DAY 1: CHANDIGARH TO SINGHAD VILLAGE (250 km) –By road to Jaon- Then 4 km to Singhad on foot. We started our journey from Chandigarh with a pro trekking group called Trekking Cougars- DIY whose leader was Mr Jograj Singh, an experienced trekker who has done various tough treks in the past. We have hired an Innova for the journey and the group contains people belonging to different states who in spite of their busy schedules came this far to accomplish the daunting task of reaching the holy mountain standing 17150 feet high. Such is the magic of internet these days that it can connect you with everything and everyone which seems to be a happening thing or a place around this world. The only irony among these pro-trekkers is that they want to travel to these high altitudes to disconnect themselves from the world as per the assumption and when they reached there they are the ones who mostly crave for internet in these mountains. It is trendier now to tell others about your travel experience rather than be an silent observer of your journey. In an instant, pics of travel were posted into social networking sites to get the maximum likes and views. We travelled through lush green landscapes of Shimla, Fagu, Theog and Narkanda. Apart from the hubbub of people and tourists on these hill stations, we surprisingly found some mountains which are free from any human habitation and tourism facilities and the resulting scenic views really gripped our mind and soul. The beautiful verdant jungles created curiosity in us and we craved to unravel the mysteries hidden there as we all know that every mountain has a story to tell. When people in the low lying cities are vexed by the humid hot weathers we are the ones who felt the touch of cool winds on our faces and at that juncture it was an exhilarating experience and we felt privileged.
Early morning from the singhad village all devotees chanted Om Namah Shivaay and started their Yatra from the tasty langar service comprising of aloo parantha and dal chole which provides you with some energy for the upcoming day. The path from the village carries you to the narrow way where a river is flowing by your side with such an enormous amount of flow that gives you fear in the first instance but then it makes you feel excited about the adventure you will face along the way. After walking through this path for 4 km you will reach Bharathi Nala where you can register yourself officially for this Yatra.
PATH TO PARVATI BAGH The path ahead to us has no vegetation and the trail becomes rocky and full of huge boulders. Some said it is a stretch of 2-3 kms and then we would reach Nain Sarovar. We started to feel the chilly air rushing from the mountains into our bodies and it made us shiver as we were completely wet from inside. All our clothings were wet and soggy. My lighter trekking shoes became heavier due to the water retained in them as we were continuously treading on the wet path. We came across a region where yellow and white flowers are lying everywhere but they were not in a blooming state. A voice came from behind me and we came to know that it is the most revered flower species in the Himalayas, the prominent BRAHMA KAMAL which only blooms in night. Both of us feel lucky to be an onlooker of this holy flower which we have seen earlier in Internet. We wanted to touch it. But a local warned us that it contains chemicals which can make you feel giddy and nauseatic. None of us wants to take that chance in that kind of situation. Also, he told us that it is a common belief among them that breaking the petals of BRAHMA KAMAL can call rain in these mountains. So we respect their beliefs and started our journey further..
Brahma Kamal After two hours of walking meticulously over the huge boulders we reached Nain Sarovar. It is a large glacial lake which was believed to be the tears of Maa Parvati who cried on her parting with Lord Shiva. People used to take a dip in its holy water and it is believed that the water of this glacial lake can cure eye problems. I was shivering with cold as rain has not stopped for a second but my friend Neeraj decided to take a dip in the holy waters of Nain Sarovar. When you immersed yourself in such frigid water you become more vulnerable to Hypothermia. But faith can conquer everything and he took a small bath there. Too much googling and browsing materials about AMS made me worrisome as I started to feel a twinge on my forehead. I discussed this with Neeraj and he convinced me that I was OK and requested me to have faith in the Almighty Lord Shiva. With a loud chant of Har Har Mahadev I started ascending.
HAR HAR MAHADEV- SHRIKHAND MAHADEV