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Kalpeshwar - Rudranath Story Part I

Kalpeshwar and Rudranath

While climbing up the steep slopes I was thanking the overcast sky as it would have been terrible climbing up these slopes in sun. As I reached the ridge I hoped that the clouds would clear up and offer me an opportunity to view the magnificent snow covered giants of the Himalaya. Alas! I did not have much luck and the weather turned for bad and we were walking into the clouds with visibility being very low.

I had left Helang two days back after lunch in very fine weather. The monsoons had been good and so I thought Sep would be very good for trekking and as such set out on the trail to Rudranath via Kalpeshwar. I took a porter from Helang and we left the place with sun beating on us with its full might. By the time I reached the old bridge over Alaknanda river I was wet from sweat. Though a road has been constructed upto the village of Salna I decided to walk up as it was good for limbs to open up. The gentle climb along the road soon ended and we took the old shortcut trail and started to move up steeply. The labours who were working on the road were looking at us, as if to say, why these idiots are walking up when the jeeps are plying on the road. Well, leaving them behind we continued climbing up and finally we were ahead of the road head and soon the village trail was in front of us. The trail was cemented and it was easy to walk on but the steepness did not abet. I lowered my sack as soon as I reached the shops. Though totally wet and sweating profusely I entered the cool interior of the shop, since it was very hot in sun. It was nice to be in shade and slowly I regained my strength. A bottle of water and tea was good for the break and after some rest we again put on our sacks and moved off. The climb continued for some time and then it eased off after Lajari village, as we reached the Panch dhara. It is a water point where the water is flowing out of five points and my Bahadur told me that the water was very good and refreshing. The local school had just got over and the kids were returning to their homes merrily. Groups of children crossed us and few were stopping to have water at the spring. Water was cold and sweet and more so for us as the climb had ended and now the cemented trail moved through the fields. As we walked in the Urgam valley the sun was rushing towards the hills to our left. We crossed the Barginda village which is located along the trail. Soon we were moving into the Devgram village. On my way back from Nandi kund I had stayed at the hotel run by Shri Negi and so was looking for the familiar signs. The bridge across the nala passing through the village was broken at that time and this time I crossed over a good bridge without any problem. Soon we were standing in front of the Negi's hotel. It had changed  but the water tap was at the same point where it had been a decade back. As I lowered the sack  the back was relieved, however, all the muscles were achy, as it was first day of the trek. The thigh  muscles were the worst affected. As I sat down surveying the surroundings, Negi sent tea for me and Bahadur. We sat sipping tea and enjoying the lush green surroundings. I paid the money to Bahadur and he immediately left for Helang. A group of trekkers who had gone to Kalpeshwar temple were also to leave for Helang on return and so I was relieved that Bahadur had company as by the time he was to reach Helang it would be dark and the area is not very safe after dark.

I got up from the chair and as I moved forward I realized that I had lost too much fluid and the thigh muscles were getting pulled. I went to the tap and had a good wash and sat waiting for the guide to come so that things for the next day could be tied down. Finally Negi came with a tall man in his late twenties and introduced him as Indra Singh Rawat, the guide. The discussion on the amount to be paid and the items he would be carrying were discussed and he left with a promise to come next day by 0700 hrs so that we could reach the destination by evening. He also suggested that I should visit Kalpeshwar temple the same evening as it would avoid our getting delayed the next day. So I picked up my camera and jacket and immediately left for the temple which is a km or so outside the village and across the river. The way was well cemented trail and  I was on the bridge within 15 minutes and there stood the Kalpeshwar temple complex, which comprises of the temple and living space for the Sadhus. It is a longish complex  over looking the river and in the starting are the room for the Sadhus and then are the place of worship. At Kalpeshwar the hair and head of Shiva is worshiped. When I reached, the light was fading and so immediately I went in the temple to have darshan. A Sadhu came to tell me about the place and after showing me around, he escorted me out of the complex. The clouds had gathered and I rushed back towards the village before it became dark. The village has electricity and so inside the village, after dark it was not a problem. Sometime later after I  had reached my room, Negi brought dinner and I had food in the room itself. Outside it was dark and I called it a day and slept off.

I woke early morning while it was still dark outside. Slowly it dawned and presence of clouds in the sky were not a welcome site. I got ready and waited for tea and breakfast. The village ladies who had gone to the jungle were returning back to the village with loads of grass. I had thought that I had woken up quite early but here the ladies were returning after completing the job. Well, what a hard life. Negi got my breakfast after his wife had also returned back and I sat there waiting for  Indra Singh who was to come by 0700 hrs. I cleared my account with Negi and waited for the guide. Another person who was there for the construction of the platform for the erection of a mobile tower was also ready to move to his construction site, as was the mason who was laying the drinking water pipeline in the last village of the valley. We all waited for Indra Singh, who came after fifteen minutes of the appointed time. He carried a small bag containing an extra pair of clothing. This bag went into the kitbag and the kitbag on his back. I shouldered my rucksack and we were on the trail. Again the trail was good cemented one and was climbing up. Today we were to climb up and then move down to the valley on the other side of the mountains in front and there was no running away from the climb. The nights sleep and food had brought back strength in the limbs and I moved behind Indra Singh and others. After some time the construction man said good bye and moved over to his construction place. We continued on our way. Finally the mason also went his way and both of us moved on towards the end of the Bansa village. The temple of Urvasha was reached and we stopped there for water from the spring and some rest. The last building of the Urgam valley was this temple. Now the real climb to the pass was to start. The packs were again on the shoulders and we moved on. The cemented path was now over and we were on a mud trail. The climb was gentle and we were slowly entering the jungle. The trail was well defined as it is used by the villagers regularly. The cattle of the village were grazing and their keepers were some where around though they were not to be seen. The zigzag climb started and a look behind told us the amount of climb we had finished. The trees were saving us from sun and it was not a problem moving on this trail. Indra Singh moved in front and I followed him. I heard somebody talking, and presently appeared a couple ,    coming from Kalgot village and were on way to Joshimath. I asked them if this was the only way out to which they replied that it depended on the destination. If they were to go towards Joshimath they would move on this trail and for going to Gopeshwar side they would move on the other trail. There on we moved  our ways. The trail moved through thick jungle and then in front a rock face came in view.  For once I thought that difficult section had come, but the trail skirted it and soon we were above the rock face. Not much later I saw Indra Singh sitting down with the pack besides him and cigarette in his hand. He declared that we were on the top of the pass.

I went a bit ahead but came back as cold wind was blowing on the top and I was wet from sweat. I asked Indra Singh if he could light fire and he said no problem, so the fire was started and we made tea . The pass has no particular name and is called Kalgot pass by the locals. End of the climb, a cup of tea and snacks had made us ready for the next stage of walk, which did not seem to be much as  Indra Singh showed me the Kalgot village down in the valley and further ahead in distance the village of Dumak. The clouds were already covering the sky, but  rain was not in air. We shouldered the packs and were on our way down. The trail zigzagged the mountain face and we moved down the good trail without any problem. The village was not as near as it seemed but took two hours to reach. It was already lunch time so we decided to have lunch here and moved towards the village house which is also a hotel for the trekkers. Roof of the house under construction was being made and all the able bodied men of the village were there helping in the construction. I was told that, since few people are available, as such, wherever there is this type of activity all the people join  the house owner for doing the job and he in turn organizes Lunch for all of them. Since Indra Singh is a regular guide on this route he called the owner of the hotel and he came immediately, but told that it would take some time to get the food made since nothing was ready at the site. We had no choice and so decided to wait for the lunch to be prepared.


Kalpeshwar - Rudranath Story Part II

Kalpeshwar - Rudranath Photos Part I

Kalpeshwar - Rudranath Photos Part II

Kalpeshwar - Rudranath Trek Plan



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Published on: 2009-01-11 (3919 reads)

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