An enchanting sojourn

An enchanting sojourn

An enchanting sojourn

An enchanting sojourn

When I got a week’s break from work last year, the travel bug inside me couldn’t stay put. I finally zeroed down on Rupin pass with my friends in the first week of June.

A high-altitude pass across the Himalayan mountain range nestled in Himachal Pradesh, the stretch holds a number of surprises bouncing along the way. Gushing waterfalls, snow bridges, lyrical rivers, green meadows and fir forests are its highlights and no wonder, it is rated as one of the top Himalayan treks.

Looking back, the seven-day journey was exhilarating. From Bengaluru, we reached Chandigarh and took a bus to Dehradun. That was the first point of the trek and then we reached our first base camp — Dhaula — by jeep. I remember the route was a nine-hour journey and we braved those curvaceous trails and hairpin bends.

Our hike started from Dhaula, a sleepy hamlet dotted with rhododendron forests and fields. We could see the gushing Rupin river that led us to our next point — Sewa village. It was finally nice to walk or drive without any mobile device and just listen to the music of the river. We reached Sewa, one of the most efficient, mind-blowing villages that I have encountered. The entire village comprises only 10 to 15 households and the people there live by candlelights. They are the nicest people I have met and their lifestyle includes growing ‘ragi’ and ‘rajma’ and selling apples.

From Sewa, we crossed over to Himachal Pradesh and reached Jhaga. It is also known as the hanging village and is located at the edge of a mountain. The wooden houses look as if they are floating and the trail is not an easy one to complete. There are multiple steep sections and one has to be in the right frame of mind to brave through this step. However, the surroundings are worth it as it is decorated with beautiful deodar and walnut trees. There are green meadows, snow bridges and gushing water streams.

We reached another campsite and just as we started hiking, it began to pour. It was quite tough to trek there as we had to get through snow bridges and as we walked on it, it turned to ice. Colours changed as we walked — from green, brown and yellow to everything in between. We soon reached the lower waterfalls.

It was there that I had a glimpse of Monal, a bird unique to the Himalayan region. It flew away in an instant but the memory is as colourful and flashy as it is. After this point, we started the main hike to Rupin pass. It was terrifying. There was an inclination of about 3 km and the only option was to keep climbing up. We reached the top. The summit was snow clad but the sun shone down on us. It took 12 hours to cross the pass and the trail was crazy towards the end. On our way, we encountered a lot of locals.

The descent was as horrific as we had to slide down the soft snow at a point. However, the peace and our strong team made it all possible. It took us 60 seconds to slide down but it was a lot of fun. We felt like little kids in the big playground of the Himalayas. The weather changes its coat every 5 minutes. It was the first time that I had seen nature and her mood swings. We finished our trek at Sangla and feasted on the spectacular views of the Kinnaur Kailash range. It took a while for me to digest what I had just finished and the life-long friendships the Himalayan mountain range gave me. I think the music and madness of the Himalayas still rings in my head every now and then.

How to get there

We flew to Chandigarh by IndiGo. The one-way ticket cost Rs 4, 000 per person. From Chandigarh, we took a private bus to Dehradun. It cost Rs 250 per person. We went to Dhaula by jeep. It cost us Rs 1,000 per person.

Where to stay

We stayed at Sangla Lodging. The room tariff was Rs 400 per person
per night. In Chandigarh, we stayed at Hotel Aroma. The tariff was Rs 200
per person. 

Shreyas Bhat
(As told to Anushka Sivakumar)

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