Saturday, April 27, 2013

Chalthi and Champawat (Unknown Kumoun 3)

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)

Today is the time to move on from Tanakpur. So I pack up from my hotel in the morning and walk to the bus stand. Bus going towards Pitthoragarh is always full and I never even bother to find a seat because I will be only going to Sukhidhang that is 23 kilometers. When we go to Pitthoragarh road passes 2 mountains and then return to valley. Pitthoragarh is the third mountain.

Outside of Tanakpur

Bus gains height very fast on the zigzagging road and in 45 minutes we arrive at the mountain. This place is Sukhidhang. Views are great here. One can view Indo Nepal border along the Sharda River and the valley and river at the other side of the pass. Road descends to Chalthi village in the valley for 12 kilometers. Mountains at this side are greener than the mountains in the further west. Even Tanakpur area is greener than Haldwani, Dehardoon and Himachal lower area. A shortcut trail goes to Chalthi and after having a cup of tea and gazing at the views I take this village trail. It is 6 kilometers and one can reach at the bottom in an hour but I walk leisurely and arrive there in 2 hours. This village is a famous stopping point for buses for lunch. There are many restaurants on the road.

Near Sukhidhang
I always remember the famous raita of Chalthi. Chalthi-ka-mashoor-raita is made with papaya. It is saffron colored and yummy. This raita keeps bringing me back here again and again. This time I will make my fill here only with the raita. It is not lunch time yet so food preparations are going on upon full scale. Papayas are being grated at almost each restaurant. I stand and watch the process to learn this art but I always failed to make this raita, or may be only local papaya suits for this raita. They use half ripe papaya, they simply grate it and add it to curd and add only roasted cumin seeds. At my home I tried all kinds of papayas in all ripening stages but only wasted both papaya and curd.

Valley at Chalthi
I decide to eat this raita from various restaurants. One by one I tried this raita along with the black-gram curry. At all places it turned out uniform and excellence. It is noon now and I walk some more distance before catching a bus to near Champawat. From Chalthi one can walk to Ritha Sabhi Gurudwara that is situated at the same river in the valley. It is about 12 kilometer village trek and one can do it in just 6 easy hours. Otherwise by motorable road, Ritha is more than 150 kilometers from here. Anyway I have no plan to visit Ritha Sabib Gurudwara and neither have I known that I will end up there soon. But anyway I go somewhere and end up elsewhere.

After Chalthi, towards Champawat
I take a shortcut and walk at the bottom of the valley to take bath in the river. This river valley closes up at the backside of the Bhimtal and Harishtal lakes and Ritha Sahib Gurudwara stands in the about middle. This river meets Sharda River at the Indo Nepal border. I take my river bath along with other children and then wait for my clothes to dry. At 2 PM. I return on the bridge and then walk to the next tea shop that stands on the trail head. I can take the village trail to Champawat. It is a steep ascend of 6-7 kilometers but time is not right. So after the tea I catch a bus to Champawat, bus climbs on the mountain and I get down where Champawat is now 6 kilometers almost at level. I walk along the road on this green plateau. On the way I pluck some bay leaves (Tej Patta) and ask a tea shop to add these leaves in my tea. I arrive in Champaway at 5PM. Sun is about to set in the mountains. Champawat is like a high valley over the mountains and is a very serene place.

Near Champawat
Baleshwar Temple is ancient temple dedicated to Shiva, situated within city. It was built by the rulers of the Chand dynasty, Baleshwar Temple is a marvelous symbol of stone carving. There isn’t any historical manuscript that dates the Baleshwar temple, however it is believed to have been built between the 10th and 12th century AD. The main Baleshwar temple is dedicated to Shiva (who is also known as Baleshwar). There are two other temples in the compound, one dedicated to Ratneshwar and other to Champawati Durga. The temple is an example of South Indian Architecture with magnificent stone carving works. The exteriors of Ratneshwar and Champawati Durga temples are carved with the different posters of the local deities. These Baleshwar temples at Champawat have been declared an Indian National Heritage Monument and have been supervised by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).

Baleshwar Temple complex
Once upon a time this area used to be Greater Nepal. Nepal extended beyond its present boundaries to include Indian territories occupied very briefly (10 to 20 years) by Gurkha army after defeating some Indian kingdoms in wars fought from 1791 to 1804 but ceded to the East India Company under the Sugauli Treaty after the Gurkha king was defeated in the 1814–16 Anglo-Nepalese War.
The Champawat Tigeress was a legendary female Bengal tigeress responsible for an estimated 430 deaths in Nepal and the Kumaon area of India Her attacks have been listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the highest number of fatalities from a tigeress. She was shot here in Champawat in 1907 by Jim Corbett.
After having killed over 200 people in Nepal, the tigress was driven by the Nepalese Army across the border (river Sarda) into India, where she continued her killing activities in the Kumaon District. She was so daring that all the killings occurred during the daytime.
In 1907, the tigress killed a 16 year-old girl here in this town of Champawat. The next day she was shot by Jim Corbett, a spectacular accomplishment confirmed by about 300 villagers. A postmortem on the tigress showed the upper and lower canine teeth on the right side of her mouth were wrecked, the upper one in half, the lower one right down to the bone. This injury, according to Corbett, probably prevented her from hunting her natural prey.
In Champawat, near the Chataar Bridge on the way to Lohaghat, there is a signboard marking the place where the tigress was finally brought down, however people dispute that location. They say she was brought down about one kilometer further.
The details about the Champawat Tigress and how she was brought down can be found in the book Maneaters of Kumaon (1944), written by Corbett himself.

View of Champawat
There are two parts of Champawat one is close to the road and other is the old town, in the south of the road. Most casual visitors simply miss this section and they miss to witness the typical Kumoun culture that this part offers. It is a joy to walk in this area and actually I spend my most of the time around this area whenever I am here.
I find a hotel by the road. All facilities are very basic and inexpensive. Mostly stranded travelers who arrive late here and missed the bus connections to their villages, or it is too dark to walk to their villages – only these people stay in Champawat. I never saw any tourist in this utterly scenic place or at Lohaghat.
That is the reason I kept coming here year after year.
Aesculus Indica Tree
This tree grows in lower himalayas and in the Niligiris. It is almost same as Aesculus Hippocastanum
Fruit is medicinal and bitter to eat but after roasting fruit becomes somewhat edible. Once I was walking along the Niligiri Railway Line near Mettupalayam and some tramps were roasting its fruits and gave me some to eat.

Aesculus Indica Tree
Once I saw a man in Kasouli gathering its seeds in a large bag. I asked him about the use of seeds and he lied that he wants to sow the seeds to propagate the tree. Tea stall man, told me that the man is a Vaid (Traditional Indian Medicine man) and uses these seeds in his secret recipes.

Aesculus Indica Leaf
Horse Chestnut
The action of this drug is most marked on the lower bowel, producing engorged hæmorrhoidal veins, with characteristic backache, with absence of actual constipation. Much pain but little bleeding. Venous stasis general, varicose veins of purple color; everything is slowed down, digestion, heart, bowels, etc. Torpor and congestion of the liver and portal system, with constipation. The back aches and gives out and unfits the patient for business. Flying pains all over. Fullness in various parts, dry, swollen mucous membranes. Throat with hæmorrhoidal conditions.
Stomach.–Weight of a stone, with gnawing, aching pain; most manifest about three hours after meals. Tenderness and fullness in region of liver.
Abdomen.–Dull aching in liver and epigastrium. Pain at umbilicus. Jaundice; throbbing in hypogastrium and pelvis.
Rectum.–Dry, aching. Feels full of small sticks. Anus raw, sore. Much pain after stool, with prolapse. Hæmorrhoids, with sharp shooting pains up the back; blind and bleeding; worse during climacteric. Large, hard, dry stools. Mucous membrane seems swollen and obstructs the passage. Irritation caused by ascarides and aids their expulsion. Burning in anus with chills up and down back.

Aesculus Indica Fruit

1 comment:

  1. Can you share the picture where champawat tigress was shot by Jim Corbett...


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