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Rakhundi Top Story -2005


I had just come back from trekking in Garhwal and Kumaon before I landed for this trek. I could not but admire the beauty of the trail. The trail was very less frequented and passed through dense jungles. To top it, there was no one else on the trail and we were alone. I along with a friend were trying out a small trek in the Great Himalayan National Park (GHNP). We left Chandigarh by a night bus and early morning disembarked from the bus at Aut, some 40 km before Kullu. Another bus brought us to Banjar, which was very cold even at 0900 hrs. The reason of cold was late arrival of Sun rays and an early departure. So, not a good place to be at during Winter. A jeep took us to the Sai Ropa, our destination of the day. Checked into a good room of the Sai Ropa Tourist Center and placed request for our food and the chowkidar promptly went for the purchase to meet our requirements and we started looking for Mr. Chouhan, the Director of the local NGO called Sahara. This NGO has been setup by Mr. Sanjeeva Pandey, the erstwhile Director of GHNP for the benefit of the villagers living on the boundary of the Park. We got in touch of Mr. Chouhan, who has got office in the complex and made arrangements for a few days trek. We got the guide, porters for the trek and the guide made all other arrangements.

The guide Tekram landed up at our room in the morning and we got ready to leave for the village Bathad, the road head. A bus took us to the village and there we met two porters. There was a bit of difficulty in getting people as the Dussehra festival was in progress and all young men were at Kullu. We hit the trail, a big village trail at about midday and crossing villages reached the last village of Conchar, where the check post of the Park is located. Well, no one came to check us and we continued on our way. Now, we were in the Park proper and did not hope to meet many on the trail. The trail also narrowed down and as we reached the river Tirthan, it was no longer there. The trail had been washed away during the recent floods. We reached the makeshift log bridge and crossed to the right bank of the river. The trail was bad at some places but otherwise alright. We reached a single hut but could not see anyone, till we saw some movement on the big stone on the other side of the field where a old man was taking out Dal. Tekram told us that this was the only private hut in the Park and this old man lived here along with his equally old wife. Well could not say anything. Here we were moving into the park with three young people to support us and still found it a bit difficult. The trail continued and finally we reached the huts located at Rolla. The guide and porters put there bags down and told that we had reached the days halt. Well we had walked on for two and half hours and this was not enough for the day. So this can not be end of the day. We were told that the other hut was another three hours away and it was all climb from here. Anyway we choose to continue.

We left the hut at 1500 hours and reached a spot where the stream coming from left had damaged the trail, making it quite tricky to cross. We crossed it and continued. As promised the trail started to rise and thereafter it was more or less up and up along the trail covered by undergrowth. Slowly we continued up the trail, looking for water which was nowhere to be seen. The trek passed through thick forest and had trees with different colors and on tree which was just red. The porters were finding it tough without water, but there was no solution then to reach the next hut. I was walking in front and did not want to stop before reaching the hut. The sun had gone down behind the ridge and the jungle was becoming unwelcome. Finally, the light was gone and the visibility started to reduce, and hut was nowhere in site. I had taken the decision to continue and so everyone seemed to be cursing me for putting them it this miserable state. Moving in front I reached the flat portion on the trail and saw some structure a few meters ahead. I shouted to others who were nowhere in site. Then I took out the torch and flashed down into the darkness. Some ten minutes latter Tekram came in site and told that others were also nearby. He also gave the most comforting news that we had reached the Shilt hut. So the climb of the day was over. The hut was OK and only required some sweeping. Tekram went looking for water and found a small source, below the hut. So not much water here, even though it was sufficient for us, it was a disappointment and warned us of the conditions ahead. Others also reached and dead wood was collected for the kitchen fire. Now the next item was a good dinner, which was prepared by Tekram without much problem. With stomachs filled all the difficulties were forgotten and we enjoyed the campfire just outside the hut.

The night was cold but comfortable in the hut and the door was kept blocked to avoid accidental entry by any wild animal. Next day dawned bright and the sun rose from behind the ridge just opposite of the hut. Seeing the condition of the water along the trail, at Shilt hut and Tekram's advise we decided not to take the camp further. We decided to go ahead to Rakhundi top along with Tekram, while the other two porters remained at the hut and took care of the kitchen. After heavy breakfast of Aloo prantha's we left the hut. The initial route was slowly climbing and went down also passing through deep jungle. All three moved slowly and looking for wild animals since not many humans come on these trails. Tekram showed the fresh pug marks of a big cat we never saw any animal and finally reached Chhordwari. At this place a shall water stream was flowing out of rock surrounded by lots of moss. It took us one hour to reach this place. Tekram told us that it was the best place to site the rare and endangered Western Tragopan pheasant. Though we were late in reaching the place, we heard the bird and got on small feather. Good enough for the effort. After water we continued on the trail which how started to rise. Slowly we were moving above the tree line and breathing also started to become heavy. Finally we were above the trees and in to open grass land. Finally we reached the ridge giving us the views of the other side. Tekram however wanted us to climb further to our right and so another fifteen minutes of climb brought us to the top where an open temple is located. The flags marked the place. We were at the Rakhundi top. tekram showed us the route to the Dhel meadow and the Tirthan valley. He also informed that lots of animals can be sited in the Tirthan valley and it was a good trek with no problem of water. We spent some time there and then started on our return journey to the hut. By evening we were there with tea waiting for us. With no more climbing we had good time at the Shilt hut and slept of peacefully making plans for the other treks in the area.

Next day was slow starting. We got up and waited for Sun to come out from behind the ridge. Some photography and good breakfast latter we left the hut and were on the trail again, though this time it was all the way down. Now both of us were behind as the knees came into work and our knees were weak to take the climb down. However, slowly we moved down and reached the level trail just before the stream crossing. The trail here was bad and this time we were to move down. Dhami handed over the sack to Tekram and crossed the bad patch. But my pride did not allow me to do so and so I tried getting down on my own. The weight of the sack came on knees and the feet moved on and slipped. Tekram who was standing nearby to help tried catching the camera bags tied on my waist which gave way. By this time I slipped further and the heel of the show got stuck in a small projection and the combined affect stopped my movement down a 20 feet fall all the way to Tirthan river. Now Tekram took my sack off my back and I jumped to the safety on other side of the stream. With wet cloths I reached the Rolla hut and saw one porter also drying his cloths. Well, I was not alone in slipping at that point. It was only afternoon by the time we reached the hut but still we decided to stay there and enjoy the Rolla hut located a few meters away from the river amidst thick jungle. Afternoon was spent trying to locate wild animals on the other side of the river and gathering dead wood for the night time fire.

Today we are going up-to Sai Ropa only and as such again had a leisure start of the days proceeding. Only two hours trek is left with the initial part being only a level walk till the make shift log bridge and thereafter the village trail starts. Walking very slowly we reached Bathad and waited there for some time for the bus to come from above to take us to the Tourist complex. By afternoon we were at the complex and decided to leave immediately and so cleared our dues and left for Banjar and by evening reached Aut. Early morning we were back in our home. A good trip to the hill was over.

Rakhundi Top Photos Part I
Rakhundi Top Photos Part II


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Published on: 2006-12-22 (5785 reads)

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