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Old 10th October 2011, 20:14   #1
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Default Himalayan Eco-system at Chakrata in Uttarakhand

Kalidasa starts his famous work "Kumarsambhava" with a ode to the Himalaya which translates as "On the northern frontier of this country that forms the heartland of gods, intercalating himself into eastern and western oceans like a measuring stick of earth, there stands the sovereign of snowy mountains renowned as Mt. Himalaya" The poet refers to Himalayas as the King of mountain ranges for its resourcefulness.
I experienced a tiny bit of this spectacular mountain range while on a tour to study the Ecology and the Eco-system of these mountain ranges. We were a group of 16 . Now first I would like to thank our Delhi T-BHPians for helping us out in our journey through the city.
The destination of our visit was a place called Chakarata which is situated at about 6500ft above mean sea-level about 90kms from Dehradun.We reached there on 4th Oct evening.We were put up in Hotel Himalayan Paradise owned by Mr Bittu Chauhan. The hotel itself was very eco-friendly with rooms made from Deodar wood which is locally available. The food that you get has ingredients which are produced in his farm.
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Old 10th October 2011, 20:18   #2
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Default Himalayan Eco-system at Chakrata in Uttarakhand

Day 1 : After a trek of about 45 minutes we reached a spectacular waterfall called as Tiger Falls.The way to the falls was through rice fields, a type of wild rice locally known as "Dhaan" is grown here. The edge of the fields had Moong dal plants. This was strewn with a odd field of Mustard or Green peas.

Meet Shamsher Singh . He owns a water mill . The prime mover of this flour mill is the water which flows through the nearby stream. The grinding stone is fed with wheat and corn by a hopper with a cam arrangement which regulated the flow of feed into the grinding stones. This ensure even grinding even if the water flow is altered. Very ingenious and simpls soultion.

Shamsher Singh said the mill is capable of grinding about 200kg of foodgrain if he runs it throughout the day. Imagine all this without spending even one watt of electricity.He grows rice in his fields and takes a part of the flour as a payment for his grinding mill. He depends on local market for spices and salt only.

In the evening we went to Forest Dept bunglow to see some more exotic varieties of plants.
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Old 10th October 2011, 20:22   #3
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Default Re: Himalayan Eco-system at Chakrata in Uttarakhand

Day 2 : The destination was Budher caves. This was a natural limestone cave which had the starting phases of stalactites and stalacmites. The route to these caves was a 2.5Km trek through rich Deodar forest. Budher caves is situated about 8500ft above MSL.

Why is there a solitary temple in this open wilderness ?
There is a intresting story behind this. During the rainy season the domestic animals left to graze in these fields for a period of 2 months. The rationale behind this is there are lots of medicinal shrubs in these pastures, when animals eat them they become more resistive to diseases. This freedoms helps to retain a wild side of these animals thus they become more healthy and active. They are sometimes attacked by leopards etc thus they develop a sense of survival techniques. And as a by-product of these the offsprings of such animals are much more productive and healthy. The local villagers believe that praying at that temple will protect their animals.

After seeing the caves we went to a place called Kanasar which is a protected forest or "Devrai". There are really old Deodar trees some of them have a girth of 6.5m.
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Old 10th October 2011, 20:28   #4
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Default Himalayan Eco-system at Chakrata in Uttarakhand

Day 3 : This was the day when we set out to study the geology of Himalayas at 9400ft above MSl at Khadamba. The Himalayan range is formed due to collision of the Indo-Oceanic and Eurasian tectonic plates. Therefore the compostion of this moutains is mainly sedimentary rocks and predominantly limestone. This has two variations impure form called Dolomite and pure form called Calcite. The area was subjected to maximum pressure during the formation so the rock formation was subjected to shattering. The merciless erosion due to rain and wind is quite evident.

We also went to Deoban which is also at 9400ft above MSL and primarily a Oak, Blue Pine, Fir and spruce forest. A 0.5 km trek took us to Vyas shikhar from where peaks like Badrinath, Trishul etc were visible.

The plant which I am holding is called "Somavalli" legendary "Somras" is supposedly made from this.
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Old 10th October 2011, 20:30   #5
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Default Himalayan Eco-system at Chakrata in Uttarakhand

Himalayas are abundant with birds and animals. Here is a list of the fauna which we actaully saw.

Birds :
1. Blue Whistling Thrush
2. Himalayan Bulbul
3. Black Bulbul
4. Great Barbet
5. Red Billed Blue Magpie
6. Rufus Turtle Dove
7. White Browed Wagtail
8. Golden Eagle
9. Streaked Laughing Thrush
10. Griffin Vulture
11. Eurasian Vulture
12. Black Lored Tit
13. Warbler
14. Grey Tree Pie
15. Rufus Bellied Woodpecker
16. White Capped Red Start
17. Plumbis Red Start
18. Crested Serpant Eagle
19. Little Forktail
20. Brown Dipper
21. Scarlet Minivet
22. Eurasian Jay
23. Lammergeier vulture
24. Jungle crow
25. Bank Mynah

Animals :
1. Jackal
2. Fox
3. Monkeys
4. Bonnet Macque
5. Langur
6. Yellow Throated Marten
7. Bat
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Old 10th October 2011, 20:36   #6
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Default Re: Himalayan Eco-system at Chakrata in Uttarakhand

While returning back from Chakrata to Dehradun we stopped at Kalsi to have a look at a rock inscription of Emperor Ashoka apparantly the only one of its kind in Northern India.
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Old 11th October 2011, 10:31   #7
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Default Re: Himalayan Eco-system at Chakrata in Uttarakhand

What really struck me was the apathy of Govt departments to these people. The Forest dept give hugh timber contracts under the pretext of forest thinning to contractor but the localites are allowed to cut only 2 trees per village for their timber needs.
Still these people are happy. Their economy does not depend on currency but rather currency is used to get things beyond the scope of local produce.
Before leaving for Chakrata somebody had warned me "Be prepared to come back" , and after seeing this beautiful treasure, I boarded the train out of Dehradun with a heavy heart.
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Old 11th October 2011, 10:53   #8
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Default Re: Himalayan Eco-system at Chakrata in Uttarakhand

Nice pics. We also stayed at the same place during our visit to Chakrata. You must have witnessed the spectacular bursting forth of stars in the night sky. It was a very beautiful sight.
We had almost missed tiger falls at Chakrata and were roaming about aimlessly till a local pointed out the route for us.
Also, did you take the Chakrata-Mussoorie-Dehradun road ? It is very scenic with the route passing through some beautiful villages.
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Old 11th October 2011, 11:00   #9
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Default Re: Himalayan Eco-system at Chakrata in Uttarakhand

Excellent TL and nice pictures. A question on the pictures. Two pictures above the Somavalli plant holding picture, is that snow?

How did you get there, fly to Delhi and something else, or drove all the way from Pune?
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Old 11th October 2011, 11:08   #10
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Default Re: Himalayan Eco-system at Chakrata in Uttarakhand

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mik View Post
Nice pics. We also stayed at the same place during our visit to Chakrata. You must have witnessed the spectacular bursting forth of stars in the night sky. It was a very beautiful sight.
Unfortunately it was really cloudy the three days we were there.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mik View Post
We had almost missed tiger falls at Chakrata and were roaming about aimlessly till a local pointed out the route for us.
Also, did you take the Chakrata-Mussoorie-Dehradun road ? It is very scenic with the route passing through some beautiful villages.
The route is very scenic but really twisty and curvy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mayankjha1806 View Post
Excellent TL and nice pictures. A question on the pictures. Two pictures above the Somavalli plant holding picture, is that snow?

Nopes that pure calcite (CaCO3) the water has eroded it to form pillars.


How did you get there, fly to Delhi and something else, or drove all the way from Pune?
Flew to Delhi. Then caught Mussorie express to Dehradun. Then onto Chakrata via road.

Last edited by vikrantj : 11th October 2011 at 11:09.
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Old 11th October 2011, 11:21   #11
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Default Re: Himalayan Eco-system at Chakrata in Uttarakhand

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Originally Posted by vikrantj View Post
Day 1 : AThe way to the falls was through rice fields, a type of wild rice locally known as "Dhaan" is grown here.
Nice Journey sir.

small correction. Dhaan Is not a Wild rice. it;s just normal rice variety . People in Hills are not much concerned about Labels, so even a field of Basmati rice is also Dhaan ( it;s a general term for rice before they become real rice ). Rice before it comes to Our Plate is coated with a gold color ( yellowish) cover (while it;s in development stage in fields ), which comes out after grinding in machines and thus we have Naked Rice . the outer covering is used for other purpose like fodder to horses and donkeys. nothing goes waste .
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Old 12th October 2011, 12:27   #12
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Default Re: Himalayan Eco-system at Chakrata in Uttarakhand

reminds me of a trip that i could not make.

I tried to goto Chakrata in 2009 during August and encountered landslides in the mountain bands on the way. It was 9 pm in the night, pitch dark and scary landslides - with mountain on one side and deep ditch on the other.

Could not complete the journey and turned back. Would like to do this trip again - but will have a lot of convincing to do

How was the road during your trip?
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Old 15th October 2011, 09:18   #13
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Default Re: Himalayan Eco-system at Chakrata in Uttarakhand

Road was a mix bag good in some areas and really bad up the hills. And yes we did encounter couple of landslides. But that just took about 10 mins to clear up.

Last edited by vikrantj : 15th October 2011 at 09:20.
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Old 15th October 2011, 09:46   #14
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Default Re: Himalayan Eco-system at Chakrata in Uttarakhand

Beautiful pics - I envy your profession if you get to do such trips as a part of your work! Could you give an idea about the time taken for the road drive?
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Old 17th October 2011, 14:05   #15
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Beautiful pics - I envy your profession if you get to do such trips as a part of your work! Could you give an idea about the time taken for the road drive?
Well I wish it was a full time profession. I do it out of intrest. As for travel time :

Delhi-Dehradun : 7 hours
Dehradun-Chakrata : 4 hours

I recommend not to drive Dehradun-Chakrata patch since the roads a narrow, bad and winding which a local driver can drive in ease.
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