Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Mountain calls

The mountain calls through mystic tips,

To undulated slopes with bulge and dip,

To trees and bushes of assorted green tints,

To loft peaks and valleys deep.

Trails lead to destinations unknown,

Birds roosting call in tongues unknown,

Rivers rumble down greeting folks unknown,

Clouds rise to adorn heavens unknown.

The mountain appears rigid and impassive,

Beneath the pretense it is soft and expressive,

Rain and wind often do break these rocks massive,

Streams create paths in apathy but decisive.

Climbing from the bottom and reaching the goal,

Gives a sense of fictitious achievement,

Without the consent of the mountain soul,

All efforts would be a glorious disappointment.

The mountain sings their love song,

They can like or loathe, protect and wrong,

“Come to see me, praise me but never fear,

Whatever is your feeling I shall reciprocate dear”.

The mountain captures the essence of life,

And distributes it free for man to survive,

We cut trees and mountains; they don’t mind,

“Replenish that with love Bo” is all they opine.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Being Alone: This was a major decision of sorts. Last year for the first time in this life I had trekked with a group of doctor friends in the Garhwal valley but this time around I could not reconcile myself to go along with them. Trekking alone could be risky but I felt that life should protect and take care of me. I didn’t tell anyone till the last moment. Was a bit apprehensive but slowly as I started feeling the love and care that the mountains bestowed on me I started enjoying being alone.

Walking in the forest which is on the slope of a tall rocky mountain is stimulating and perilous at the same time. The air is fresh, the leaves are green, the trunk is tall and big, the undergrowth is thick, the birds call their companions to roost, the sun and the clouds play “hide-the-opponent” with each other and so sometimes it rains and sometimes the sun sneaks through. Look at every direction and there is beauty; soft like silk, silent like a painting, gorgeous like a movie star, profound like the universe, diverse like a shoal of fish, yet complete like a blossom. However the moment you take your eyes off the path below, you knock your toes on boulders, slip on them, lose your balance on apparently stable rocks, twist your ankle or at worst fall into the valley. Nature’s coffers have so much to offer. The irony is that we can enjoy everything when we consider ourselves as a part of it, but can feel deprived and miss something when we consider ourselves as distinct, different.

The mountains and forests were too kind to me till the end. It always rained heavily minutes after I had reached the destination. The improvised make-shift bridge fell due to land slide after I crossed over. Even during the last year when sheep’s dislodged stones and they came rolling down at me; on way to Darba Top, I ducked in the nick of time and a stone struck my shoulder bag. Through-out my trek I felt so privileged so thankful to the spirits of the mountains and forests. I could stay away from harm and discomfort for no talent of mine. There was nothing I did to avoid problems. It was like I belonged to the forest and the mountains and I am meant to return some day.

Jatoli: Perched on the slope of a mountain at a height of above 3200 mtrs is Jatoli. It is the frontier village on the Sunderdoong valley. With the Sunderdoong River curving far below, Jatoli is a relatively flat piece of land which is both the top a mountain and the base of the next mountain. It has a picturesque setting with a tall mountain behind it, a deep valley in front and surrounded by mountains and forests on all sides. There are about 25 – 30 households in Jatoli. Electricity has not reached this village. The villagers cultivate the small piece of flat surface when the weather permits and grow wheat, potato, phawar and jao. The area is covered in snow during the months of winter. There is a single road winding through Jatoli and the PDW has stone-laded it from 2 kms before and 2 kms after the village. The other profession of its inhabitants is catering to tourists. There are guides, porters, hoteliers and mule owners in this village. Jatoli has been a prominent stop for trekkers, mountaineers and adventure expeditioners. There are no villages beyond Jatoli and the path to Sunderdoong glaciers is not fit for mules. So tourists organize, prepare or wind up themselves at this point. There are three hotels at Jatoli today owned by Sobhan Singh, Roop Singh and Johar Singh respectively. Johar Singh who is 67 years of age at present has very interesting stories to tell about his period of youth when he was an expedition guide and used to climb on snow and ice and people came in huge groups from far and wide to explore the region. These hoteliers have been providing the adventurers with food provision, men and equipment as required. Johar Singh also runs a grocery and daily needs store in his hotel and provides for the needs of all the households in Jatoli. The hotel of Johar Singh which remains open through-out the day serves as a resting point for other travelers like the shepherds with their animals and the herb collectors. Hot tea and food is served by his sons while he remains busy in the store. The scene is generally noisy, full of chatter, stories, laughter and camaraderie.

Dao: Dao is situated a km away from Khati but is a better location for a stay. View of the snow capped mountains from Khati is blocked by a huge mountain that separates the Pindari from the Sunderdoong valley. From Dao the Maiktoli and the Pindari range is clearly seen. During the day as well when during the night when it is clear the mountains are a stunning sight. Especially during the night the snow cover strikes out in the dark background. Dao has a couple of hotels which are also very basic and I stayed at the hotel of Laxman Singh. Staying at a local hotel is very interesting for two reasons; one is you get to eat the local dish which they very happily cook if requested and second is you get to know a lot about the local people their lifestyle, problems and happiness. These Pahari people know how to laugh aloud inspite of their difficult land.

After the rains in the afternoon, the evenings have generally been clear. The sun comes out and sunlight sneaks in. The green cover over the mountains starts to glister since the leaves are still wet. Suddenly a thin layer of cloud floats in between creating a shadow over the tree tops. A variety of green colours can be seen. Towards the north the snow capped mountains become distinct and towards the south the clear blue sky. Slowly a white mist starts forming from the bottom of the valley at a number of places. They come together and rise in the air producing a haze over the village. The cattle start returning home making a din with their bell dangling on their neck. The ladies of the house and kids come out for a stroll in bright colour clothing. Some people are busy cleaning utensils and getting ready to prepare dinner. Dinner is served early as Dao has no electricity supply. Some houses have solar panels and fewer have television with DTH disks. But most people have mobile handsets.

Magical moment: The magical moment of the trek for me was the climb from Dao to the mountain top called Bazzerling Dwar. A large number of tall Pine like trees weathered by rain and snow, many with huge trunks wet and covered with moss, shaded green carpet to walk on with no dense undergrowth, early morning cold moist air and sunlight peeping in through the thick cover to brighten the scene. The forest was noble and pristine, dignified and unspoiled. It evoked feelings of love and respect in me. The trees withstood the harshness of nature and provided shelter to innumerable insects, reptiles and birds, seeking nothing for itself. Even when they die and fall the forest department sell them to contractors. This section of the forest was magnificent. It was different from all other forests that I have seen so far and I have seen many. This forest had character which I have never seen anywhere. It was as if God resided in its midst. I was awed and mesmerized at its grandeur, its beauty.

Life in the mountains: It is a paradox that life in the mountains romanticised as so beautiful by the outsider is so difficult for those who inhabit there. The beauty of nature which is so overwhelming to the outsider is taken so indifferently by the local inhabitants. Life in the mountains is very tough. Water and air is fresh and in abundant supply but water has to carried on the back from streams upto the houses. Houses are small and their doors are smaller in size to keep the inside warm during winters. Rain and snow make the mountains very difficult to traverse. The agriculture season is small and wheat, potato, and leafy vegetables are the main produce. The mountains have to be cut and shaped into the form of steps to facilitate agriculture. Very small tracks of land is therefore available where the produce is consumed locally mostly by the farmers family. Charas is grown on the mountains and people do make some money on the sly. Kitchen runs on firewood. Throughout the day people are busy at work and they generally wear dirty clothes since all work has to be done by manual labour. Farming, attending to animals, taking care of kids and household chores are all done by hand. The colourful dresses are generally reserved for occasions like marriage, festivals and fairs. Roads are small and rocky on which people walk to every destination. Vehicle and fuel do not reach such villages. Motor cars which are taken for granted as stuff without which modern life cannot exist does not fit into this land. However within a distance of 50 kms from the high mountains cars have already made their appearance and slowly it is spreading. The PWD reconstructs stone roads frequently but rain and landslides constantly works against them. These villagers walk at a good speed covering three to four km per hours on the uphill. Villages like Khati, Dao and Jatoli exist without much of modernity but they are not untouched by it. While the youngsters wear jeans and fashionable jackets their seniors wear the simple shirt pant and the elders wear more traditional form of Pahari dress. Television and mobile phones have invaded the Pahari life and changed it like never before. Today they are aware of many events and lifestyles of the outside world which makes them inquisitive and restless to explore. Hygienic sanitation and medical hospitals are also difficult to access and people normally come down to major towns like Bageshwar and Haldwani for treatment.

Young India of Uttarakhand villages: Throughout the trek beyond Bageshwar I have seen many youngsters busy at work attending to business and profession. Population growth is evidently visible. The ratio of young population to middle aged and older population is skewed in favour of the youngsters and I wonder where the adult population goes. I have seen many school in the mountains but the students were mainly kids and classes were upto 8th or 10th standard. Modern education of the 10+2 variety does not serve them in any way in these mountains as agriculture, animal rearing, attending to tourist, herb gathering, taxi plying and trading store are the main activities. Most students who pass out of schools do not attend collage but enter directly into commercial work because to attend collage they have to go to bigger places like Bageshwar and stay in hostels which cost money. Winter and rainy seasons are lean in terms of commercial benefits and so people are without work for nearly six months in a year. Some of the local people have started to migrate to cities in the plains like Dehradun, Delhi etc to look for work as hotel bearers, taxi drivers and security guards. Life in the mountains does not offer them any prospects in terms of better life style. One son of Johar Singh works as a taxi driver in Delhi but returns to the mountains in the summer because the heat at Delhi becomes unbearable. The boys that I have encountered are very knowledgeable, worldly wise and willing to work hard. They are no better or no worse than the rest of India. The elders that I spoke to tell me that alcohol and gambling have invaded the life of youngsters which was never heard earlier. Today they have money to spend which their seniors never had but they squander it away. Uttarakhand needs more roads, more tourists, better connectivity to the outside world and purposeful vocation based education otherwise a whole new generation would washed-out without any benefits to their families.

Keera Ghas or Yarsha Gambu: A very prominent group of people can be seen during this season on the upper slopes of the mountains, the Keera Ghas wale. While a number of herbs and commercially valuable plant produce are collected from the mountains including ‘Laiken’, the Keera Ghas or Yarsha Gambu takes the cake. A number of people can be seen moving up and down the mountains who have registered themselves with the Forest Department for collecting this forest produce.

Yarsha Gambu is a fungus which has high medicinal value and is used in traditional remedies for various physiological disorders. Being a hormone stimulator it is an important anti-aging medicine. Frequent use of this fungus may prevent senile disorder. It is found beneficial in the case of climatic age illness, impotence, emission, neurasthenia, rheumatoid, arthritis, cirrhosis, flabby waist and knee. It has been in traditional use for the treatment of various diseases like chronic bronchitis, insomnia, hypertension, pneumonia, tuberculosis, pulmonary emphysema, anemia, night sweat and cough. Of late it has become famous as herbal Viagra coveted by many for its sexual prowess. This highly valued medicinal fungus is found growing on the insect caterpillar in the higher hills of the Himalayas, occurring in the far reaches of the high, cold and arid hills at an altitude between 12,000 and 16,000 ft in Khumaon and Gharwal hills of Uttarakhand. The current market price of this is 10 gms @ Rs. 500, and the most buyers come from Tibet in China. A single piece could weigh anything in between 5 to 10 gms. For the local collectors this is as good as gold. They spend a lot of energy on this endeavor because the occurrence of this forest produce is rare and it takes days to come across a few grams.

Gujjars and their livestock: The Gujjars are the sheppard’s who bring their goat and sheep to the mountains in May – June and stay on until Oct – Nov to feed them. As the summer progresses their animals climb upto 5000 mtrs because when the ice melts the plants grow on these slopes. In the mountains these Gujjars stay in groups of 4 to 5 men, they live in caves and carry their supplies like food and blankets with them, tending to upto 500 goats and sheep. They come with their sheppard dogs, big furry animals, and they share a unique working relationship with them. While the men tend to the livestock during the day, the dogs protect the livestock during the night. During the day the livestock move far and wide but are herded together as evening comes up. During the nights they are stay close to each other with the dogs prowling all around to keep away wild animals. Injured and old livestocks are killed and the meat is shared by the sheppard’s and their dogs. During my climb from Jatoli, I was walking with a group of sheppards and about 300 animals. One goat had injured its feet, it was sold to the villagers for Rs. 600/- because its ability to climb the mountains was doubtful. The animal was purchased by 10 men who shared the meat. These animals when they descend in Oct – Nov well fed on free mountain grass are then sold off in the plains for meat at prices ranging from Rs. 4000 to Rs. 8000 an animal.

The baby goats and sheep are a most funny and pretty sight. They are playful and keep jumping about. They also make some very cute expressions for the camera. The elder male goat and sheep has a bell around its neck to announce to all about its presence. The elder female/mother which has big horns, does not hesitate to use it to attack unknown people who it visualises as a threat to its kids.

Dharam Singh; best guide in Khumaon: Dharam Singh Takuli was my guide provided by KMVN. 49 years of age, short and bow legged, lean as a Pahari, honest and straight forward, knows the Khumaon region like the back of his hand. He speaks when spoken to and was always very helpful always trying to ease my burden and tiredness. He is a resident of Zhuni village and owns some agricultural land there, 10 cows and a house. His father is 85 years of age and still very active and straight. He lives with his wife, son Udham Singh 13 years old and daughter Kunti 8 years old. When agriculture activity is slack, he works as a tourist guide taking trekkers and mountaineers to every nook and corner of Khumaon. His is an extended family of aunts and sisters who work together in the land and tending to the cows. He and his wife were gracious hosts to me; she is a sweet woman who reminded me of my grandmother. They served me chapatti and khicdi with ghee, ghee being the highest offering that they make to a guest. I wanted to procure a few kgs of Pahari Rajma from him but he gave me all the stock that they had. His brother-in-law (wife’s brother) is the village Pradhan and I slept at his place for the night. I promised him that I would be back the next year for Pindari and Kafni.

Back to Bageshwar! Oh no! Bageshwar was once upon a time a religious village at the confluence of Saryu and Gomti Rivers. A mega fair is held every winter during January on the banks of the river near the temple. Today it has become a big town, with road and vehicular traffic connectivity to all major cities of lower Uttarakhand. In the process it has become congested, dirty and polluted. Many new buildings, metal roads, buses and trucks, cars and taxis, shops and hotels, schools collages and hospitals, have added to the modern image. I was disappointed at the whole concept of modern life as I came back to Bageshwar after being with Mother Nature for more than a week. What have we made of our lives?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


A couple of things that I would advise all trekkers to follow; one have a day in spare and two start your day early. A trek in the forest and mountain is not devoid of unexpected problems in terms of bad weather, illness, accident, tiredness and such likes. One has to be able to take them in stride. As regards starting early, walking from 6 am in the morning one gets to see the freshness of the day, enjoy the softness of the morning sun, and cover long distances when your energy levels are high and reach the destination at noon to rest and have fun.

There is a mass of data available on Sunderdoong trek on the internet but I shall keep my writing informative and very specific to my experience. Situated in Bageshwar District, Sunderdoong is at the end of valley parallel and to west of Pindari valley. Sunderdoong is approximately 24 Kms from the village Khati which falls on the Pindari trek. Situated at an altitude of near about 3800 mtrs above sea level it is uninhabited for most part of the year. From summer in June till the advent of winter in November, this place is occupied only by shepherds and their livestock. The best time to go to Sunderdoong is October. It is necessary to take a guide for this trek even for experienced and regular trekkers.

From Khati one has to come down to the confluence of the Pindari and Sunderdoong rivers, cross over these rivers and begin to ascend. The trek becomes very difficult from this place onwards. Immediately after the village ‘Return’, the trekker comes across a walled passage which is stewed with rocks, soil and water from the frequent landslides that occur in this region known as ‘Wacham'. One has no alternative but to walk on top of the wall which is narrow and has a deep gorge on the other side for about 150 mtrs. A couple of kms before Jatoli, there is a very steep climb of about half a km which is also taxing.

Jatoli is the last habited village on this route with about 25 households and beautiful fields. There are three hotels providing basic (rough) facilities for trekkers in terms of food and stay. From Jatoli trekkers could organize food stay and porters if required for the onward ascend to a place called Kathaliya. Mules and horses do not go beyond Jatoli. Kathaliya has three huts only which remain locked since their owned by the hotel owners at Jatoli. The trek to Kathaliya is also very dangerous as trekkers move through landslide regions, jumping on loose rocks and ice under many waterfalls and climbing on rocks with sharp perpendicular movement. This route is not for those who have a weak knee

Sunderdoong in the Pahari language literally means “Beautiful stones”. The current glacier has moved back and the erstwhile glacier bed where currently the two streams from Maiktoli and Sukhram meet is an awesome sight. Two huge rocks ravaged by ice and water into beautiful shapes over the centuries currently stand sentry to the start of the Sunderdoong River. The feeding glaciers of this valley are Maiktoli glacier and Sukhram glacier and main peaks are Tharkot (6100 M), Mrigthuni (6856 M), Maiktoli (6804 M) and Panwali Dwar (6663 M).

My journey started from Nagpur on the 1st of June to Delhi and onward to Katgodam by train. I changed my route plan atleast four times based on suggestions from my guide, weather condition and my own body response. The final shape of the trek was like this;






Ht (Mtrs)
































Baloni top



































Day 1: The first taxi took me from Katgodam to Almora. Road from about 25 kms before Almora which were washed away by cloudburst in September 2010 still have not been fully repaired. On the trip from Almora to Bageshwar sighted the only factory chimney puffing black smoke into the atmosphere, it is either a cement or manganese factory at Kafligaid. Taxi drivers fleeced me since enough passengers were not available to share the road fare; therefore bus from Haldwani is a preferable option for next time. Spirits slightly dampened at Bageshwar with news that it has rained and snowed for a few days till the 1st June in the upper regions. KMVN staff had obliged by arranging a guide for me; Dharam Singh a Pahari from Zhuni village, we met and discussed the route schedule.

Day 2: Day was sunny and we started at 7 am in the morning, walked into the Bageshwar market to take a share taxi for the 41 kms till Song. We had food at the road side hotel at Song. The taxi goes up to Loharkhet but I preferred to walk the remaining distance of 3 kms as an acclimatizing trek. The climb was steep (about 500 mtrs) and the KMVN rest house at Loharkhet was a welcome sight. Loharkhet offers a beautiful sight of green mountains on all sides, with tiny villages and their terrace farms. It took me two hours to climb this 3 kms path and we reached at 1 pm. The Forest Dept employee at Loharkhet registers the names and other details of trekkers, collects charges from them and issues a receipt. Having procession of this receipt is very important during the entire period of the trek. The Forest Dept also has a guest house at Loharkhet where charges are lower than those of KMVN.

Day 3: We start early at 5.30 am and climb to Tala Dhakuri by 7 am where Bir Singh has a small tea and food shop for trekkers and sheppard’s. We breakfast on Maggi and eggs and then tea. A few sheppard’s discuss about risk to their lives and livestock from wolfs and black bears. Though these wild animals don’t attack humans, but a surprise encounter could be dangerous. They advise me not to run in such a situation and I laugh nervously. The lower Khumaon valley is breath taking with thick forest and water streams flowing from many places. Resuming our journey at 8 am we once again began climbing to reach the summit near the Chilta Mata temple gate at 11.30 and then climbed down to Dhakuri at 12 noon. My first sighting of the snow capped Panwali Dwar was invigorating and placated the tiredness; however the other mountains were covered by clouds. The KMVN guest house is occupied, and I took the PWD guest house and decide to rest. There is also an independent hotel (temporary structure) serving hot food (breakfast, lunch and dinner). It rained hailstones in the afternoon but weather cleared in the evening to offer beautiful scenery of the entire snow covered range in the evening sun as far as the flat topped Nanda kot behind the Pindari glacier.

Day 4: My initial plan was to break at Khati but Dharam Singh persuaded me to trek to Jatoli. We started from Dhakuri at 5.30 am and reached Khargiang which is the village below Dhakuri at 6.30 am itself. The motorable road is being extended from Loharkhet up to Khargiang, it is freshly cut this season and therefore most unpredictable but I saw a couple of four wheelers stationed at Khargiang. From the next year trekkers can travel from Bageshwar to Khargiang by share taxi and then trek onward to Khati which is just 4 kms away. We reached Dao the village 1 km before Khati at 7.30 am where we stopped at a hotel for breakfast Maggi and eggs. Resuming again at 8.45 am we reached Jatoli at 12.00 noon. From Dao we moved down left to the Pindari River without having to go to Khati. We crossed the Pindari and went on to meet the Sunderdoong River. This amazing junction of about one sq km at the mouth of two adjacent valleys holds the confluence of both these rivers coming from each is a beautiful sight. At Jatoli I was extremely exhausted. I again rented a hotel room and requested local menu. They served me local leafy vegetable (phawar) and local dal (malka) along with rice and roti. I slept the rest of the day after having tumbled down 400 mtrs and then climbed 300 mtrs covering 15 kms in 6 hrs was a like chewing a bit too much. It rained once again in the afternoon.

Day 5: The next morning was fairly clear and I felt fit too. We started at 6 am along with a team of shepherds, their dogs and about 200 goats and sheep towards Kathaliya. The shepherds carry their warm clothes and food ration along with them whenever they come up to these levels in summer. They return to the plains below to their homes in the winter after 4 to 5 months. When in these mountains the shepherds life in caves, cook their own food and often kill from their livestock to feed themselves and their dogs. Their animals climb easily but need frequent rest to eat and regroup. So while I reached Kathaliya at 1.30 pm the shepherds arrived two hours later. I also took a lot more time to cover 15 kms because it was all uphill today. A number of waterfalls line this route, as you go higher the winter ice on them can still be seen in June, though thin and dissolving fast. At one spot it was in the shape of an umbrella with water flowing from below. To walk on these loose rocks at the waterfalls requires only a prayer on the lips and nothing else. If your karma is good they will hold. Of the three huts, two had no occupants. The only working one was full with trekkers and no more sleeping space, so I pitched my tent for the first time. Dharam Singh had pre-mediated at Jatoli, the availability of food for both of us at this place. It rained once again in the afternoon and the mountain tops were dense with clouds. The evening became clear, the night was clearer. The moonlight shined brightly on the snow covered mountains and they too reflected the light. The landscape below the snow also was very clear and bright. It was an awesome sight, cool, bright and very beautiful.

Day 6: The next morning I left my tent and other baggage at Kathaliya and climbed to Baloni top up to a height of 500 mtrs in about 4 kms. This one was also very steep. We rested at a flat surface and enjoyed the surrounding sights. Maiktoli was playing hide and seek with the clouds, Panwali Dwar was clear and so were Tharkot, Baljouri, and Panchauli. Devikund and Sukhram caves lay ahead of us within about 5 kms more but the weather was not reliable. After a while we returned down. It rained again in the afternoon. A group of mountaineers from Kolkata who were well equipped and wanted to cross over from Khumaon into Gharwal through the snow covered mountains returned unsuccessful due to bad weather. I had a day in spare to stay and explore the Sunderdoong glaciers region but decided to return the next day back to Jatoli.

Day 7: Once again I started at 5.45 am and this time the road was downhill. Uphill seems tough but downhill is tougher. There is more strain on the legs and back and more tension not to slip and fall. However we reached Jatoli at 11.30 am itself without any incident. Later I learnt from the Kolkata mountaineers who returned down after me that a temporary wooden bridge near a place known as Dhungia Dhaun (about 8 kms from Jatoli) which was tied between two ledges of a length of about 4 mtrs fell into the valley below because of the rain and landslide. They had to use ropes to cross this small stretch. I thanked my life. No wonder mules are not used on this route because at spots it is sheer 90 degree; also so unpredictable and unstable. At Jatoli I sat near the hotel kitchen which was in front of the house. A number of local travelers who move up and down the road, stop at such hotels for tea and snacks. They offer interesting stories about the local people as if right out of a ‘R. K. Narayan’ novel.

Day 8: This morning we started at 6.15 am and reached Khati at 9.15 am. I stayed at a hotel at Dao which is stone throw distance from Khati. The local delicacies were a treat. Dao also offers a spectacular view of the Maiktoli peak which shines in the moonlit night sky. It rained heavily again in the afternoon.

Day 9: I changed my route once again. Instead of going to Dhakuri we decided to go to Zhuni the village to which Dharam Singh belongs. While on the left side of Khati is Pindhari river valley, on the right of Khati behind the mountains lays Zhuni. One has to climb the mountain to reach a camping spot known Bazzerling Dwar and then climb down on the other side of the mountain to Zhuni. Bazzerling Dwar falls on the local trek to a place called Pankhu Top which offers a beautiful panoramic view of all three glaciers Sunderdoong, Pindhari and Kafhni. Zhuni is marked on some of the maps as Gora or Gwara and it falls on the trek to Sodhara (a religious spot) and Namik glacier. The distance from Dao to Zhuni must be about 12 kms, we started at 6 am and reached Dharam Singh’s house at 1 pm. The forest during the upward climb behind Khati is magnificent and gives an impression of being very noble. Dharam Singh introduced me to his family and other villagers. His hospitality floored me. I stayed in the house of the village Pradhan Mr. Amar Singh that day.

Day 10: The next day we were in no more hurry. After a session of photos with Dharam Singh’s family and breakfast we started at 8 am and walked down 6 kms to a village called Supi which is connected by a motorable road to Bageshwar. We were lucky to get a taxi immediately, stopped briefly for lunch at Bharadi and reached Bageshwar at 2 pm.

Day 11: My spare day was utilized for resting. Slept and recovered the whole day at Bageshwar.

Day 12: Took an early bus to from Bageshwar at 5.30 am which dropped me at Katgodam at 2 pm. My return train was at 8.30 pm to Delhi.