Introduction 

Trekking in Himalayas means a deep refreshing experience with Mother Nature. When I was in school during the summer vacations, my uncle has taken me, my mother, brother, aunt and my sister along to the Himalayan trekking expedition to Bhrigu Lake in Himachal Pradesh. We started our journey by train in the evening from hot Howrah to chill-thrill Manali. We reached Delhi and halted there for one day in my another aunt's house who used to stay in Delhi permanently, and the next day we started our journey by Volvo in the evening and reached Manali next day forenoon. It was about 15 hour's joyful journey.

About the place

Manali welcomed us with heavy rain followed by drizzling. We reported at the Base Camp, set up near road side at village Barua around 8 km from main Manali town. Tents were pitched in the apple orchard with trees laden with baby apples. The orchard land was rocky, potatoes, peas, corns and pulses were sown under the apple trees. Barua is a small size village of about 200 well to do famalies and has a middle school to cater to educational needs of their children. The village people are hard working. In the evening, we were narrated about the surroundings areas, wildlife, environmental activities, and trekking and safety techniques.

Experience of trekking

2nd day from Solang valley to Anjani Mahadev: It was our second day; we assembled early in the morning and were taken to for morning exercises and a walk of about 3 km towards Palchan village. After breakfast, despite rain lashes, we trekked through waterfalls and hills through the Solang valley to Anjani Mahadev, better known as Chhota Amarnath. In the vicinity of Solang Nala Valley, a temple situated under about 200 meter water fall and Shivlinga shadowed by an umbrella like snow cap, is a visual delight, captivating and exciting. This was almost a whole-day trek and everyone was enthralled to be at the temple. Total to and fro trekking was about 16 km.

solang valley

3rd day from village Kothi through Palchan on the Manali-Keylong highway: On the third day, after breakfast, we were trek to our next camp beyond village Kothi through Palchan on the Manali-Keylong highway. After trekking for about 12 km, we reached our next camp Kothi, where we were welcomed by the camp leader with refreshing welcome drink. The camp was situated on the bank of the Vyas River, close to several waterfalls and a mini hydro power plant. As we were tired, we took a refreshing bath under the chilled water fall. We were shivering but after sometime we were feeling refresh. There after some of us collected wood for evening camp fire. The evening was spent sharing jokes and singing songs over the camp fire. At mid night, there was heavy rain and furious winds were forcing our camps to fly. Any how that night passed out and the rain stopped in the morning.

4th day at Ravalikholi: On the day four, after breakfast, we proceeded for trekking to our next and last camp Ravalikholi, it ws about 16 km. Trekking in toto from Kothi and from 14-morh to Ravalikholo, too as above the treeline offering fabulous view of the entire Manali Valley. It was a steep tough climb up to the Ravalikholi camp through dense forest. There were goats and sheep with their lambs grazing on the grass. My uncle picked up a baby goat and gave it in my hands for a photograph. I also saw glaciers, waterfall, snow patches and fields. Different types of plants and flowers presented a panoramic view of great Himalayan peaks and Dhoula Dhar range. After tiring trekking, we reached our next camp in the afternoon and were welcomed with delicious welcome drink.

Weather condition

After tiring trekking, we reached our next camp in the afternoon and were welcomed with delicious welcome drink. The camp was situated at the height of about 13,800 ft. As we were tired, so we sat under the warmth of comforting sun for quite some time before arranging our tents. As soon as the sun went behind the clouds, the chilly winds reaching us directly forced us inside our tents. That is why we could not enjoy the camp fire because of extreme chilled night. Due to bad weather at miid night and a heavy winds storm scaring us, we packed in our sleeping bags many of us shivered through the cold night. In the evening, the water ponds where we got fresh were frozen next morning due to minus temperature at night.

The trekking experience of fifth, sixth and seventh day.

Fifth day morning, after breakfast along with packed lunch, accompanied by the experienced guide, we were on the go to climb to Bhrigu Lake situated at about height of 14500 fts. Right of Rohtang pass, the lake lives the legend that Bhrigu Rishi meditated here. I enjoyed the snow and ice, I walked and slide on snow, it was all white snows every where. It was fantastic and wonderful to be there. Immediately after reaching Bhrigu Lake in the afternoon, We all rushed back to camp and reached in the evening (total to and fro about 26 km).

rohtang passbhrigu-lake1

On sixth day, since early morning, we started preparing ourselves to trek down to 14-morh. After breakfast, we kept walking down with rugsack on our back. Once at road side, we were picked up by the vehicle and brought back to Base Camp. We all stayed the night at Base Camp.

On the seventh day, in the forenoon, we all visited local sights and Mall and Manali for shopping and enjoyed the taste of Ice cream, apple juice and also purchased many woollen items from there for other family members.

Conclusion

Altogether, on completing seven days of joyful stays in camps (in forest, on high altitude on mountains adjoining the glaciers), in sleeping bags, in extreme climate and cold conditions, ice and snow: it was time to say good bye to Manali. Really, Manali is a wonderful place to visit and no doubt to say "Manali" alias "Mini Switzerland" as I have often seen in movies and sometimes on Discovery channel on TV. In the evening, I left the Base Camp with a heavy heart and proceeded for hot Delhi. It will be remembered as a mix of adventure and unforgettable experience for ever. Finally, from minus temperature of Manalii, I reached Delhi in 45 degree centigrade temperature again.

After all "trekking is an adventurous sport". I learnt discipline, team work and love for nature. During trekking, I also tested my sportsman spirit, energy level, determination and physical strength.


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