For me more than my destination, the journey has always been of utmost importance. Each time I am on the road, meeting people, witnessing local culture, knowing about age old traditions, food, and folklore makes me desire to give back more to the society.One fine day, I decided to push my limits and zeroed upon giving the Himalayan roads a try. My making headway to The Himalayas turned out to be the penultimate soul awakening experience.The bleakness of higher altitudes makes one struggle for life as well as arouses love for life at the same time. I feel closer to life and nature whenever I cross those nerve wrecking roads. One needs to be insane enough to ride past them keeping sanity intact. The minimal amount of oxygen, the unpredictable weather conditions, the drop in body temperatures and the roads that are rude to my bike help me remain focused throughout the journey.Even after facing many extremities, I never miss feeling the positive vibes oozing from the thin but refreshing air. My mind becomes calm, free of all afflictions and worries.Those magnificent snow capped peaks, the beauty that encompasses the mountains, the people living by the foot of the mighty, the simplicity in their smiles, the beaming happiness in their eyes even after making their living out of meager amount of facilities available, their celebration of life and traditions in the harshest of the conditions arises a great deal of questions in my mind. Nevertheless, I find the answers to all my questions always hidden in the questions itself.This unending quest for peace and oneness keeps on pulling me and that’s when I hit the roads every year. I make it a point to go for atleast one long road-trip, during which I am mostly subsumed in the nature. Away from technology and the material world. My desire for achieving material things have become much controlled along these years.I started seeing life with a different perspective altogether. Beyond ego and intolerance.
Once again, commands one of the best views during the trek ( if you have clear view that is ! ). The macchapucchre ( meaning fish tail ) peak looks awesome from here ! The Tadapani to Ghandruk descent also has pretty good views for that matter, so your indulgence continues well into the 4th day as well !
Annapurna Base Camp
With terraced rice paddies, luscious rhododendron forests, and high altitude landscapes along with the Annapurna range in view most of the times, Annapurna Base Camp trek is certainly one of the most popular treks in the Annapurna region. It combines so many different landscapes and perhaps is the only trek which brings you closer to the base of 7,000-8,000 m high peaks in such a short duration of time. The trek is almost 7 to 11 days almost any time of the year; however in the winters the base camp is sometimes closed due to the level of snow; according to experts’ springtime is certainly the most appealing time to visit ABC due to the full bloom of the rhododendron forests which gives the trek a truly majestic feel.
We started our 10-day trek in the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal and every day we steadily moved higher, every day edging closer to the mountains we had come to find, each day better than the last. We followed a valley wedged between a cliff and a drop into the river. We went through villages with groups of shy children acting as toll merchants demanding sweets, chocolates, school pens or balloons. We crossed suspension bridges every day, always swaying and bouncing. We kept going, pushing on and upwards getting glimpses of looming snow-covered mountains in the far-off distance. Halfway to the pass we climbed through small forests with the red colors of rhododendron bushes bursting through the green. The air felt cooler than before and soon the forest thinned out, the terrain became barren and we ventured higher into the mountains. The changes were an encouraging sign of progress. The conversations also turned from excitement to philosophy. Traveling through such calm solitudes, so far removed from the tensions of civilization, clarity and hopefulness pervaded our thinking. We all seemed to be overwhelmed with grandiose ideas for the future. Our thoughts seemed to reflect the magnificent mountains we were passing through. We walked together and we walked alone, talking a little but simply content to be moving and making our way. We ambled up and up. The only thing we needed to do was to keep moving, not necessarily at a fast pace but just keep moving. Then we neared the pass and a completely new challenge. After three hours of solo toil, we came upon other hikers who were feeling sick and nauseous and moving very slowly, even slower than me. We rested for a while, dicussing the view and our inability to appreciate it in our fatigued states. We set off again, the climb was not as steep as before but we walked at a crawling pace for the next few hours up and over small hills.