Standing with a backpack on the train station, a bit nervous about going on a journey with complete strangers, little had I known that this trip would change me forever.
Back in the monsoons of 2017, I took off on a trip to visit my favourite place- the Himalayan mountains. After 2 days of tiresome travelling, I finally made it to the base camp in Naggar. Naggar is a small town situated in the Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh.
“A place so beautiful, it must have attracted artists from all over.”- was my exact thought when my eyes first witnessed the beauty of the town.
Later, I was told that the place had indeed attracted Nicholas Roerich, a renowned Russian artist who made Naggar his home. Today, his paintings are preserved and open to the public to view his works. Other attractions include the Naggar Castle built by Raja Sidh Singh of Kullu in 1460 AD. It offers spectacular views of the Kullu valley, a must-see place if you are fond of architecture and beauty.
Food Recommendation: German Bakery, located not far from the castle.
On a cold rainy day, after bidding adieu to the gorgeous town of Naggar, we set out on the first leg of the trip- the trek through the Hampta Pass. Geographically, the trek begins in the Kullu valley and ends in the Lahaul valley after crossing the Hampta Pass. For the first 2 days of the trek, we were surrounded by tall pine trees, huge mountains touching the sky and views that one sees in paintings hung in laid-back coffee shops. After setting foot in the Lahaul valley, there was an instant change in the terrain and our feet were suddenly covered in muck! The beauty about this trek is the extreme weather and terrain difference which is quite unexpected.
Not far from our campsite in Baatal was the beautiful Chandratal Lake. Chandratal means ‘Moon Lake’ and is named due to its crescent shape. If the ancient legend is to believed, it is said that Chandra- the daughter of Moon and Bhaga- the son of Surya or the Sun, fell in love at Baralacha La (which is where the Chandra river originates) and wanted to marry each other. However, after their parents’ disapproval, the two lovers decided to elope and meet at Baralacha La. It was here where the celestial marriage took place.
The best part about such trips is to immerse yourself in the culture and history of the place.
After coming back from the trip, a question that I’m frequently asked is- what do I do the whole day after trekking for 3-4 hours. The beauty of going on such Himalayan treks is- you get at least a good 5-6 hours for yourself and usually I spend this time interacting with my camp mates, or just sitting and watching the surroundings.
At a camp site in Chikka, my trek mates and I spent hours chilling by the waterfall near the campsite- cracking jokes, catching up on some sleep on the nearby rocks, discussing life and even trying our hands in wood carving! Got any better ways to spend your leisure time? I guess no…
The most beautiful part about the Lahual valley is the night sky when thousands, probably millions of stars are visible to the naked eye. In a city like Pune where I come from, in today’s times when the pollution is at its peak, you would probably be lucky to find 5-6 stars in the night sky, but getting a chance to see the whole Milky Way band was a whole new experience.
Do you have such experiences to share? Tell me about it in the comments below 🙂