When nothing in life makes sense, when you feel lost in the polluted urban jungle which you call home, then you have to go back to your roots, the wilderness from where your species evolved. That place, those mountains from where you truly belong.
After another difficult year , I decided to go for another Himalayan trek in the last week of October 2021 and my destination was Kuari Pass which lies at 3876m height (from sea level) in the Garhwal region of Himalayas ,Uttarakhand.
It was an autumn season in the Garhwal Himalayas and the entire trail was coloured in green , brown and golden colours. You can only see snow above 4100 meters at various mountain peaks that surround you through out the trek.
Some of the peaks that takes your breath away during this trek are Mt. Dronagiri (7066m), Mt Kamet (7756m ), Mt Nanda Devi (7816m) and the nearest to Kuari pass, Mt Pangarchulla (4575m). You feel their presence like a shadow through out the trek.
The trek starts from Dhak Village in Joshimath (about 513km from New Delhi) and from there the entire trail is a steep ascend. The trail takes you through beautiful Deodar and oak forest called as Tali . From your camp in tali forest , you ascend above tree line, walk through golden bushes and various ridges to reach Kuari pass summit. And from there you return back to your camp in Tali forest.
From Tali forest camp you then trek to magnificent Tali Lake and descend to Auli via Gorsan Bugyal, a breath taking green meadow. From Auli you finally return back to Joshimath via ropeway which in itself a breath-taking experience. The entire duration of the trek is 4 days.
The entire trail is covered in snow from December to march and since this trek was firstly explored by Lord Curzon during British rule, it is also known as Lord Curzon Trail.
The Glistening forests , the shining bushes, walking among clouds and the stunning view of the lake were the hallmarks of the entire trek. Camping in the middle of a Himalayan forest and the stunning milky way galaxy watching you from above during chilly nights , is an experience that you will never forget.
These wilderness pushes you towards your roots, which is free from all tainted thoughts you have spoilt yourself with. And when you finally get to know what wrong you have done it is often too late.
So travel, trek to these places and see yourself correcting yourself with each heavy breath you take during the ascend.
The following pics are from my recent trek to Kuari Pass in Garhwal Himalayas, Joshimath Uttarakhand ( about which I will write soon). It was like a fairy tale, the clouds greeted us when we were descending from the summit . It was a mesmerizing, poetic moment that took away all the pains we have gone throughout the ascend.
These moments were captured by me in the extreme cold condition at Sissu , Himachal Pradesh ( -5 or -7°C). I was completely mesmerized by this face of nature and it was tough to take the photo with my bare hands, the cold was cutting through my bones. But I was adamant to capture these moments by testing my limits.
Today, on a bright sunny day, in the morning , we witnessed another climate change-induced disaster in the Indian Himalayas.
Another glacier burst in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district which led to massive flooding and avalanche along the Alaknanda and Dhauliganga rivers. This not only damaged Rishiganga power project but took many lives along the river according to reports.
Previously, it happened in Kedarnath in 2013 when excessive rainfall led to melting of chorabari glacier which triggered the disaster. But that was even bigger disaster that took thousands of lives comparatively.
One disaster took place because of extreme heat and the other because of excessive rainfall. Without a doubt nature is retaliating because of our own karma, Global warming.
The biggest question in front of us is when we are going to wake up and take climate change seriously?
The Himalayan region in our country is least monitored and other issues are given more priority. But we, along with the government ,needs to know that when our environment, our planet is not secure then how can we make our economy secure. When there will be no planet to live then what will be the use of wealth, power or anything else !
The fight against climate change should be our number one priority and efforts should be made to speed up our actions.
There are 100s of lakes forming in the Himalayan region because of melting of glaciers which are shrinking at a fast rate. Many have become time bombs that can burst any moment. Sooner we take this issue seriously better it will be for our generations to come.
We have always admired beauty of nature though we exploited it for our selfish gains. We have already seen a pandemic that exposed our vulnerability and the way we are moving ahead many more vulnerabilities will be exposed.
We have two choices- either speed up our efforts towards tackling global warming right now or wait for the nature to finish us to end it’s misery.