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Old 24th May 2010, 13:24   #1
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Default A Trek in The Himalayas

There are some activities in life that you would want to do at the first given opportunity, without even thinking twice about them. For some it may be long drives, for others it may be going to a resort and party till you drop dead or maybe just chill in the comforts of one house. For me I can never miss an opportunity to go to the hills and enjoy the magnificent mountains, the lush greens or just sit idle listening to the streams flowing.

I am so much enamored by the hills that even when I dream the location has to be in the hills. Somehow I feel the hills make me feel a different person all together, a new Dhiraj in me comes out. In the hills I dont have to push my self to get up at 0500hrs to watch the first rays of sun falling on the snow capped peaks, in the hills I dont miss tv, chirping of the birds or water flowing down the mountains is better music than any Mtv, channel V can provide. In the hills you realize that all the conveniences you have at home are all cosmetic, no beds, no cell phones, no geysers, no toilets, no shower etc etc and yet at the end of the day when you sleep in your tent you end up sleeping more peacefully than you would sleep at home.

One such opportunity presented itself and I immediately pounced on it and booked myself for a trek to the Saurkundi Pass (also known as The Lotus Pond)

I am happy that I did this as this no doubt has been one of the most fulfilling of the vacations I have ever had. Though the trek is over now but images like these will always be etched in my memory for ever.
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Hence I thought of sharing the entire journey with you guys.
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Old 24th May 2010, 13:31   #2
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Wow, I'm going to enjoy reading this even at the cost of @Smartcat's stinkers. @Deky - your first pic is killer. Keep them coming, like to know about what sacred Himalayas are all about through your travelogue.
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Old 24th May 2010, 13:41   #3
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I feel the same way about mountains and hills. I'm looking forward to reading about your trek.
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Old 24th May 2010, 13:55   #4
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Default How it all Started

As I said I was randomly browsing through trekking and mountaineering forums and there I read about YHAI organising treks in the Himalayas. For those who dont know about YHAI can read about the organisation here. By the way apart from organising treks/ other activities, YHAI also provides neat and clean accomodation at cheap rates for its members within India and Abroad.

YHAI website listed 2 treks that interested me most. In order of my preference, first was the trek to Sar Pass and the second was the trek to Saurkundi Pass. After a phone call to their head office in New Delhi I was told that all the dates for the Sar Pass trek are fully booked but there are seats available for the Saurkundi Trek.

These treks are specifically for YHAI members and since I wasnt a member I would have to take membership first.I was also told that membership and other formalities can be done over the net and it would take around 5-6 days to process but if I went to the office personally membership and bookings can be done within 30 mnts.

I was so excited that I didn't want to wait for 5-6 days for the formalities over the net and decided to rush to Delhi and book myself a place in the Trek before even Saurkundi Pass trek gets full.

As suggested over the phone by them it actually took just 30 mnts to become a member of YHAI and book the trek. Life time Membership cost was Rs1500/- and the cost of 11 days trek was Rs2800/- meals and tented accommodation included. My group number was SK-12 and my reporting date to the base camp was on 05-05-10. I was given a list of what to carry with me and was told to report to the camp on the mentioned date with a medical certificate/ fitness certificate from the doctors
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Old 24th May 2010, 14:01   #5
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Default Different from others

Hi Deky,

Now this is going to be a different kind of a travelogue. And if the first picture is this one then our expectations are very high with the rest of the pictures. I still remember the pictures of your Kailash Mansarovar yatra.

Please continue.

Cheers!
Irish
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Old 24th May 2010, 14:11   #6
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Finally, you are putting up words to those pictures
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Old 24th May 2010, 14:16   #7
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The highest we would be trekking on this route would have been 12900ft. This was little more than half of what I had trekked about 10 months back on my Kailash Mansarovar Trek (Traversing The Tibet Plateau To Mount Kailash), so I knew altitude would not have been a problem.

In such treks I realised that shoes are the most important part of ones clothings and luckily my shoes from my previous trek had served me well and were in excellent condition. As far as the other clothings were concerned I wanted to be as light as possible as I would be carrying my bag myself. So I just decided to pack the bare minimum yet warm stuff. Here the guidelines given by YHAI as what to pack helped me.

With trek booking, medical certificate and what to take sorted out, it was time to decided how to reach Babeli base camp. Babeli base camp (4000ft) is located 7 kms from Kullu on Kullu- Manali highway.

After a lots of permutation and combinations I decided to take an overnight train from Jaipur to Chandigarh and then take the next available bus from Chandigarh to Kullu. For return I booked my self on HPTDC bus from Manali to Delhi direct. I decided not to take a bus while going, from Delhi to Manali as I know however comfortable a bus might be, sitting on it for 16 hrs really drains you out and I didnt want to take any chances with my back before the trek started.

With all ticket bookings that could be done, done over then net, it was time to wait in anticipation for the day to come so I could board the train to Chandigarh

Last edited by deky : 24th May 2010 at 14:22.
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Old 24th May 2010, 14:20   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aargee View Post
Wow, I'm going to enjoy reading this even at the cost of @Smartcat's stinkers. @Deky - your first pic is killer. Keep them coming, like to know about what sacred Himalayas are all about through your travelogue.
I hope I can do justice to the beauty of Himalayas through this travelogue

Quote:
Originally Posted by Irish View Post
Hi Deky,

Now this is going to be a different kind of a travelogue. And if the first picture is this one then our expectations are very high with the rest of the pictures. I still remember the pictures of your Kailash Mansarovar yatra.

Please continue.

Cheers!
Irish
Thank you, there are lots of pictures to put, hope you like them

Quote:
Originally Posted by ashthedivx View Post
Finally, you are putting up words to those pictures
Ashish, you know the reason of the delay!!
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Old 24th May 2010, 14:23   #9
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Nice start to the travelogue Deky.
It would be great if you can share the details of the stuff you carried along for the trek. (YHAI guidelines.)

waiting for more pictures of the beautiful Himalayas.
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Old 24th May 2010, 14:26   #10
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Wow! Really nice of you to share another wonderful experience with us. The teaser is perfect. I am hooked and eagerly waiting for your post.Thanks.
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Old 24th May 2010, 14:51   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deky View Post
I am so much enamored by the hills that even when I dream the location has to be in the hills. Somehow I feel the hills make me feel a different person all together, a new Dhiraj in me comes out.
Hey Dhiraj, I can connect to what you've written bro. Reading these lines is making me miss the mountains so much. *sigh* Wish I could pack my bags and head for them right now.

In the meantime, I'll wait for the rest of the log & the photographs.
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Old 24th May 2010, 15:39   #12
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wonderful write up and information mate , You helped us with the information of YAHA thanks waiting for your pictures and more writeup...
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Old 24th May 2010, 15:46   #13
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Waiting for more. This will be surely good. Trek and Himalayas is a killer combination.
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Old 24th May 2010, 18:28   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Indian Ranger View Post
Wow! Really nice of you to share another wonderful experience with us. The teaser is perfect. I am hooked and eagerly waiting for your post.Thanks.
to what is said above. This is going to be a different story deky. Bring it on.
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Old 24th May 2010, 20:09   #15
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Default The Journey Begins

The Garib Rath train started dot on time from Jaipur station. Though it was AC-3 tier, it seemed a bit too crowded. later I realised that the side birth's also have 3 bunks to sleep in hence the claustrophobic feeling. But nevermind, I said to myself, its dinner time now, soon everyone will sleep and by the time we get up, we will be at Chandigarh station.

The train pulled into Chandigarh station 30 minutes late. It was 0745 hrs and as per my findings on the net there was an AC bus leaving for Manali at 0830 hrs. Though I could reserve seats on the net for that bus but did not do so precisely because the Indian Railway train timings can not be trusted.

Still I had 45 minutes to make it to the bus stand and catch the bus
Chandigarh streets were wide and empty so luckily it was not much of a hassle to get to the bus stand in time. The bus was also empty and as requested I got the front seat. After depositing the luggage in the bus I had a quick wash and breakfast and was ready for the 9 hours journey to Kullu. ( I had to get down at Kullu as Babeli, the base camp is just 7 kms away from kullu)

I was well rested in the train, so now I could sit up or just relax with my legs stretched on the next seat that was empty and see the world go by from my ac cabin in the bus. My only grudge is that the windows were not clean. Anyways till long or atleast till Mandi there was nothing much to see outisde.

A Trek in The Himalayas-dsc04131.jpg

The bus in between stopped for breakfast and I had heavenly paranthas with home made white butter. This is Punjab for you!!! After such a breakfast it was but natural that I dosed off, only to get up a few hours later to realise that we have crossed into Himachal. The scenery from here started to get a bit interesting. Slowly we had Beas by our side and could see lots of Hydel water projects on the river.

Lunch was done and dusted with and we reached Mandi. Mandi was definately cooler than what Chandigarh would have been but it did not give an affect of being in the hills or anywhere close to it. As we climbed higher the scenery got better and better and Beas started to look more and wilder and more furious.

A Trek in The Himalayas-dsc04137.jpg

Then it was time to cross the Aut tunnel, and believe me as soon as we crossed the Aut the scenery completely changed. It was not bright and sunny any more, it was rather dark and dark clouds covered the mountain ranges. I could see the passers by wearing warm clothings and the famous Kullu cap. Now this was the hill station I was looking for.

A Trek in The Himalayas-dsc04146.jpg

By the time we reached Kullu it was 1800hrs. It had started drizzling and it was cold (not freezing). I had got off the bus in my shorts and t-shirt and was looking desperately for some shelter or else I would have been sneezing for the next few days.

A Trek in The Himalayas-dsc04148.jpg

Luckily I saw a hotel right next to the bus stand and went straight for it. Saw the rooms asked for the rent and checked in straight. I had planned to spend the night in Kullu and report to the camp fresh the next day.

It rained the whole evening in Kullu that day. Locals told me that it had never rained so much in the last 25 years like it rained that day.

A Trek in The Himalayas-dsc04150.jpg

Was this the prelude to what would be happening in the trek? Rain means snow fall on higher reaches, so would we have some snow fall as we trek higher?

Only time will tell!!!

Last edited by deky : 24th May 2010 at 20:10.
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