The Jewel Of Parvati Valley : Sar Pass
Kuch nasha sa hai in vaadiyo me.. In pahado ki shaksiyat me..
Na inka moh door hota hai.. Na inka guroor kam hota hai..
Jitna kareeb jao.. Manzil ke or khoobsurat hone ka ehsaas hota hai..
When the ways that lead to the destination are way more mesmerizing than you can ever imagine , when the aura of a place is such that you want to capture each and every landscape bestowed by nature and when the valley is a home to the vigorously flowing white foam; find yourself in the nest of Parvati Valley in Himachal Pradesh.
Duration of trek: 6 days + 2 days of acclimatization
Level : Medium to difficult
With its base camp at Kasol (31 kms from Bhuntar) is the bud in the bush that not only offers the pleasant weather but also the best of the waffles and cakes and tourists are getting diverted from crowded Manali to Trans-Cafe-genic Kasol.
After 2 days of acclimatization walks , rock climbing and rappelling , A troupe of 56 was all primed to set forth the steps towards Sar Pass.
Left like warriors to a war front, It was a war indeed against our limits , comforts and capabilities to adjust in adverse climate.
Camp 1- Grahan:
The way to Grahan is a three to four hour trek – depending on your speed, persistence and the number of break you take – from Kasol, the nearest village accessible to the world outside. Walking on foot is the only way to get to the place. The village Grahan is beautiful, indeed – but the trek to the place is a tale in its own surreal taste. Its beautiful temple , clear sky and sweet corn soup welcomed us.
Sitting on a place from where more than thousand stars are visible , from where you can spot Milkyway Galaxy – Its none other than Grahan.
Camp 2 – Padri (8900 feet)
A mixed trek of 5 hours with inclination and plains , gave a chance to confront the beauty of nature and taste the magic of nature with every step taken.
If you stood at one spot and turned 360 degrees you’d see everything – Snow covered mountains, large clumps of decidious trees, Bare brown mountains, large patches of frozen ice and a river which had just forced its way through a mountain and blown a tunnel through it.
& comes the hidden treasure of valley – Padri , This location was no less than one shown in movies , You can very well correlate it with the background of horror movies. Dense forest on one side and tall mountains on other side, Amidst them were tiny tents of trekkers.
Padri to Minthacht : Feet: 9300ft to 11200ft Kms: 11.5 kms
Time taken: 8:30AM to 4:00PM
Difficulty: Difficult Terrain
Imagine experiencing all the seasons of the year in a single day! We set off in the winter season, midway faced summer, and as we reached Min Thacht, were welcomed by Rains rather hail storm.
The steep climb of Ratapani – The great wall like mountain , was to test our endurance, but a promise of another beautiful camp site kept us on move.
It gave us an experience of 90 degrees climb , rappelling and continuous movement for 10 hours. All this was worth it , The scenery at the camp comprised mountain ranges from end to end, as though straight out of a painting; in fact, we could even see our next camp site, Nagaru. As the sun began to set, all of us fell silent( after all a chatterbox who spoke for entire 10 hours needed some rest) to absorb the breath taking view. In that silence , our souls were absorbed in awe for nature, and a blissful joyous feeling that no drug in the world can give you. Apart from such epiphanies, what I realized was that it is actually possible to live with only 2-3 pairs of clothes.
Camp 4 – Nagaru
If there is heaven on earth it was here. Nagaru was a paradise for photographers , nature lovers and for those seeking peace.
Only snow covered mountains in the landscape and clouds moving over them. The weather at Nagaru was unpredictable and dynamic. At one moment its a sunny day with golden necklace on mountains and right after 10 minutes its black , foggy and dense around.
This was also the first camp where network was available and going live from 12,500 fts was something you do once in a lifetime.
Playing games in a hut while it was raining outside in candle light , eating khichdi in dinner and piping hot bournvita before sleeping.
To add some thrill we were suppose to leave Nagaru before sunrise , Doing the morning chores under a blanket of stars , Having breakfast at 3 AM , packing bags and leaving to compete the sun in reaching Sar Pass before it arises.
The Day- Sar Pass!
With over flowing Adrenalin in our bodies , We advanced towards our destination. Following our guides’ instructions, we moved in a single file at a moderate speed. Blessed were we that nature didn’t throw any tantrums and hence the trek was smooth (Although for people like me who were scared , It was challenging but thanks to the team – Shraddha , Tanupa and Sakshi, that kept me moving) Within couple of hours, we accomplished what we had come for! At 13,800, the joy was radiant on each of our faces, as we ran around the “frozen lake”.
What is your idea of being at seventh heaven? Is it being at a place which is Milky white without any disturbance ? Only you and serenity ? Every view from where is worth capturing either in your lenses or in your souls. That’s what you have conquered after taking all the pain and stress of a week long travel.
The Sar Pass – When mountains challenge you to retrieve more and achieve more. From the stress of Metropolitan life to endless joy. Where technology has no role to play , When electricity has no power to switch on ,When pollution is not there to interrupt. When the mercury was as low as -7 degrees , but despite of being freezing cold the enthusiasm in us kept us warm to enjoy our victory.
But here comes the twist : While we crossing Sar Pass , I was super scared and hence lost my balance over snow and fell approx 20 fts below and by that time I thought this is my last day on this planet as I was scorching towards a rock , Thanks to the guide sent by my Guardian Angel who came sliding in the snow to save me. That guide proved to be my life savior.
Finally when we had crossed Sar pass and it was time for a treat which came in the form of a Longggggggggggggg Snow slide. While you sit on snow and the guide pushes you to take a natural slide on the snow that you wont get in any Amusement Park of the world. Almost bruising and numbing our bums , We reached our lunch point where we tried drying our bums.
Sar Pass to Biskeri:
After the strenuous trek it was the time to go for a downward trek and relax , But nature had more to give us.. Me along with my newly made friends (Aniket , Sumedh , Abhishek and our Group Leader Manish) were last to go down and there comes heavy rainfall with hailstorm , the only lines I thought then were – Barf Giri hai vaadi mein…And we had to take shelter in a very small tent till the rain subsided. Everything around including grass , tents and trees went white and the landscape looked like freshly painted canvas.
On reaching YHAI camp offered us hot snacks with tea. Since it was raining there , We had good time inside our tents and waited to head towards our last destination of trek.
Mini Scotland – Lush green lawns surrounded by might tall Himalayas and white horses running around with golden sunshine falling over the peaks. It was a perfect sight to click pictures , play cricket and other games , We somehow with the help of local villagers managed to have a campfire. Chilling breeze all over the valley and the warmth of fire was a thing to cherish & when the fire goes till midnight. On one hand flames and on other moonlight kissing the snow covered peaks and stars watching us looked no less than a dream.
Last Day.. Last Down trek..
A trek to end the adventure.. A trek to end the glorious sar pass trek.. A trek to reach our base camp.. A trek to bid good byes to the family that stayed together for 10 days.. It was A trek to remember..
But all is well that ends well.. An after party in Lazy Dog cafe, Manali and then our roads back to our busy lives , civilized places , vehicles , horns , pollution and crowd all around with a promise to be back again to feel the magic of nature and rejuvenated again in the lap of Himalayas.
Pics Credits:- Manas , Aniket and Abhishek!