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Old 15th February 2017, 19:18   #16
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Default Re: The Mandini Valley, Garhwal Mountains & Monsoons

Excellent writeup, coupled with some breathtaking photographs. Kudos to your efforts, mate. I myself do photography as a hobby. But most of your pics are in a different league altogether. Excellent imagination at some places. You got eyes for beauty. Respect.
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Old 15th February 2017, 19:54   #17
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Default Re: The Mandini Valley, Garhwal Mountains & Monsoons

Well written and splendid pictures, neatly done post processing work.

Keep posting more.

Cheers
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Old 16th February 2017, 23:24   #18
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Default Re: The Mandini Valley, Garhwal Mountains & Monsoons

An amazing photographer you are with a great eye to spot beauty in little things. Guess you're a PRO photographer or having years of experience!

Thanks for a visual treat.
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Old 17th February 2017, 12:07   #19
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Default Re: The Mandini Valley, Garhwal Mountains & Monsoons

Thank you for treating us to such splendid pictures. I am going to search for other travelogues posted by you too. Thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by swsumit View Post
Prologue :
The Mahindra Spacio shuffled along the path , rugged in its looks and behaviour for it had spent its life in these mountains on broken roads and was on familiar ground .
You meant the Tata Spacio?
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Old 17th February 2017, 12:15   #20
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Default Re: The Mandini Valley, Garhwal Mountains & Monsoons

Brilliant narration and pic. Appreciate you taking the time to put together your experience and allowing us lesser mortals to virtually live through it.

Eagerly awaiting for the next set of posts.
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Old 17th February 2017, 13:29   #21
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Default Re: The Mandini Valley, Garhwal Mountains & Monsoons

Quote:
Originally Posted by JBIBS View Post
Excellent writeup, coupled with some breathtaking photographs. Kudos to your efforts, mate. I myself do photography as a hobby. But most of your pics are in a different league altogether. Excellent imagination at some places. You got eyes for beauty. Respect.
glad and thanks for the warm words


Quote:
Originally Posted by Scorpion 10 View Post
Well written and splendid pictures, neatly done post processing work.

Keep posting more.

Cheers
thanks a lot

Quote:
Originally Posted by rejeen View Post
An amazing photographer you are with a great eye to spot beauty in little things. Guess you're a PRO photographer or having years of experience!

Thanks for a visual treat.
hii glad you liking it , well picked up photography as a passion three years back

Quote:
Originally Posted by rrsteer View Post
Thank you for treating us to such splendid pictures. I am going to search for other travelogues posted by you too. Thanks!



You meant the Tata Spacio?
hope you find the other TLs alos interesting . I guess it could be the Tata Spacio


Quote:
Originally Posted by procrj View Post
Brilliant narration and pic. Appreciate you taking the time to put together your experience and allowing us lesser mortals to virtually live through it.

Eagerly awaiting for the next set of posts.
coming up soon ...
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Old 17th February 2017, 13:46   #22
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Default Re: The Mandini Valley, Garhwal Mountains & Monsoons

DAY VIII : Its time to reach above the tree line ... Hembook Col base Camp is up next !!!!

The next morning we started for the second phase if this trek which involved leaving the Mandini Valley behind moving into the Himalayan glacial terrain for we would be travelling in excess of 4000 mts continuously. The rains were a constant factor and it usually would begin to rain by around noon hence we decided to shift our departure by 30 -45 min in advance. Accordingly by 0730 hrs we were on the move and the path involved walking on the banks of the Mandini river for close to two km before penetrating the dense growth of plants and climbing up dramatically with an average incline of 60 deg . This kind of uphill climb was to continue for around 3 kms , for the valley just ended ahead boxed by the Himalayan mountain ranges from three sides. So climbing was the only option , after the steep climb we reached dizzying heights and looking back could see the river far down below shrouded in mist but my path lay ahead and it involved even more climbing though the steep gradient eased off definitely and now was moving through dense green cover whose height was easily 5 feet in most places. This place was frequented by the Himalayan brown bear and i was terrified of meeting one either foraging for food or worse come across a mother and her cubs . Somehow kept my thoughts to myself yet told Umeid that the team to be in close proximity to each other while moving in this terrain . Umeid showed me a lot of Himalayan herbs and plants that were used by pharmaceutical s or other bio organic companies , there was the plant that was used in iodex balm , then we had the plant whose roots were used for cuts / bruises , then for painkillers and fever i was shown a specific plant . There are so many plants that are used in spices also and I am amazed by the flora of the Himalayan kingdom. We continued our journey huffing and puffing as the incline was omnipresent and we were gaining altitude by every step . After sometime the plants fell behind and we entered the barren boulder region which marked the beginning of high altitude region, as we crossed a boulder region in our quest to reach Hembook base camp that was situated at an altitude of 4400 mts . The campsite was a lovely meadow having a gentle glacial stream flowing and green carpet of grass all around at the base of Hembook peak . There were numerous huge rocks all around and we saw ample signs of the Himalayan brown bear as well as Himalayan Thar . The area also had its own distinctive flowering plants and i passed the evening hours photographing them once the rains which had begun in the afternoon abated.




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26. The rains soon started after dinner and it rained the entire night making me quite uncomfortable inside the tent for the water was soon flowing from all sides of the tent, anyways it was a question off passing the night and it has to be done.



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Old 17th February 2017, 17:50   #23
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Default Re: The Mandini Valley, Garhwal Mountains & Monsoons

Quote:
Originally Posted by swsumit View Post

DAY IV : The struggle to reach Thauli (4000 mts )

Being from the same mountains makes me feel proud when people appreciate our great lands...
Amazing collection of images, worthy enough to be printed on NATGEO magazine.
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Old 17th February 2017, 18:02   #24
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Default Re: The Mandini Valley, Garhwal Mountains & Monsoons

DAY IX : The maniac trek which was to reach Baishali Col. Base Camp

The next morning we were up early and by 8 in the morning had started the trek. The first checkpoint was Hembook Pass and was soon climbing from within the first 100 mts itself. We climbed steadily past the green grass cover and through the boulder region till we reached the pass after around 3 kms located at an altitude of 4600 mts . After a short break we descended through a steep incline and rockfall area which made both Umeid and my head porter Prem Singh ji very worried and they stayed very close to me throughout this stretch. We crossed the rockfall area which was littered by scores of boulders and we had to step over them hopping from one to another, this is the only way to move in this kind of a terrain. After the rockfall area came the hembook glacier which had me walking on the glacier itself and i was coming face to face with so many crevasses that had formed, some old while some were new. The main body of the glacier was hardly 60 -80 mts away on the mountain rock face while the glacier river was what on which we were walking. I have recorded moments out here which would be soon made into a clip for better viewing. The Hembook glacier is definitely one of the unknown ones and least visited especially during the monsoon season when the fresh ice is non-existent and what one sees is the centuries old ice that is the bed rock of any glacier that holds everything together and when it fissures and breaks it just moves that section of the earth itself. I saw gigantic rocks easily several hundred tonnes or thousands of kgs in weight balanced on frozen ice stools, this ice was solid even in peak monsoon and was taking the weight of these massive rocks so very easily and wonder of wonders i came face to face with blue ice, the rare category of ice that is easily several millennia old and so frozen over centuries that it acquires a light blue colour. I was walking in a magical land barren ruthless remorseless devoid of human presence and unwelcome in every aspect but the visuals that it was revealing that were once in a life time opportunity. My guide explained to me that rarely anyone ventured this side in peak monsoon, generally early winter or late summer is when trekkers would pass through this area.

The Mandini Valley, Garhwal Mountains & Monsoons-mandini-trek-442-mandini-1.jpg

Hembook Col Peak and Mandini III seen L to R


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Mandini Peaks I ,II seen R to L

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28. After we crossed the glacial river of Hembook i was again face to face with yet another boulder ridden zone, only this time it was more massive and even longer in length to cross and to top it of it, extended all the way till the summit of the pass up ahead known as Baishali Col Pass, the next pass of the trek situated at an altitude of 4900 mts . The mist was coming up as we started up the incline, my attention totally on where i was placing my feet. After around 45 min and half way up, the rains caught up with me. There was still a long way to go and while the rest of the team had almost reached 100 mts below the summit of the pass and found refuge underneath a massive rock formation, myself and Umeid were stuck in the open with me having the camera gear. As the rains increased i realized that i needed to protect the camera gear, wearing the poncho was out of the equation as that would hamper my feet movement and with the rains the rocks were getting slippery by the minute. So Umied gave me his umbrella and used the poncho to cover his head. I used my balaclava to cover one camera while the umbrella protected the other and we started again, only this time I was boulder hopping in the rain with an umbrella in one hand, nothing could have been precarious than this and come to think of it i would have never attempted this ever if someone would have suggested this idea but out there, we made do with what best we could have.



The Mandini Valley, Garhwal Mountains & Monsoons-mandini-trek-491-hembook-glacier1.jpg

THE HEMBOOK GLACIER SEEN UP AHEAD WHICH HAS TO BE CROSSED



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29. Slowly step by step, boulder by boulder we moved ahead, whole attention on the task at hand and just not bothering about anything else. Finally, we reached the overhanging rock after an hour drenched wet and cold. The team had long departed and we just stood trying to regain our composure and get a grip on the situation. After a 15 min break we started again for the last 100 mts and after around 30 mins we reached Baishali Col Pass, situated at an altitude of 4900 mts surrounded by mist rain and massive glacier systems.


30. My team huddled under the rain capes stood and congratulated me on my successful arrival mentioning that the worst is over. Soon we would reach campsite and things would look better. I took heart and one by one everyone started moving ahead, but when i looked ahead i saw that the things were not so simpler as now I had to do a steep descent of around 50 mts and up ahead loomed the glacier river of Baishali glacier. I remember telling myself that the only way was ahead and this is what lay ahead so get a move on. The descent started and slowly using both hands in addition i descended in the rain on slippery rocks and soon Umeid and me were walking on the glacier. The terrain resembled something from other planet as we moved ahead in the swirling mist and rain while the boots crunched on dry ice amidst huge rocks scattered haphazardly, the result of upheaval caused by the glacier movement. After around two kms of this the frozen ice was replaced by minced rock and earth. The ice was there but it was some feet or metres below, i could see it in places but now it has this layer of wet sluggish minced rock and earth, slippery and dangerous for what lay underneath it or how deep it was one could not be sure. The path continued, each man in his own personal space now moving ahead through this battlefield and in between as one tried stepping on boulders rather than the minced rock, could hear water flowing underneath and believe me it is scary for when what would give way is uncertain. The path sloped downwards most of the time while we were walking across it balancing, slipping but moving ahead mindful of the fact that anything from rock to mud could come sliding down from top of the ridge any moment. The journey seemed endless and i lost all count of time or distance. I was cold wet fatigued from the excessive concentration, all senses alert since morning and the end was just not coming.


The Mandini Valley, Garhwal Mountains & Monsoons-mandini-trek-573-towards-baishali-col1.jpg



The Mandini Valley, Garhwal Mountains & Monsoons-mandini-trek-574-towards-baishali-col1.jpg


BAISHALI GLACIER



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THE MASSIVE RAW IMMENSE BAISHALI GLACIER - A WORLD UNSEEN



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31. Finally after around 2 kms at 1500 hrs we reached a small space between two ridges that had some firm ground where the tents were rigged up and we stopped for the day. It rained the whole evening and night while Maggi was made within the tent itself as we waited for the dark night to end at an altitude of 4800 mts .

Last edited by swsumit : 17th February 2017 at 18:09.
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Old 17th February 2017, 18:15   #25
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Default Re: The Mandini Valley, Garhwal Mountains & Monsoons

Quote:
Originally Posted by nitinrawatdun View Post
Being from the same mountains makes me feel proud when people appreciate our great lands...
Amazing collection of images, worthy enough to be printed on NATGEO magazine.
so glad for the warm words
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Old 18th February 2017, 21:48   #26
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Thank you for bringing in some magic. Mandini is just spectacular - I can't stop thinking about it.
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Old 19th February 2017, 17:01   #27
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DAY X : Exiting and descending from the seclusion to emerge at KedarNagri ( Jai Bhole !!)


Tossing and turning throughout the night i finally gathered the will power to open the tent flaps as soon as i could see some light, the wetness of the tent flap was sufficient enough to register itself on my senses and that demanded a considerable will power to proceed to next step of wearing the ice cold wet slippers step out. The dial of my watch said 0515 hrs and the world looked as bleak as i could imagine. I stood for a minute trying to understand what next and finally decided to step back inside to the safety of the tent and warmth of the sleeping bag. For the next hour just sat inside the sleeping bag as vague thoughts kept drifting in and out of my mind as wisps of mist.

33. At around 6 after two hot cups of tea i decided to begin the day and slowly started the process of packing all the items. The clothes to wear were wet and i decided to use them itself especially the lower trek pants. By 0730 hrs i was ready, cold from head to toe but the resolution to move ahead had come. After a quick bite of biscuits and tea we were on our way. The path lead across the Baishali glacial system and as previous day the progress was slow and cautious. For next two hours we kept traversing across the glacial river, our eyes set on Hanuman pass ahead in the distance. Slowly in the absence of rains we made good progress and by 1100 hrs i laid my eyes on Mahapanth Sarovar at the base of Hanuman peak. Soon Hanuman Pass was reached and on the other side lay Kedar valley, the mood was jubilant as we could sense the end of the trek in a couple of hours. The path to kedarnath Ji is all about descent and we descended sharply from 4400 mts to 3200 mts in two hours. The path was tricky and slippery but i concentrated and made sure that walked at a reasonable pace. After three hours of descent through rocks mud and i finally reached Bhairavnath ji . From here in another thirty mins we were at Kedarnath ji and thus ended the trek from Raasi to Mandini and then to kedarnath valley via four passes, 02 glaciers and traversing a height of 4900 mts .


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34. I was tired and wet but had come this far, evening we paid our respects to Kedar baba and then turned in for the night as tomorrow began an interim phase before we once again entered the mountains, only this time we would be in the trans Himalayan region and moving towards Satopanth, The Lake of Truth.
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Old 19th February 2017, 17:05   #28
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DAY XI: Conclusion of Mandini n Monsoons


The next morning by 0745 hrs we were moving and i think we set a blistering pace covering 17 kms and reaching Gaurikund by 1100 hrs. There we learnt that the road from Gaurikund to Sonprayag was closed for vehicular traffic on account of rock falls. Thus the only option that remained was another walk of additional 05 kms and by 1230 hrs we were at Sonprayag thus covering 22 kms in the morning session. From sonprayag we hired a trekker that took us till Guptkashi and then again we found one more jeep going towards Rudraprayag which we boarded thus reaching Rudraprayag by 1600 hrs and finishing the day here.

36. In the evening went for a stroll, feeling light and content. The climate was great with the sun out and shining pleasantly, the confluence of Mandakini and Alakhnanda at Rurdraprayag is worth visiting along with a visit to the nearby Shiva temple. So after a light stroll and spending time on the hotel room balcony soaking in the feeling of having accomplished something momentous i had an early dinner and turned in for the night.

Tomorrow was supposed to be an early start with the bus for Joshimath departing at 0645 hrs but then that is another tale to be narrated someday else.
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Old 19th February 2017, 17:07   #29
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Footnote
: I have finished , hope this tale gave an insight into something spectacular that still is unknown to large majority of us, a place that still remains to a large extent as nature deems fit .

warm regards
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Old 20th February 2017, 13:43   #30
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Default Re: The Mandini Valley, Garhwal Mountains & Monsoons

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Footnote
: I have finished , hope this tale gave an insight into something spectacular that still is unknown to large majority of us, a place that still remains to a large extent as nature deems fit .

warm regards
Certainly

And again, brilliant photographs.

Would you mind sharing the logistical aspects in a nutshell to the benefit of all.
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