Chandrakhani Pass- 2018 - Part Deux

Tripoto
4th May 2018

Photo of Chandrakhani Pass- 2018 - Part Deux by Vamsi Nandola

Day 5: 15 Miles Base Camp

As is custom in all YHAI treks, the group leaving to higher camps the next day have to host the fire camp that night, and this is not real fire by the way, someone from YHAI just turns on a switch and a few Christmas lights turn on. And worse, all of us have to yell, "Fire fire, camp phire". (its not a typo)

Glorious view on the way back from the acclimatisation walk!

And it was our turn to host tonight. Once back from our short hike, many members of the group were ready with all they could conjure up and all of us took part in it one way or the other.

The Inmates of Tent#10.

Photo of Chandrakhani Pass- 2018 - Part Deux by Vamsi Nandola

There were many dance performances (mostly by the girls), a skit in which I played a dead army personnel, so all I had to do was lay down still, and try very hard not to laugh!! (Best role ever!!) And once all this was over, we just put on music and everybody in the base camp danced till we were tired and out of breath!

View from our short hike.

After getting our heartbeats back to normal, we were given hot Bournvita before hitting the sack. Tomorrow, we would enter the wild!! The day we have all been waiting and preparing for!!

Day 5

The view from our short Hike!

Photo of Manali, Himachal Pradesh, India by Vamsi Nandola

Excited and filled with energy after the dance, I was unable to get some sleep so I just stepped out of my tent for a glimpse of the stars and boy was it a good decision!! There was the entire galaxy smiling down upon me from above, it was a sight to remember. Finally some clear skies before the trek, the omens looked good!!

Day 6

Day 6: 15 Miles Base Camp to Sola Tanki (16 Water Tanks, 7930 feet)

The plan for today was to get packed lunch(rice and pickle) from the base camp before taking a short bus ride to Chansari village, starting our trek towards Sola Tanki via Bhijili Mahadev temple.

We were accompanied by two guides Tara Bhai and Sanju Bhai. They are hands down, the best guides I have travelled so far with in Himalayas!! They were a constant source of support, strength and the epitome of caring towards everybody when they needed it. Not only did they guide us safely through the treacherous terrain, they made the entire trek worthwhile and memorable at the same time with their constants inputs and stories.(will come to that later)

Photo of Manali, Himachal Pradesh, India by Vamsi Nandola

We were transported by bus to Chansari village, from there we would start walking towards Bhijili Mahadev temple, about three hours climb from the drop point.

Lunch point at Bhijili Mahadev temple

The Mythical story behind the Bhijili Mahadev temple is that there was a huge snake out to destroy the world, and Lord Shiva himself came down and put his Trishul on its head and killing it.

Kullu Valley as seen from Bhijili Mahadev Temple.

Photo of Bijli Mahadev Temple, Kashawri, Himachal Pradesh, India by Vamsi Nandola

This is where they decided to make a shrine of it and made a temple around the Trishul which is still there today! One of Sanju Bhai's inputs!!

Bus ride, Bhijili Mahadev, and the valley of Kullu!

We had our lunch here and took an hour and a half rest before heading towards Sola Tanki, our camp for the night. We were heading to an altitude of 7930 feet.

The Delegates of Coimbatore! :)

Photo of Bijli Mahadev Temple, Kashawri, Himachal Pradesh, India by Vamsi Nandola

The walk from the temple to Sola Tanki was a good one. Pine tress all around, snow capped mountains in the distance, those irritatingly good birds, and freedom!! That feeling of not giving a rats ass feels surprisingly good!! Nobody cares what you are doing, nobody to judge you, no cops to tell you what not to do (if you get my drift)

A cow drinking in the clouds!!

Photo of Bijli Mahadev Temple, Kashawri, Himachal Pradesh, India by Vamsi Nandola

Someone wise once said "You have to be lost first, in order to find yourself". And thats exactly what I intended to do. This was going to be a once in a lifetime journey, with no guarantee of coming back here ever again!! So this way, it was best to take it all in and enjoy the experience of meeting new people and making new friends and most importantly connect with the nature! You can literally see the galaxy at night and I know most of us don't get to do that every day!!

A pose had to be done!!

Photo of Bijli Mahadev Temple, Kashawri, Himachal Pradesh, India by Vamsi Nandola

The terrain wasn't that tough apart from the stairs at the bus drop off point. It was a steady climb to the temple and a short decent towards the camp site.

Sola Tanki camp site!

The camp site itself was in a beautiful setting, right in between the pine trees facing Kullu valley. The view of the whole valley in the night was breathtaking!! The number of lights that can be seen makes it look like an entire galaxy is filled within the cusp of the mountains.

Day 5
Photo of Himalayas by Vamsi Nandola

Once dinner was served and hot bournvita gobbled up, we retired to our comfortable sleeping bags in the cramped up tent. Tomorrow would be a climb upto 1250 odd feet elevation towards Mountinag.

Day 7: Sola Tanki to Mountinag (9187 feet)

I woke up with my half sleeping bag outside the tent!! In a way I found out that the sleeping bags were good ones because I didn't realise at all. I walk over to brush my teeth and people were discussing Kavin was also half outside the tent when they woke up! We had a good laugh and quickly grabbed a hot cup of tea and went for a walk in the sunshine!

The morning light was heavenly!! And the boys are up for a pose as always, patiently waiting till I got my settings right!

Morning poses with the Tea Moses!

Photo of Chandrakhani Pass- 2018 - Part Deux by Vamsi Nandola

Surprisingly after four days of continuous rains in the base camp, the day today was a bright and clear one.

Me in a picture for a change!!

Photo of Chandrakhani Pass- 2018 - Part Deux by Vamsi Nandola

This was the first time we got to see clear blue skies and sunshine in the morning since we landed in Manali.

Towards Mountinag, with the Mighty mountains in the background.

Photo of Chandrakhani Pass- 2018 - Part Deux by Vamsi Nandola

We were to leave at around 9AM since the walk today was going to be an easy one according to the guides.

Sweet summer child of the Himalayas!

Photo of Chandrakhani Pass- 2018 - Part Deux by Vamsi Nandola

So to keep ourselves warm, we pulled out the frisbee and assembled enough people to make a game out of it. This became a good activity to beat the cold in the higher camps as well. People were always ready for some game time! If you are wondering how we managed to not loose the frisbee, fret not, we lost it and found it. Several times!!!

Our journey from Sola Tanki to Mountinag

The climb up is 1250 feet from Sola Tanki. The walk, as all walks in the Himalayas was a beautiful one. Through the pine forest hugging the edge of the cliff and walking towards the lovely snow capped mountains. Make no mistake, one slip in certain places could be fatal!!

On our way, we met this gigantic dog which looked like a half wolf or more like The Ghost from Game of Thrones!! So we named him Ghost, obviously!! He was a gentle beast, a little like the Hodor of dogs!

Ghost, protecting the Nights Watch in day light!!

Photo of Chandrakhani Pass- 2018 - Part Deux by Vamsi Nandola

The decent to Mountinag base camp was a steep one! We had to venture through the roots of the trees, which is really dangerous when descending and the chances of tripping up and breaking your neck like a chicken are high!

Mountinag base camp

Photo of Chandrakhani Pass- 2018 - Part Deux by Vamsi Nandola

Slowly but steadily, we got to the base camp at around 5.30 PM. Tired, sweaty and in need of something cold to drink, we were expecting our welcome drinks as we are always the last people to enter the camp. I hear people shouting and a big group looking over the scene. People were fighting for the bloody tent!! Can you believe that? Sometimes fate throws up a$&h0!3$ for you to deal with, I was so surprised how one can be a d!#k to spoil others peace of mind in the Himalayas!! Moving on..

Morning walks

Photo of Chandrakhani Pass- 2018 - Part Deux by Vamsi Nandola

The Mountinag base camp setting was a decent one, as we had to deal with the cow dung lying about everywhere. It didn't help with the smell either. But a short walk away from camp site, the air and the view freshens up a bit!

It looks as if Ragnar aka Kavin is smoking, but those are clouds!!

Photo of Chandrakhani Pass- 2018 - Part Deux by Vamsi Nandola

Once settled in and rested, we went out to explore the landscape and relax. Thats the best part of everyday. Hot soup, stories to share and laugh, and a kickass view to keep staring at till nightfall. And with the dark, comes freezing gusts of wind to shoo us away and into the tent.

The view from where we were sitting!! Breathtaking is an understatement!!

Photo of Chandrakhani Pass- 2018 - Part Deux by Vamsi Nandola

By 7.30 PM dinner is served and by 8.30 PM, Bournvita!! Once our tummies were happy, the sleeping bags looked so inviting !! These were the best sleep ever!! I never slept like a baby and woke up this fresh during my everyday life.

Day 8: Mountinag to Ubla Tatch (9793 feet)

We woke at around 5.30 AM, and for a change me and Kevin woke up inside the tent instead of outside. Today the climb is just approximately 600 feet in elevation from Mountinag to Ubla Tatch base camp. Our beloved guides suggested we start late at around 10.30 AM to Ubla Tatch, so we had lots of time in the morning to relax and just laze around in the sun mostly!

Day 8

She was angry we were in her spot!!

Photo of Himalayas by Vamsi Nandola

Like clock work, all of us woke up at 5.30AM, by then the sun is already shining on you in the Himalayas. Once the morning calls have been made, we set about exploring once again with a hot cup of tea and water. Watching the mornings unfold in the mountains is a beautiful thing to experience. As time passes you can just lay down on the grass, take in the heat and watch the sky perform magic!!

Our walk from Mountinag to Ubla Tatch base camp!

We were given Maggi for breakfast along with good ol' Porridge and of course tea. For a change we skipped Maggi and opted for the later, cause maggi makes you hungry after a short time.

Karan on a mission!!

Photo of Chandrakhani Pass- 2018 - Part Deux by Vamsi Nandola

We got our lunch packed as usual and set off into the woods again!!

Up we go!!

Photo of Chandrakhani Pass- 2018 - Part Deux by Vamsi Nandola

The walk was an easy one as promised by Sanju Bhai. The terrain was not that challenging apart from the steep climbs through vast lands of green grass and hardly any trees.

Resting in the sun!

Photo of Chandrakhani Pass- 2018 - Part Deux by Vamsi Nandola

There was no cloud in sight until we reached 'lunch point'.

Huffing and puffing we somehow made it to lunch point!

Photo of Chandrakhani Pass- 2018 - Part Deux by Vamsi Nandola

The lunch point was a beautiful, not many trees around and just miles and miles of grasslands and a single chai shop! The mountain people are amazing!! Imagine running a shop at 10,000 feet above sea level!! Takes immense strength and stamina to do that!!

Chai shop at 10000 feet!!

Photo of Chandrakhani Pass- 2018 - Part Deux by Vamsi Nandola

Disappointed with our lunch, again, we set off towards Ubla Tatch. Into the woods we go again!!

Love pond! Just behind the chai shop!

Photo of Chandrakhani Pass- 2018 - Part Deux by Vamsi Nandola

According to Sanju Bhai, this pond in the above picture is called Love Pond. During the winters, the water freezes over this pond in the shape of a heart, hence the name.

Our guiding North Stars!! Sanju Bhai(left) and Tara Bhai

Photo of Chandrakhani Pass- 2018 - Part Deux by Vamsi Nandola

We reached Ubla Tatch base camp at around 5Pm. And there was "Tent Wars 2.0" going on again. Idiots!! And this time a few oldies were also involved, fed up I just gave up on them and went to find a place were we could fly a kite!! Just about 100 meters from the camp site is a shop and a shepherds shed with a fire place. So we migrated towards the fire and relaxed for a bit.

Flying high in the mountains!

Photo of Chandrakhani Pass- 2018 - Part Deux by Vamsi Nandola

While talking to the shepherd there, apparently a wild dog/ hyena had come to hunt the sheep last night. He was alerted when his sheep dog started barking at the invader and our shepherd had gone to inspect armed with his torch light and a stick. The wild dogs/hyena are scared of the torch light according to him, and while he was chasing the hyenas away, his torch light turned off because his battery had been drained. This happened half way through his sprint towards the hyena,and our man turned around in the same speed, and ran heather skeeter back to his shed which had a fire blazing outside so he could find his way back in the dark with the fear of a hyena chasing him!! Good news is, he lived to tell the tale, safe and sound.

Ubla Tatch camp site!

Photo of Chandrakhani Pass- 2018 - Part Deux by Vamsi Nandola

We were just on our way to fill up the water bottles and take a leak in the woods, before crashing to bed, the dogs started barking again! This was about 9.30PM and its pitch dark where we were heading to. We finished our business in the same place we were standing and rushed towards the safety of the tents. But we had to see what it was so we got our torches out and hit it at the direction of the dog. We stood around looking for about 10 mins, but we didn't spot anything. Disappointed and weirdly happy that we were safe, we went to the comfortable cocoon of our sleeping bags.

Ubla Tatch Sandaz

Photo of Chandrakhani Pass- 2018 - Part Deux by Vamsi Nandola

I will continue my journey in the next blog!!

Please forgive me for the lame work on the videos, a better one of the whole journey is getting ready in the meantime!!

I hope you enjoyed the pictures and the read!!

Link to Part I - Chandrakhani Pass

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