A visit to Tirthan Valley
This time we planned to visit a place, which was not so known and not many people I have heard of, who visited Tirthan Valley. So, when I started from home with my family, it was an enthusiasm at its peak. I had very carefully planned the approach to ISBT Anand Vihar. Took an Uber to the Huda City Centre Metro station (I could see it the best and fastest possible transport to ISBT). On reaching the Metro station, we saw a zip zap line coming out from the entrance. None the less, we stood at the end and beginning the journey (starting with foot). It took us 15 mins for us to clear the security. From the platform we need to grab seats, which we succeeded in. But very soon I realised that I am missing my wallet. My throat went dry and I wasn’t ready to believe it. Looked out at every pocket again and again but result was the same. Then two girls, who saw me behaving frantically, sitting on our opposite seats pointed out at a wallet lying on the metro floor. It was a sigh of relief and I came to my senses. In this little time, of almost 40-50 seconds of drama, all the cons flashed by my mind including dropping the plan and how would I be presenting my ID to the Volvo guy? But now, it all faded as if a bad dream. I quietly, but excitingly, kept my wallet back into my front pocket thanking the girls repeatedly. My wife, Nidhi, could also calm down, after a warning to me to keep things safe. I thought to check, how it reached the floor when I have not stepped at that place. I checked my wallet only to find that all the money was gone (It was 15 K that I withdrew from the ATM for the expenses) and all the cards and Ids were disoriented but in place. So, I had mixed feelings of emotion on going to Tirthan Valley but lost the money.
(Journey started, anyway)
Reached ISBT just in time with 10 mins for the bus to leave. It kind of started to settle in my mind and then boarded the bus along with Aman, Naman, Jyoti, Priyanka, Samir, Nidhi, Jia and Sumit.
In the morning, the bus stopped at a small place for the passengers to get freshen-up. By this time I was in the vacation mood and laughed the last night incident. Looking at the mountains and river around gave us the feeling of coming out of the ambit of the hustle bustle of the city. We got down at Aut at around 8 am and started looking out for alternatives to reach the hotel (home stay). At reaching the home stay, we found out that all the pointers mentioned with the places were there in reality. Ahhh! What a beauty in front of our eyes. The rooms were at the first floor and the owners used to stay at the ground floor. From the big broad veranda, we could see the towering mountain in front of us and yes, we have to move our heads upwards completely to see the top of the mountain. Surprised to found out that the owner’s native place is on the same mountain. It was coming right out of a Grin’s Fairy Tale. Commercialisation of the place is still limited to the crossings/chowks in the mountain citiy.
a.(Familiarising with the place)
A brief stroll in the nearby area familiarised us with the DNA of the place. The colour of the day was green. It was different types of trees and plants, inside protected hedges and outside in the limitless forest. The first floor, on which our rooms were, also got the hangings of the trees peeping into the veranda. A small cemented street took us to the River Tirthan through a line-up of beautifully made up houses, with small farms. There were seasonal fruits especially oranges hanging on not very high trees. The river flowing relentlessly with clear fresh water was shallow at the two banks made us feel like taking a dip. But we want to plan and come, so decided to go back to the hotel.
After having a discussion with the owner of the hotel, we planned our evening that day with a trek to the waterfall nearby named after Chhoi Devta. It was supposed to be a small and non-dangerous trek, according to the owner. It was a 1 to 1and a half hours walk from the nearest base. The locals visit frequently to pray near a tree at the waterfall. So, leaving 2 uninterested people behind, we started the ascent along with my 4 years old daughter. Initial trek seemed more of passing through a village. Just after 15 mins we realized that it is not going to be easy, & all the more while carrying Jia. It was almost 65 degrees ascend and included boulders in the middle of not clearly marked trail. Encouraging some of them and moving up carrying jia seemed a herculean task that moment. Perhaps, had I known before about the trek, I wouldn’t have jeopardised the trip with kids. But as the guide was sure enough that it is not much of a distance to cover (as it is their way of encouraging), we pressed forward. After a very dangerous and rough patch, we ultimately got the sight of a beautiful and virgin waterfall. With only 2 boards mentioning about the history and mythological importance of the water fall, it seemed raw water fall with a beautiful stream hopping down the small pool. As the place was in the middle of the mountainous jungle, it was already in the shade. The splash from the water fall splinters to 50 meters away. While others wanted to take a dip in the pool, I made sure that Jia (who started feeling cold) should wear a thin jacket to make her comfortable. Others had a good joyful bath at the pool with some legendary photographic poses. It was about the time when the shadow of evening started to cover the afternoon, so we hurriedly started the descent back to the hotel. But this time we took a longer, but a little easier route. It was a good decision as we could enjoy the scenic side of the mountain while passing some flat patches where some of the houses were there. It was really a sight not to miss. This was a treat for the people coming from the concrete jungle, searching for solace (to the eyes at least). The closing of the journey gave us the sense of achievement, forgetting all the hardships we went through the walk.
c.(Sightseeing to Serolsar Lake)
In the evening, there was a bon fire at the terrace. It was only our family of 8-10 people, but the place was not lit properly. So, we sat for a chat at the veranda just outside our rooms, overlooking the beautiful, unperturbed mountains. We were unable to sit for long as there were some uninvited guests (big mosquitoes, bats, lizards and bumble bees), some were unknown to us.
I got up early the next morning. I wanted to take a walk with other members but no one was up, till then. So, I just took Jia and Priyanka (who got up post my knocking the doors) to the river side. Through the narrow passage from within the homes, we reached the open space of the humble river flowing with ease. We crossed the little bridge and kept on walking towards the mountain standing in front of us. Last evening, the owner told us about his village right in the middle of the mountain in front. We moved towards the village. On the way, we found beautiful gardens as if it is a description in any of the books. There was just a touch of a leaf that it starts to itch so badly on the hand of Priyanka. There was a kind lady sitting on the window, who was watching over the “outsiders”. She told us to take the leaf of one of the plants there and rub it on the place of itching. Dramatically, it started to heal within few moments and brought relief to Priyanka. We came back to the hotel just before the serving of sumptuous breakfast. We had decided for a sightseeing session to visit tourist attractions not very far away. We moved in a single car for 1 and a half hour to reach jalori pass. That point had 2 tourist spots in opposite directions. One is Serolsar Lake and another one is called a Raghupur Fort. We decided on the so called flat trek to Serolsar Lake, thinking that it is long (5 km one way) but would be easier. Again, as the trail started, Jia got up on me and my trek (although beautiful sights) became a doubly difficult walk. I was stopping frequently to catch my breath. Somehow, we managed to reach this picturesque lake and had the first glimpse of some people enjoying with musical instruments like guitar and fluke. The lake was part of a small temple area. While returning, we enjoyed magi as our lunch at the only camp like shop near the lake. We reached back to the hotel tired and exhausted but full of memories and pictures. In the night we had trot fish along with regular dinner.
d.(Visit to village, family dip at Tirthan River & return to Karma Bhoomi)
Next day was leisure day as we had our Volvo from Kullu to Delhi. In the morning we went again at village on the mountain at the home of the owner of the hotel. His parents were kind enough to take us to the apple orchard and we ate the apples directly from the tree. We were also offered to stay back, if there would be any problem in our transport as there was a news of an accident due to land slide last night. There was fresh water stream to drink and wash, where generally they get their dishes clean. The water tasted even better than a cold mineral water bottle. Coming back in time made way for another short walk up to the river bed. This time, all the members were excited to take back the fond memories of the river. The team enjoyed by exploring different shallow points on in the river. We were there as if soaking every second of the beautiful, serene and clear environment for the rest of our lives. We were all excited to commit another vacation at the same place as if inviting and embracing everyone. We really learned from the native people on how to own the complete place and keep it clean, no matter who littered it.
In the late afternoon, we started our journey back to Delhi by first reaching Kullu Bus stand and then catching our Volvo to Delhi. We reached the next day carrying all the sweet memories of the river, mountain, village, people and the time went by in our lives…….