winter Trek-08 Part 4

Extended Vacation (Kugti & Amritsar)

Dear Diary,

I wish I could convince you that we had a well planned vacation, but it was not to be. Our initial plan for the extended vacation was to trek in Kinnaur. Our planning was so good that we forgot to find out about the time taken to travel to that location from Dalhousie. It turned out to be 2 days. Slouching in a small cramped internet cafe we started searching for new place to trek. The owner of the cafe suggested us Kugti. After seeing the pics he had taken last year in Kugti we finalized on it. But to our dismay it was very difficult to get any information about the stay and travel arrangements. We got mixed reviews about that place from the locals. In spite of the setbacks we decided to go to that place. I believe this was the best decision we have made so far in this trip.

Bharmour: A small town near Chamba is around 7000 ft.
It is well know for temples. More info
Photo By Varun

To reach this place we had to make it to Bharmour. Bharmour is a small town near Chamba. There is no direct bus to Bharmour from Dalhousie, so we took a bus to Chamba. This is the second time we have come to Chamba, previously during the trek. We reached Chamba late and couldn’t get any bus to Bharmour. We halted at Chamba and took the first bus out next morning to Bharmour. The route was pretty dangerous with lots of steep bends and bumpy roads. The scenery was breathtaking. I observed that not once did the bus driver honk, something I found amusing. I come from a place where people honk to the car behind them. We reached Bharmour at 11:00 am. With some snooping around we found that the forest department had jeep services to Kugti. We were a bit late so we decide to hire a cab to take us there. We were told that the cab would drop us near Kugti, but to actually reach the village we had to walk 6km as there were no roads. Another problem was the stay. The forest dept official told us that we might get permission to stay in their guest house. If that doesn’t happen there is no other place to go.

Frozen River: On the way to Kugti one can frozen rivers and falls
Photo By Uttaran

Knowing the risk involved we decided to push on. The route to Kugti was really bad and it took us nearly 2 hours to reach that place. Once there, the cab driver told us that it was 6km walk straight. It was all up hill and after a while we started feeling tired and cold. We realized that there were no humans around and it was really deserted. After 3 hours we finally managed to reach the village.

Kugti Village: A small remote village is last village in the range.
There is no road to this village. People travel on foot or mule.
There is no telephonic communication facilities.
Photo By Uttaran

The village was small but very beautiful and clean. The man in charge of the guest house refused to let us stay. We knew we were screwed. Knowing our problem the guest house in charge let us stay in his house. We realized that we had actually taken the kids room and they all had to adjust in a single room. The dinner we had there was simple but really tasty. We hit the bed at 10:00 pm. Next morning we decided to go to a small temple nearby. The steepness of the path we were taking incremented our determination to see god decremented till we reached an “I” give up” point. We ditched the temple for trek in adjacent mountains. Satisfied with the small trek we decided to head back to the village. We need to trek back to the point where the cab dropped us last time.

A small shack we stayed in
Photo By Varun

We had arranged for a cab to pick us up. After a quick breakfast / lunch session we packed our bags, thanked the family for the stay and hit the road. This time it was mostly down hill. We reached the spot much earlier than we expected. After a short wait the cab arrived to pick us up. We reached Bharmour at 3:30, immediately boarded a bus to Chamba. We had another connecting bus from Chamba to Amritsar at 11:00 pm. We celebrated the New Year’s Eve at Chamba with a little vodka. The journey to Amritsar was cold and bumpy. After checking into a hotel in Amritsar, we went site seeing. Waga border, Golden Temple and Lassi were the best of the lot. We took the night train to New Delhi bringing an end to the adventurous and fun filled holidays.

The Golden Temple
Photo By Varun

There is no part 5 as the return journey was not all that exciting. We were exhausted. The one thing I have not mentioned is the “Yeah” symptom. Our Junglee is know to use the term “Yeah” to express Happiness / Satisfaction etc, and now each one of us started using it for every little thing.


Merin Mandanna said...

The final bit had me speechless!! Some trek,that! (and I love the photo of the frozen river)
Amazing stuff,Varun. And a great read! :)