Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Encounter With death & Immortal happiness (Hemkund Sahib)

Yes the title might be confusing, but u will come to know about this as u go through this blog, it was time to realize one more dream, which was left unrealized since a year ago, to visit valley of flowers, supposed to be one of the most beautiful place, as heard by so many people, I started alone for this journey after hearing about solo trekking concept from my friend who motivated me to do this trek alone, and also convincing four guys to come for this trip is difficult, off course if had sticked on to doing with a group, i wouldn't have been able to write this blog, this is the story of sept, 2009.

Encounter with death:- How does it feel when u see death, meeting death means knowing that ur going to die now and u still being alive, daily we curse on so many things not being proper in this world, we curse our jobs, govt people, etc, But when u come to know that ur going to die, u suddenly feel like everything has come to an end, u turn back and see this beautiful life with a different angle, will feel u will no longer be there, and u will do every bit of ur breath to Live, U will Struggle, u try to Survive against all odds, its a fight in the mind, and again as Darwin Said, its the Survival of the fittest.

  1. Valley of Flowers (VOF) 3300mts = 10086 feet.

  2. Hemkund Sahib (Holy place of sikhs) 4300 mts = 14100 feet.
Day 1:- Delhi to Rishikesh, 10.00 pm to 5.00 am,

Nothing to boast about, board the Rishikesh bus from ISBT Delhi, Overnight journey on friday night, Saturday morning i was in Rishikesh.
Day 2:- Rishikesh to joshimath 6.00 am to 6.00 pm,
Route:- Devprayag, Srinigar,Rudraprayag, KranaPrayag, NandaPrayag, Chamoli,Joshimath.

It was raining out there in the morning, and as our vehicle started the ascent into the mountains it was a beautiful scene outside as u say the joy is in the journey not the destination itself, it was very cold outside, we were travelling in a sumo, and the mountains were as beautiful as they were always, and reached karnaprayag at around 1.00 pm, although the journey to joshimath is a very long and tiring one the scenery along the route made it less fatigue full, and finally before reaching joshimath there was a landslide which is common in this area and we had to halt for a hour( lucky) before it was cleared, and finally reached joshimath, Joshimath is one of the major city, and here u find mighty himalayan mountains, which are much bigger than your imagination, we get hotels and restaurant here, I halted for the day here as vehicles don't move beyond evening in the night except for urgent needs, and joshimath is also the place from where u can go to auli (A hill Station, where i went next year during winter) u have to use a rope way to reach there.

Day3:- Joshimath to Badrinath:-

Morning i woke up at 5.oo am like military precision according to my plan, and started my journey forward by 6.00 am, today i made a wise decision, by not going to GovindGhat (Starting point of VOF trek) instead decided to go to badrinath first, as the trek from govindghat to ghangria takes 5 hrs, and it is not possible to visit the valley of flowers the same day. badrinath is around 70 km from joshimath, the road from Joshimath to govindghat is horrible and very dangerous across huge mountains, and again ur first mistake will be last here, Govindghat to Badrinath here u find very beautiful scenery(not seen anywhere till now u have to see it to experience it ), and reached badrinath at 8.30 am, and took a bath at the sulphur hot water spring, and had the dharshan of badrinath ji, and headed towards govindghat, reached govindghat at 11.30 am, bought some Rain coats and biscuits to eat on the way.

I started my trek to Ghangria at 12.00 am in the afternoon, and i was walking through the narrow path along the river stream, the road is a non motor able path with only donkeys used to ferry foods to the above villages for their daily needs, my destination was somewhere far far away behind many mountains, but the Beautiful and good scenery along the way kept me going without boring, and was meeting many pilgrims who visit the Hemkund Sahib shrine, who are more than the people who visit the Valley of flowers, i halted at only one place to climb a rock, for some pics and time pass, and then again started moving without any halt at any place, and reached Ghangria at 4.15 pm, and had a walk around the town, and stayed in a lodge, and seen a documentary on Valley of flowers as i had lot time in the evening, and collected all the necessary information for the next day's most gruelling trek.

Day 4:- Judgement day, Trek to valley of flowers and back to ghangria and hemkund sahib and back same day. Yeah this the toughest trek i have done till now, and no novice or tourist had done it i can challenge, and also my encounter with the death, completing the valley of flowers trek itself which is 10 km one way from Ghangria and back is difficult, and my insane intentions, told me to attempt Hemkund sahib, which was a mistake, bcoz i underestimated its steepness, and difficulties. and altitude and climatic changes.

OK i started the journey to Valley of flowers at exactly 6.00 am, and headed into the valley of flowers national park, and this is suppose to be one of the most memorable moments of my life which are about to be captured in my brains visual zone, i was greeted with slight drizzle, but rain or shine, landslides or mudslides, or storms nothing can stop Sudeep from reaching his goal, i headed into the valley of flowers with my rain coat on. After Entering the VOF i was greeted with a valley full of flowers, u see flowers all the side except the sky, where u find mist filled sky along with the river streams and some hard rock ice, of glaciers along the way, the sight was just so good, as i moved forward i was greeted with some water flowing streams, and flower plants all around, imagine this, the sound of water stream, the wind blowing into ur ears, the pulsating flower plants, and absolute silence, no one to disturb u, this is a feeling u have to experience, not to describe, only i was there so not many people to shout or talk, but luckily i meet a few bad photographers on the way who

were kind enough to take my pictures, and i moved forward where i saw some plants taller than me, and and flowers in it, and i continued to move forward to explore the place to the other end of the park, where some repair work on the path way was being done, all along this path u will find the type of flowers changing after some distance, and i really don't remember the names of flowers, but these are rare flowers which are found only in altitudes of above 3000 mts not found in your backyard or any flower show or park, I sat somewhere for some time just to experience the Surroundings, and do some photography.

I just concluded my trip to valley of flowers and headed towards ghangria, i also got my shoe wet when i placed my foot in water while crossing the stream, and it is going to irritate me for the next two days, i got some company while returning from VOF, and we had a chat regarding similarly beautiful places in India ( this is where we get to know about beautiful places not written in any books) , and when reached ghangria at 12.00 am in the afternoon, and told them that i was heading to Hemkund Sahib, they told me are u crazy, we are so tired with this trip only.

But i was reluctant, adamant and stubborn to hear any one, no one was going up at this time, all people who go to Hemkund Sahib start in the morning at 6.00 am, many people advised me not to go further as climate can change drastically in that high altitude, but still i had my lunch and headed toward Hemkund, and the biggest mistake i made is by seeing the temp at 12.00 in the afternoon at 3000 mts i did not take my sweater, I went in only a half sleeves t shirt, i started the trek at 1.00 pm being over optimistic and keeping a target of reaching the top at 3.30 pm or 4.00 pm, but as i started the trek i found that it is too difficult as it is steep inclination, but above all as it was nearing dusk, and gaining altitude the temperature started to drop too much, and by this time almost all the pilgrims who had gone to hemkund sahib were returned and i was the only insane guy going uphill.

Encounter with the death:-

I started feeling the pinch with only a T shirt on my body it was becoming difficult to keep my body warm and brain working, i started rubbing my body to keep myself warm, fear of death was started in my mind and the pituitary gland started releasing adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH) into the blood system, ACTH stimulates the production of cortisol, cortisol affects the body's reaction to fear, and i was not able to walk for a long time, as the air is very thin in high altitude and we get tired with just 4 steps, i also broke my mobile display which was kept in my back pocket when i sat on a rock, for resting, things were getting very difficult for me to survive in that cold without any protection, and for the first time, i was thinking of aborting the mission and thinking of going back, but even if i go back, it was too far before i get some warm clothes,

i started shouting for help, but no one to listen till miles, What kept me alive is just the will power to survive and push myself to the limits, kept pushing on myself unknowing how far ahead the destination is, it is just the will to live and survive which kept me going on, i had still not got beaten in my mind, and kept going in spite of so less oxygen in the atmosphere to move forward and cold, finally i saw the arch of the temple and some loud speakers noise and i was happy to be alive again, i had survived this cold attack, and suddenly i went inside the Gurudwara, they gave me some hot tea, which gave lot of energy and some warmth, and i entered the holy lake and took some water, and the people told me that i cannot sleep in the gurudwara that night, so they gave me a kambhal to go down in the cold, as it was difficult to go in that cold, and also it was very dark, and there was no moon light that day neither was my mobile working for light and with no torch, i had to face lot of problems, with the shoe becoming wet again, i was estimating the steps with the help of a stick, and walking how a blind man walks, to know the route, and it was an experience to be remembered for a life time to come, and after all this hardships i reached ghangria at around 9.00 pm, in the night. and took rest in the hotel.

Day5:- Woke up at 5.00 am & Headed down to Govindghat at early Morning 6.00 am, again in military precision, as i am alone there are no chaces of cursing anyone that he was late, i was going according to my plan and reached Govindghat at 9.00 am, and headed toward joshimath, and caught a Sumo which was going to Haridwar.

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Prabs said...

Adventurous Indeed!

Facemask said...

good show sudeeeep

abhinav said...

at such points of time, its only the will power that keeps you away from death.. grtt going..(P.S. change pm to am at some places)

Lalitha said...

Hi Sudeep,

Good to see u , and u r trekking story is awesome,
I strongly beleive that u r kiss of death was really the worth of the beauty of nature u enjoyed and
cherish u r whole life, i always wished to see VOF, am happy that u indeed did it alone and u r the fortunate one to see the most exotic locations, keep up, hmmm but also take care.

All the best for u r future endeavours


Baldip Singh Kohli said...

Hey Sudeep,

Nice to read your blog.

I have done Hemkund Sahib trek a long time ago when I was almost a kid.

Reading your story did revive all those memories of that arduous trip for me.

You indeed were a bit stupid, frankly, to attempt the Hemkund trip that late in the afternoon. Respect nature and its power. I think a lesson learnt there.

And I am very sad and shocked to hear that they did not let you sleep overnight in the Gurudwara that night and asked you to go back to the valley in such dark and treacherous route. So much for the Sikh hospitality :(

But I am glad you come out of the experience, all intact.

Nandish said...

Great man !

Naveen said...

Awesome dude

Gagan said...

Dear Sudeep

I knew you were extreme but today I am glad to know that the nature's extremities could not stop you either. Of course there was Gurudwara to help you. You should be grateful to them.

Nice blog. How did you manage to write everything in such precision. Did you make a note of these events on the way and then blogged or may be written from the memory as such experiences are never forgotten.

Please for god sake don't do it again. Go prepared. Safety first. I know you are an adrenergic junky.

Miss you re......


bhumi said...

good keep it up....but as ur friend gagan said , "go prepared" .......
happy to see pictureS also...
upload some other photos which u have taken there.

H V Kumar said...

It was a very bad decision to attempt Hemkund Saheb that late. Imagine, you have to climb 1000 metres in 6 kms, that is really very steep, and you grossly under-estimated the effort involved. No one is allowed to stay at Hemkund Saheb, Sikh, Hindu or non-believer, there are no places to stay too. Apparently, the place also becomes extremely cold at nights.

Mr. said...

Sudeep !! i dint know ur so Adventurous ... Please continue and keep updating us and Also Please take care of ur SAFETY First :) good luck

Mr. said...

Sudeep !! i dint know ur so Adventurous ... Please continue and keep updating us and Also Please take care of ur SAFETY First :) good luck

Dharmendra said...

Ondhu padha bidadhange poorthi bloga vodhi mugisidhe. Super agidhe bidree.. Story chennagi bariyakke atthiri. Next time ee thara trek hogadha ee badapayi na maribyadri.. Naanu barthenee.. Ibru saayana

jarkop said...

hi sudep......
its really great to go through your blog...a motivation for everyone of us.flashback all ours memories of pahalgam!

Srinivas said...

Very thrilling ..

I know you love challenges, but banging your head to a rock will only hurt your head.

Please next time, plan your trip keeping your comfort as a priority. Take mandatory items for a trek all the time, like torch, batteries, warm cloths (buy those newer type of warm cloths which are light weight) biscuits, chocolates (to keep you warm just in case) and water mixed with ORS just to keep you hydrated.

I had similar experience but then I had every thing required for 2 days with me.

Take calculated risks, people are waiting for you at 3000 ft down here.

Next time while doing solo trek, think of buying a camp tent just to camp somewhere in middle of nowhere.

take care ..

patil said...
This comment has been removed by the author.