Friday, July 18, 2008

Kailash Manasarovar yatra (darshan) - 12

Fifth day 17 Km trek from Budhi to Gunji amongst the beautiful flower valley

The fifth day was the day of flower valley, meandering streams, dark forest full of fragrant and wild roses and snow covered peaks bathed in the light of the sun and a sheep dotted pasture.

A Beautiful flower of Flower Valley

During the trekking we were advised to start early in the morning with light breakfast and reach the destination before noon when the weather will be fine and also we can have a good rest so that we can feel better the next day. So we used to start early in the morning so from Budhi also we started early in the morning when the moon was there in the sky. As it is customary in the mountains to bless and give farewell by sprinkling rice on the people who leave for a yatra our L.O blessed us with thilak (vermilion) and sprinkling rice over our head and sent us for the trek. From Budhi to Chiyalekh (3350 m) the gateway to beautiful flower valley it is a sharp steep of 5 KM and is one of the hardest section in the yatra, so that only our L.O blessed us sent us . Also we noticed another practice here where ever the route was difficult we can see the plant there with vermillion and turmeric applied to it and surrounded by thread The mountain people worship God in the form of plants so they apply vermillion to the plant and tie thread .

Crossing a difficult waterfall on the first day

We have to remember while trekking especially in steep ascent like this is one point in trekking is to climb slowly and steadily rather than to rush, we are not there to race but to reach safely. So we started the ascent gently , the author could climb only half the distance comfortably for the remaining part he used the pony and felt that the slope was so steep that the animal also felt it very difficult but by His grace every one of us including the elderly people climbed the distance in 3 hrs. What we did in Batra Hospital was a single TMT test but in reality this climb was equal to 100 TMTs we realized the importance of the medical examination here in this stretch. We crossed the mountain and reached Chiyalekh in between we witnessed the beautiful sun rise on the mountains and the collage of colors it did on the mountains.

The author along with the Porter

Chiyalekh is the gate way to Flower valley and when we reached there it was warm with sun shine and the beautiful spectacle of flowers of different colours and shapes welcomed us. On the Nepal side we could witness the snow covered Annapurna peak. We thanked Annapurna , mother Parvati who provides food to all the living beings in the universe.

We prayed to Her chanting

Annapoorne sathapoorne Sankara prana vallabe

Jana vairakkiya sithyartham biksham thegi sa Parvati

( Oh Mother Parvati who is full with food and all , the darling of Lord Sankara please bless us with knowledge and determination as alms.)

Our L.O advised all to wear the black goggles regularly because of UV radiation reflected by white snow is more So it is better to carry a good black google with UV protection. We had breakfast at Chiyalekh and took one hour rest and started our trek through the most beautiful flower valley full of pretty yellow and mauve flowers and lush green grass land Yaks could be seen mingling with the herd of mountain cows and flocks of sheep adding to the pastoral settings and we thoroughly enjoyed our trek in the flower valley.

Each color of the flowers reminded us of the Lord and Mother. Red reminded me of His coral body tone, white reminded me of the holy ash on His body, blue reminded me of His greatness in swallowing the poison to save the universe and yellow reminded me of Mother Parvati’s face and the greenery reminded me of the color of Mother. Compared to the climb to Chiyalekh the trek was down slope it was less taxing now and Kali river flowed quietly here . The usefulness of the walking stick is known in down slopes like this only, we thanked the Amarnath Seva samithi and the Lord who made them to gift this to us. We reached Garbyang ( 3180 m) where ITBP men were waiting for us. This village was a flourishing one once upon a time but now as it started sinking people have left now and is called sinking village, there is one friendship bridge connecting Nepal here, as the movement of Maoists is heavy on the other side more ITBP jawans joined us for security. The village is embedded in the midst of stark mountains seemed like it had stood still through time. Little has changed over the years except that the ground has sunken in many places, causing the village to now exist in three levels. In fact many of the houses look like miniature towers of Pisa. Because of the geological fault location this village started sinking. At Garbyang we also met the 11th batch of Kailsh yatris who were returning after a good darshan of the Lord and obtained their blessings. We also had group photo of both the groups.

After this we passed through one of the most pleasing phases of the yatra the fragrance of the saffron flowers and trees wafts us and we had lunch at Shisti and traveled towards Gunji our next camp through tall trees enjoying quite flowing and smaller Kali, we also witnessed the Adi Kailash or Chotta Kailash ( small Kailash). As this snow covered peak on the Indian side resembles Holy Kailash it is called so. As we approached Gunji we had the pleasure of passing through a blanket of aromatic trees exuding local incense. Later we crossed the Kali river just past the confluence of Kali and Tinker flowing from Neapl and entered into Gunji. The village committee of Gunji accorded reception to the yatris. They welcomed us in their traditional manner with beating of drums and offered us refreshments. Gunji is the last inhabited village in this route and mostly at other camps we have only ITBP camps. There is a Post office and also State Bank Of India branch at Gunji situated at an altitude of 3150 meters (10000 ft) above mean sea level. The buildings are built in wood and are typical of the mountain type with balconies, carved doors and newel posts. We can do some shopping here also. During the trek we encounter many natives all of them respect the yatris and greet them with OM Namashivaya and give way to the yatris and help them in all the ways. Their reverence to the yatris is really amazing.

Kali River and Adi Kailash

Our L.O being the director of Delhi Zoo has good knowledge about the geography of the whole of India and he explained about the geographical importance of the flower valley which I share with you. The legend goes the Great Sage Vyas who wrote the epic Mahabharatha and who codified the 18 Puranas have done penance here in these mountains so in his memory this valley is named Byans valley, there are many temples for Vyasa in the villages and the people here worship him as their God. There are snow leopards and musk deer famous for its fragrance musk in these areas. But we didn’t sight any animal our L.O told that they may be in the highest reaches of the mountains.

Dhanuskodi at Chiyalekh

The fifth day was the day of flower valley, meandering stream, dark forest full of fragrant and wild roses and snow covered peaks bathed in the light of the sun and a sheep dotted pasture.

Yatra to be continued............

1 comment:

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