Time surely slips like sand. This story is very close to my heart, so be prepared for an emotionally rich post ahead. Come, let me take you back in time to Sep’2019.
Winter was knocking at the door in the Northern part of India and it was time for us to breathe in some fresh mountain air. Past few months had been tough on various fronts and we were in no shape to carry ourselves forward.
On a gloomy Thursday, after office, a group of 5 young friends were sitting & having coffee at Cafe Coffee Day. All they wanted was a break from their very hectic life. While the brainstorming session seemed endless, Shivangi suggested a place called Kheerganga (google it!!!) located in the Parvati Valley where we could go for a trek. A series of impulsive actions followed:
- Tickets were booked within half an hour.
- Tents and other trekking gears were arranged.
- Excuses to be given in the Office were decided. 😛
While me and my 4 friends from work were getting ready for this adventure, I got a call from my cousin, Apurva, who too was looking for an escape. Aren’t we all?
Series of impulsive actions continued as Apurva booked her flight tickets from and to Kolkata within minutes.
So! the day was 14-Sep-2019
Jashan, a theatre actor, was performing at Akshara Theatre, Delhi while the rest of the gang was getting ready for the trip. We hustled our way from Gurgaon while Jashan somehow managed to reach the bus station on time. All 6 were going for an experience which they wouldn’t forget.
In the morning at around 8:50 we reached Bhuntar which is around 40-50 mins from the famous town of Kasol. We then boarded a public vehicle and reached the place which would later turn out to be the coolest place I had ever seen, Kasol. We found a lodge situated right besides a stream (cold mountain stream) and had some refreshments. By noon we were ready for the fun to begin.
After having lunch at a beautiful local restaurant which had the most serene view, we rented some bikes to roam around the hilly roads. We drove our way across the zig-zag roads to Manikaran which has a famous Gurudwara and many hot water springs. After having a splendid Langar, we strolled through the markets of Manikaran. As the Sun bid farewell, we decided to come back to Kasol for our night stay. On the way we decided to check out the hard to find and hard to describe, Jim Morrison cafe. My oh my, that was one trippy place. Cozy and warm and trippy. It is something you have got to see.
Okay, so now the fun begins.
We reached the starting point of our Trek and were all pumped up for the 12 km climb ahead. It was muddy, slippery, at some places scary but overall exhilarating. Trek started off normal but soon we started facing issues due to the heavy rainfall along the way. On our way up, we met a local farmer who gave us shelter in his shop while it poured cats and dogs. He was fascinated with our trekking gears and gadgets. That tea was amazing!
Later, we carried on with our climb and after 8 long hours, reached the top. Now that was Peace!!!
We had plain green fields on on side and a deep valley on the other. Mountains barricaded the entire scenery like guards protecting the castle. Silence was everywhere and the only sound that I reverberates in my mind today is of the waterfall which looked like Silver dripping from the mountains under the moonlight.
We ate our dinner and set ourselves a bonfire around which we had music and each other’s company.
That night, I in particular had an emotional epiphany and decided to let everything go. My heart was never the same after that night in Kheerganga.
The sunset, the sound of air, water and of life at the top was just so soothing that for a moment forgot about the fast and noisy life of the city. I cannot and do not want to put words in your mind. Let me show you instead.
The day started off with bright sunny rays. We woke up and found that a few mountain dogs had managed to sneak their way up inside our tents. They were welcome.
All 6 of us were unusually quiet as we were enjoying the long due and earned peace which we had been searching for. We ate sandwiches, paranthas, drank coffee and milk and I guess it is needless to say that they were absolutely delicious. They were unadulterated.
We didn’t just sit around, after our breakfast, we all went a bit uphill and walked across the green field which had the softest grass I had ever seen. Beautiful was the view from there. Me and Apurva, we are quite close. I remember that scene when we both were sitting on a rock overlooking the valley and the waterfall and talked to each other for sometime. It was good to see that I have a friend in my cousin.
Once again, let me show you what I am talking about.
After spending an amazing night and a mesmerizing morning, it was time to come down from the mountains. I hate this part.
So it took us 5 hours to trek down and while we carefully kept our foot on the rocks and muddy mountain roads, I remember having so many emotions running through my mind. I was feeling light, happy, positive and overall content. Trek down acted as a reconciliation of my mind. I was putting myself together. I remember sitting quietly for a few minutes while the rest of the gang trailed and shedding a tear or two. Happy tears, honest tears.
So, on the evening of 17-Sep-2019, I came back from the trip I will remember throughout my life. Kheerganga.
After strolling through the local Kasol market and buying a few souvenirs for ourselves, we boarded the bus and never looked back.
Even right now, I have tears in my eyes.
This trip… I travel a lot and have visited many places over the years but this trip… It was different.
I cannot continue anymore.
Thank you Kheerganga for giving me back the old me and thank you Shivangi, Jashan & Apurva for taking this trip with me. You all knew it was important and you all made it special.
The End (for now)