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Himalayan Memoirs: The Wanderlust



Prelude:
The following posts chronicle day 2 and day 3 of trek after leaving Gomukh..
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Jhala-Ganganani-Bhatwadi-Lata Saera
The path we were taking till now was mostly on the national highway till Jhala. The first of the many shortcuts we took immediately after Jhala. Climbing mountains is surprisingly easy in the mornings. Literally we sprinted to the top of a mountain called Sukha top. This was where we took our snack. More do’s and don’ts dawned upon me. I was told that when carrying the kavad, one cannot drink water nor eat anything even a candy. In fact there is a certain way by which one relieves himself of the kavad. So this essentially means that he carries the kavad upon himself the whole day as long as he is walking except for the 2 or 3 breaks in the middle. It was because of this that the first parts of my body which started aching were not the legs, rather it was the shoulders. Constantly shifting the weight didn’t help so at last I just decided to experience the pain. Soon we came to a place called Ganganani where there was a hot water spring. Of course we took a dip and it was such a relief. The road kept winding in front of us and our destination for the day still seems so far away even at 2 PM in the afternoon. Finally we came to Lata and crashed into extremely small room. There were 2 beds and there were 6 people in that room. It was only then that maamaji told me that today was the day where we covered the maximum distance. We had clocked 35 kms that day and no wonder my body was aching and creaking at every joint. Maamaji quickly added with a chuckle that that does not mean today was the most difficult day. It was extra difficult to get myself to do my hata yoga practices that day. Finally I had food and slept like a log.
 
 
Lata Saera-Bhaelak
This is where the real thing seemed to start. At the start of the trek, we will be leaving the national highway and head eastwards into the hills. 18 kms of uphill climb into the uttarkashi forests. No roads, no human settlements for a long distance. It was raining, the path was slippery and at times dangerous. Our final stop was Bhaelak and it was straight up all the way from lata. I reckon the temperature should have dropped at least 4-5 degrees. We passed through all kinds of floral signatures till we ended up at the high alpine meadow-like landscape at Bhaelak. We reached there pretty quickly at about noon and I am glad at that because it was very very cold at Bhaelak. Bhaelak is a very small village with about 6-10 houses. All of the residents were seasonal and mainly made up of cattle grazers. The view from the Shepard’s hut where I stayed was very idyllic with cows grazing the wide meadow below. There were lots of streams running nearby. The night stay at Bhaelak was very unique. As soon as I entered the hut, Maamaji (who had already reached there) insisted that I sit down immediately. I did not realize the import until my eyes got blinded by the smoke from the chulla. The huts were designed in such a way that all the smoke from the wood-burning stoves will stay at the top so that if one is seated, one is not bothered by the smoke. It was quite cosy by there and the Shepard served us some really good rotis and wholesome curd. The next morning at our usual arati before we load up the kavad’s, one of the women started shouting and jumping in what was quickly murmured as the arrival of the Gods into the women. We were asked to prostrate before the lady and receive her blessing as she was considered as divine in that state of inebriation.
 
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Afterword:
Thanks to the following folks who responded to my appeal and who contributed generously to Isha Vidhya:
and Annonymous
postscriptum:
I am publishing these memoirs also as an effort to create awareness and raise money for the awesome work done by Isha Vidhya. You would be providing me positive incentive to continue to blog if you can join me in supporting this effort.Anything will help. Even 100 INR.

 
 

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