Monday, June 12, 2006

Majestic Churdhar

My friend KKT2 would say

“Duniya ki sair kar Ghafil,

Zindgani phir kahan;

Zindgani gar rahi to,

Naujawani phir kahan”

Travel Bug bites me now and then. I don’t remember how I got the idea of climbing the “Churdhar” peak. There were only two sources from which I could have gathered information, one was internet and the other was a sole report about a trip to churdhar in “The Tribune”. Any way stage was set and after postponing it for 4 long years, programme was suddenly chalked out and I along with R, B and A started.

We set off from Delhi on Friday evening at 8 and spent night at my place in Kurukshetra 160 Kms from Delhi. Again in the morning got up at 4 and were planning to start by 5, but B was lazy and we could only take-off at 5-45, after that another 2 hrs in the planes and we were past Kalka before heat. Thanks to U for the paranthas and between Kalka and solan we had our breakfast.

From Solan its 65 Kms. To Nauradhar via RajGarh (the Peach Bowl of Hiamachal) churwa-dhar and Deedag, good road but almost no good places for Break-fast etc. It took almost 3hrs. from Solan to Nauradhar. Nauradhar is like all other small Himachali towns, Some Dhabas and local Bazaar. The Dhaba-wala will show you the starting point of the trek. But try to identify and mark the landmarks to avoid any chances of getting lost here. Mind getting lost does not mean that you will get lost in the jungle but that you might miss the regular mule-track and try 10 or 20 different slopes to finally find someone to confirm that you are on the right track. Although there are Gujjars’ huts almost throughout the trek and they are cooperative enough to guide you, but they are always ½ hrs climb away. Any way U don’t get any water for the first 2-3 Hrs. depending on your speed, and during these 2 Hrs. either you pass through lush green jungles (the regular mule track) or the rocky climbs, (we caught the rocky climbs.) But once you have negotiated this initial sweating ordeal, you reach “JamNala”, it’s an open area perfect for camping etc. with a Dhaba, where you can get Tea and biscuits, there are also some scattered Gujjar hutments nearby. After “JamNala” U get a water point after another 30 minutes walk that is not so difficult, and another walk takes you to “Tissri”(perhaps the third halt), again a good spot like “JamNala” with the same facility. It was 7PM when we reached here, here we changed our programme and decided to stay here for acclimatization and rest. Its possible to climb even during night up to the Temple. Bedding is available for 30 bugs in the Dhaba itself and at least U can sleep here. Next morning we started at 6 and were in the Temple by 8. Temple is at a very good location and they say that the place has blankets for at least 1000 persons. The place is very cold at around 3400 meters above sea level. Dharmashala is buildup (pucca) structure and there are 4-5 dhabas that can serve you Paranthas etc.(although the quality was very poor). The Lungar, we missed, would have been the better choice. From the temple it took another one hour to get to the churdhar top, it was a steep climb but rewarding, at least you can say that you have conquered a top. It is said that on a clear day, you can see gangetic planes and Kedar and Badrinath from this top, but I doubt if any day can be clear at this height. Here the view of the adjoining hills a-al-a mountains is awesome, my goodness, Paharis are very lucky. This is paradise on earth. I am not good enough to describe this beauty. It was nature and you alone. But we had to get back and join office on Monday. We started down at 10-30 but the descent also took some time and we reached down at Nauradhar at 4-30 PM at took our lunch (?). After this Solan is another at least 2-2.30 hrs. drive. From Solan we drove back to Kurukshtera and U was kind enough to serve dinner at 11-30.PM. After supper Delhi was only 2-30 AM.

Do remember:

1) Nauradhar to Churdhar is a good 18 KMs. Climb, but its negotiable even with children. Remember no porters and ponies.

2) Don’t forget to take your initial ration of 2 litres of water per head.

3) Take some biscuits with you.

4) The most difficult part is the initial climb, so start early and give yourself time to relax after each 15 minutes.

5) If possible stay in Nauradhar>Rajgarh>Solan for night so that you can start the climb early.

6) If starting early from Nauradhar, go to the hilltop straight and then come to the Temple and stay for night there. If starting very late from Nauradhar (A/N) , then halt in Tissri and in the morning start before 6, go straight to temple and then to the top. From top no need to come back to the temple, rather come to Tissri direct.

7) Do not forget to take a sweater.

8) Try a shoe that has good grips.

9) Rains? It’s a big problem during the trek.

10)Delhi-Nauradhar is exactly 280 KMs.

Some Fotos