THE ROLLER COASTER RIDE IN TRIUND 

Tripoto
22nd May 2016

‘The Special Forces out there might cause some extraordinary things in life so try levitating your soul in these horizons’.

Photo of THE ROLLER COASTER RIDE IN TRIUND  1/14 by Prateek Singh
Photo of THE ROLLER COASTER RIDE IN TRIUND  2/14 by Prateek Singh
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Photo of THE ROLLER COASTER RIDE IN TRIUND  6/14 by Prateek Singh
Photo of THE ROLLER COASTER RIDE IN TRIUND  7/14 by Prateek Singh
Photo of THE ROLLER COASTER RIDE IN TRIUND  8/14 by Prateek Singh
Photo of THE ROLLER COASTER RIDE IN TRIUND  9/14 by Prateek Singh
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Photo of THE ROLLER COASTER RIDE IN TRIUND  14/14 by Prateek Singh

The long fields along the roads were green; the trees were loaded with greenery, the birds were chirruping, the people were out of their houses and had started playing their parts for the day. The mountains, in the distance were witnessing another exciting morning with their peaks licking the blue sky which were already occupied by dark clouds and probably were preparing themselves to welcome the Sun, as they did yesterday. The winds originating from them were cool in touch and brisk to feel. In fact, the concrete road was the only distinguishing element on this green carpet. As I was allured by this beautiful morning and was busy in placing these gems on my mentally designed canvas just like a pro-painter, with a splash of water along the side of the road the bus turned left and entered the Army Cantonment area of Dharamshala. I looked around to tell my friends, who were sleeping and were moving their heads in the same direction the bus turned. I was really excited about this journey, the legs were shivering to get down as quickly as possible, the mind was working briskly to design the virtual images of the places to come and the heart was ready for another unprecedented and unparalleled experience.

It was the month of May, the time when the city-life gets disrupted because of the scorching Sun; people start waiting for the rain gods to pour their wisdom. But this part of the world sounded a bit unperturbed with all this and definitely was an anomaly when it comes to weather and climate. The cloudy sky in Dharamshala was not a good sign and soon it started raining profusely. The sky thundered many times, the wind was blowing briskly and I couldn’t see anything outside the window. It is always dangerous to be on the mountain roads during the rain and equally dangerous while trekking. It was 6:00 A.M. on the clock when we reached Mcleodganj. Because it was raining so we boarded a cab and reached Dharamkot in ten minutes. This was the place from where we had to start our trekking. I braced myself and got myself ready for a long and challenging day.

Trekking from Dharamkot to Triund

Photo of Triund, Kangra, Himachal Pradesh, India by Prateek Singh

The arrow mark on the wall signaled, “Triund Trek Starts here”. This was the point from where the theory of ‘every man for himself’ was applicable. We were our own masters now. The journey was going to be long and harsh, the weather conditions were also not supportive, and it was drizzling slowly but steadily. I along with my friends started the trek of Triund. On an average around Four to Six hours are required to reach Triund from Dharamkot. Ninety-five percent of the trekkers reach Triund, stay there for a day or so and return back. We, ‘the young wolves’ had a different idea about it all together. Our plan was to trek to Triund within four hours and then after some rest, to start the trek of snowline from Triund, nearly three hours trek from Triund. So the bottom-line was we had to trek for nearly six to seven hours in one day, a herculean task.

The road, at which we had started the trek, was a connecting route to another road at a distance. It was completely occupied with rocks and pebbles and surrounded all around by pine trees. We walked for fifteen minutes before the rain got heavier and we had no option but to return back. We kept on praying to the rain gods to stop the rain because it was spoiling our plan. After forty minutes the rain receded and we again embarked on the journey. We reached a checkpoint where a police officer noted down all details about us, we signed on the papers which had formalities like, ‘we are responsible for whatever happens ahead…….’ and then officially, allowed us to move ahead.

With ebullience, hope and tenacity I started the trek of Triund. I already had some experience of trekking from my last endeavor of Tosh. The energy levels were high and expectations for beautiful sites were at the realm. The city of Dharmashala looked beautiful from the top. The red colour of the monasteries of Dharmashala spread all around like the rose flowers in the garden.

I advanced on the narrow and rocky trail and crossed many small waterfalls, giant trenches and captured vivid images of the mountains. The tall pine trees were like my companions, they were present everywhere around the trails. The mountains stood stark straight with their faces like an infant’s smile, the wind blew like a lullaby, the black clouds hovered in the sky, almost ready to lessen their weight, the vibrant greenery added to the beauty and the snow on the top of the mountains sparkled the rays of the Sun. The trek was soon interrupted by the rain. It started getting heavier and we searched here and there for a hiding place. I saved myself by hiding below a giant rock and waited for the rain to stop. People returning from Triund could be seen rushing here and there, trying to get away from the rain. The journey was indeed going to be a Roller Coaster with many rain interventions following our way. The rain stopped after few minutes and the journey resumed. The trails started getting steep and narrow as I advanced. The trails have got their own stories. They are the connecting portals to the undiscovered horizons, while trekking many souls drag their feet’s in anticipation of the natures paradise and in their way they also meet the returning souls who have the enigmatic beauty of the paradise alive in their eyes and manifested on their faces.

Final few km’s of the journey started and the expedition became hard. The Trails were now through the rocks and zigzag in orientation. The trekking had already absorbed a lot of energy of mine. I sat on a rock for some rest and allowed my heartbeats to settle down. I saw a foreigner returning back from Triund, when he reached near, I asked him, “How much more do I need to move”?

“You are sitting on the heavens door, just move for ten more minutes and you will be there”, he replied.

He was an Israeli retired soldier, who was in India since last forty-five days and indeed looked mesmerized by this beautiful land.

I quickly got up and started the trek. There were no glimpses of Triund from the trails but I kept on walking. After ten minutes, the trail turned sharply towards right and I was totally flabbergasted after what I saw. It was the hill top called Triund. Nature has placed it meticulously, one never gets a glimpse of it during trekking and all of a sudden it comes in front. A thick cover of greenery had occupied the area, forcing other mountains to cast their shadows on it. It was a platform to witness the immortal mountains just in front of eyes. The mountains with thick cover of snow were all around this place and the clouds were busy in their melodrama. On my right side was a cliff to watch the most alluring sunrise and sunset, deep down was a small forest with a waterfall, on my left were the trails for further trekking of snowline and behind me were those trails, which had helped me reach the paradise.

We were hungry so we ate some food from the cafe located at one of the ends of the place. We kept on talking about the beauty of the place but our task was not over yet. Our plan was to reach snowline in next three hours. It was around 1:00 P.M. in the clock so we didn’t have the luxury of sitting and staring the hills out there.

Trekking from Triund to Snowline

Photo of SnowLine Cafe, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India by Prateek Singh

I was in no mood to leave Triund and move ahead on the expedition. The dark clouds were hovering in the sky and possible rain interruption was on the cards, in short the chances of smooth trekking were bleak. But we already had made this plan and we had to go for it. I got my bag pack in proper order and started the trek of snowline with my energy quotient bars already touching the minima. This was the real test, the trails were ridiculously harsh and traces of symmetry were absent. Sometimes I had to search for the shortcuts, drag my body like the armies men do during their training, also the jaw dropping faces of nature were horrifying. Throughout the trek abyss was my neighbor and I had to be extremely alert for safe journey. Sometimes I kicked the stones down so as to calculate the amount of depth to cover if I fell down. Snowline is last point of rest on the trek of Triund. Only two small cafes are present in snowline, after this point is the dead end. There is no residence after this point. 3-4 days of trek from snowline, one might reach Ladakh. Our plan was to stay at Himalayan cafe in snowline and we kept on praying abut fewer crowds in snowline. One hour had already passed on the trekking and I had pledged not to drink water during the trek so as to save the stock and also the temperature was down so it was not going to be of any help. I ascended a peak and following it were long and straight trails giving some sign of relief. There was a mark on a rock which indicated “Himalayan cafe ahead”, I sat down for some rest and was happy that I was on the correct path. After just five minutes it started raining but it was a drizzle so I hoped it will not last long. The rain stopped after ten minutes, I looked up in the sky and what I saw was astonishing. Ten Himalayan eagles were on their march. They are gigantic and majestic in shape. I had never seen such kind of birds; they had big feathers and a white stripe at the center of the feathers. Undoubtedly they are the kings of this empire. The birds have always fascinated me. They know how to fly irrespective of long or short feathers. They have whole sky to fly and no one to stop them. I never wanted to be like a frog which spends its entire life in a small hole and ends up becoming the King of its own self-made world, it has no idea that the world outside is beautiful and worth exploring. I never wanted to be a Tiger either. I just wanted to be a free bird, flying high in the sky and watching the world below my eyes.

I had spent last six hours on trekking with very little amount of food, I already had surpassed the daunting last 2 km of Triund trek, witnessed the enigmatic beauty of Triund and had already covered more than half of the trekking of snowline. How is that for adventure? I asked my mind. I sped up my walk because I didn’t want any cramps or any other glitches. In the journey I also met 4 locals who had one of the two cafes in snowline (not the one which we had decided to stay in). They too were going up.

“Aap snowline ja rahe h”? They asked.

I quickly understood what their motive was, so I just nodded my head and kept on moving and much to my expectation they started their commercial break.

“Come to our cafe, we will give you the best food, best accommodation and the snow out there is present profusely, you can play with the snow, so come with us”.

“Wow”, only word which my mouth uttered. Anyways they were sweet and friendly so I just said, “I will see”, and moved ahead.

After few minutes I turned right and saw a large grass field occupied with giant rocks. ‘Game of Thrones’ should be shot here, I thought.

One of those rocks indicated, “Himalayan cafe, five minutes away”.

I was happy, the journey was about to consummate, it was 3:00 pm on the clock and I believed I had done a decent job in covering the entire distance within two hours.

I reached Himalayan cafe and immediately asked for tea and something to eat. We were exhausted after a long journey. A separate tent and sleeping bags were arranged for us. Snowline is like a small valley. It is surrounded all around with mountains covered with snow and a river flows deep down. The place is completely alienated from people, and nature is the only friend here. After some refreshment we decided to visit the river deep down. Now this was the limit, we were prepared to go probably 1 km deep down to search the river. Walking downward is not that difficult. One just has to maintain the balance. It took fifteen minutes to reach the river side. In the way, I saw many caves and trenches which were possible habitats of beer or beasts. Sometimes it was horrifying but we four were enough to outnumber anything. The sound of the flowing river was the only sound which echoed in the surroundings. We dipped our feet and experienced the soothing water. It was a trickle so the water flow was slow. We were busy in clicking pictures and enjoying the cold evening before we saw nearly two hundred sheep’s on the other side. I have never witnessed them in such large numbers. The sky again started getting cloudy and dizzy so we rushed back. Now we had to walk up on the slippery trails. It started raining profusely and we somehow reached up in thirty minutes. The place is at a higher altitude so the clouds appear to be right above the head. It never looked getting better and we had no option but to run in the rain towards our tent. It started getting dark and we finally got a full-fledged meal to eat. They had set up a bonfire, we enjoyed sitting around it. Saw the sky flooded with stars and listened to the freaky sounds of the beasts coming from the distance. We all were totally exhausted; the legs had nearly given up. Our plan for the next day was the trek of glacier. I personally thought it an impossible task; it was the most difficult trek of nearly three hours. Only 10 in hundreds decide to go Snowline from Triund and only one in thousands dare to go to the Glacier. Keeping my physical status in mind I contemplated to skip the trek and spend the next day relaxing in snowline and wait for my friends to return back. It was 9 pm on the clock and the temperature was nearly 0 degree Celsius. We fell down to sleep in our sleeping bags.

Trekking from Snowline to the Glacier

Photo of THE ROLLER COASTER RIDE IN TRIUND by Prateek Singh

No wonder i woke up at 9 a.m. next morning after one hell of a sleep. I came out of the tent and for the first time on the trip I saw the sun. It was a bright and sweet morning. All the mountains were busy in the sun bath and the dark clouds were kept at bay. This was ideal weather for trekking. I also felt re energized and physically fit. Everyone started preparing for the trek of Glacier and started taking all the details regarding it from the locals. They had to cross two mountains to reach the glacier. Their narration was tempting and I also thought that I didn’t come this much far to only come this much far. I gave up my decision of resting at the tents and braced myself for the final trek of this journey.

The trek started and unlike other treks the trails were absent. We had to walk on the rocks to move ahead. Giant rocks, narrow openings were the only gateways. After half an hours journey the road cleared a bit but it remained rocky. I couldn’t resist myself from taking the pictures. Even a novice could capture wonderful pictures because the surrounding was perfect I just had to keep the camera in proper position. I have always believed that there are only two types of people in this world. First category is of those who take out some time from the busy and dizzy life and utilize it in travelling and exploring the world, rest all belong to the second category. I wrote travelers anthem dedicated to all the travelers in this world.

WE are THE Traveler's

“We are the travelers,

The shepherds of our own world,

And the czars on the march,

We walk the path less traveled and explore the unexplored".

“Sky is our shed, wind our breath,

Stars are the lamps, the greenery our bed,

Nature is the mother, travelling is the religion,

So let’s come together and search for another".

“We are band of clouds, hovering in the sky,

We flow like the river, fly like the birds,

And watch the world below our eyes,

All the days and all the nights".

“For, the road is endless and the desire is eternal,

To cross the vicinity of the nature’s empire,

And paint its beauty on our canvas,

To sing our song for ages to come by”.

After the halfway mark, the road became more daunting. Almost slant and at some points it was vertical. I slipped twice had some cuts on my hands but managed to remain safe. The river originating from that glacier was visible now. It was a pure blue trickle of water which was scattering the sunlight. We kept on ascending the slant height and after an hour Pranay signaled that we had reached the destination. I rushed ahead and at the end of the mountain top, deep down was the glacier. A long strip of snow, nearly 500 meters long was followed by a small trickle of water which later on would take a shape of a river. Beautiful, alluring, mesmerizing, divine, astonishing, jaw-dropping, gorgeous, sheen, pleasant, exceptional, marvelous, wonderful, just, great, choose your word but you will fail miserably in defining this juggernaut beauty.

Photo of THE ROLLER COASTER RIDE IN TRIUND by Prateek Singh

The glacier looked like a gateway towards the heaven and we could not resist the temptation to land our feet’s on the glacier. I started walking down, made my way through the rocks and stones and finally reached the glacier. I first stamped my feet on the snow so as to check whether it was hollow from inside. It was a hard surface, nearly 10-15 feet deep. We had to be cautious while walking on the snow because it was slant in height and slippery as well. And if someone somehow slipped down then crashing with the rocks was the only possible outcome. We enjoyed a lot and it was a kind of achievement for me. This is the highest place I have ever been to, nearly 3500 meters above the sea level. I stood at the highest point with three of my best friends. Pranay was the senior most and most experienced in trekking. For him no height was enough to climb. He believed that, “if it’s your limit, you can’t exceed it; if you exceed it, it’s not your limit”. I believe one day he will climb Mount Everest. Pranjal was the poster boy, always interested in selfies, hair styles and dressing and last but not the least Adarsh, who is deprived of the art of saying no to anything. I was thirsty, so started walking down on the rocks alongside the glacier. I reached the point from where the trickle of water originated, sat down washed my face and drank the cold and clean water using the palms, it had a feeling which is unmatched. The atmosphere was mesmerizing and feelings were at the realm. We shouted, smiled and captured all the immortal images in our hearts for rest of our lives.

Photo of THE ROLLER COASTER RIDE IN TRIUND by Prateek Singh

A night with stars in Triund

Photo of THE ROLLER COASTER RIDE IN TRIUND by Prateek Singh

After our successful trek of glacier, we returned back to Triund for the night stay. We reached Triund around 4 p.m. and sat down for some food and enjoyed the atmosphere out there, though it was bit crowded. They give the best food out there, delicious and healthy. In spite of harsh conditions they cook the food with love and care. We decided to prepare bonfire for the night and started walking towards the forest, situated deep down the Triund hill. I reached near the opening of an abyss, opened my arms with the head pointing the sky and shouted my name and the sound resonated back, I practiced the experiment many times and it was fun, I felt levitated in these horizons.

We reached the forest and collected some dry wood. After some time we realized that we had collected enough woods to last for at least two hours. Next challenge was how to carry the large amount of woods. We opened our jackets, opened the chains, filled it with the woods, closed the chain, tied the upper part using the arms of the jacket and carried them on our backs. We also drank some water from the water fall, present at the end of the forest. We started coming back and anyone who saw us treated us no less than bear Grylls.

Photo of THE ROLLER COASTER RIDE IN TRIUND by Prateek Singh

It started getting dark, the cold breeze blew, we already had our supper, the stars soon started blossoming in the sky and within few hours the sky was flooded with stars. Everyone went to sleep but we stood outside our tent like the zombies. The wind blew, the silence enveloped the arena, rustling of the grass started, and the roaring of the beasts in the distance grew faster. So we thought lets feel brave tonight and lit up the bonfire. We spent next two hours around the bonfire, warmed ourselves, listened to some music, stared the stars, saw the constellations and finally return back to the tent to sleep for one last time in the lap of Triund, next morning we returned back to Delhi after countless memories and vivid images of this Roller Coaster.

I have always believed that the travelers are the best story tellers. They have countless stories to tell because for today was once a ‘tomorrow’ and tomorrow will be a ‘yesterday’, the memories are constant; they will be with us every day.

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