Trekking expedition- Dalhousie

I love winters. Well, who doesn’t? But what made this winter more exciting for me was a TREK. Trek to a colder place compared to where I normally reside. Read on to know more about my experiences right from planning to packing to enjoying the whole time.

This being my first overnight trek, I planned it well in advance from travel to the trekking gear and other sightseeing in the nearby places that I would be visiting.

I was very excited to start with the planning for the Dalhousie winter trek organised by Youth Hostel Association of India (YHAI). After applying for YHAI membership, I booked the Dalhousie Winter Trek for the 22nd of December 2017. The time span for the trek was 4 nights and 5 days.

Since I was to reach the Base Camp by train, which was in Dalhousie, I booked 3rd AC Train tickets for 18th December 2017. The train fare from Mumbai to Pathankot costed me Rs. 1950/-. I booked my tickets 2 months prior to my journey so that my tickets would get confirmed. Based on the period of travel, bookings need to be done well before time to avoid last minute pinch in your pocket with no guarantee for the tickets getting confirmed.

As the trek was in Dalhousie which is at the height of more than 7500 sq ft above sea level, I had to buy a trekking gear needed for the same. Things that need to be carried for the trek are given below:

Rucksack, Walking stick, Woolens, Cotton Shirts, Slacks, Cotton Pants, Sun Cap, Shoes, Socks, Enameled or Steel Mug / tumbler, Plate, Lunch box ,Spoon, Water purifying tablets, Pen knife, Needle, Thread, Spare buttons, Goggles, Cold cream / Vaseline, Soap, Toilet Paper, Towel, Rain sheet,  Medicines which you normally use at home, Camera with extra batteries.

One has to be very particular about what one should carry so that the weight of the Rucksack is not over 5 kgs. Any extra things carried need to be dumped at the base camp as they would not allow you to carry lot of weight during the trek.

Overview of the trek was as follows:

  • Day 1: Acclimatization walk (10 Kms) – 6500 Sq ft above sea level
  • Day 2: Base camp (Dalhousie) to Kalatop (12 to 13 Kms) – 8500 Sq ft above sea level
  • Day 3: Kalatop to Khajjiar (17 to 18 Kms) – 7500 Sq ft above sea level
  • Day 4: Khajjiar to Mangla (13 to 14 Kms) – 4500 Sq ft above sea level
  • Day 5: Mangla to Dalhousie (17 to 18 Kms) – 6500 Sq ft above sea level

Finally the day arrived and I was all set to board the train from Mumbai to Pathankot. The journey span from Mumbai to Pathankot is about 28 hours in train.

 

Once I boarded the train, I got myself adjusted on my seat and was very excited for my journey ahead.

 

As the journey was long, the only things that I did was eat, read, sleep and repeat.

 

I got a chance to get down at Ratlam railway station as the train stopped for a while. Got a chance to free my legs and have a small walk too.

 

After 28 hours of train journey, I finally reached Pathankot and was quite excited to start my journey again to my base camp in Dalhousie.

 

I even got a chance to shoot a small video at Pathankot railway station

 

The Dalhousie base camp is around 80 kms bus ride from Pathankot. I boarded the state transport bus which took around 4 hours to reach Dalhousie. The road goes through ghats hence the temperature dropped as I got closer to Dalhousie. The ticket fare was Rs. 105/-.

I finally reached the Dalhousie base camp at 7:00 pm where hot soup and yummy dinner was served. I was allocated a bunk bed with the other trekkers. The temperature at Dalhousie base camp was between 0-3 degree Celsius.

 

I had reported 2 days prior to my reporting date hence I had 2 extra days at my disposal for the sightseeing. So the next day I decided to travel to Bhalwani Mata Mandir which is at a height of 10,000 ft above sea level.

The temple lies in the army restricted area so transport isn’t allowed right till the temple. We hired a taxi which dropped us 5 Kms before the temple base. The temple is further 2 kms from the base.

I documented the first part of the walk till the temple base which comprised of walking through snow clad roads, sleeping on ice bed and a lot more fun.

Walk through snow clad roads

Icy bed

Walk through snow clad mountains

 Water Hand Pump at 10,000 ft above sea level

 

After we reached the base point of Bhalwani Mata Mandir, the treacherous climb began

 

On my way to the temple I met a local girl with her cute little rabbit

 

 

After the treacherous climb, we got a chance to have hot Maggi with some hot tea. The experience was just beyond words.

 

Once I reached the top, the view was scintillating. I felt that I was on the top of the world.

On top of the world

On my descend down, I got an opportunity to do ice slide. This was the first experience that I have had with the slide. It just felt great to slide so smoothly through the ice.

 

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Day 1: Acclimatization walk

To get used to the high altitudes, its always a good idea to have acclimatization walks so that your body get used to the low temperatures and high altitude which our body is not used to normally.

Basking in the sun

 

Did some adventure sports to get the adrenaline pumping.

 

Got a chance to visit the local cafe and enjoy some hot tea and some breakfast.

 

Inside a local cafe

 

Day 2: Dalhousie Base Camp to Kalatop

Today’s trek was a walk to the highest point of the trek to Kalatop. The walking distance was around 14 to 15 kms.

Some of the photographs and videos that I captured during my journey are given below:

 Photo time

 

We did not leave a chance to dance and have fun during our trekking. Having a fun group greatly helped me in making this trek an enjoyable experience

 

Snow fight at Kalatop

 

Play time

 


Snow clad Kalatop

 

Kalatop base camp

View from Kalatop Base camp

Day 3: Kalatop to Khajjiar

We left from Kalatop at 8:00 am in the morning to our next destination which was Khajjiar. Today’s trek was a walk through the dense forest and the trekking distance between the 2 camps was around 18 kms.

With the boy gang

 

I also got a chance to capture the flora in and around the area and the glimpse of it can be seen in the video shown below

 

 In the arms of nature

 

My girl and boy gang

 

After 4 hours of trekking we took a break for lunch where we came across local kids who were as red as apples. Since the weather was very cold, the locals helped us with their camp fire which we thoroughly enjoyed with our yummy food.

 

Camp fire with the kids . www.diptik.in .

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Camp fire with local kids

Glimpse of the jungle route

Cutie pies

 

Day 4: Khajjiar to Mangla

After 2 days of trekking, the trek for today was a descend through the mountains and through local villages. The trekking distance was about 13 to 14 kms. As it was mostly a descend, it checked my strength in my calves and legs.

Shy kid

 

GOD is everywhere and this is what I came across in the local temple during my trek.

 

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The views that I saw during my descend were scintillating. I was able to capture some of those moments during my descend.

The final stretch of descend before we could reach our Mangla base camp.

Day 5: Mangla to Dalhousie base camp

There was no trekking today and we were to be sent to Dalhousie base camp in a bus. The bus journey was about 2 and half hours. On our way we got down to see the Mangla dam which is built over Ravi river. The view was just breath taking.

 

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Finally it was time to take a group photograph of the entire group. The trek wouldn’t had been any fun without each and every person present in the group

 

Saying good bye was the most difficult thing to do but we did it with a smile with a promise to meet again on some other exciting trek once again in near future.

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