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.
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