THE CALL OF MANIMAHESH, BHARMAUR & CHAMBA VALLEY.........
A personal experience by one of our deemed guest visitor...
I recommend this tour to all people who aspire for a holiday after months of work in the office no matter where you come from, in other words the perfect stress buster for the so called busy and hard working corporate world. I am and was one of them until one fine morning friends literally dragged me to chamba valley, the land of gaddis the tribal mountain people.
This is how we did the tour:
Day1 - Reach Dharamsala from Delhi by overnight bus, train till Pathankot or direct flights to Dharamsala airport. Spend a day in Macleodganj seeing Tibetan culture, monasteries and beautiful villages of Bhagsunag and Dharamkot. Overnight in the hotel.
Day 2 - After breakfast we moved in a jeep to Bharmour via jot [mountain pass] and chamba town. This took us 6 hrs with couple stops on the way. We reached Bharmour around 3pm, parked the jeep near to the Chaurasia temple complex, got down and without wasting time started a small trek to bharmani temple. When I asked my friends what was going on they laughed and said bhai [brother] this is just to have a feel of the Manimahesh trek and give extra fluid to your joints. We reached the temple, had a chilled bath in the pool fed from the near by glacier, a cup of hot chai and were back to Bharmour in couple hrs.
Reaching Bharmour we had a hearty supper, moved around the beautiful temple complex and latter left for Hadsar village the base camp for the Manimahesh trek. The excitement was all around me.
It was around 7 pm; we checked our torch lights and started trekking to the holy Manimahesh Lake with chants of Shiva. With loud gush of river Ravi on one side and a small track through the forest ascending up; it was the greatest energy I had ever felt. The atmosphere had a pin drop silence, now and then I could hear a jungle fowl, a barking deer and of course the fear of the leopard and its existence kept me going and catching up with my friends. We reached Dhancho around 1am after trekking by the river Ravi and also crossing small streams and big rocks and glaciers. Dhancho was quiet but we found a camping site with a helpful caretaker called Raj. We had cup of tea with few cookies and dropped dead on the beddings.
All this time trekking from Hadsar to Dhancho camp I had a strange feeling of hearing my cell phone ringing which faded away as we were climbing up. I was also feeling the stress also fading away as we were gaining the ascend.
Day 3 - I woke up at around 6 am with raj serving me a hot cup of chai. I came out of the camps to see a stunning new world around me .it was freshness everywhere ,river Ravi was next to me but was like a small stream as most of the water was under the glaciers. We were ready to leave the camp by 9am and my eyes were glued to the big peaks ahead and yeh! I was not hearing any more phone rings.
We trekked for another 8/9 kames the route called 'Bandar Ghati' with amazing views of mountains ahead and the valley we had left behind. Enrouting the trek we saw amazing flora of all kinds. We reached Manimahesh Lake in next 6 hrs although the lake was half frozen; the atmosphere had a great energy. All I could see there were couple sadhus and few local nomads who had put up camps for the tourists. After taking the round of the lake we had early dinner by the camp fire, couple strings from the guitar, few songs and just slept!
Day 4 - I woke up at 5 am to see a spectacular sunrise at that time and also was lucky to see the full view of the Manimahesh peak which they say is very difficult as it is always covered with clouds. We had a religious bath in the clilling lake water, offered prayers and were ready to descend after breakfast. Coming down I was feeling so relaxed and also proud of having done the trek with ease and grace of god. We reached Hadsar in 5 hrs, on the way I dint forget to have chai with raj in Dhancho and thank him and also promised to see him again next year.
By evening we were in chamba town as we had planned to eat in a nice restaurant .as I was munching on my food, I remembered the food from raj at Dhancho and up in the lake which tasted much better then the best restaurants I had eaten. Same day we were back at Dharamsala. One could also stay in chamba and take the transport next morning to Pathankot and train to Delhi.
A must do cleaning and fitness tour which left me with great memories and energy to work for many more months to come. My sincere thanks to Arwind, Vicky, Tarun and rinku who were with me, rather took me to land of SHIVA.