Thursday, January 19, 2017

Himalayan Diaries-6:On the way to Kalapokhari

After walking around 7 km on the previous day, we had good rest in Tumling. Tumling being the first lodge we stayed during the actual trek and first lodge i stayed in a border, was a nice experience. As there were
attached bathrooms and electricity during the night , it was comfortable stay as well. Infact , it was far better than the Orchid guest house we had !
Somesh, Ramya, Shailesh, Doi, Harish and Me @ The camp of Tumling
It was one of the things which we enjoyed a lot during the evenings. Tumling being the first day where we could actually sit in a group and conduct games like Antakshari. As i wrote in previous episode, it was a firecamp without fire. I was in the room for a while and when i came to have tea, could see that there were two groups playing Antakshari. One was Kannada group of Prashanth, Praveen, Sunil, Yashaswini, Anusha, Shweta and Deputy. Deputy being the silent spectator, was supporting both the teams ! When i joined there, Kannada group had asked me to join there group. Although i did not know many songs fully, joined them as i could sing initial few lines of many songs :-) From that day, i became the permanent member of the Kannada side in Antakshari :-) Although we used to say Hindi, Telugu songs also eventually, major focus was on Kannada songs. Huttidare Kannada Naadal huttabeku, Kuladalli Keelyavudo, Yaarivalu Yaarivalu were few the hit songs for the eve. By the time we completed the quota of songs which we knew , it was around 07:30 in the eve and we had to give way to another batch who were  staying in the same hotel. Some more fun would continue the next day.

Day 4:
We woke up in the morning and were outside around 05:45Am in the search of sunlight. But it was pitch dark and nothing could be seen. It was so windy and chilly that photographers were having hard time in opening their gloves and hold the cam to capture few pics. Manual mode with auto focus and flash were not working as cam could not find any light source on which it could focus. So, had to experiment with high ISO , low shutter speeds or manual mode with manual focus and flash. Around 06:10 we gave up our efforts to capture sunrise and came back to the lodge. Compared to the chilly weather and winds outside , lodge was much warmer place and a place where our fingers could regain their senses :-) Some one should design warmer glouses for the use with touchscreen mobiles and cameras man, seriously !
Tumling morning pics

Giribias: We had to walk around 6 km to reach Giribias. The way was misty and cloudy on the 2nd day of himalayan trek. Could not see anything outside except some flora and fauna on the way . There were various fruits like Singhoto fruit for which Swaroop became a model :-) There were wild strawberries, straberry flowers, Tengdey and many other variants of pine and Lishe fruit. It is a fruit consumed by Birds. We could see a "champ" which is a pink flowerbud and becomes a tree later. We could see some cone like
structures in a small burrow near the road and did not know what was that . By the time i thought of asking the guide about it, i had moved ahead.  

Kids near the entrance to Giribias

Its time for some pics. From right: Himanshu, Monika, Prity,Priya, Surya,Yadnyesh,Kavya,Archana Mam, Anupam, Abra, Don. Doi and Praful in the backdrop

Ice , Ice and Ice on the way

Strange structures

Prity and Tushar sir :-)  Anusha and Sunil can be seen in the backdrop


Singhoto fruit
Singhoto fruit
Surya and Kavya
Strawberry flowers
Tengdey Pine

 Could see some ice here and there. Although it was a tar road, it was not a piece of cake unless you watch your steps. Monika had fallen in an attempt of taking photo, talking and walking at the same time when she was not looking on the road! Our Yo Yo honeysingh faizan wanted to be the band aid partner for the trip. But there was no need for his bandaids except during the Great fall of the multi tasking lady :-) With multiple photography breaks, we reached Giribias around 11:20

Road near Giribias checkpost turning into a mini football court
 Giribias is at a height of 2625 meters(much lesser than Tumling). It has a  checkpost and has an arboretum where some of the rare varieties of Rhodoendrons are grown.Chimal(Rhododendron fulgens), Sanu chimal(Rhododendron cinnabarinum), Lali chimal(Rhododendron barbatum),Pahelo korlinga(Rhododendron grande) are some of the varieities found over there.It has few small hotels and became place for our friends to find some omlet and tea.It became a playground for footballers as well.

In front of Gairibas Arboratun

At the omlet junction :-)
We started moving further after a rest of 30 minutes. We found more varieties of flora now like Kaligadhu, Aksumba, Jow, Bante fruit, jow and bukhe phool being the common one. Could see Ascillo(blueberry) , Kaala ascillo(blackberry). Could see Nagzhar and some poisonous varieties of Rhododendron.
Ramesh, Kiran and Unhita stepping further after the break. Shweta in the backdrop
From the right: Shempa Mam, Anupam, ghosh bhai, Sharmaji and others
Praveen, Sunil, Prashanth, Yashaswini, Anusha and Shweta
Bante Fruit
Kaiakata, Nepal:
We were privileged enough to have our lunch @Habres nest which is in a place called Kaikata in Nepal! It is in the Tinchule forest in the range of Singalila national park. Kalapokhri is just 4 kms from here and we had to eat the packed lunch we were carrying from Tumling. Tumling was in Indo, Nepal border as well and was not sure whether i was sleeping in India or Nepal the previous night. Probably my body was in India and soul was in Nepal. or the vice versa :-)
At Nepal :-)
Habres nest gave me a new job of cashier as i was keeping the count of how many people were having tea and collecting money from them all. But there were people ordering tea and coffee at different intervals and paying for others making the calculations complicated. By the time i ended up collecting money from a set of people,some others would go and ask for few more cups of tea or coffee. Finally i ended up loosing 30 Rs from my pocket as i could not get the name of genius who ordered for a extra cup of coffee and did not pay for it :-( Although its not a big amount to remember it had helped me to become more organized when i became the cashier once again on the last day at Rimbhik :-) Good lessons are not learnt in easy ways.
Inside the Habres nest hotel
It is one of the important flowers which NS showed us after lunch. It is a edible flower with sour taste. It helps in avoiding the mountain sickness like vomitting, headache etc

Pokhari Lake:
Although we could see some plants like Nagzar, bukhe phool, Yaks etc on the way, majority of the views on road were ice, ice and Ice ! It started getting darker gradually due to the chilly and misty weather and we were worrying whether it would be the same scenario for next days as well. People were even worrying that it might be waste of money and energy and time spent to come till here if we don't get the beauty of nature.As we were speaking, we approached a lake which was looking pitch dark from distance. Apart from the Lungtas which were tied here and there there were no swans or any birds to be spotted around the lake. It would be foolish to expect any birds in a temperature around 10 degree and such an overcast weather. NS was informing that the village Kalapokhari got its name from this lake and they worship it a lot. They were asking us not to enter into the waters. Although we had no intention of swimming in a lake of unknown place
at a chilly temperature we took care to respect their beliefs by not entering into water in our attempts to capture aqua macros. Althuogh some thought to capture the pics of ripples by throwing stones into the calm
lake, decision to value the local believes counted more than the photographic instincts.
Pokhari Lake

From  left: Shovan, Doi, Datta , Harish, Girish, Yo Yo, Sudhir Sir, Joshi, Shailesh, Archana mam and Kavya
We enjoyed the views of localites playing football, landrovers which completed their roadtrip for the day while we reache Kalapokhari. It was around 4:10 when we reached the Himchulee Lodge at Kalapokri. It was our next camp @Kalapokri which was at a height of 3108 meters. Althouh we were reaching higher and higher, probably we were not getting luckier and friends like Ramya were praying . They were praying for better views atleast in the days to come.
We are entering into the Kalapokhari village

Ganesh and Avik with an LandRover. It is a west Bengal vehicle with the old registration number WGX!. Curent numbers are with WB
Coming up next: On the hunt of Sleeping Budha

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