Episode 1 July 2017
'Kab Ayegi Gaddi, Kab ayegi Gaddi. Hey Bhagwan. Pata Nahi ayegi ki nahi', These were the words when I left from Chandratal Lake to Batal. Batal is a small village in the trans-Himalayan range in the Lahaul and Spiti range. People come here for refreshment to have Chai/ Tea/ Rajma Chawal and lunch. Chandratal is a turquoise emerald blue lake tucked away in Spiti Valley. During this time the destiny unfolded in its way. I left from Chandratal at 4 pm on a windy afternoon.
Chandrabhaga 14, Chandrabhaga 13 stood tall in front of me, the tip of the glaciers was incandescent.
When I left, my eyes captured the view of Chandrabhaga Range leaving me in awe. No words to describe, it got better and better as I was moving away from the lake. I felt as if these mountains were trying to tell something to me, I could hear it in my brain, the subtle voices. I was restless all the time, the adrenaline rush was at its peak. I was not at all weary, or drowsy because of my hectic trek. I could breathe the air of magnetism and magic.
I thought it was an illusion or a dream. The reality struck me, I was living in the present and enjoying the beauty where I was lost.
Far away from me, the echoes of the mountains run within my bones.
The glimpse of the green grass clenches my soul.
Through valleys and passes, I abscond from city life.
My memoirs are overflowed with your instills, creating a sense of tranquility,
Too many reminiscences, you have become a part of me.
Well, I don’t know if I am slow or fast trekker in the mountains, but everybody has got their speed. I was supposed to go with a friend till Batal, but he was way ahead of me say 1km. I knew I won’t be able to reach Batal if I started at 4 pm in such treacherous and nerve-wracking routes. That too 14km. The river Chenab was flowing adjacent to me. Every time I could hear the reverberation of the currents brimming with effervescence. I was the lone solitary walking down this enigmatic valley. When cars overtook me, strangers gave me thumbs up and said “Good going keep on moving on"
The sun was setting down and hiking wasn’t easy for me to reach Batal within a short period (14km). My luck has favored throughout the entire expedition. I saw a car with a group of people impeding from the other side of the mountain and asked where I am headed to. I told them my destination which is 'Batal'. Seriously I had no idea, that I would come across a car which would give me a lift till a point which was my final destination. What are your thoughts on believing God? I prayed to God desperately so that I feel safe and someone sees me during this solitary journey. I am so sure; he is out there in the universe watching everyone. Well for me he did listen to me, to my heart and my soul. I swear at that moment I had no words to say, except, 'Dear Universe someone should give me a lift till the destination where I want to be'.
DESTINY UNFOLDED: As I turned back it was the car which I wished of, the person driving the car stopped and he asked me where I am heading towards. I was left aghast and perplexed. I was dropped till Batal. While sitting in the car I was dazed for whatever happened and was still wondering how fate can change a moment of your life. This is what happened to me. I took a leap of faith, and my wishes were granted. The Almighty and the Universe did listen to my words. Amen!!!
Episode 2 September 2019.
I decided to come to Chandratal after two years as it holds a special memory in my life. Yet again, something crazy happened. This time I and my friend fell sick during the trek to Chandratal Lake which was least expected. My ears started aching and I could feel something was not right. I halted near the campsite and gazed at the peak of Chandrabhaga 14. I kept gazing until I saw dark clouds approaching us. The mountain God’s had signaled us that the weather is changing ‘You better get back to the campsite and relax there’. My lungs throbbed and felt breathless. I was very hell-bent on reaching the Chandratal. Despite being sick, I went to the lake. The sun dropped and the surroundings turned unilluminated. Everything was so bone-chilling cold because of the sudden weather change. My friend's hand turned black and her chest congested. This was not a good indication. We decided to head back to the camp but walking down to the campsite for 5km was out of our league as we were not, well. I searched for people who could drop us at the campsite.
DESTINY UNFOLDED: While I was trekking towards the camp, luckily, I met people from Mumbai. They were the only ones whom I could spot. I asked for their help and told them how we badly wanted to head back to the campsite as we are sick and my friend is almost dying. By God’s grace, he agreed and drove us to the campsite.
What a lovely gesture!! I was dumbstruck at that moment and thanked the Universe again. I was happy that I saved my friend’s life who showed severe signs of High-Altitude Mountain Sickness. It was a day to remember. The next I waited for hours for someone to give me a lift till Batal. Universe has been kind, as I found someone from Himachal crossing that route. But he dropped me and my friend on the Midway as he was traveling to Kunzum Pass and not Batal. So, I kept on walking for like about 6km and safely reached Batal. Hitching in the trans-Himalayan regions is extremely difficult especially when one is driving from Manali- Kaza or Kaza – Manali. This time I Hitchhiked from Batal to Manali. I was still waiting for someone to give me a lift. And I was so sure that the Universe won’t help me this time. I waited for hours and hours. In the meantime, I was exploring nearby still found no one to drop us till Manali as we missed our bus.
Out of surprise!!
A father and daughter duo from Britain stopped for a tea break in Batal and we asked if we can accommodate in their car. He said, “COME JOIN”. I jumped in the car out of joy and couldn’t stop my excitement. Yet again I thanked the UNIVERSE. The journey from Batal to Manali was so exhilarating. The father and daughter duo from London came to Spiti to explore the Himalayas. He had come 20 years ago, to do Hampta Pass and said he was too mesmerized by the beauty of our mountain range.
There is nothing like the Himalayas. They are the real King/God of the mountains. Throughout the entire journey, I had a long conversation with him and discussed the various trails across the Pir Panjal Range, Lahaul Spiti Range, and the Ladakhi range. Both the episodes have been a fairytale written by heaven in other words creation/Universe. These are the moments and evocations that are engraved in my heart!
How to reach Chandratal: Hire a shared taxi from Kaza (Rs800-900per person)
The bus goes till Kunzum Pass from Kaza (120 –150rs). From Kunzum Pass trek to Chandratal which is like 9Km or get down at Batal, Hitch Hike to Chandratal
Expenses on Travelling: Zero as I hitch Hiked. That’s the best way to cut down expenses. A lot of people keep traveling from Chandratal- Batal- Manali
Chandratal Campsite expenses – RS 700 per person.
A lot of Campsites are available in Chandratal.
Hope you enjoyed reading the article!!