We saw farmlands hidden beneath the persistent layers of snow while nearing the outskirts of Rajgundha after trekking for about two hours. That's how we arrived at Rajgundha, a sleepy hamlet made with mud, slate and wood. The time was 6pm, overtly cold and a roaring snowfall ensued as we tried to find the point of contact in the village. My hands had frozen and swollen by this time, I was not taking good care of them. I had one thing to do to protect my hands, just keep the gloves on. A very trivial mistake of mine wearing gloves while smoking ruined the cigarette and so I decided to not wear them at all. And to top it all up quite nicely we never got to smoke after that thanks to the time punctuality of the instructors! After all things change in the scattering of a few minutes in these cold, unforgiving mountains.
The village was empty, silent and eerily beautiful, but beautiful nevertheless. We came across a shop and then figured out which place and whom to talk to. A slight fuss was caused by an overly drunk local in his long overcoat, who was dealt with politely by me. I remained behind trying to heave my rucksack onto myself while the drunk gent caught me and started his waffle. "Everyone from a common man to the PM will suffer a dog's death in the cold if they come to Rajgundha without my permission", he kept repeating it like some mantra he was holding onto as a ray of hope in his drunken stupor. I began to walk away half sad, half angry at him and then he stopped me gently with both hands and apologized.
We were unsuccessful in procuring alcohol as the night was growing colder and nobody wanted to walk a kilometer to get the Desi Tarda. This was to the liking of our instructors who (tried) strictly forbade us from consuming alcohol as it would impede our physical and mental abilities for the hard path we had chosen to trek to Barot.
We snuggled into our sleeping bags after a humble meal of the very best Rajma Chawal (kidney beans and rice) around an Angheti (traditional himachali fireplace with a diverse utility) inside the warm confines of a camping lodge. And Rajgundha happened in all its mysticism.
Part 2 covering Trek to Baragram will be posted soon. Thanks for lending your eyes and hope you get inspired to go to Rajgundha (minus getting in funny situations like me).