Chandrakhani Pass- 2018- Part I

4th May 2018

Chandrakhani Summit!!

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

Day 1: Coimbatore To Delhi

Chandrakhani Pass trek was special in so many ways. It was my fourth Himalayan trek, my younger brother Karan's first (So that's off his list finally!!) and the other members of the fellowship, Kavin, Prashob and Amar, all four popped their Himalayan cherries!!

Look how happy this one is!! He even forgot to remove remove the tag! :P

Photo of Coimbatore International Airport CJB, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, India by Vamsi Nandola

Our preparations started way back in December, when we booked our trek seats through YHAI. All our seats were booked except Prashob's due to some glitch in the system and his only option was to get spot booking done at the Base camp. We drew up a list, made a plan and made some efforts to be prepared in the best way possible for all scenarios!

My Baggie!! I took only the absolute essentials, and it still weighed 15.6 kgs which excluded my camera kit!!

Photo of Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, India by Vamsi Nandola
Day 1

Our journey started from the Coimbatore airport, with a pit stop in Delhi before heading to Manali. Once in Delhi, we went to visit an old friend of Amar's and have lunch with him before our bus ride, at 6 PM from Majnu Ka Tila! As every good journey has to begin and end with a beer, ours did too. Our sweet cab driver from the airport let us have a pint each during the ride to see Amar's friend. Once the formalities were done, and our stomachs filled, we were on our way to catch the bus to Manali where we met the most humble host Mr. Lovely Singh, our caretaker during the 15 hour bus ride.

The journey had to begin with a drink!

Photo of New Delhi, Delhi, India by Vamsi Nandola
Day 2

Day 2: Manali

We reached Manali Bus depot at around 9:30 AM. Tired, hungry and desperate for a restroom, we had to rent out our room in Vashist, 3 KMS from Manali and spend a night there. We had one day to relax and energize for our trek, before we could check into YHAI base camp named "15 Miles Base Camp" roughly 13 KMS from Manali.

The entrance to the hotel was a bit edgy at first, but once I saw the view from my balcony, I was sold!! Right underneath the laps of the Mighty Himalayas. The mountains I had been craving for since my last visit, was right here in front of me, and I was blown over!!

The View from my balcony!!

Photo of Vashist, Himachal Pradesh, India by Vamsi Nandola

I was in awe once again. Falling head over heels for this beautiful setting!! Everytime I have been to the Himalayas, I find myself surprised at how beautiful it actually is here!! I missed this scenery for six months, and now that I am back home writing this, I miss it even more so.. The vibes, people, dogs and the connections you make there are always heartfelt and meaningful, some of which would last for a lifetime!!

Balcony view!!

The buzz of the Beas river, the constant chirping of the birds and the fresh cold breeze blowing over the mountains was magical, and it filled me with positive energy. All the tiredness from the journey seemed to magically disappear!!

Himalayan Bliss!!

Out came the beers and speakers, ready to enjoy our last night in civilization before entering the wild!! #hangoverforsure

The other side of the balcony!!

Photo of Vashist, Himachal Pradesh, India by Vamsi Nandola
Day 3

Day 3: 15 Miles Base camp

Snuggled under the puffy pink blanket provided by the host, I can faintly hear a melancholy of the birds in my balcony. It gets to the point of being downright rage and noisy once all of them birds started a group debate in the balcony. Eventually and unwillingly, I get out of my bed to shoo them away, and I instantly regret stepping out in the balcony when a swift cold breeze swept the birds, almost swept my boxers and certainly swept my sleep away. Maybe this was their plan all along!! Bloody birds!!!

Morning view from my room!!

Photo of Manali, Himachal Pradesh, India by Vamsi Nandola

Heartbroken and depressed about missing out on more sleep, I thought a coffee and some hot breakfast mite just do the trick! Just as I was about to step out, I look at the time and see its just 5.30 AM! A glimmer of Hope for something hot was swept by the wind too!! With nothing to do, I took out my camera and got this!!

First rays of the sun trying to penetrate through clouds and mountains!!

Photo of Vashist, Himachal Pradesh, India by Vamsi Nandola

The plan for the day was to get ourselves checked into YHAI base camp and get the booking sorted for Prashob.

Once at the base camp and our formalities completed with them, we were allotted Tent #10. After being settled in our tents, and relieved that all of us made it to the base camp with out any hiccups, we were now pumped up for the trek.

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

But we still had to overcome the gloomy skies and flooded camp sites for the next two days!! It was relentless rains and it made life quite miserable with flooded water every where!! It was raining nonstop and mercilessly screwing up with our mood and the base camp as well. If one had to take a leak in the rains, they dreaded the journey from the tent to the restroom some 50 feet away. Seems like a walk in the park, but little did we know it would turn out to be a swamp which devours people for fun!!

15 Miles Base Camp, Manali, Himachal Pradesh

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

For those of you who do not know how organised YHAI are, here is a glimpse of their military like timings..

YHAI schedule

Photo of Chandrakhani Pass- 2018- Part I by Vamsi Nandola
Day 4

Day 4: 15 Miles base camp

Today the programme was an acclimatisation hike to a nearby village. But Mother Nature had other plans. She decided to piss us off and on our plans to confine us to our tents. But we had too much energy to be in the tent, so ventured out for a walk in the rains.

A walk in the rains!!

That was about the most exciting thing on the agenda for the day and we were back again within the confines of our tent. And climate like this called for some tea, hot pakodas and a game of cards!!

Day 5

Day 5: 15 Miles Base camp

Our Last day at the Base camp, the rains did not show mercy on us as of yet. Half a day wasted away in the base camp with periods of sun shine and YHAI decided we could have the acclimatisation walk despite the pouring of cats and dogs from heavens.

Posing in the Jungle!

Photo of Manali, Himachal Pradesh, India by Vamsi Nandola

A walk in the rains was much better compared to getting bored in the tent. And it certainly was refreshing to walk through the lush greens of the Himalayas, taking in the view and the fresh oxygen and lots of rain!!

This was the last night at the base camp, as we were scheduled to leave for higher camps the next morning, with our group of 58 strong!!

Acclimatisation walk!

I was made the team leader for our group as I was unfortunately the most experienced member in the group, which was filled with newbies!!

I will continue this journey in the next few blogs as I like to go in detail about my journey without boring your wits!

I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I did in putting this together for you guys!!

Stay tuned for more..!!

P.S. All images and videos are copyrighted

Here is the link to Part 2 of my journey!!

Chandrakhani Pass - 2018 - Part Deux