Travelling in Himachal in June – 2007
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It has been nearly a year since I made a trip to Himachal. Several attempts to write about it were never successful. First I kept procrastinating, and then I had found other things to write about. Later I suffered for many months with writers block, or blogger’s block if you wish to call it, and so on. Excuses are many, but finally it meant that a report was never completed. Here is one more attempt, I have no idea if I can finish it at least this time, but thats the goal.
To set the context first, it started as a series of posts like I normally do. Here is the story so far.
The story so far: And here is a quick summary if you are not to keen to click through all the posts. It was in mid June that I started off on a trip to Himachal. After spending a day in Delhi, I took a night bus and got down at Solan town an hour before Shimla. I was to meet a friend at a river-side camp owned by him on the bank of Giri river, nearly 30km from Solan. I reached the road head to Giri Camp where I was dropped off and walked towards the camp.
Continuation. It was a pleasant walk to the camp along the river. A few houses dotted the landscape to my right and to the left flowed the river silent. Steep hills rose up on both sides of the valley with trees hugging the slopes precariously. The camp was located along a wide curve of the river in a small plateau in the valley, where mountains blocked out views of everything beyond the curve and gave a sense of isolation. River ran deep and wide at sections near the camp, and then its channel narrowed and the flow gained speed after the curve. A few tents were pitched sparsely on the plateau. After exchanging pleasantries and meeting with a few other guests who were there, I checked into one of the tents to make up for the sleep lost in the night long journey.
At the camp
I have a never ending fascination for the rivers and Giri River provided an ideal indulgence. Its clear water flowed gently down the mountain with a pleasant gurgle. I walked along its bank for a long distance, occasionally crossing it and feeling the current pushing my legs. Pebbles in the shallows gave way to fine sand in deeper parts which was visible far deep under the water. The same river that is in a hurry to run away in a shallow stretch turned calm and inviting where it is deep. Thick vegetation of ferns drooped from vertical walls on the bank and pearls of water condensed from them into the river.
…pearls of water condensed from the ferns into the river
My fears that the river would be too cold were alleviated quickly. There was a bit of chill and it was not inviting enough in the morning but things changed later in the day as the sun moved up. When I saw few villagers going for a swim, it wasn’t easy to resist. With initial hesitation to jump in gone, I was soon wading in the water, resisting giggles as the fish bit my legs and tickled the senses. I found a deeper section of the river going down to 10 feet and spent nearly an hour in the river swimming or sitting on the rocks. Refreshed, but tired and hungry after the swim, had a session of refueling soon after.
I took my camera and went for another walk in the later hours when the sun started moving downwards. Temperature dipped slowly in the sunset hours and a gentle breeze blew across the river. Sun went beyond the hills early in the valley while he was still shining brightly, and the golden hues of the evening were mild, with it being the the summer. The river continued to flow gently regardless of the time, playing melodious notes as it bumped off the rocks jutting out in the shallows. We sat by the river and watched the darkness slowly capture the mountains as the last lights of the day faded slowly.
That night was spent huddled around a campfire, listening to stories of the highlands of Himachal from my friends amidst crackles of the burning wood as we ate our dinner. The night came early and quickly and we retired soon listening to the sounds of nature in the silence.
At the hour of sunset
Next morning, it was already time to leave. The feeling that I was leaving too early lingered with me for a long time as we drove towards Shimla.
Continued at Driving to Shimla via Chail and Kufri