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Panchchuli 2005



A Trek to Panchchuli group from East

I could not believe my eyes. I had seen these mountains from Chaukori on the west side as the sun was setting. That sight itself was quite magnificent, but this was much more than what I had expected. I have been to mountains quite a number of times but this was some thing I had not imagined. I was standing on the bridge on river Dhauliganga, located between the villages of Dugtu and Daktu. The Panchchuli group of peaks were right in front with in touching distance. All the peaks were snow covered and big hanging glaciers could be seen. I was viewing the Panchchuli group from the east side and the view is fantastic and that too after only two days walking on good village trail.

I came to know that Pankaj Dewan had planned to visit Kumaon during the period I was in the Garhwal region. I have hardly done any trekking in the area and decided to join him. Traveling across Garhwal and Kumaon from Gangotri for three days, I reached the meeting point, KMVN Tourist Guest House, Dharchula at 2130 hrs on 10 Oct 05. Dewan was happy to see me since he had given up hope of my reaching Dharchula that day. We were meeting for the first time and so after initial talk slept off. We got ready to leave Dharchula by jeep which was to take us to the starting point of the trek. At the Taxi stand we came to know that the road had reached Dar village. A Sumo took us to a point just below the village as a massive landslide had washed off a section of road. The trek started off by 1230 hrs. Crossing the landslide was not much of a problem. Thereafter, we took the shortcut trail which took us straight up away from the village. After this initial climb the trail eased off, however, the jeep trek soon turned into a cliff hugging trail. The fall on the side was quite deep and Dhauliganga flowed further down. Two hours on the trail and we were at Bauling. Only the hotels are next to the trail. The actual village is above the trail and is not visible from the trail.

It was quite early in the afternoon to call it a day and we decided to continue to the next village. The trail was now moving up and down and was passing through jungle. We had left Bauling at 1530 hrs and reached the tea shop at Urthing by 1700 hrs. The shadows were becoming long and so we hurried up the tea break and left after 15 minutes. Another one hour's fast walk took us to the hotels next to the trail as it was almost dark. This place was next to the Sela village which was located across the river. The hotel is run by an old woman. Good dinner of dal and rice brought relief to the stomach. There was no light and it was cold so we went to bed early. Next day morning we saw the place. The village of Sela was to be seen high up on the other side. A good bridge takes you across the fast flowing river. We left the place after breakfast and the trek slowly started to climb. After some time the trek split and we took the one going up. After climbing high the trek moved down to the river where a nala coming from left met the river. here we saw the other trek also joining the route and came to know that it was the lower trek along the river, which was closed due to landslides. We met a lot of families who were moving to lower places for the coming winter. All of them were from the border villages where migration is a yearly phenomena. Trekking along the climbing trail we reached the village of Nagling at 1130 hrs. After a short tea break we continued on the trail and reached the Baling village by 1430 hrs. The weather closed in and we decided to stop for the night at this village. The girl running the wayside hotel made the arrangements for our stay.

We were told that the next village was only an hours walk and we need not worry. From there we were to have the grand view of the Panchchuli group of peaks and without inner-line permit were not allowed beyond that point. So we left Baling at 1000 hrs and by 1130 hrs were at Dugtu village. Here everyone was very busy closing down the houses for the winter and so keeping our bags we asked the villagers the way to the Panchchuli view point. We were told to cross the river over the bridge and take the trail moving towards the mountains. So we left for the visit towards the Panchchuli. From the village of Dugtu we crossed over to the left bank of the Dhauliganga over a good bridge and took the trail moving along the river towards the peaks . The trek moved along the left bank and is more or less marked and easy to follow. The end of the valley is blocked by the Panchchuli group with the peak 2 to 5(R to L) being visible from the trail all the time. The Meola glacier is visible clearly and its a formidable sight and is the reason for very less attempts on the peaks from this side. Well, we continued upto the point where the trek along the mountain slope had been washed away. The weather had also closed in and the peaks were not visible except some view when the clouds shifted. We started back towards the village of Dugtu where we had left our bags and to look for a place to spend the night. While at Dugtu we had seen a village on the opposite bank of the river and decided to visit it on our way back to Dugtu. It turned out to be the best decision of the trek. We reached the partially vacated village and met two young persons. From them we asked about any tea shop in the village. Since the village was about to be closed for winter the shop had already closed and so we were not going to get any thing to eat. We were about to move on, when the boys asked the lady of the house on whose compound wall we were seating whether she could provide us the food we were looking for. Well, the reply was affirmative.

We moved in the house and the lady of the house told us that since it was quite late she will make khichadi, which she said would take very less time. 15 minutes latter we had the best khichadi and also heard the story of the Panchchuli peaks. We were told that the view from the village was outright fantastic. It was suggested that we spend the night there only and also to visit the valley on the right bank of the river. It was cold outside and we had to decide fast. Having seen the attitude of the Dugtu villagers and no view of the peaks from Daktu, we decided to accept the offer. We went to Dugtu village and returned back to Daktu village with our bags. No one from Dugtu asked us where we were going that late in the evening. The food we had for dinner was Palti ki roti and sabji and we were given the best of the rugs to sleep on.

Next day I got up by 0530 hrs and fully decked up for the cold, went out to view the mountains and if possible capture the sunrise on the peaks. Well, what I saw was just out of this world. The whole Panchchuli group except the first peak were visible from just outside the house and the blue sky was cloudless. The peaks were white from top to bottom and the river flowed in the center. I had not seen anything of this sort earlier. The light was increasing slowly. I moved back to the house and told Dewan to get up and come out at the earliest least he missed the view. The first rays of the sun fell on peak no. 2 then on 3 and lastly on 4, with each peak turning golden as the sunrays fell on them. Thereafter, both of us were outside taking pictures till the group was fully bathed in sunlight. We had Aloo prantha's for breakfast and since we had a day in hand decided to follow the valley on the right bank of the river. We crossed the bridge and just before the Dugtu village took the trek moving up the valley. The trail was good and quite wide at this point. Slowly we moved up to beautiful views of the peaks and at one point where the wide trail turned into narrow one, we had the view of all the five peaks of the group. We could see the trail we had followed a day earlier on the left bank and were happy that our decision to turn back from the first landslide position had been good as a little further there had been a massive landslide and we could not have gained much after crossing the first one. We went till the end of the trail, where we were just above the glacier moving down the mountain. We could clearly see the two glaciers. The Meola glacier on our left and Sona glacier on our right. From our final point the peak No. 1 to 4 were visible with the peak No. 5 being hidden. We were sitting just a 1000 meters away from the hanging glacier. Fully satisfied we moved back to the village of Daktu for getting the bags and move back. At the village, the lady of the house refused to accept any money for the food and room she had provided us. We had to force here to take money and deeply grateful to her for making our visit so fruitful we left the village. It took us an hour and half to reach the village of Baling. It had become dark and the walk back was quite scary due to the presence of bears in the fields we were moving through. However, the dog who accompanied from our host's house in Daktu village to the Baling provided us the required sense of security and we were quite thankful to the dog for the same. We got to stay at the same place where we had stayed on our way in.

Next day we had a late start and left Baling by 1000 hrs. Reached Nagling by 1130 hrs and Sela by 1330 hrs. This time we took the route along the river as it had been repaired by the road repair party. We left Sela at 1430 hrs after lunch and reached Bauling by 1745 hrs. Stayed by the roadside hotel and next day left for the road head at Dar village by 0800 hrs. It took us 1 hour 45 minutes to reach Dar. After tea we were at the road head in 30 minutes and got the jeep, which took us to the place called Kanjoyti. Here the road bifurcated, with one crossing over the Dhauliganga and climbing right upto the famous Narayan Ashram. Another jeep took us to the village 05 Kms short of the Ashram and a leisurely walk brought us to the Ashram. From the Ashram the view of the Nepal Himalaya was good with snow covered peaks in one line. As the sun set the moon rise took place and the peaks turned golden. It was fantastic. Next day we decided to trek down the other side of the mountain which was to take us to the Kaliganga river valley. This river is the boarder between India and Nepal. A road runs on the Indian Side of the river and is followed by the teams visiting Mansarovar and Kailas. We reached the road at Dhasku village after two and half hours walk. A jeep took us back to Dharchula.


Panchchuli BC (East) Photos I

Panchchuli BC (East) Photos II

Panchchuli BC (East) Photos III

Panchchuli BC (East) Trek

KEEP THE MOUNTAINS CLEAN











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Published on: 2006-08-06 (3389 reads)

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