Saturday, June 22, 2013

La Paz (Mexico)

We catch a huge ferry from Los Mochis (Mexico) to La Paz at 9 am. Ship gracefully moves in the peaceful water of the enclosed Gulf of California. Water is still, blue and once a while you can see a large fish, as this gulf is shark infested so we see sharks too. Sea gulls are flying along the ship because it stirs up the water in the back and brings small fishes up and bird dive in the water like a missile. Before diving, seagull becomes like a torpedo and dives as deep as 20 feet and always returns with a fish in its beak.
Baja California Desert
Baja California Desert

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Bhatinda (Bathinda) Chronicles (Part 2)

In my last post, we were revisiting Bhatinda in the time machine.
After the death of Muhammad Ghori, Bhatinda was now a part of Delhi Sultanate.
Mamluks became a powerful military caste in various Muslim societies. Mamluks held political and military power most notably in Egypt, but also in the Levant, Iraq, and India. In 1206, Muhammad Ghori died. He had no child, so after his death, his sultanate was divided into many parts by his slaves (mamluk generals). Qutub-ud-din-Aybak became the sultan of Delhi, and that was the beginning of the Slave dynasty.
Now Bhatinda was an important Bastion of Slave dynasty that lasted from 1206 to 1290. That was the zenith period for Bhatinda Fort.
Aybak rose to power when a Ghorid superior was assassinated. However, his reign as the Sultan of Delhi was short lived as he died in 1210 and his son Aram Shah rose to the throne, only to be assassinated by Iltutmish in 1211.
The fourth Emperor – Iltutmish, on his death-bed chosen his daughter Raziya as his heiress. Raziya became the next and the first Empress of India and was known as Razia Sultana. Her childhood friend named Malik Altunia was now the governor of Bathinda. Malik Altunia along with other provincial governors started a rebellion against Razia Sultana. After a lost battle Razia Sultana was imprisoned at the Bathinda fort in April, 1240. While in prison Razia Sultan was allowed to go to Haji Rattan mosque to offer prayers on Fridays in a special palki. It is said that Razia tried to flee the fort on her horse. Razia’s brother Bahram Shah took over her throne and Razia and Malik ran to Delhi to battle with Bahram Shah but were defeated and routed. They were returning to regain control of Bhatinda but fell in the hands of Jats and were killed.
Bhatinda Fort
Bhatinda Fort

Monday, June 17, 2013

Bhatinda (Bathinda) Chronicle (Part 1)

Since I am from Bhatinda, it always fascinates me. Massive fort manifests that it must have a rich past. Its history stayed sparsely known till recently after google books library project that brought out the hidden history books from all over the world.
The Google Library Project makes it easier for people to find relevant books – specifically, books they wouldn’t find any other way such as those that are out of print – while carefully respecting authors’ and publishers’ copyrights. The ultimate goal is to work with publishers and libraries to create a comprehensive, searchable, virtual card catalog of all books in all languages that helps users discover new books and publishers discover new readers.
Bhatinda Fort
A very old picture of Bhatinda Fort

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Railroad drawbridges of NJ

Area of New Jersey touching New York city is crisscrossed by rivers that merge with Hudson and make a delta. Area is one of the heaviest populated in the world and is a transit hub for hundreds of sea ports on these rivers. These rivers are navigational with barrage and tug-boat traffic.
So when a road encounters a river, it is passed on a very high bridge and these bridges too are spectacular but more spectacular are the draw bridge that rail lines pass through. Since railroads need a gentle elevation so making high bridges requires miles long ramps on both sides hence practical idea is to build a drawbridge.
What is a drawbridge:
Drawbridge is a movable bridge that is raised or opens up to let the higher ships pass through under them. A segment of Panbam bridge near Rameshwarm (India) is a draw bridge.
Following are some of the spectacular bridges that I come across.
Drawbridge
Upper Hack Lift Drawbridge

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Pulaski Skyway, (NJ, USA)

Pulaski Skyway is an iconic bridge to me but may be an ordinary bridge to many others. Once a while I take this bridge to Jersey City to New York City. Each time it is equally thrilling experience to cross it. As Route 1 and 9 pass by Newark Airport once can see several airplanes in an inclining line to approach Newark airport. During this visit once can watch 2-3 airplanes landing on the runway although it is risky to divert your attention. And then this Skyway begins that give your an experience as if you are landing.
This bridge crosses over two rivers and then road goes straight to Holland Tunnel to Downtown Manhattan.
Pulaski Skyway
Pulaski Skyway

Most scenic Lake Tahoe, USA

Lake Tahoe is at 6,225 ft (1,897 m), a large freshwater lake in the Sierra Nevada of the United States. It is at the border between California and Nevada, west of Carson City. Lake Tahoe is the largest alpine lake in North America continent. It is 1,645 ft (501 m) deep, this makes it the second-deepest in the United States. Lake Tahoe is also 26th largest lake by volume of water contained at 150. 68 cubic kilometers.
Lake Tahoe is a major tourist attraction. People visit here for summer outdoor recreation, and tourist attractions. Snow and skiing are a significant part of the area’s attraction.
Lake Tahoe
Sacramento to Lake Tahoe

Delaware and Raritan Canal, New Jersey (USA)

About once a week I visit this canal to have a several miles long walk. This is near my home.
The Delaware and Raritan Canal (D&R Canal) is a canal in central New Jersey. It was built in the 1830s and served to connect the Delaware River to the Raritan River. It was intended as an efficient and reliable means of transportation of freight between Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and New York City, especially coal from the anthracite coal fields in eastern Pennsylvania.
Delaware and Raritan Canal
Delaware and Raritan Canal next to Millstone River

Ultimate Road Trip – The scenic Overseas Highway to Key West, Florida USA

The Florida Keys are coral islands in southeast United States. They begin at the southeastern tip of the Florida peninsula, about 15 miles (24 km) south of Miami, and extend in a gentle arc south-southwest and then westward to Key West. At the nearest point, the southern tip of Key West is just 90 miles (140 km) from Cuba.
Visit to Florida Keys is a spectacular hundred miles drive and road crosses several islands over the spectacular bridges. Alongside the Overseas Highway, there are hundreds of places where you can pull over to fish or kayak or enjoy a pina colada. Camping in the Keys is a special treat, and there are dozens of magnificent coral reefs where you can snorkel or dive. Fresh-caught seafood is a Keys staple, offered at a broad range of Keys restaurants.
We leave Everglades early in the morning and return to the Florida town of Homestead and catch on the US route 1.

Sunset in the Keys

The Strip at Las Vegas

The Strip is what Las Vegas is known for. No matter where you are on the strip it is sensory overload. The crowds, shows, musicians, Elvis imitations, hotels, and attractions pretty much ensure there isn’t a dull moment. There is always something on the grandest scale going on.
North end you have the Stratosphere, where we stayed and regretted. It is a grand hotel so why regret? Each time we had to walk miles from the parking and then within the corridors to get to our room.

Las Vegas

Everglades, Alligator country of Florida (USA)

The Everglades is a slow moving river in the South half of Florida (USA). It is a large watershed. The system begins near Orlando with the Kissimmee River, which empties into the vast but shallow Lake Okeechobee. Water leaving the lake in the wet season forms a slow-moving river 60 miles (97 km) wide and over 100 miles (160 km) long, flowing southward across a limestone shelf to Florida Bay at the southern end of the state. The Everglades are shaped by water and fire, experiencing frequent flooding in the wet season and drought in the dry season. Writer Marjory Stoneman Douglas popularized the term “River of Grass” to describe the sawgrass marshes, part of a complex system of interdependent ecosystems that include cypress swamps, the estuarine mangrove forests of the Ten Thousand Islands, tropical hardwood hammocks, pine rockland, and the marine environment of Florida Bay.
Everglades is a jigsaw puzzle of free-flowing channels of water, sawgrass prairies marshes, wet prairies (are slightly elevated like sawgrass marshes but with greater plant diversity), hardwood hammock patches, Pinelands, Cypress swamps etc.
At the bay are Mangrove and Coastal prairies.
Everglades
A funny signboard in Everglades directing hikers to the side

Monday, May 27, 2013

Toli Bugyal – Dumak – Kalpeshwar – Rudranath Trek 6

Rudranath Trail Sitemap

1: Chopta to Mandal walk
2: Mandal to Anasuya Devi
3: Anasuya Devi to Hans Bugyal
4: Hans Bugyal to Rudranath
5: Rudranath to Toli Bugyal
6: Toli Bugyal – Dumak – Kalpeshwar

We wake up from our sound sleep in narrow dingy hut of Bakhtwar Singh. He serves us tea. We pack our belongings. He makes us breakfast of aalo-parothas and offers us to pack some food for the way but we decline. Dumak village is now barely 10 kilometers and it is all effortless descending.
We say goodbye to our best friend Bakhtwar Singh. Hope he lives forever and we want to see him again and again. Our heart is breaking upon leaving this heavenly set up.
Dumak Village
Toli Bugyal

Rudranath to Toli Bugyal – Rudranath Trek 5

Rudranath Trail Sitemap

1: Chopta to Mandal walk
2: Mandal to Anasuya Devi
3: Anasuya Devi to Hans Bugyal
4: Hans Bugyal to Rudranath
5: Rudranath to Toli Bugyal
6: Toli Bugyal – Dumak – Kalpeshwar

Next morning we walk back on the trail to a waterfall to take bath but water is too cold so we use minimum water.
Morning puja at Rudranath Temple begin at 9:00 am and we drag Trai and Company to the temple.
After temple visit, we all have breakfast of aalo-parothas. Madam is again given a cupful of goat ghee. Horse man is still here in Rudranath along with his both horses and Tari and Company are all set to return with him. We wonder how Memsab would mount the horse; she is even unable to walk. We suggest her to walk some distance and then mount the horse and she should again walk after the pass because then it is descend all the way. This time they will be going to Sagar, that way is a bit short and better with some more food stops.
We shake hands and as they are about to depart Harsh plays a cruel joke with them.
He says to Madam, “Did you eat goat meat at Panchganga bugyal yesterday?”
She cries, “Really, they had goat meat there? They didn’t tell us.”
“Since pilgrims don’t eat meat on their journey so they don’t tell these things to people. Otherwise people won’t even drink tea from that shop.”
First time we see smile on her face and now her eyes are beaming.
“They have goat meat, really?” – now she gets sad – “It might be finished by now.”
“Yeah, I saw them cooking goat meat in desi ghee tadka. How could it finish by now. Everybody comes here only and just two more people came here after us. They were cooking whole bakra there.”
Even Tari has a smile on his face now because she may enjoy her lunch and then may leave him alone for a while.
Rudranath
Priests relaxing at Rudranath temple



Hans bugyal to Rudranath – Rudranath Trek 4

Rudranath Trail Sitemap

1: Chopta to Mandal walk
2: Mandal to Anasuya Devi
3: Anasuya Devi to Hans Bugyal
4: Hans Bugyal to Rudranath
5: Rudranath to Toli Bugyal
6: Toli Bugyal – Dumak – Kalpeshwar

We wake up in the morning at 6AM, it is intense cold. Using the fuel wood from Swamiji’s stocks we make black tea outside and soon Tari and Horseman join us. Tari seems miserable. Horseman tells us that the Chatti (night staying place where boarding and lodging is provided) run by Mr. Rajinder Singh Bhandari at Panchganga bugyal after the Naola pass is open. Panchganga is the place where other main route for Rudarnath merges.
This is good news that we will be getting hot lunch in the high altitude wilderness.
For breakfast we swallow one parotha each because we are eating these for third time and these seem tasteless. We prepare black tea for Swamiji and also for Memsab who accepts it from Harsh’s hands. Kid also drinks 2 cups of tea while his mother is not looking at him. He seems enjoying very much here and is despised at his mother who is rude to his dear Pa. He is always sticking to his father and shunning away from his mother. We also leave out 2 kilograms potatoes that we carried as emergency ration, there because food is available at Panchganga bugyal.
I and Harsh resume our walk to Rudarnath although Tari again pleads to wait for them. Kid wants to walk with us but Tari stops him. Gradually the forest thins and the evergreens give way to conifers, less tall trees and finally to twisted willow trees. We reach a small patch of flatland with a few sun-baked flat rocks, called Dhanpal Bugyal. We find many sheep and goats arriving accompanied by a couple of men, they tell us that this is the last point of obtaining drinking water till Panchganga bugyal.
Rudranath
Rudranath temple

Anasuya Devi to Hans bugyal – Rudranath Trek 3

Rudranath Trail Sitemap

1: Chopta to Mandal walk
2: Mandal to Anasuya Devi
3: Anasuya Devi to Hans Bugyal
4: Hans Bugyal to Rudranath
5: Rudranath to Toli Bugyal
6: Toli Bugyal – Dumak – Kalpeshwar

We wake up in the beautiful morning at Anasuya Devi, and visit tea shop at 7am. Mr. Negi is no where around. Birds are singing all over. It rained at night and area looks extremely beautiful at this time. Mountains tops are shining golden with green hue with the rising sun and golden triangle at the top is visibly increasing by each minute. Time and again someone rings the bells of the temple and that is adding to the serenity and peace of this place. Children wearing sparkling clean school uniforms are seen chirping around the single avenue of this tiny hamlet.
A man tells us that Mr. Negi expected to be here at any time. We visit temples and then find Mr. Negi there. We walk around and return tea shop and find Mr. Negi firing up his wood stove. We wait for tea and then parothas will take some substantial time. We want to sneak out of Anasuya before Tari and his wife wake up but it appears that it is not going to happen.
Anasuya Devi
Woods end and Bugyals begin

Mandal to Anasuya Devi – Rudranath Trek 2

It is a golden morning of Himalayas, we wake up listening to the screaming of Mrs. Tari. We have no desire to accompany them on the long way to Rudrunath so in a rush we pack up. When Tari sees us packing he begs us to wait for them so we all can go together. Since they have booked a car till Mandal and driver is waiting outside, so they will be going to Mandal on the car, that is a little more than a kilometer only. We tell Mr. Tari that he may find us in Mandal and actually he is happy that he need not to offer us a ride in the car because whole vehicle is cluttered. We come out of the hotel at 8am and have tea and then walk to the scenic village of Mandal in the bottom of the valley where road crosses the river and again begins its climb to Gopeshwar. Whole route is very scenic and we reach in Mandal in no time. Mandal village has a market of ten or so small shops. We have breakfast of parothas at a small restaurant by the river and brace ourselves for the 6 kilometer trek for Ansuya Devi.
Anasuya Devi
Trek to Anasuya Devi

Chopta to Mandal walk – Rudranath Trek Part 1

Rudranath Trail Sitemap

1: Chopta to Mandal walk
2: Mandal to Anasuya Devi
3: Anasuya Devi to Hans Bugyal
4: Hans Bugyal to Rudranath
5: Rudranath to Toli Bugyal
6: Toli Bugyal – Dumak – Kalpeshwar


Panch Kedar (पंचकेदार) in Garhwal refers to five Hindu temples or holy places dedicated to god Shiva. They are the subject of many legends that directly link their creation to Pandavas.
Kedarnath ( केदारनाथ) at an altitude of 3,583 m (11,755 ft), the Tungnath (तुंगनाथ)(3,680 m/12,070 ft), Rudranath (रुद्रनाथ) ( 3505 m/ 11500 ft), Madhyamaheshwar (मध्यमहेश्वर) or Madmaheshwar (3,490 m/11,450 ft) and Kalpeshwar (कल्पेश्वर) (2,200 m/7,200 ft).
About three years ago I visited Rudranath temple. Rudranath is considered as the toughest Panch Kedar temple to reach. Most trekking routes to Rudranath are from Gopeshwar or nearby places. Now a motorable road is present up to the village Sagar — 5 km from Gopeshwar, beyond which a 20 km trek to reach Rudranath. The trek winds through tall grass, oak and rhododendron forests. Other routes include: an uphill, 17 km trek from Gangolgaon — 3 km from Gopeshwar through the forest and Panar and Naila shepherd settlements. Another trek route is from Gopeshwar to Rudranath is via Mandal (13 km) and then additional 6 km to the Anusuya Devi temple and then another 20 km to Rudranath. The Anusuya Devi temple is home to goddess Anusuya, who is believed to help devotees in distress. A 45 km trek path is available from Joshimath via Helang too (considered a strenuous trek). There’s also a trekking route to Rudranath from Kalpeshwar, via Dumak, Kalgont Kimana and Palla. The route meets at Urgam village, a little ahead of which is Kalpeshwar.
Rudranath is the toughest of the famous Panch Kedar pilgrimage treks. Even seasoned trekkers say, and locals agree, ‘Rudranath ki Chadai, German ki Ladai’.
We returned from Tungnath and spend a night in the scenic Chopta. I am not making a post about Tungnath temple because it is most accessible Kedar and also there are already several posts about Tungnath exist and several more would be coming. Chopta offers amazing views of the imposing Himalayan range including Trishul, Nanda Devi and Chaukhamba. It is located at an elevation of 2680mts above sea level. Chopta is rich in varied flora and fauna. Chopta is situated amidst thick forest of pine, deodar and rhododendrons. Bugyals begin just after 1 kilometer on the Tungnath Trail.

Chopta to Mandal Walk

Footsteps of three great leaders: Churchill, Gandhi and Botha. Spion Kop (South Africa)


This is called a story on which the sun never sets. Britain marched into the South African war in the spring of 1899, confident that it “would all be over by Christmas!” The war lasted three years and was to become the most costly war Britain had ever fought.
Winston Churchill (future Prime Minister of United Kingdom), Mohandas Gandhi (One of the greatest man of the Millennium) and Louis Botha (future South African Prime Minister and leader of the Boer forces) were present together at the battle before they got famous.
The British suffered 243 fatalities during the battle, many were buried in the trenches where they fell. Approximately 1,250 British were either wounded or captured.

Spion Kop battlefield area

Sea to Sky Highway, BC Canada


Sea to Sky Highway
Highway 99, also known as the Sea to Sky Highway, the Squamish Highway, Route 99, or Whistler Highway, is the major route running through the Vancouver area of British Columbia from the U. S. border, up Howe Sound through the Sea to Sky Country to Lillooet.

Sea to Sky Highway
This is the most scenic highway of the world with as much awe-inspiring scenery. It is a drive with incredible sights at just about every turn. It’s also filled with fun stops, including outdoor destinations, cultural points of interest and historic sites.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

End of trail at Chorgalia (Unknown Kumoun 13)

Unknown Kumon

Nanakmatta Sahib (Unknown Kumoun: 1)
Tanakpur (Unknown Kumoun: 2)
Chalthi and Champawat (Unknown Kumoun 3)
Lohaghat and Advaita Ashram (Unknown Kumoun 4)
Pithoragarh (Unknown Kumoun 5)
Jhulaghat on the India-Nepal border (Unknown Kumoun 6)
Baitadi Nepal (Unknown Kumoun 7)
Dharchula (Unknown Kumoun 8)
Ritha Sahib Gurudwara (Unknown Kumoun 9)
Basantpur village (Unknown Kumoun 10)
Last village on the mountains (Unknown Kumoun 11)
Most dangerous Nandour valley (Unknown Kumoun 12)
End of trail at Chorgalia (Unknown Kumoun 13)
I thank the man for saving my life. He notices that my backpack is front has a nail slash on the outer lining. I find teeth holes on the top where he tried to maul me at the neck.
This man is a Gujjar and going to his camp where they have cattle. We walk together for 3 kilometers and he splits and takes a trail going on the hill. He tells me that now it is straight forward trail that crosses the river after 3 kilometers and there I will see the road to Chorgalia. He says that on the road I may find some transportation. So my misery will come to end after crossing the river. Man tells that it is the same river that is barraged near Nanakmatta.

End of Nandhour Valley


My shivering is gone now and I am feeling hot whereas I am drenching with water. My backpack is still dripping and I take off my socks to release my feet and now I am unable to fill my very hot and inflamed feet back in the shoes. With my Swiss knife I cut my shoes to insert my feet.

Most dangerous Nandour valley (Unknown Kumoun 12)

Unknown Kumon

Nanakmatta Sahib (Unknown Kumoun: 1)
Tanakpur (Unknown Kumoun: 2)
Chalthi and Champawat (Unknown Kumoun 3)
Lohaghat and Advaita Ashram (Unknown Kumoun 4)
Pithoragarh (Unknown Kumoun 5)
Jhulaghat on the India-Nepal border (Unknown Kumoun 6)
Baitadi Nepal (Unknown Kumoun 7)
Dharchula (Unknown Kumoun 8)
Ritha Sahib Gurudwara (Unknown Kumoun 9)
Basantpur village (Unknown Kumoun 10)
Last village on the mountains (Unknown Kumoun 11)
Most dangerous Nandour valley (Unknown Kumoun 12)
End of trail at Chorgalia (Unknown Kumoun 13)
I wake up in the morning and drink a cup of tea at tea shop that is already open. No other customer is here so no parothas are being made so I ask for omelet with buns. I am told that Gujjars are camping in the closing of the Nandour valley and they will give me food. Total walk is about 40 kilometers to the roadhead. 6 km on the trail where I will sight a pond, then 6 km to the pond, 6 km to the down then 12 km in the Nandour Valley till road head. Everybody has recommended me to stay with Gujjars in their barricade and as a tradition they provide food and bed to the stranded travelers.
I again have a strong temptation to pay a visit to my little best friend Rishi. He is so poor and also so happy and I want him to stay happy forever. I want to do something for him, want to give him a good life, or if possible to adopt him anyway. He has severe eczema on his head and want to take him to some medical doctor. His father worked in a restaurant in Chandigarh but then he got hurt and now he is incapable to earn. His mother works in the farms whenever she is required but not much farming in this area and everybody is dependent upon rains. Anyway – I have no time to attend anything. My project for today is walk 40 kilometers and reach at the road and then catch some transportation to Delhi. Tomorrow evening I have to catch the flight to Newark NJ USA.

Village in the mountains


I visit Masterji in his one room home to say thanks and goodbye. He gives me a list that he prepared in the candle light at night about all the problems of this little village. He has great hope on me. I don’t know what to do with that list. Later on I wrote a letter to Masterji from USA explaining him that I was just a traveler, nothing special. I made several copies of that list and mailed it to many famous leader and ministers. Could be a hit or miss – most probably a miss. Fortunes don not change that easy.
I begin my walk as I have to cross the last mountain ridge of my trail. I keep walking and keep walking in the dry outer mountains. I get thirsty but there is no water. Then luckily I find a grove of pine trees and find a water pond, water is not so good but I drink it anyway. Then I walk another 4-5 kilometers and realize that I am lost. I have walked more than 6 kilometers and haven’t seen a bifurcate. Or may be their 6 kilometers are my 12 so I keep walking and keep walking in the dense pine jungle.

Last of the villages
I am alarmed when the path begins to descend or may be for a while so I keep walking but it is descending for the next 3 kilometers. Now it is definite that I am lost. Well not really lost, way to return back to the village is straight forward and I can get back but I lost the valuable time. I am suppose to arrive in Durga Pipal at noon. I lost two good hours at wrong path and it will cost me another good two hours to return. Then I don’t know where I missed the trail split. I haven’t see a single person on this trail for 15 kilometers.

Last of the villages
Heavyhearted I make my return on the same way. I keep walking till that general area comes where I felt in the beginning that I was lost. I find a trail leading to the mountain so take it. It is now 1 PM and I am hungry. On the mountain ridge I see a pond below, so I found the way but lost 2 precious hours and lots of energy. I keep walking down towards pond and I am dead thirsty. Only one home is visible off the trek and I take the path and go in that home.

Village in the mountains
I hear someone crying in there and I enter inside, a very frail old man is lying on the bed completely soaked with his own vomits. He cannot even speak properly and I ask him water and in turn he asks me water. I look around in the house and in the kitchen and do not find even a single drop of water. Probably all other members of the home are gone out to their farms. I am not in any situation to do anything for the old man and probably he is going to die. I come out and shout in all directions to find someone but none replies.

Last of the villages
I leave all my medicines next to the old man. I want to give him ciprofloxine but there is not a single drop of water. I try to find sugar or gur to give it to old man but only a fistful of daal and a fistful of rice are there in a glass bottle. Probably there people are depressingly poor. I see a bare kitchen with only 3-4 bent aluminum pots and torn rags of the clothes. Nearest water is 3 kilometers away at the pond. I clean the old man and pray god that all goes well. Old man sees me leaving and he starts crying again but I cannot help him anymore or I have to find water and food for him. I put some money under his pillow and walk out.

Last of the villages
I reach at the pond in one hour. I find only two people there, one girl about the age of 7 years with some goats and a boy about 12. Water in the pond is not drinkable and I ask them for water, they point me to the way going down the cliff, to the valley. It is 4 PM and by all means, I am very late already. I have two choices – either I must return to Old man’s home and share the miseries and they have no food or extra bedding. Or I should take my chance and move on. I ask the boy about the home of old man, boy turns out his grandson. He says they have no money for food or medicines. They scavenge and eat grasses and herbs or drink milk of the two goats. I tell the boy to take water to the old man but he seems indifferent. I give him 20 rupee to take a water bottle to his home, only then he begins finding some bottle.
I ask them about the directions and they point to a path descending in the wood, they say everybody comes and goes through that path. I take this stair like trail that is going down the wall of the mountain. Since the water at the pond was not drinkable so I keep walking on steep trail carved in the wall like the cliff and mountains are utter dry and even trees are stressed due to the lack of the water.
After some descent I find water oozing from the wall of cliff and I drink it up and then resume my descent. Due to constant descent, my toes are hitting the wall of my shoes and I feel intense pain that I cannot help. Each step brings pain and I hope I will find Gujjars in Durga Pipal and spend a night there. Forget reaching Delhi tonight, it ain’t going to happen.

Nandhour Valley
To the amazement more water is oozing from the wall and now trees are green and cliff is grassy and cool. As I walk down droplets of water becomes a tiny waterfall and then this small waterfall becomes a cascade along the path. Path crosses over this cascade several times. Now trees are huge and foliage is dense and ravine is moist and full of birds and bird songs. But I have no time to listen to birds because I am extremely hungry and my feet are paining and I have fever also. I have no jacket because I gave it away at the wedding home.
At a place I sit and open my shoes and find my feet swollen. I have never seen my feet at this size. I have no slippers. Somehow I again insert my feet in the boots and now it is extremely painful.
Amazingly, Dry Mountain turns into a big waterfall and area is shaking with the noise and vibrations. I keep walking down on the steep stair like path and hoping that my miseries will come to the end very soon in Dugra Pipal. My shoes are wet also because several times I had to cross over the water fall. Now suddenly I notice the water fall is now crashing at the other side and area where path is leading me is again dry.

Nandhour Valley
At 5 PM I hit the bottom in the ravine with lots of trees like Pipal etc. Pine trees are gone now and I am in the Himalayan base territory. Several paths crisscross but there is nobody to tell me the directions. I keep walking in the direction of the valley to find the brook that must be made by the waterfall and I find it and then I keep walking along the brook. In three kilometers other brooks are also coming and meeting together and make a small river. Then at a flat area by the river I find a small Gujjar settlement in a dirt perimeter wall but I see nobody there. Place is rampaged by elephants and abandoned. All over I see Elephant poop.

Nandhour Valley
It is 6 PM and I have no choice but to keep walking by the river, whenever I find my path blocked by cliffs, I wade in the river to get to the other side and when that side too is blocked then again I switch sides. River is growing and now water is waist deep and I have to swim in it. As I come out of the river on the flat side, I see elephants and they also see me they make noise and all run to me. I again jump in the river and begin running in frenzy. Rocks hit me on my knees and I keep running, wading in the water to the cliffs. Water makes a whirlpool in the cliffs and it is deep and I am now swimming in the circle. Elephants are still closing up on me with a great noise. My backpack and shoes are now full of water and I am unable to swim and water is pulling me down. I take a deep breadth and let myself go down and luckily I find the bottom not far and I jump at the bottom and luckily come out of the whirlpool. After some more jumps in the deep water I again find myself in waist deep water. Elephants are not interested in me anymore and they walk away from me. At other bend of the river I come out. I feel feverish and take my temperature with the thermometer is about 104F and I keep walking on the bank luckily that is flat now.

Nandhour Valley
There I spot the footprints of a big cat on the wet sands. It must be cheetah or leopard because it cannot be of cat’s. It cannot be a dog because we all know dogs. I keep walking because I have no choice. This is the only flat walk-able area, next to me are the cliffs and then there are cliffs touching the river at the other side. I am physically in worse shape. Flat area is again blocked by the cliffs and now I have to again cross the river to get to the flat area at the other side and this time river is quite large and I doubt if I have strength to cross it over.
I simple want to die here or pass away. I feel intense shivering. I give up crossing the river but try to walk by the river at the cliff side. A large rock is hanging on the way and I have to cross over it. Leopard foot prints are also leading towards the rock. But I have no choice and I brace myself and I find a place to put my foot and I climb over the rock – and here I see a leopard. We see each other at the same time or may be it was seeing me already. It jumps I let go the rock and fall in the water and it lands over me and as my backpack is over my neck, it mauls it and fall over me in the water. As a reflex action, to find some anchor I hug its silky muscled body but it slips away. In the water it separates off from me but I feel its nails are stuck with my backpack and I am also dragged out. Then its paw is released.
Suddenly I hear tin can banging noise and a donkey braying and shouts of a man. I stand up in the waste deep water that is already pushing me and leopard is again about to charge upon me but due to the noise it runs away.
At the other side of the river I see a man with a loaded donkey, he is banging a canister frantically to scare off the leopard. He shouts to me but I am unable to figure out what he is saying. He points me to come to the other side and I wade and swim in the water or rather drag myself and somehow make it to the other side. Then I climb on the hill and over the trees to get to the man. There is a trail that is coming from Dugra Pipal that I missed somehow.
To be continued … just one last post left.
More miseries ahead …..
Más miserias delante ……..
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Verbascum (Mullain)
HOMŒOPATHIC MATERIA MEDICA
by William BOERICKE, M.D.
Presented by Médi-T
VERBASCUM THAPSUS
Mullein
(VERBASCUM)
Has a pronounced action on the inferior maxillary branch of the fifth pair of the cranial nerves; on the ear; and respiratory tract and bladder. Catarrhs, and colds, with periodical prosopalgia. Quiets nervous, and bronchial, and urinary irritation, and cough.
Face.–Neuralgia affecting zygoma, temporo maxillary joint, and ear (Menyanth), particularly of left side, with lachrymation, coryza, and sensation as if parts were crushed with tongs. Talking, sneezing, and change of temperature aggravate the pains; also, pressing teeth together. Pains seem to come in flashes, excited by least movement, occurring periodically at same hour in morning and afternoon each day.
Ears.–Otalgia, with a sense of obstruction. Deafness. Dry, scaly condition of meatus (use locally).
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This plant is found all over the Himalayas below 6000 feet.
This is a wonder medicine for ears.
If you find this plant, pluck off some leaves and insert these in a clear glass or plastic bottle and hang the bottle in the sunlight for several days. Its oil will be extracted and deposit at the bottom. Use that oil in the ear and see the magic.
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