Pilgrimage with a difference...!
Legends say that priest's used to worship gods connecting the two famous Hindu shrines in Garhwal Himalaya!.Still common man believe it as myth.And here is your chance to be a part of the quest. Adventure with a difference, grand mountain scape . If you feel this as intresting voyage join us in our venture!
Panpatia Expedition is journey across the most remote regions in Gharwal himalayas. Panpatia Snowfield is amongst the biggest snowfield in Gharwal Himalayas (around 10 kms in length and 2-3 kms wide). This connects 2 holy shrines, Badrinath and Kedarnath. Per legend this is the only direct route followed by the mythical priest who performed Puja at both the shrines in a single day! I decided to test my skills and followed the route from Badrinath- Neelkanth Khal - Panpatia Glacier- Parvati Gully - Panpatia Col - Sujal Sarovar- Ransi.
Extending a grueling,awesome, pictorial, beautiful, knee-crackling trek brings to Mandani valley in Garhwal Himalayas which terminates at Kedarnath and crossing three cols simultaneously, Mahapanth Col (4602m), Bishali Col (4755m), Yeonbuk Col (4654m) one reaches Mandani valley.
Auden’s Col is a High altitude pass connecting Rudugaira valley and Bhilangna valley, named after John Bicknell Auden, a British Geographical Survey officer, who first discovered it in 1935 and crossed it in 1939. The pass is at 5490m altitude and connects the ridge coming from Gangotri III (6580m) peak on the north-west and the ridge coming from Jogin I (6465m) on the east, and also binds a glacier coming from Jogin I on the north side of Rudugaira valley, and deadly Khatling glacier on the south side of Bhilangna valley.
Rudra ganga stream or Rudragairu (gairu means deep) or Rudugaira gad drains Rudugaira glacier and eventually flows into Bhagirathi (Ganga) river near Gangotri, and Bhilangna river originates from Khatling glacier and meets Bhagirathi near Old Tehri.
A Journey to the remote corner of the world
This is a long, strenuous and remote trek of 10 days to and from the remote village of Bara Bhangal through some stunning landscape and mesmerizing natural beauty. The one question which remains in your mind after the trek is "How did a village get established in such a remote and seemingly inaccessible corner of the world?”.
The trek starts from Manali, and afterone gains and loses elevation in this unforgiving and unrelenting terrain a numerous times, a characteristic feature of this trek, the first pass we cross is called the Kali hind Pass (4610 M). The trail to the pass is ill-defined, and the grassy alpine meadows, characteristic till the base of the pass, gives way to steep scree slopes, and snow/ice as one ascends to the pass, marked by cairns and prayer flags. The descent is along a huge snowfield that has large crevasses, which have to be avoided before one reaches the glacial lakes. Beyond the glacial lakes the route is fairly well marked, but the terrain is arid, similar to the terrain one encounters in Ladakh. The route continues along the side of the valley formed by Kalihani Nala, through scree, boulder slopes, landslides, and numerous side-streams till one reaches a place called “Dev Ki Marhi” characterized by a small Hindu Shrine. By this time the landscape is greener and one can again see “gaddi” sheperds.
At “Dev ki Marhi” one has to cross a turbulent stream,that might be too dangerous to cross later in the day. Once past this challenge , although one knows that the route continues along the Kalihani Nala,one gains and loses elevationso many times that it is with tired legs that one will reach Bara Bhangal, a village so remote that you can’t imagine its existence till you are about half an hour from it and catcha the first glimpse of it. After a well deserved rest one resumes the ascent along the Thamsar Nala, to cross the Thamsar pass (4710 M). Enroute to the Thamsar Pass is an impressive waterfall, and a huge glacial lake surrounded by mountains on all sides. These will be memories one cherishes forever.
As one ascends the green of the grasslands, give way to scree and boulders and the ascent just before the pass is characterizedby snow and ice. The ascent can be very slippery. From the Thamsar pass one can view the Kinner Kailash peaks. The descent is steep and crosses a glacial lake before opening out into grasslands. From here on one can find hotels, at regular intervals till one reaches Bir/Billing. All this makes for a very challenging trek.
This trek combines the green of the Kinnaur region with the stark desolateness of the Spiti valley. The trek begins at Kafnoo in Kinnaur and crosses over the Pin Bhaba pass at 4865 meters, the most frequently used crossing by the locals.
The trail ascends along the left bank of the Wangar River after crossing a footbridge. The path climbs through single crop fields of Mastrang and passes through a mixed forest of conifers and temperate broad-leafed species. The trail climbs through little clearings of potato and buckwheat till it reaches the meadows of Mulling (3350 meters), fringed by birch and birdcherry, leaving the Wangarriver far below. The trail continues to the alpine meadows of Kara, along the banks of the Wangar (Bhaba) gad where one can find numerous “gaddis” (shepherds). This is an ideal camping site. From here the trail continues to Phustirang, a sheltered glade with a spring at one end, which forms the base for the ascent over Bhaba Pass. It is a steep ascent to the pass, over shale and snow, which is marked by typical prayer flags. The descent to the Pin valley, initially over snow, is more gradual over boulder-strewn glaciers.The barren terrain is a sharp contrast to lush green Kinnaur.
The boulder strewn trail continues along the banks of “TariyaKhad”, which eventually feeds into the Pin River. The barrenness is broken by the lush green pastures called Paldar, along the banks of the Pin River. As one walks along the trail, high above the Pin river one catches sight of the Mud Village, an awesome sight with the mountain vistas forming its backdrop. The multi-hued mountain vistas enroute to Mud will leave an indelible imprint in your memories.
Retracing footsteps of Franksymthe
Tucked away beyond the Valley of Flowers above Rataban glacier.Crossing glacial moraine, high valleys snow fields.The Passes came into light after Successful Expedition led by British Surveyor general sir Gardiner and Frank Smythe in year 1930.The valley of Flowers...known as Eden to nature lovers is gateway to both passes.
Bhyundar khal situated at an altitude 16700 ft above sea level is above the Rataban icefall and later crossing vast ice fields approaching Bhuyundar Icefall.Later on leads amritganga valley.The glacial moraine region in crevasse zone with huge boulders...crossing one reaches a ' T ' junction called Eri udiyar. To the left leads to Bhandkund lake.Nilgiri icefall.ratapahar,ukhi Pahar...are the prominent peaks visible along the trek.Above bankund lake the lateral moraine leads...to another vallley crossing the Bidhan,Khagbushand icefall one reaches bankund icefall.
Crosssing the Bankund glacier carefully one approaches huge icefields.
The views of Nilgiri parvat Mana South face, Deoban peak, Mandir Parvat,Bidan parvat is feast to eyes.Walking whole day one reaches gad camping ground.A vast snow field with spell bounding views of snow clad peaks in the background.Walking on the vast snow field in the shadow of Mana peak one reaches a end with huge..snow wall rising to 300 ft.The cornices above the wall pose danger to climbers.Climbing the wall cautiously reaches Gupt khal 19140 ft.The 360 degree views of snow clad peaks is feast is eyes.
Walking cautiously on snow field traversing on snow slopes....climbing down with ropes to reach snow fields is a herculean task indeed.The 60 - 80 degree pose danger of fall.After Negotiating the curve and reaches vast snow field. Peaks Nilkanth , Arwa tower , Chaukamba, Parvati Parvat, Mandir and Nar - Narayan peaks...some unknown peaks dot he landscape. A two day walk on the snow fields...glacier fields cautiously crossing the icefall and boulders.Walking paralleling to Alakananda river brings to Legendary small hamlet Mana.The view of water cascading from cliffs and sudden appearance of a flock of Bharal - Mountain Goat here is soothing to eyes.
Borasu Pass Trek
One such pass among the many passes that cross into Himachal from Uttarakhand is Borasu.Situated at an elevation of 5450 m or 17,880 ft is challenge for season trekkers too . It connects the Tons river valley with Baspa river valley. The pass is open only for a few months before monsoons and then post monsoon before the winter sets in. It is a high but practical traverse into the great Kinnaur Valley, takes 5 -6 days from Har Ki Dun valley to Ranikhanda further into the Baspa Valley. From Har- ki - Dun the trail heads north along the Maninda Gad popularly known as Morinda Tal. Beyond that the ascent eases to Rathadu campsite 4000 m with a distant view of mountains and thereon the path winds up for 5km through a flower strewn narrow valley offering you a breathtaking diversity of landscapes and the trek is the perfect blend of lush meadows, riot of flowers such as Geranium , Bistorta etc Moraine path finally reaching Sauni Beda camping grounds.A steep climb on the rocky patch from here brings to Lamjoonga makeshift campsite.
After Lamjoonga campsite with a glacier to further up, climb strenuously, beware of crevasses in post monsoon on the either side of pass for about 4 km to the pass, one will be surprised and awestruck to see Nilkamal flowers in full bloom on the rocky patches along the pass and descent along the 60 -70 deg rocky slopes reaching Zupke glacier.The route through boulders requires some careful footing and proper balance.Beware and watchful of rockfalls and boulders coming down and there on further down to the Baspa river bed. The loose rocks and rockfall pose a danger, avoid attempting the pass in bad weather, during post monsoon.Cross the river by a bridge and reach the and Doaria camping grounds. From Doaria the trek to Chitkul is very easy on the legs. This trek is one of the best ways to get a feel and experience the Himalayan culture of Garhwal region and Kinnaur region respectively.
Buran Ghati Pass
The Shimla district in Himachal is not known for treks but, if one speaks to locals and checks out the geology of the place then, it is a very convenient place for small and medium treks. One such trek is the Buran Ghati pass - A medium difficulty trek which can be undertaken between May-June and Sept-Oct. It is a direct route from Pabbar valley (Shimla district) into Sangla valley (Kinnaur District) of Himachal Pradesh and involves crossing of a 4578m high Buran Ghati or Barua Pass. Dhanwari, near Rohru in Shimla district, is the convenient road head and can be approached from Shimla via Theog and Jubbal. An ancient temple of Hatkoti between Jubbal and Rohru is an added attraction and has a tourist rest house. The trek ends in Kharcham which is a located at the junction of the Baspa and Satluj rivers, and is connected by road to Shimla. One can rest another day to visit the beautiful Kinnauri villages like Chitkul and Kalpa
On the opium trail
This is a very popular trek in Kullu Valley. This trek takes you through pine forests, alpine meadows and stunning Himalayan scenery to the ancient lost village of Malana. There is a beautiful pass called the Chandrakhani Pass on the third day of the trek. The pass is shaped like a crescent moon and hence is called “Chandrakani”.This is an ideal trek around Manali for tourists who have only a few days and prefer shorter hikes to longer treks.
About Malana Village: Malana can be reached from Parbati valley crossing over the 3180 metres Rashol pass and from Naggar over the 3600 metres beautiful Chanderkhani pass.
This village is a small cluster of around two hundred stone roof houses. Its inimitable culture and the temple of Jamlu distinguish the village. The village consists of around 1500 inhabitants and has an impeccable system of administration with a higher and lower court guided by the spirit of village god Jamlu. Malana stands out as an autonomous self-sufficient unit whose inhabitants claim Greek ancestry. Some stories refer to the village as "a little Greece" as the inhabitants are said to be descendants of Alexander’s Soldiers who settled here centuries ago.
The unique geographical location of Malana has enabled it to preserve its biodiversity and it is an ecological haven. For the outsiders, there is a long list of do's and don'ts to be followed in the village. The people are friendly but outsiders are told to keep distance and not to touch anything in the village.
Malana is divided into two - upper malana (dharabeda) and lower malana (sorbeda). Kanashi, the language of malana, does not resemble any of the dialects spoken in its neighborhood but seems to be a mixture of sanskrit and several tibetan dialects. Two important festivals are celebrated in malana. One called badohmela is celebrated in august and the other called fagdimela in february.
From Malana the trek continues along the Malana Nala through dense forests and meadows (called Thach locally). One crosses the Chota Grahan Thach, Mota Grahan Thach and ascends to Khiksa Thach. Along these Thach’s one will encounter many Gaddi Shepherds. As one reaches the KhiksaThach one will be surrounded by mountains on all sides and one can see the Malana Glacier from which the MalanaNala originates. We will spend a day exploring the glacier and the beautiful meadows in these regions before we retrace our path to Malana.
A Trek to the Himalayan Mystery Lake
Roopkund is situated in the Chamoli district of Gharwal at a height of 5029m and is set beneath the towering summit on the lap of Trishul massif (7120m). Here you can find over 300 mysterious human skeletons and remains of horses which are more than 500 years old.
Hence, this area is usually referred to as the ‘mystery lake’. Various theories have been proposed about the skeletons. One of them goes as a group of pilgrims en route to Hemkund to worship Nanda Devi, lost their footing and tumbled down to the icy depths of the lake. The trek of Roopkund passes through lush green grassy lands and coniferous forests clinging onto the slopes of hills. The trek thereafter winds its way along the Pindar River. The highest Point is 4620m in Roopkund trek. Come to witness the mystery unfolding before your eyes.
Kinnaur kailash Parikrama
Kinnaur is the most scenic but less known district of Himachal Pradesh, located on the Indo-Tibet border. It is surrounded by Tibet on the east, Garhwal Himalaya trek on the south, Spiti Valley on the north and Kullu on the west. The Sutlej River, which rises on the southern slopes of Kailash Parvat near Mansarovar in Tibet flows through the Kinnaur valley. Due to the proximity of Kinnaur to Tibet, the life style and religion of its inhabitants had been influenced by Buddhism, mostly in the northern and central regions, although the majority of the people practice Hinduism.
Set within the Trans Himalaya belt it boasts of the highest mountains in Himachal Pradesh. Some prominent peaks in the Kinnaur Kailash range are Jorkaden Peak (6,474 metres), Kinnaur Kailash Peak (6,500 metres), Phawarang Peak (6,349 metres) and Saro Peak (6,080 metres). One of the prime attractions here are Baspa Valley (Sangla Valley). Close to the border with Tibet, entry to Kinnaur was restricted even for Indian nationals till 1993 and foreigners still have to register themselves with Inner line permit. Kinnaur valley comprises of the lower valley of Spiti and Satluj gorge, the two rivers race through valleys of The Satluj and The Spiti. Sutlej river which has its origin (common to the Indus and Bhramaputra rivers) in Lake Mansarovar beside the holy Mt. Kailash in Tibet. Kinnaur holds three of the world's grand mountain ranges - the Zanskar, the Greater Himalaya and the Dhauladhar, Mount Kinner Kailash (6'050 m) dominates this region, it has religious significance for a huge Monolithic pillar " the representation of Lord Shiva which is a 79 feet vertical rock formation that resembles a Shivalinga and changes color as the day passes. This is one of the mythical abodes of Lord Shiva.
The circuit around the whole range attracts many pilgrims every year. The Parikrama or circumambulation begins from Kalpa via Triung valley and back to Kalpa via Sangla valley. Drive up to Thangi and the actual trekking begins from here.To reach this forbidden land, India's northern tip, before July, we travel through the Hindustan - Tibet highway, the ancient silk route following the Satluj. The Spiti river joins the Sutlej from the west and runs parallel with the Great Himalayan Range, the natural boundary between India and Tibet (China). In July it is possible to enter Spiti from the north, crossing Rohtang Pass (3980m.) into Lahaul and Kumzum La (4550m).