Monday, October 18, 2010

Rupin Valley (the trek that tested our life's)

Maintaining our track record of trekking we again get ready for one of the most exciting and awaited trip Rupin Valley.

I still remember when sir first shared the link of the place and man what a beauty it was. A glimpse of the picture made it so thrilling and I was like “sir ho jayega yeh trek it seems really tough” and sir as usual arey kya he yeh kuch bhi nahi he. we (sir, sanjeev and me) planned it for 1st june earlier. Somehow it planning encounter a flop execution. But we were not willing to give it up.

We again planned it and this time with a bigger group Himanshu Dutt (sir), Rajeev ji, Gagan, Manu , and me. We planned the trip on 17th this time just after 15 days and when the work load was maximum in office (as there is no use of moving out of office in free time… KYU SIR! )

Preparations were on early this time. As it is one of longest trek we would ever be undertaking. I bought a new sleeping bag for me and sir got the new tent. As the 17th was approaching entire group started to mingle up through mails. And by 17th we all knew little bit about each other. Exciting and energetic mails from every one was a common act to make their lively presence felt.

Finally the most awaited day came 17th. As usual sir and I left the office early. As Rajeev ji was waiting for us at south-ex market. He has to buy the trekking bag for the trip. Rajeev ji took the bag looking bit old as didn’t want to let her wife know that he has purchased the new one. He also threw the tags to be rest assured. It was almost 7p.m. and we were getting late, as Rajeev ji first has go to his home, get his belongings and then has to reach ISBT. Same with other too all have to go to home first.

Well we took an auto from the Sarojini nagar and reaches sir home. Where we had some food and waited for Manu. As usual Manu was on time and but sir has few work pending in the basket. Manu was worried now and said yaar late ho jayenge it already above 8p.m. bus miss ho jayegi dehradun se. mean while passed time by sharing about the camera I was impressed by the lens Manu was carrying this time.

Well finally we left for ISBT with all our language at around 8.30p.m. and were looking like refugees with heavy rucksack and a sleeping bag tied to it. Soon the discussion started regarding the track and it continued till we reached the ISBT.

GOD even after getting late we were the first one to reach. Sir soon started to confirm about others and we were informed by Rajeev ji that he would be reaching in few moments and meanwhile his friend Vijendra ji will be joining us for the trip. The final entry for the trip.

Vijender ji enter with a small school bag pack on his shoulders (that too stuffed with the old monks). We soon had an introduction and had some chit chat, meanwhile come the Gagan bhai. It was fun making him understand where we were standing. And Man he approached us as if he is gonna puch us. Just after the handshake Gagan was staright on the business (i.e. he slipped out for eating) while we were busy tracing Rajeev ji. Rajeev ji came soon and the call to catch bus has been made. But where is gagan and after lot of search Gagan bhai comes with the mcdonald’s burger and cold drink in hand stating “yaar halat kharab ho rahi thi bhookh se”

It was roughly 10p.m. when we caught the bus. Well, well we start a trip that too without any drama, NO NEVER. This time drama king was Vijendra ji, as he was left out and bus started moving. Rajeevi ji called him and made him ran from place to place before he finally gets in the bus at the exit gate of I.S.B.T

We all settled in tits and bits as we were the last to get in so unable to manage the seats together. Sir and Gagan bhai took the seat at the end of the bus. Vijendra ji and Rajeev ji right in front of bus gate. And Manu and me settled ourselves just at the back of driver’s seat.

Small chit chat was continuously on until we reached at the hotel at 1.30am, where we had something to eat. Rajeev ji and vijendra ji had bottles out and were in full mood with their omelets. And after that it was fun to stand besides them in bus. Rajeev ji started with his stories after he slept on the floor of the bus and asked vijendra ji to put leg above him as a safety measure.

At 6 in the morning we reached the Dehradun. We were releaved as we havn’t missed the bus yet. Hardly 10 -15 minutes were left for the bus to leave. So everbody runs here and there for urgent task. Rajeev and vijendra ji run to get money from ATM. Sir and me to attends the natures call followed by Manu and Gagan bhai. We took the tea and Bread pakoda from the shop at the bus stand and moved in the bus.

At 9.45a.m. we reached Damta where we just had enough time for snacks. Rajeev ji though not feeling well refused to take anything.. moving on we rached to Purola at 11.50 a.m and decided to halt there for sometime as Rajjev ji wasnot in good shape at all. Rather he took the place in front of a shop to rest. Sir meanwhile arranged a room and for few hours we had the room so that we Rajeev ji can rest and all other can get fresh.

After some rest and witnessing Vijendra ji impressive digestion (he ate all things but failed to attend the nature’s call, where the hell all the stuff gone.huh?) we moved for the lunch. And at around 1.30 we left for our next milestone Mori. Reaching Mori at 4pm. We straight away get in another jeep for next point Netwar(where we have to meet Raju, the arranger of the trip). Discussing all the things with Raju in Netwar, we finally moved to the first base camp of out trek Dhaula. All the way through to Dhaula we all enjoyed the nature beauty and sir repeatedly stated it is a place towalk rather than to do sight seeing sitting in the car.

We reached Dhaula at 6.45pm. and started looking for Rakesh who has to make our night arrangement for the night. We looked for him where the cab dropped us. No body knew him. We walked across the bridge over the vibrant river and asked for Rakesh at there. Same response nobody knew him. Sir and I shouted loudely from the other side to tell vijendra ji to go back and again confirm about Rakesh where taxi dropped us.

Finally, we traced him in the middle of the forest on the bank of the river Rupin. Three were sitting in their shorts when I shouted from the back Rakesh ji and one from them replied. We told him the entire stuff and asked them make our arrangements for night stay. They said we can’t, as they were not carrying the sleeping bags. Listening to this Manu got angry and stated “ bhaiya hum logo ne aapko paise isliye diye he ki aap yeh sab karo. Abhi toh trip start bhi nahi hui he and abhi se hume pareshani hone lag gayi he”. But we can’t do anything now. Gagan bhai and vijendra ji followed us. And by the time they were having discussion I ran towards a jeep going back to Netwar, as I have not informed at my home that from here on no singles will be coming. I stopped the jeep and gave him some money to make the call at my home (but I was still worried whether he is going to make the call or not)

When I came back to Rakesh ji our entire group was there and was eager to move down to river for taking bath. Sir and I advised them not to do that as is already late evening and water is chill. So they might fall ill. But all the guys were in different mood, they took no time to come in the underpants to have bath.

Sir and I moved back to house were we first enquired for Rakesh. While moving back sir and I jumped on few rocks in the middle of the river for the pictures. Sir climbed one rock further but coming back he slipped. My heart was in my mouth. And in no time I said “sir araam se”

Reaching the house we got the two rooms booked and asked him to prepare our dinner. We just relaxed in the room and when all came back we got the chairs out and sat with legs hanging on the boundary of corridors facing towards the sky. Drinks were out already and who don’t drink they were enjoying the biscuits and namkeen. By around 9 we had our dinner. Gagan was the one to attack it that too highest quantity and I was the one with the lowest quantity. After having dinner again hanged us to the corridors. Sir was the first one to move to bed. While Gagan and I were engaged in listen to the stories of Rajeev ji. At around 11pm we all decided to drop to beds.

Next morning when we wake up we found Vijendar ji and Manu sleeping in the corridors. Reason they stated on asking is it was suffocating in the rooms. I moved with sir to river for bath. On the way we saw a baby wolf running away from the jungle. Manu and Vijendar ji came soon too and we had some good fun climbing up and down the rocks. By 9 we came back and had our breakfast. Gagan bhai was the last one to have it rather he wake up when we already had our breakfast. Sir tossed Gagan bhai for getting late.

Well at around 10 am we were ready to leave with our guide (Devi singh) and two poters our heavy bags on our shoulder. The staring stretch tested us and we all were struggling with our breaths except Manu and Vijendra ji. The sun was bright and right at our head and with our rusted body our knees were clinching to take the step matching to the pace of our guide. Rejeev ji and followed by me and sir were the first one to ask for rest. And I was “sir yeh to watt lag gayi shuru me hi”

Well we gathered some breath and sir took the gamcha to cover his head and face from sun and we walked again. Our group got shattered in 3 groups one comprising of the Vijendar ji, Manu and poters which was leading from starting. Second group Sir, Gagan and guide. Third and last group was Rajeev ji and me were the laggers too. We all enjoyed the jungle berries while walking.

While walking some distance Rajeev ji suddenly had a cramp and fell badly on the trek. We rested for a while there and again walked with our chit chat. On some distance we me sir and I shared it with him. Sir from there took the bag of Rajeev ji as it was much heavier than the bags we were carrying. After this sir walked with us. We maintained our pace to comfortable level. On the way we crossed the house and saw small kids playing at the tree. It soon attracted us for the photos and sir and I took out our cameras and composed few best shots till date.

After that we continued our and approximately at around 2 pm. We reached a place from where Sewa is another 15-30 mins. But as we (Rajeev ji, Sir and me) were lagging way back. Soon we hits and woods and got misguided as there was two passage one going downwards and one going upwards. Rajeev sat on the diversion and sir and I went different on both the passage. Sir was with the opinion that downward passage will go to Sewa and I said no upward passage will go (though both would be going to Sewa). Sir agreed to walk on the upward passage. As we walked the forest got thicker and thicker and passage gets thinner and thinner. We almost sighted an end to the passage. Well, thing was pretty simple we were lost. We shouted the name of other group in order to trace them but no use. We sat there for while. Even at this moment we kidding (Socho yaha sher aa jaye, other says sochna kya he sher ko kahenge kha le bhai but hum bhag nahi sakte)

Then we decided to walk back. I don’t have the energy to go back all the way so I took the short cut, even though sir and Rajeev ji asked me to not to do that. We reaches on the other passage which was going downward and finally we heard the voice of one of our poter, oh God, I can’t explain how relaxing that was. The porter took the bag of Rajeev ji and then we all moved ahead. Few distance left to Sewa we relaxed in between near few house, were Gagan bhai was waitng. Gagan shouted on us likfe hell kaha reh gaye tum, dimaag kharab ho gaye mera and all. He even had fight with the porters as they were not willing to go back to search for us. Then we explain Gagan entire situation and he calmed thereafter. It was around 2.30p.m. and we were starving like hell. Rajeev ji said himanshu thoda rest karne de,,, please samjha kar aur nahi chala jayega. So we took out one of our mat and Rajeev ji slept over it. Meanwhile we asked the villages to give us the yellow colour fruit (CHULLU) that was kept for drying on the roofs. A child soon ran to hand us as much as he can. I looked at the fruit it was carrying some dust as well. But I was so hungry that I ignored that and ate them. Then we prepared some glucose and drink that. Rajeev ji wake up after half an hour and we moved thereafter.

We reached Sewa at 3.15pm.m and ate magi and had some tea. we stopped at a shop beside the temple. And clicked some pictures. Meanwhile I had a chat we our guide and my anger was very apparent during that. Vijendar ji and Manu consoled me over it. Then we all again left to our camp area. We were supposed to stop at Gosangu but due to time running from our hand we halted in between beside the river and it was a lovely camping side.

At around 5.15 we reached there and by 6pm we pitched our tent. To relax a bit we first got some soup prepared and lied down at on the mats outside the tent with gossip regarding our day. Soon we all planned for a bon fire and arranged it by 8pm. We all sat around it waited for the dinner. Meanwhile I saw Manu composing pictures. I took my camera too and went to compose the pic. While we were going towards the river we Rajeev ji walked out from behind the rock and looked for another position. Manu shouted arey karlo hum log waha nahi aa rahe. Then we composed tried composing the long exposure shot and it took almost half an hour to do that and trust me result was very deserving.

We had our dinner and soon enter out tents. Vijendar ji, Manu, Gagan and Rajeev ji in one tent. Sir , me along with our guide and poter in other. It was really suffocating for me and sir. And as we were struggling with our sleep, we heard loud laughter from the other tent. Man at night around 11 these guys were full of energy. Very soon we heard another voice,, Himanshu(sir), himanshu,,, we didn’t replied and the following statement was, abe abhi nahi sun raha agar bhaloo aa gaya tab toh tu bada sunega and again loud laughter.”. sir and I was kya ho gaya he inko. Then we tried sleeping but it was so suffocating in side that sir and I took off our jackets and sweater pretty soon and came out of our sleeping bag. Some how we managed to sleep and as I had some one of porter put his leg on me. God it was damn heavy and I was like… uffff…. I applied all my energy to get rid off it. In such thing we passed out night.

Then next morning we wake up and got ready. Rajeev ji surprised us by his decision that he would be going back. We forced him in the beginning but then we all agreed to his decision. We all walked towards Gosangu bridge at around 8.30am and reached there by 9.15am.It was Himanchal border. From here we got the jeep for Rajeev ji and left for Delhi. Then we walked towards out next destination Jhaka.

As we start walking after Rajeev ji left. We got a jeep. Everbody waas willing to hire it even for small distance while sir was against it. However, we hired it and in jeep the gagan and sir had a good quarrel. After going 3 kms jeep stopped and Gagan was angry now. He stated me nahi aa raha. We all tried to connvience him but he was adamant. Finally sir went and asked him. He agreed. On the way, he said to sir ”sale tujhe kya lagta he me chala jata. Mebilkul nahi jata agar jata toh tujhe lekar jata” haha….

The walk from here was really testing. The first step we took was on the steep downward slope of broken stones. And then steep upward slope on the mud. Then the road was much better. We rahed Jiskun at 12.45pm. and stopped there for tea. soon we continued our walk and thorugh the Jiskun village we reached the beautiful woods. we stopped near a lake and had our luch at arounf 1pm. Gagan took a bath here even we all ask him not to do that. We all sat on the small wooden bridge over the lake and enjoyed our lunch.

At 1.45pm we all again resumed our walk and walking after few meters we all faced the real tough trail. I was steep like hell and after every few step we were huuuu huuuuu… trying regain our breaths. At around 3.45 we reached Jhaka except Gagan. We waited for him for some time but he didn’t reached sir went back to look after him. Gagan was almost dead,,, his energy was almost to nil and he was in no shape to walk an inch. He order for some cold drink and some biscuits. We thought he will regain soon. As with Gagan the funds is energy = food. As food goes inside him his energy comes back.

In this image we walked towards our next camping area leaving the guide along with Gagan. Hardly we walked some distance and our guide came running and said sir woh toh chalne ki halat me buikul nahi he. And seeing the time it doesn’t seem feasible that we can make it to our next camping area. So we decide to halt back we came back and pitched our tents in the school compound at 4p.m.

School kids found it very surprising, for them we were like people from space. We had some tea in our tents and waited for Gagan. We all were damn tired, even the environment was depressing too until Gagan came to the camp. At 6 he came and was in much better shape. He brought missing cheer back to our lost spirits. We all cheerfully welcomed him and start with our eating stuff again.

But thing were yet not over for the day. In night at 7.20pm rain started. And blunder was our tent failed avoids the water seepage from the roof. We all had to hurry up and packed our tent and enter the tent of our guide and sat there. Rain was heavy and we all were worried. We thought we had to go back to the houses. But with God grace rain stopped. Soon we looked for the place of our tent to pitch again. We found an old house in the corner to avoid the rain. So we pitched our tent there. It was a horror movie scene.

Finally we were saved for the day from rain and we all stated that “ jo hota he aacha hota he agar gagan bhai yaha nahi rukta toh hum aage hote and huamre pass koi rasta nahi hota ek hi tent me beth kar raat bitane k ilawa.” We all had our dinner and went for the sleep and it was not comfortable too as the breeze was to strong in the night and the tent zipper just over our head provided the enough space for it. Somehow we managed for the night.

The very next morning our first thing is to get an additional cover for our tent to prevent it from rain. Our guide bought the same from the village and we all moved for our next destination at 7.25am. the walk was pleasant until we reached the river. There I asked the guide bhaiya rasta kaha he. And he replied pointing towards a rock standing like a wall “ yeh raha rasta” I was confused I again asked kaha he rasta and he again pointed to the rock then he said ruko dikhata hu and climbed the rock.

Man it was no that thick that we can ut oue foot properly. Sir was the first one to climb it. As he climbed his head banged to a same rock bulging out and hecontrolled himself and after crossing it checked out his head. I followed him and my amera got stuck and was enough to imbalance me and my breath stopped for a seconf seeing from where I will fell. I stopped for few seconds and adjusted my camera and carefully crossed it. But soon walking a head I slipped in water and shouted Gagan bhai. Gagan at first thought I am clicking his photo as my camera was held high. But then I agaon shouted and ran to pick me up. Uff… my entire left hand side is wet in water.

Well through such experiences we crossed the river and hit the woods again. We all fought hard with ourselves to keep walking to our destination. Crossing the jungle was a relief as we were in open space again. Then by 12.45 we reached Odari Thatch and had our lunch. The place is called “Odari thatch” as it means caves of bears.

The weather got bad while we were having our lunch. As soon as we finished our lunch and took few steps rain started. We all took out our rain coats and got packed in that. But the walk after it was really tough. It was very suffocating and even we struggled with the trek which was like a roller coaster. Some where one has to climb and other point has to come down. Many of us lost trek in between and then shouted each other name to get the idea of the trek.

Finally rain stopped and we all got bit relaxed after that. And moving forward we encountered the first glacier of the trek. It was really slippery our guide helped us to cross that. But while getting us crossed the trek he told that this is same place from where the villager slipped and lost his life. Listening to this Gagan bhai got worried and crawled on the glacier rather then walking. And after crossing it he stated” yaar tum pagal ho cross karte time bol rahe ho ki yaha se gir kar koi mara tha”

Well, after this we all reached to Thatch at around 4 pm. This is just at the base of the Rupin glacier. Our destination was Arjun Chadda which is few km up from here and is very steep. But looking at our physical condition we all decided to stay here only with the decision that we all we move early tomorrow to cover up the lagging part else it would not be possible to cross the valley as after 12pm the weather at valley gets very bad and it is not feasible t cross the valley.

We all entered in our tents and relaxed for the day. After some hot discussion between sir and Manu, we all eased up and relaxed later.

But the next morning came with the surprise, Manu is going back. Manu refused to move forward. Earlier we thought is because of the quarrel that took place last evening but then Manu cleared that he don’t want to take the pain and would rather enjoy being at the village. So finally he moved back. Though we al wake at 5 in morning but left for Arjun Chadda at 7 a.m. and the reason is as usually Gagan bhai not ready.(HAHAHHA)…

Well seeing the trek ahead, I said to myself thank God we didn’t tried it yesterday. It was Damn! steep that to through over the broken rocks. At many point we struggled to get stable and used our entire body to escape slipping away. We crossed and other glacier and then again the steep uphill. Thought the distance from our yesterday camping area to the Arjun Chadda is hardly 2-3kms. But we reached there by 11.15a.m that is we took more than 4hrs to make the distance that is way way back our usual speed which is 3-4 km in an hour,(I hope you ca realize the toughness of trek from this).

Gagan was still struggling and his pace dropped drastically. After every few step he was taking rest. Gagan bhai stated “saale energy nahi he khana nahi khaya he mene ,, tab se dhakkan me pani pee raha hu” well some how we made to the starting point of the valeey and only last 3-4 kms are left of the trek. But weather started to show its colours. We asked our guide what should we do, he stated karna kya he valley cross karenge. So we all took out rain coiats again and covered ourselves properly. AS soon as we crossed few meters on the snow. We found ourselves in the crust of snow. The snowfall soon started with strong breeze and will all struggled with our walk. Many times our foot got stuck in the snow and we have to apply our entire force to get ourselves out. After several such incidents it has become hard for us to pull out ourselves without other help.

The snowfall got heavier and heavier and we struggled locating the path too. In the middle we crossed the small tributary. And as soon as we reached the Footstep of the Rupin Valley. Our porter start to cry and said saare maroge, me nahi rukunga, me toh wapas ja raha hu, while our guide stated it only 500 meters left this side once we cross it it will be fine. But that 500 meters were too much for us. Al of us was struggling and our physical temperament started to lose it ground. Mean while Gagan shouted from the back,, Saalo pagal ho gaye ho ya marne aa ho kya yaha par,, pahad dekhne the dekh liye na” I replied bhai thoda sa aur he kar lete he,, but Gagan was too furious at that time and our poter ran back. Seeing him we also decided to walk back. Our guide got angry and left us and walked quckly. Though we asked him to pitch the tent some where nearby but he refused and stated ki agar yaha tent laga liya toh sabki lashe milegi subh.” We insisted because gagan was in no manner fit to walk back. But we have no choice now and we all walk back. We all four were alone and as our poter ran away and guide was too quick to catch. In the heavy snowfall, and mist covering all around we all have the only option to trace back the footprints. But even that was not easy gagan was struggling from him every step was hard and we were shouting from the back gagan chal bhai chal,,, nahi toh saare marenge,,, paron k nishan mit rahe chal bhai chal,,, gagan still find it hard I was the one following him immediately so finally I decided to over take in order to keep the footprint… but as soon as I was pacing myself I got stuck in the snow… and entire left leg was in the glacier,,, I tried hard hard but with loads on my shoulder I was not ablr to pull out my leg…. Thank GOD,, one poter was still with and I finally shouted bachaooo… and he applied his entire force to pull me out. Finally, I was out and I again started to rush and rush for life. Our senses were completely numb we all just wanted to reach to a safer place. Soon after that I again aliped and my hand was banged against the stone inside the glacier it swelled badly. But I had no time to spare for that walk and walk was only going in my mind. All other among the group faced the same situation. But we cannot stop. Tumbling on the snow road we almost reached the starting point of valley and saw our guide sitting over the small rock little a kid who is angry when he doesn’t get his things.

We said to him devi ji yaar aise thodi na karte he and all. But he was very anguished and noded in very dull manner. And then we walked for the arjun chadda to hault at night. We all reached back at arounf 4.30 to Arjun Chadda and pitched out tent near the hut of the sheperd’s. we all were exhausted badly and our stamina seems to bend it knee this time. All of us caught fever and we all took the medicine that night to avoid neumonia.

Well the next day was a kind of blessing and we all wake in better shape after shivering all the night. We decided not to cross the valley and moved back. Our guide offered the prayer to Rupin pass and we all ate the parsad.

And walked back we cannot stop before Jiskun as we all were running late to our schedule for reaching delhi. We all started and to surprise this time the leader was Gagan bhai and devi said yeh kal aise chal lete toh hum valley cross kar lete.(hahha,,, gagan bhai devi bhaut naraz he aapse).

Sir was limping as his left leg knee was not bending due to damage of last day trek. So sir and I dropped our pace to huge extent and kept on walking without taking rest. At around 6 in the evening we reached the hault point Jiskun. While coming back all the villagers were laughing at us that we are not able to make it to the valley. It was damn insulting but we cant do anything except to laugh in grin.

Manu was also resting at Jiskun we all were recharged after seeing him, the next morning we left quickly and made it to Gosangu to catch the jeep to reach Shimla. On the way back we covered the highest motorable pass that is Chanshal Pass. It was a very wonderful experience to halt our car right at the top and feel the wind that is strong enough to shake the car too. Spending less time we all moved forward. But we realized that we can make it only till Rohdu as we were late and all the buses had already left. We have no other choice but to look in for some room to stay.

Finally we got two rooms and we all relaxed ourselves. In the night sir and I walked out to gather things for dinner. We bought some cookies, pepsi, bread and butter. And filled the bread with the namkeen along with butter and had the same in dinner. Soon Gagan and vijendar ji came to after having their dinner and said that the food is not good. We were happy that we make good choice.

By 11 we all slept and next day caught the first jeep to Shimla and from their straight the bus to Chandigarh and then to Delhi.

With the next plan on charts we all dispersed and awaits for the next trip with full enthusiasm


  1. Lovely!! Saurav....achha likhaa...kaafi live hai!!....But let me tell u...jab tak main rupin pass kar nahi jaongaa...main sukun se nahi baithungaa!!......Thnx for mentioning ecery details....being a companion I know how beautifully u hve elaborated the entire story.....Love you brother....This blog will certainly help people to understand that crossing Rupin Pass is not a child's play & one needs to plan as per his capacity & the conditions available......Gagan

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