Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Himalayan Diaries_7: In the hunt of Sleeping budha

Dumcharades at Kalapokhari:
Antyakshari at the Tumling was like a team building activity where people  could mingle with each other and enjoy the kannada, hindi songs. Dumcharades in Kalapohkari was a level higher as it could pull in more
people and was more enjoyable. We had 2 teams as usual and one has to enact the movie name given by his opponent team.Based on his acting, his team should guess the name. Movie name had to be given in Hindi or English and the acting skills shown by the teammates were amazing :-) Also the guess works of course. Good part was pulling the campleader Yatin as well into the act. Ganesh, Mahendra, Avik who were like hidden talents in our team , came to the limelight :-)  One more attraction of that night was dance of Norbhu Sherpa and Shiva tamang for songs like Resham peri ri ri, Santeram etc. It was more fun when the kids of the landlord joined the party. They and their dance steps were so cute that they won our hearts in no time.

After our dinner, when we had come out, had realized that there is clear sky ! could observe the stars as well. When photographers like Surya, Yo Yo, Swaroop were discussing about the star gazing, others were so happy and excited about the next day as well. Somehow the day's Journey was not so comfortable compared to first day as it was longer and had met with incidents like Yashaswini falling sick, Harish cutting his finger. There was no electricity over there and solar lamps were used along with the generator driven power. So, there used to be lights off around 09:00 and we had to rely on solar lamps. As solar power could not run forever, we had touse the lights judiciously.In an attempt to adjust between my handheld
battery and solar light, i collided with my bag kept on the way and fell against the door.Luckily nothing happend except the huge sound because of the wooden floor and few minor bruises. During the journey i had cut my finger unknowingly when i was handling the cam with bare hands. But the clear sky made us forget the pains like this and create some hopes for the days to come.

Day 5:
Sunrise @Kalapokhari
NS was saying that sunrise would happen around 5:30. So, we were ready by that time and came out. But it was pitch dark outside. Forget about the sun, we could not see the person standing 10 feet away !
Girish, Harish, Praveen, Prashanth, Me and Sunil waiting for the sunrise @ Sandakphu
Weather was so chilly and windy as previous days. There was snow as well which was an addition of that day. People started moving back to the camp slowly as they could not see anything in next 15 minutes. Few of us thought of climbing a nearby hill and watch for sometime. We could capture the flora covered with snow and could enjoy the beauty of the white landscape with our camp at the center.
Snow covered plants at sandakphu

Our Camp view
Around 6:15,i thought i saw something over the horizon. It was slightly turning orange and thought that sunrise is already done and we are just seeing the rays after that. But as we had waited so long, could see the atleast. So, waited for few mins.Nothing happened. Waited , waited and waited till 6:27 when the scenarios started changing.

 There was a small dot beyond the hills and aura above the hills. Wait, how a small orange dot can be visible across the wall of hills ? It must be clouds. They were clouds indeed ! Sun was rising behind the clouds and we could see his Aura above the clouds ! It was a strange view for me at least as i have never seen a sunrise like that. In whatever i have seen, sun would be either behind the mountains, horizon of sea etc or above it. Not behind a semi transparent layer like cloud where its  half visible and half invisible ! Started shouting for the people who were somewhere down and Sudhir sir could hear us and came up. Few others tried to come up as well. But by the time they came up story had changed ! While we were enjoying this view and calling people up, we also waited for the complete sunrise. But it was not happening :-( Clouds had stolen the show again and covered sun completely before others could come up :-( 

First butterfly spotting in Himalayas:
It was the feeling as if we had prepared bread, butter, jam in a plate and were almost ready to have it . But in the meanwhile someone had hijacked the plate itself :-( But could enjoy the glimpses of what we saw in the morning and headed back to the camp. After the regular breakfast and saying good bye to our camp leader Yatin, we departed for Sandakphu. We had to cover 6km for Skandapu and it was a clear day indeed. Could see the surroundings and enjoy the nature. We started getting the glimpses of snow covered mountains in front of us and were feeling excited. Could see more varieties of berries and flowers now and in a fraction of second, i thought i saw something flying in front of me. Stopped there itself and could realize that it was a butterfly ! Had to chase it for sometime to finally get a clear view of it though. It was tortoiseshell butterfly which is the only butterfly i could spot multiple times in Himalayas :-)

Tortoise shell butterfly

Glimpses of Kanchanaganga:
As we climbed even higher, started getting the views of Kanchanaganga. The views which we waited for some many days was getting uncovered slowly. We could see bhutan's highest peak and mountain ranges as well. After gaining some more height, we saw the famous Budha !

Don't  be surprised that i got enlightened and saw Budha somewhere else :-) It is the name used to describe the Kanchanaganga range over there. The range looks like Sleeping Budha :-) The head part is known as Kumbakarna as well.Middle bulge looks like belly and rest of the small peaks look like feet of the Budha. The middle part is the actual Kanchanaganga. There is a pass near the legs known as Gaichala pass which is the last point from Indian side. We climbed even higher and reached the top point of Sandakphu
around 11:50.From there we could see the camp at the bottom and had whole day to enjoy the sun and views of Sandakpu which was the main point in our trek. 

The famous Sleeping Budha of the Sanakphu

This was the day where i could mingle with different set of friends like Don, Praful, Ganesh, Magendra  during the trek. Tushar ji was walking slow and steady and was walking in his own pace. 
Praful and NS on the way

Hotel Namo Budha and Abhinav:
We descended a bit to reach the Namo Budha Hotel and restaurant which was our next camp. There we met the camp leade Abhinav who was quite young and energetic compared to all the camp leaders we had met before. As we had to wait for the others to come and there was plenty of time for lunch, we headed towards the viewpoint which was nearby. It was a superb place from where we could see Kanchanaganga and Mount Everest range as well later. As i can't explain the beauty of it in words, am just putting the photos of it. People slowly arrived and we had our rooms allocated. It was restaurant with wooden floors, walls as well and no electricity. It was having scarcity of water as well so we had to use the water cautiosly. Had our
lunch as usual and went to enjoy the beauty of Kanchanaganga again.

View from Sandakphu

 Sunset at Sandakphu:
It was the beautiful part of the trek. Seeing the mountains as if some land separating seas and enjoying the sunset over the clouds was really superb. The ultimate view of seeing 2 suns, one above the cloud and one
below it in the shape of  8 is memorable.  And as usual, pictures speak more than 1000 words, so just uploading them. We had to leave around 3:45 for it and those who got late were either missing the beauty of the landscape or hurry to ensure that they are not missing the sunset .

Sunset at Sandakphu

 Coming up next: Star gazers.

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