Sunday, February 17, 2013

Yamuna in Barkot (Yamuna Odyssey 11)

Ganges Yamuna Trail

Uttarkashi and Thalan (Ganges/Yamuna trail 1)
Uttarkashi to Agoda (Ganges/Yamuna trail 2)
Agoda to Dodital (Ganges/Yamuna trail 3)
High altitude meadows of Himalayas (Ganges/Yamuna trail 4)
Lost in the leopard territory (Ganges/Yamuna trail 5)
Lost in the mountains again (Ganges/Yamuna trail 6)
Arrival in Hanumanchatti (Yamuna Odyssey 7)
Dinner in Hanumanchatti (Yamuna Odyssey 8)
Yanuma Dreams (Yamuna Odyssey 9)
Hanumanchatti to Kharadi Falls(Yamuna Odyssey 10)
Yamuna in Barkot (Yamuna Odyssey 11)
हम भी मिले थे कभी जमुना किनारे. (We met by the river Yamuna) (Yamuna Odyssey 12)

We wake up at 7AM and two days and two nights are left for Briana to catch the Virgin Atlantic flight from IGI to England. She is getting nervous for not to miss her flight but I laugh off her concerns. She wants to rush to Delhi and stay near airport so to be sure. OK with me but my problem is that she wants me to tug along. I want to avoid her emotional breakdowns but assure her that she will catch her flight.
Last night, using her numbered lock she locked the room where our backpacks are lying and I don’t know the number. So I cannot transport her’s or rather our baggage anywhere now and neither I wish to do so.
She opens the door and takes the custody of her warehouse and keeps a hawk like sight upon it.
I go out for my tea and send the boy to room with a cup for her. At this time of morning, it is too cold to take a bath at Rio Yamuna moreover sunlight is not hitting the valley yet. I plan to reach only upto Barkot that is just 15 kilometers. At any price we will not catch a jeep but only bus because last rains has damaged the road brutally and road is extremely dusty. At least bus’s windows can be closed. It takes an hour for Briana to come out of her room dragging her warehouse.
I shout to her, “Some donkeys cannot walk without the burden. ”
“Oh Yeah!!! Not me, you will be carrying it. ”
Well OK, I guess she is right.
Sometimes Donkey on the boat and sometimes boat on the donkey.
I avoid eating breakfast in Kharadi Falls because if I don’t get window seats in the bus then get very sick and throw up.
That sickening moment is very torturous and I always and always get down from the bus no matter where it is and no matter if it is the last bus in the dangerous wilderness; I leave the bus and it has happened many times.
It must not happen today.
Under no circumstances I eat anything at the day before I take a bus in the mountains. Briana is free to eat whatever she wishes but she also refuses.
She declared, “We will and we must eat together. ”
Well whatever. I get along.
Now I love her company and misery loves company.
My flute. (! sigh)
Another reason why I want to get to Barkot at earliest – it is a fair sized town and there must be a flute waiting for me.
हम भी मिले थे कभी जमुना किनारे.

Bandarpooch from Barkot


So we skip jeeps and wait for the bus at the thundering water fall for that this village is names. After an hour (we enjoy each second there in this wait) a bus comes. It is brutally loaded.
Somehow with the help of others I push our warehouses and ourselves in the multitude. Bus arrives in Barkot in half hour completely bathed in the dust. Luckily all windows of the bus were intact and kept closed.
We get down from the bus and my head is spinning. Briana runs to the drain to throw up. I had no time or luxury of space to see that she was very sick in the bus, otherwise we would have gotten out of it in the way. She is pale and yellow.
I hand her my loincloth and water bottle. I run to a shop and bring plain soda, kala namak and lemon; and she is immediately relaxed. Wish I could have arranged some car but there was no car in the sight at Kharadi Falls.
After pristine valleys and woods we feel awkward in this dusty town. But I know that the main road area is dusty otherwise this town is serene and this soothes my feelings but Briana does not know this fact and she is only feeling miserable being here.
I walk in the main market street to find a room in the hotel where I always stayed. I don’t want any room facing the main road due to dust and noise issues. The large room with windows at three sides is available and I take it. This time Briana’s charms fail to work at a fat bald old man who is always wearing only a kutchha no matter how cold it is. He is a Halwai and our hotel is above his huge sweets shop. Moreover he knows me and plainly says that – you already know the price.
We take this nice room with a view and also it has a large balcony. Price is 600 rupee but for me it is 400 and we must not tell this to our neighbors because he tells me that they are paying 600 rupee and indeed they are paying 600.
This town has two parts, both are connected at the top by the road and then a deep ravine divides both parts and `split widens toward Yamuna. Yamuna does not touch Barkot but it is 500 feet below and one need to walk 3 kilometers downhill. This is a blessing for Yamuna and for us also. River stays pure and pristine even after Barkot and even after Harbartpur.
One part of this town is an old ancient village, that part is at the north. We are in the south section that is like just any mountain small town with newly build homes and shops in the narrow streets.

Barkot area
Anonymously we both want to go to near Yamuna and in the wilderness. We pack my day pack with day gear and leave our room. I buy a bathing soap and we walk across the market street and then take a path towards trail leading to the river that is visible all over in the valley. Path goes under a dense pine forest and then we leave the path and walk on the trail to the river that is a bit calm now. Water is still freezing cold and still I may manage to walk across but then my feet are stung by cold water and it gets very painful for next 2 hours so I avoid crossing the river. I learned my lesson hard way. Once I tried to cross a cold river near Ritha Sahib in December and in the snow and I almost fainted in between.
Now we have lost substantial height and valley is warm. In front of us is a very pretty Hanuman temple across the water. A bridge crosses the river at half kilometer and road goes to some villages on the mountain. From those villages one can walk towards Har-Ki-Doon valley.
We take a grand bath for two hours. No body is present here in the valley except two men loading river sand on the mules but they are far away and down the river.
When my turn comes to use the soap Briana tosses it to me but I miss it. I run in the water to catch it but water is very fast. I make a run along the river and try to catch it at many places but it is gone in the swift waters.
No soap for me again.
“What about lunch”, Briana asks me. There is a shop after the bridge across the river and I know that he will cook something for us or we will eat whatever he has. We walk back on the trail and then cross the bridge to the shop above that is almost hanging over the river.

Yamuna Bridge near Barkot
Little tea shop man has some buns and a gram-aaloo curry, omelet, maggi, bread, pakoras etc. He is also cooking toor daal and rice.
We eat bread with curry and then have a cup of tea. Man will call us when food is ready so we walk to the temple and then again we are by the blue waters of the fizzy river. Day is now hot and we need some shade so we sit under the pulpit of temple at the ghat. We are called for food and we walk back to the shop and have a very simple but very nice lunch.
With heavy heart we say goodbye to extremely beautiful Jamuna and cross the bridge.
Bye bye Jamuna Mai.
See you whole day tomorrow on our long journey to Paonta Sahib.
Now Briana is singing –
हम भी मिले थे कभी जमुना किनारे.
At 3PM we leave the area and walking leisurely we arrive at our hotel at 4PM. Briana again reminds me that day after tomorrow’s night she has to catch her flight.
After relaxing we again leave our room to walk in the ancient village of Barkot. We walk on the road back towards Yanumotri and then enter in the old town. We walk in the maze of huge ancient homes. Many children follow us. No tourist or pilgrims comes in this area and neither anyone knows about this amazing part of the town. People and women look at us curiosity. Then this part of settlement ends but it is like huge platform hanging over the Yamuna valley.

Barkot area
There is a railing made for kids not to fall in the valley because after the railing is a 500 meter high cliff. Views are spectacular from here. Bandarpoonch massif is also visible. We walk on the path along the railing and make huge circle and then descend some distance in the rice farms. Then we sit at a very scenic place and view at the valley. It is getting dark and to get to the other path that also goes in the ancient village we need to cross some ledges of stepped farms. So we leave to find our way in the remaining light. Luckily we catch the path and again enter in the old village area. Many temples are here scattered in the maze of the narrow streets accessible only by foot. I remember, in the old village market, a sweets shop makes excellent tea so we go there and have tea there. I smell something cooking very good so tell the man that we will be having dinner there. This area is away from the road so only locals or residents come here.
We are told to return at 7. 30 PM for food and we still have half hour. We again wander in the streets and visit several temples. A group of children is always chasing us. We return for food and it turns out very chat-pata and we love it for a change. We eat koftas-curry, toor daal, rice and roti. Barkot is a excellent place for food and rates are very competitive and quality is also very good.
Done with the food and we return to the other part of the town in the main market and hustle and bustle stays till 9PM then we retreat to our room.

Barkot Area
Another great day ends.
Well good day or whatever – no flute here too.
About a fruit Kafal (MYRICA CERIFERA) that grows in Uttranchal and only available in Uttranchal.
“O!, mother-in-law Kafal has ripened. Burdened by the unending cycle of reaping, winnowing, sowing and weeding, shall I ever have enough of leisure to taste kafals in the jungle while traversing the trail that leads to my mother’s home?” So sang a Kumaoni bride ages back and trapped in the quagmire of hard life when she lost her life untimely, she became a Magpie, a beautiful bird who, when the Kafal ripens in Himalayan jungles in the month of May and June often sings, “kafal pakko, meil ni chakkho” (kafal has ripened but I couldn’t taste it yet.
) Known to the botanists as Myrica Nagi Kafal is an uncultivated fruit of the Central Himalayas. In tourists towns like Nainital villagers may be seen sitting at road sides selling it for any thing between Rs 60 to 100 per kg.
However, in the interiors small kids off from their schools, may be generous enough to offer it to you at the rate of just Rs 5 for a glass tumbler full. Kafal is found upto 2100 meters height.

Kafal
Ayurveda speaks of it as vedanasthapaka – pain killer, sita prasamana – relieves cold sensation on the skin, samjna sthapana restores consciousness, kanthya – beneficial for the throat, sandhaniya – a healing herb and sukra sodhana – purifies seminal fluids.
Susruta has mentioned it as visaghna – detoxifier and stambhana- astringent. Besides being useful in a wide range of ailments specified decoctions of its fruits, the stone they have and also its bark are claimed to be beneficial in cardiac debility, edema and haemoptysis.

A wax covering on the fruit is extracted by scalding the fruit with boiling water. Among the local inhabitants it is said to be used as an application for ulcer healing.

Kafal
Candles made from this wax though are brittle but less greasy in warm weather and are quite aromatic and do not smoke when put out. Dr Prabhat Kumar from Pithoragarh, where it grows in abundance says that keeping an eye on its medicinal properties may become a “much sought after souvenir from hills.
Myrica in Homeopathy:
MYRICA CERIFERA
Bayberry
(MYRICA)

Kafal
Marked action on the liver, with jaundice and mucous membranes.
undefined Persistent sleeplessness. Jaundice.
Extract of the fresh root is used.
When I was in Ukhimath, my host Mr. Gobind Rawat used to bring me Kafal everyday from his village. It has little pulp but big pit. He always insisted me to swallow its large pit. Initially I was apprehensive but then started swallowing whole fruit including pit. Kafal were growing in Ukhimath area all over and I used to eat several kilos of fruits each day.
See you again because Jamuna Odyssey is not over yet. .

1 comment:

  1. Nice blog and really good information about hotels Barkot and great information about hotels in Barkot it really help me to find out the hotels in Barkot.

    Thanks for sharing the post.

    ReplyDelete

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