Vikram and Awnish are lost in their own thoughts. I am thinking about nothing...perhaps only about how perfect Nyima Ram's tea is. I am sitting at my friend, Nyima Ram's tea shop at Koksar, Lahaul. A few days earlier Awnish, Vikram and I had set out to reach Darcha from Koksar, trekking across the pass of Tempo La in the heart of the Mulkila group of peaks also called the CB (ChandraBhaga) group. These are the peaks that take the breath away from your lungs as you stand on top of Rohtang Pass and look north. Sheer jagged peaks with white caps and glaciers trapped among the peaks. I had always been fascinated with this incredible profusion of peaks and longed to delve into their sacred midst.elevations, hours of walking, grades of treks, itineraries, notes - I am always oblivious of these. I don't trek in the Himalayas to measure anything at all. I walk because I am compelled to return to where I belong. I walk one step at a time. My feet do not carry me, it is my mind I trek on.
We set off early next morning after Vikram had successfully managed to choke the sewage system of koksar for the next 6 months with a truckload of toilet paper.We climbed the almost vertical mountain behind Koksar. There was no path, not even a hint of a trail. we just traversed up the steep incline as best as we could and within a couple of hours, commanded an eagle's view of Koksar and the Chandra valley for miles on both sides. The Chandra was almost a fluoroscent green and had a gleam about its glacial waters that looked quite surreal.It meandered swiftly through the deep valley between the Pir Panjal to the south and the CB peaks to the north. We reached a broad meadow at the top of the climb and gaped at the waterfall which exploded horizontally like a water canon. I went ahead to investigate the path and was accosted by an incredible view. The nala had narrowed into a gushing torrent tearing through a gorge less than 20 feet wide and at the head of the gorge was a hanging glacier from under which the milky torrent roared into life. There was a 50 foot waterfall right at the head of the glacier. It was an incrdible sight.
I balance on the sheet of ice forming below me, as I run through a white world of snow and sleet, breathing the stark beauty I love, aware that I cannot stop for pause here, now.
Finally I saw the pile of rocks signifying a gaddi camp. A solitary cairn of stones stood surrounded by snow and beyond it was a depression.
Gurgle..Gurgle....grrrr.....bbbrrrr....gurgle....yeah right..!! After attending to matters a little less romantic I stared around me in a trance. The snow peaks were shining like huge goblins and I was in love with the world. I thought about waking up Vikram and asking him to bring out his tripod and taking a night shot, but I was afraid his reaction might be less than friendly. I retreated back to bed and was soon in blissful dreamland, dreaming of back-lit fairies and snow flakes falling in slow-motion.
We set out for civilization feeling content and blessed. The drop from Dashaur to Marhi is steep and we descended cautiously breaking icicles off rocks and crunching on them. A little above Marhi, we stopped to see the thousands of tourists crawling up to Rohtang in uncountable sumos and jeeps, belching huge clouds of black smoke and throwing biscuit wrappers into the pristine green. I did not feel sad, nor angry, I did not feel superior, nor right. I just felt in love with life. I just felt connected with Dashaur, the magic lake.