Skip to content

My own Jungle Picture Book

April 23, 2014

As a kid who grew up in Mumbai’s suburb I was far away from the jungle, well unless you want to call it a concrete jungle. I lived in a pretty busy part of the city and hence have never understood how this fascination for the wilds developed. I guess I have to blame a few characters my parents introduced me to. One would be Phantom of Indrajal Comics that introduced me to Africa and I have always longed and desired to go see that continent once after all the stories and movies about it. The second pretty important role was played by the movie Jungle Book.

I remember we used to live in Andheri(w) exactly opposite to Amber Oscar Theatre which is Shopper’s Stop today and my parents took me to see the animated Jungle Book movie. Whilst we went for the movie they also bought me a comic of jungle book. Not too bothered about the author and all at that age still the book fascinated me. A black panther named Bhageera, a burly furry friendly bear, Balloo who loved dancing and singing, a chimpanzee king Louie and his band of mischievous monkeys, Col Haathi and his parading elephants, the evilest and the most cunning Kaa, the python who perhaps hynotised me there and then to the jungles, the faithful wolves who take care of a kid, Mowgli and last but not the least Sher Khan, the deadly man hating tiger!! Oh those characters were at that very moment engraved in my brain. I could never ever forget them or take them out of my head. The movie I have watched innumerable times even the second part that came out a few years back was happily lapped up by me in my 30′s!

Some stories are just immortal and some characters that writers weave into our heads never go out. Then finally after life is not settled we have made it a pact to visit a tiger reserve every march, when I say we, its me and my son! Thankfully he is as crazy and longs to be in the jungles as me. So after Ranthambhore last year where we spotted out first tiger in the wild this year was Kanha.

I have read at many places and heard many conservationists and wild life lovers say that Kanha forest is perhaps India’s most beautiful jungles, without getting into comparisons I must say that the line intrigued and always acted as an incentive. Also I many times used to wonder when I saw films shot in Kanha how can a place that is so close to Jabalpur, perhaps hottest Indian place in summer be so green.

Eventually sometimes in life there comes a time when you have to stop wondering and thinking and start searching and finding out. Thankfully this march the time finally came, we drove down 1100 kilometers to Kanha in the last week of March.

We reached at around 4.30 pm and it was hot, quite hot, infact I started telling my wife we shouldn’t have brought sweaters, its not going to be like Ranthambhore. Our resort fellow immediately corrected me and told me to wait till evening. He said Kanha is a Sal forest and pretty uniquely it is an ever green forest throughout the 365 days of the year. Also he told us the beauty of the Sal forest is that you will see an almost 10 degree drop by 7pm. So it happened, infact junior wore a sweater as we sat for dinner that night.

There is an amazing sense of curiousness in all visitors around a national park, almost all visitors seem friendly and are always ready with a warm smile. Perhaps the greens have that effect on humans! As we sat for dinner we noticed that we were the only Indians there whilst most others were foreigners. And out of the 5 table that were filled 3 of them seemed quite happy whilst one table was relatively quiet and soon we realised that the quiet table had taken two rides into the safari park but somehow come back without spotting the elusive tiger! The blokes who had seen were rejoicing with beer and savouring the memory, the thrill and the experience of tracking a tiger.

Anyways, when on safari, early dinner and early to bed as you want to get up at 5 am for your entry into the jungle! However, I must admit, its damn damn difficult to sleep for me with the prospect of a safari the next day and the possibility of spotting so many birds and animals. Even after having driven some 500 kms and being damn tired the excitement would not let me sleep and this happens every time.

Thankfully it was 5 and we set off in the park… Finally Kanha was to be seen with my own eyes, enough of imagining and watching movies on Nat-Geo…

The safari jeeps line up at Khatia gate at 5.45 am. The park opens at exact 6am with a digital clock that everyone counts down waiting to enter into the park and get lost in the wilderness.

The safari jeeps line up at Khatia gate at 5.45 am. The park opens at exact 6am with a digital clock that everyone counts down waiting to enter into the park and get lost in the wilderness.

On safari at dawn, the sun tries to break out and it makes for a wonderful sky in the back ground!

On safari at dawn, the sun tries to break out and it makes for a wonderful sky in the back ground!

A curious sambar looks on probably thinking its morning and the humans are here and perhaps its time for him to hide in the undergrowth

A curious sambar looks on probably thinking its morning and the humans are here and perhaps its time for him to hide in the undergrowth

Unlike Ranthambhore which is a dry scrub forest that offers wonderful sighting of the wild life in March, Kanha is green! Can you see grass is still growing even in March and the forest is lush with Sal trees that are tall and dense and also a lot of bamboo's some of which were as high as the Sal trees!!!! All this certainly makes the place very beautiful however makes it tough to sight birds and animals. Which I am sure the animals don't mind at all :P ;)

Unlike Ranthambhore which is a dry scrub forest that offers wonderful sighting of the wild life in March, Kanha is green! Can you see grass is still growing even in March and the forest is lush with Sal trees that are tall and dense and also a lot of bamboo’s some of which were as high as the Sal trees!!!! All this certainly makes the place very beautiful however makes it tough to sight birds and animals. Which I am sure the animals don’t mind at all :P ;)

This blurry image from the moving jeep almost looks like a painting... well atleast to me! :)

This blurry image from the moving jeep almost looks like a painting… well atleast to me! :)

The chital(spotted deer) rush about crossing the road as they hear the gypsy approaching!

The chital(spotted deer) rush about crossing the road as they hear the gypsy approaching!

On our first safari we were on a route that was dense and full of high trees and very few meadows. Amazingly we yearned for the sun in the morning and by 11 we were looking for shade!

On our first safari we were on a route that was dense and full of high trees and very few meadows. Amazingly we yearned for the sun in the morning and by 11 we were looking for shade!

DSC_0028

We saw an amazing number of Mahua trees in Kanha, I had always seen in the Nat Geo movies how these Mahua tree’s were the favourites of the monkey’s who would keep eating and also dropping as much for the chital below the tree who would also lap it up. There is a unique relationship between the langoor and the chital, as he not only drops food for the deer but also warns if he sees a tiger from the height he is perched on! This Mahua tree has a parakeet on it though. I have heard stories of how sometimes the monkey’s and deer get a high after eating the produce of this tree. :mrgreen:

This lil one reminds me of another animation movie, "Bambi"

This lil one reminds me of another animation movie, “Bambi”

This Mom seems to be telling its little one to wisen up and be aware of the human visitors.

This Mom seems to be telling its little one to wisen up and be aware of the human visitors.

The best part about Kanha National Park is there are no villages inside the park! Which I think is a wonderful achievement by the park authorities. Its always easy to wish the jungles were left alone, quite another to ask people who are living there to shift to leave the place for the animals. Amazingly no settlements inside the park means less interference with the animals. Watching the jungles also explained how Rudyard Kipling must have been inspired. The place is heavenly beautiful and full of so many birds and animals that you just have to visit it and see it! :)

I guess this first post needs to end here before it gets epic long! I will be back with a few more pictures and a few more stories in my next post! :D :D

Until then… Ciao! :D

Dhuandhar!

April 23, 2014

Originally posted on foto freaks:

DSC_0380

A click of the “Dhuandhar” water fall from the ropeway, the river Narmada flows from these rocks quite violently and noisily, making a huge noise and spraying about a lot of mist around. Aptly the water fall is named “Dhuandhar”!

DSC_0386

The beauty of nature is such that just about 200 meters down stream the waters are very very calm and almost glide silently through the famous Marble Rocks! Pictures of those still waters in the next post! :D

View original

Its spring, again! :)

April 22, 2014

Originally posted on foto freaks:

DSC_0044

Smile, for its spring! Again! :D

I do not know the name of this pretty flower in pink but that didn’t stop me from photographing it in the garden of Motel Marble Rocks in Bhedaghat, Madhya Pradesh the heart of Incredible India! :P

View original

Kachori!

April 22, 2014

hitchy:

The Story of my travels in MP in pictures is being posted on my photoblog! :D Don’t miss out!! :D

Originally posted on foto freaks:

DSC_0009

The one thing we miss from living in Indore is the Kachori, all sorts of kachori’s are available everywhere in MP, our favourite though is pyaaz ki kachori! This is one we had on the highway around Bhopal. It was as yummy as it looked! :)

DSC_0003

Btw, whenever you visit MP, do not be weary of using MPTDC hotels, restaurants or canteens, I have not seen any other state tourism depts hotels, restaurants et all so clean and up to the mark as this state. No wonder the state has won the award for best Tourism ministry last three years. It is a model that other states need to follow. Amongst many things one public toilet we visited in Bhopal was so clean you could actually sleep on the floor, they had sensor taps and what not… and it was a pay and use public toilet on the road!!

The…

View original 24 more words

On the highway, through the fields…

April 22, 2014

Originally posted on foto freaks:

DSC_0013-2

Finally, I am free now and so begins the photo journey through the heart of India! We travelled 2472kms from Bharuch to Kanha and back with loads of pictures to share! :D

This is a picture of the sight we saw the most on the way! Wheat fields ripe to be harvested! Unbelievable number of wheat fields we witnessed enroute to Kanha! We passed Sihor on the way, the wheat from Sihor apparently is quite famous all over India! Amazingly this was one trip where we never had Tandoori Maida ka Roti’s which I kinda hate, we were fed Wheat Chapati’s everywhere and I am not at all complaining! :D

Fields of Gold eh! :D

View original

Chadar Diaries V

April 17, 2014

Guest post : Originally written in gujarati by Jay, translated by me..
Photographs : By Nigam and Jay.

So far in this sereis :
Chadar Diaries – I
Chadar Diaries – II
Chadar Diaries – III
Chadar Diaries – IV

Part V :

We spent one full day resting in Lingshed after so many days of trekking. The place as you all saw in the last post was a treat to stay in. Absolutely pristine white snow, blue skies, red cheeked ladakhi local boys who kept smiling and staring unending, warm room to sleep in and hot food to eat! We also visited the famous Lingshed Monastery in the noon and participated in the prayers for a while and then took photographs and also had their famous salt tea! If ever in life I do get an opportunity again I would really like to come back and stay in this place one more time! Lets hope my wish does come true.. Inshallah! or should I say Julley! :P

The temperature in the night at Lingshed went to -20degree celcius!!!! :D It was so cold that water would freeze and yes… even if you pee’d it would freeze in a matter of seconds :P :mrgreen:

Anyways, the cold apart, next day our homestay host family and all waved us a warm goodbye and we set back to Nerak Pullu and began our reverse journey to Leh! The target was to reach Leh by 1st without any interruptions!

Near Nerak Pulla is a place on the river that is called Vama where the ice chadar does not always form properly, if this chadar would not be formed properly, since the water is so deep here you would have to trek almost 1.5 days to cross this patch, however, as luck had it for us the Chadar was intact at both times for us and we crossed it in 15 mins! Now that is what I think might have inspired that saying that truth is stranger than fiction!!! Nature and its vagaries! :) But I guess nature was kind to us and we crossed this patch uneventfully!

We reached Nerak Pullu and spent a night there and the next day we had a long trek planned so we started early. Throughout the journey we understood what our Guide Taashi had told us, never to ask anyone about the chadar nor tell anyone anything about the chadar. Nature changes the course of the Chadar by the minute and hence it is pertinent that everyone stays alert and makes careful observations and takes enough precautions and does not take his safety granted at any moment.

This trip in many ways taught us a lot of new things about nature that I never thought I could know. The fascinating part is nature actually has more surprises and I am sure there are still plenty more in store in future.

On our way back we were a lot more relaxed though and hence we looked around a lot more then whilst we were going, we even tried our hands at pulling the sleigh of our porters and getting an experience of how they dealt with it and I must tell you that is a tough tough job! We spend one night in a cave on our way back and that in itself was a unique experience. Sleeping about next to a fire in completely natural surroundings was a once in a life time experience that we will never forget in life!

NS7_3980

Cheers to life! :D :D :D

IMG_5785

Thats the place where we spent our night!

IMG_5797

Sleeping next to the fire bole to next to the fire! Samjhe!

NS7_3842

Enjoying the warmth!

On the last day we also passed the cave where Kushok Bakula Rimpo used to meditate for almost 15-30 days! Whilst we were having our last lunch on the Chadar there was a peculiar feeling inside me, the feeling of wanting to get into a warm room and a warm bath at the same time the feeling whether I will ever get such an experience again. We ate to our heart and mind’s content on this last occasion. We also encouraged our guide to sing this song :

Please excuse the quality of the video but I couldn’t help but get dancing in between… but the way the song echoed in the valley will always reverberate in my ears!!!! Memories of a lifetime seriously! Also what I will not forget is how Nigam does garba on this Ladakhi tune!!! :D

The trip to Chadar was an extreme and humbling experience both at the same time. But as they say,

“Woh Jawani Jawani Nahi,
Jiski Koi Kahani na ho!”

Hopefully my Jawani, Kahani and Shwash(breath) will all end together!

Jai Hind! :)

Chadar Diaries – IV

March 25, 2014

Guest post : Originally written in gujarati by Jay, translated by me..
Photographs : By Nigam and Jay.

So far in this sereis :
Chadar Diaries – I
Chadar Diaries – II
Chadar Diaries – III

Part 4 :

The moment Nigam’s pants and socks were wet, I could see the expressions of tension on his face, however, the local staff and Tashi both asked us to relax and not worry, they advised Nigam to not stop but keep walking as that would keep him warm. We all then decided to leave the Chadar and climb a few rocks on a side and walk over them for a while till we find more firmer Chadar. Whilst trying to climb up to the rocks even I slipped and water entered my gum boots as well. Until now it was Nigam who had experienced it, now I got first hand experience of the freeze! My left feet went absolutely numb. Again the instruction was to keep walking without stopping, walk we did till we reached our lunch stop. At times I could not feel my legs and fingers, but we kept walking. At our lunch stop we finally stopped in a sunny spot and took out our shoes and socks and emptied the water out of the gum boots and dried them in the sun. Amazingly the water in the pants had turned into icicles and we could just dust them off like we would dust off pants in a desert!!! Lesson learnt was not to ever panic or rush up things in times of stress for it could prove fatal!

After black tea and pulao for lunch we started our second leg of the trek for the day when we came across a crowded stream of water, crowded coz it was a hot water spring! Amazing nature, in this cold, barren, freezing place a hot water spring!!! This hot water spring is named ‘Rama Sadsa.’ No one missed out on indulging in this pleasure that nature yielded for us! :D

Moving ahead after the hot water spring the gorge got quite narrow and was surrounded by really high mountains on both sides. We saw a few more frozen waterfalls, amongst them one was so huge that we looked like flies in front of it! Eventually as we reached Nerak Pullu we were relieved to know that our man had managed to find one room for us and that news itself was enough to warm our frozen hearts! After reaching the room, immediately we lighted up the bukhari in the room and sat around it for a while warming ourselves up. The feeling of being able to spend a night now inside a warm room was really growing up on us. After sipping our black tea, Glenn asked if he could go up the hill and see the village ‘Nerak’ and the warm bukhari ensured we were enthusiastic enough to join him. Whilst leaving in our chit chat we forgot to wear our hand gloves after walking a bit suddenly it felt as if my fingers were numb and the wind was so so chilly it felt like it was chopping off our fingers. After walking for a while I and Nigam asked Glenn and Tashi to go ahead and see the village, we stopped climbing and decided to take photos around and retreat to our warm Bukhari!

The next day we had to reach the village Lingshed which is located admist the hills.IMG_5482 After walking an hour on the Chadar we had to climb a hilly terrain for almost 3 hours, after three days for the first time we left the Chadar and the feeling of walking on firmer terrain on soft powder like snow and not the Chadar was welcome. This was my first experience of trekking in Ladakhi hills. The dry mountains of Ladakh have a narrow trail and apart from it being adventurous you had to be cautious because of the snow. On the way we took breaks, huffing and puffing, eating Bharuchi Sing’s Chikki (peanut chikki) and energy bars from New Zealand. As we started climbing higher the valley started to appear more open and the views became even more grander! If that was possible that is! :)

As we finally reached Lingshed, we realised what a wonderful view it was, white carpet and blue skies! We kept mentioning heaven way too many times! As Tashi got busy talking to one house owner we realised that this was the place where we were going to stay and it looked like we were in for a room with a wonderful view. As we climbed up to our room on the first floor we were amazed to see that instead of walls on two sides there were only glass walls! The room looked like this :

NS7_3425

The feeling of waking up in the morning in this room with sunlight all over us was unbelievably warm. The view in the morning from our windows was like this, click the image to view a larger size :

pano1_edited-1

WELL…. SIGH…..

and well here are a few more pics of around Lingshed and Lingshed Monastery which is quite famous!

We did manage to spot this bird and once we reached home and googled we came to know it was an Alpine Chough! :D :D

NS7_3694

This was a fairy land and the blue skies and white snow with rocky structures was a feast for photography!

NS7_3548

Finally we actually managed to get a phone and Nigam immediately got calling wifey and wishing her Happy Anniversary!

NS7_3498

Lunch about to be served at Lingshed Monastery!

NS7_3645

and I guess divine blessings have already reached this fellow! I guess this is as close to God as you can get! Lingshed is at 12500 ft!

NS7_3684

This is how our room looked from outside!
IMG_5545

So until next episode Julley!

Chadar Diaries – III

March 5, 2014

Guest post : Originally written in gujarati by Jay, translated by me..
Photographs : By Nigam and Jay.

So far in this sereis :
Chadar Diaries – I
Chadar Diaries – II

Part 3 begins :

As we finished breakfast and set off again on the Chadar our support staff got busy winding up the camp. In no time they finished and over took us whilst we we walked soaking the surroundings around and clicking photographs. Our Guide didn’t think we would encounter any water today and so our gum boots were sent off with the support staff and as it had to happen, we encountered our first challenge with water. The chadar was broken and about 4-5 steps were to go through water and without gum boots that was a task. However, the benefits of being light came handy as Tashi lifted me and Nigam on his back and parked us on the other side. Then he tossed his gum boots to Glenn and we over came this hurdle rather easily.

Our destination today was Deep Yokgma, Yokgma in local language means lower and whilst we are on it let me also tell you Gongma means upper. On this second day we realised how blissful the sun is in this cold weather. Whilst we began walking towards Zanskar on the Chadar there is a stiff headwind that all trekkers face. Apart from the inners and sweaters and overcoats you also have to cover your ears, nose and face. The river freezes in this cold wind so you can well imagine what would happen to your ears & nose. Here is a sample pic of the snow that formed even on the eye lashes if you would move without goggles.

some icicles form on my eye lashes which nigam felt had to be photographed!

some icicles form on my eye lashes which Nigam felt had to be photographed!

Day 2 was actually the day where we walked a large part in the shade and our walk was bereft of sun. Whilst walking to our Lunch spot we for the first time on day two encountered a scene that will stay in etched in my memory for life. We came across one of the most amazing sights of a frozen water fall. It looked like some snow/ice sculptor had carved out his fantasy. Watching streams of water frozen in mid air was an unbelievable experience. Words fail me to describe how amazing and unbelievable it looked. Here are a couple of pictures :

IMG_5668

NS7_3355

For a while that spectacular sight made us forget about the cold and filled our hearts with warm joy. After watching it enough and clicking it to hearts content we started walking again and in a little while we saw another sight that warmed our hearts on this extremely cold days. It was the sight of our support staff in a sunny spot with smoke rising from where they stood! :) :D :D In no time I had hot black tea in my hands :) and a lunch of hot macroni with Tuna flakes :D “Masha-Allah” we pronounced! :D :D :D

Continuing on after lunch walking on the Chadar at one point my friend Nigam’s foot fell in the water as the Chadar broke away and his socks got wet. Our guide advised Nigam to keep walking to keep the foot warm and that the sock would dry out eventually. However, Einstein at that moment decided to enter Nigam’s soul and so when Nigam after walking a lot had left us all behind thought that since I am carrying an extra pair, why not change it so he quickly dropped his bag off and set about changing his socks, in the process at some point he put his bare foot on the ice and it stuck!!NS7_3251 Yes, it stuck enough that he had to stand up and pull and whilst it did come off, he felt as if some skin came off his feet!!! Luckily for him, it was just a feeling and nothing like that happened. The feet were so numb he couldn’t even make out at that point. When we reached him our guide Tashi told him that he was lucky skin did not come off. In such a situation when the feet or skin gets stuck its wise to pour water on the area and then remove it or else it could prove fatal. A lesson was learnt that day!

Since it was terribly cold this day we walked less and were happy to spot of support staff had set up camp in a sunny area. We reached there and started soaking the sun when Nigam decided to dry out his wet socks in the sun on a rock. After a while when we actually lifted those socks they looked like they had consumed Viagra! :P :P Here is how they became stiff, the water in the socks had frozen! :P

After our customary black tea we spent time chit chatting with our support staff and interacting with them around the kitchen stove. NS7_3297Talking to these people is always such a humbling experience for me, when I hear of the life these people live and the hardships they face and how yet after all that their spirits are so cheerful and they approach life with such gusto. The little things that irritate us city blokes in so many ordinary situations makes me feel so ordinary in comparison. The dinner had a little surprise apart from the normal, I got my favourite papad alongside the soup and it made my day! :) I thanked my lucky stars, what else but some wonderful luck to find myself in this pristine, little explored India on the bed of a frozen river with my childhood buddy under a sky that had so so so many stars we couldn’t believe if the sky was real!!!

Take a look and see for yourself!
NS7_3192

On the second night as well we also learnt what a marvel the human body is, plus the fact that the sleeping bags were so superbly warm, both me and Nigam refused hot water bags while sleeping. Acclimatization had actually happened :) :)

Next day our destination was Nerak Pullu, Pullu in Ladakhi means hut. Our guide sent one member of our support staff early in the morning to reach Nerak and book a hut for us for the night. Apparently these days so many people come to Chadar that all the huts get booked and hence you have to reach there early or spend the night in tents. Whilst walking on the Chadar we met a few groups and some of them had actually sent their man a day earlier to book the huts. :| Walking on the Chadar today also told us a lot of people had already walked as the Chadar was disturbed and broken at many places due to traffic of humans. Luckily our guide made sure we wore gum boots from the morning this day. We crossed water at quite a few places at one point we reached a point where our guide’s feet went in so deep that water entered his gum boots and he stopped us all immediately and tried to find a way poking his stick about. We tried to offer our suggestions and help as much as we could, however, admist all this somehow fear and panic set in. Trying to climb a rock off the Chadar Nigam’s leg slipped and he fell in the water and not just his gum boots but his pants upto the thigh got wet!!!!

How we combatted this situation and how Nigam felt…. in the next episode! :D

Chadar Diaries – II

February 24, 2014

Guest post : Originally written in gujarati by Jay, translated by me..
Photographs : By Nigam and Jay.

Let me start part two with this photo we took on our trek, I would request all fellow promoters to share this planet as a worthy partner and not as a propreitor. Remember always to not litter when you are travelling and explore responsibly. IMG-20140219-WA0008

After that piece of information let us get back to our story. The Chadar diaries – I can be accessed here.

After a satisfying lunch we began our journey with gentle steps on the Chadar. Our experienced guide Mr Tashi suggested that we will have to change our location for the first night halt as we started our trek from Tilad Sumdo instead of Chilling. Hence we had to walk a little further and camp at a new place and not at Zaribao (bao in Ladakhi means ‘cave’) that was earlier decided.

The Team ready with luggage on the sleighs, they would start up ahead and find a location where they would make lunch and have it ready by the time we reach them. :) These small luxuries kept our spirits high! :mrgreen:

The Team ready with luggage on the sleighs, they would start up ahead and find a location where they would make lunch and have it ready by the time we reach them. :) These small luxuries kept our spirits high! :mrgreen:


No matter what I write about and describe about my experience on Chadar, let me tell you that in all likelihood every person will perhaps have a completely different experience. The uniqueness of the trek is that the weather decides what sort of experience you have on the Chadar. Infact our guide told us this one saying about the Chadar, ” Chadar ke baare mein no kuch kaho aur na kisise kuch pucho” meaning do not tell anyone anything about the Chadar nor ask anyone anything about the Chadar. When we pursued him further he explained that the Chadar keeps changing by the minute. Wind, Sun, pressure anything could change the structure of the Chadar. So never give your experience of the Chadar or ask anyone and rely on it rather keep your eyes on the Chadar and walk carefully. He told us another very important thing to keep in mind,


“Nazar hati…
Durghatna Ghati!”

Meaning, the moment you take your eyes off, disaster strikes!

The initial walk on the Chadar was a humbling experience in many ways. I don’t think I have ever walked this carefully, perhaps when I was learning to walk as a kid would have been the only instance. I have trekked in Himachal and Uttranchal on mountains and in snow, however, this was a completely unique experience and all that past experience was of no use here. AT places the Chadar would be hard as concrete, at places it would be sticky and wet and so slippery that you would actually have to take baby steps. This style of walking is very similar to Penguin walk. If you have ever seen penguin’s walk in polar regions you now know exactly why they do that! :D

This video will perhaps explain to you the slippery part :

We perhaps had walked for an hour on the Chadar when we came to an area where it seemed that the Chadar was weak(not formed properly) meaning the ice would break if we walked on it and you really do not want to fall in the water in this weather, take that from me! :P So we left the Chadar and climbed the rocky slpes to walk to an area where we could see a more firmer Chadar after about 15 minutes or so and we descended safely onto the Chadar.

That gives you an idea of how thick the chadar is at some places...

That gives you an idea of how thick the chadar is at some places…

Many of us perhaps have even forgotten how to walk carefully and Chadar is perhaps the best place to come and revise that. Man you had to watch your steps at time or what!

Our friend Glenn from New Zealand though had missed that experience of walking carefully as he had brought crampons to walk on the ice & hence he just had to walk instead of being as careful as us. If you want to keep looking at the scenery whilst walking crampons would be a must have in your things to carry to Chadar. The drawback of the crampons is that whenever the Chadar is weak you have to climb the cliff’s and for that you need to remove the Crampons and walk in shoes and when you descend on the Chadar again you have to put on your crampons again! :P

Imagine a river flowing... and imagine yourself on a boat on it... thats what you feel walking on a river! Also can you see the slight raised part of ice... that is what the pressure of the water that flows underneath does. Several layers of ice form quite fast and it raises the level.

Imagine a river flowing… and imagine yourself on a boat on it… thats what you feel walking on a river! Also can you see the slight raised part of ice… that is what the pressure of the water that flows underneath does. Several layers of ice form quite fast and it raises the level.

We walked for about 3.5 hours on the first day and the whole experience was about gushing all the while how beautiful the surroundings were, how pristine they seemed thanks to all fresh snow and very few little human presence.

The chadar has ice cubes almost formed at some places like this!

The chadar has ice cubes almost formed at some places like this!

We reached one sandy beach type of spot that our guide told us was called Singra and we set up 2 tents for us and one kitchen cum dining tent.
Thats me with our guide Mr Tashi the chadar was quite under developed at this place

Thats me with our guide Mr Tashi the chadar was quite under developed at this place


Apparently quite a few people these days come to Chadar, infact so many that if you want to camp at a secluded spot you have to reach it early enough. Normally we used to walk from 8.30 to 4 pm and camped, so if you did not start early and take your spot, either you would have to walk further till you find solitude or else make do by living in some naturally formed cave. All Zanskari people travel to Leh to drop their kids and they use these caves for shelter from the wind and also to cook and spend the night and move on further on the next day.

Amazingly around 4 the direct sun goes away since we are in the pit of the gorge & whist its pretty bright the temperature all of a sudden dips. We stopped at 4pm and it started becoming darker around 6pm and darkness brought more cold and stiffer wind. We had black tea at 4.30 with biscuits and spent time chit chatting in hi-fi english with Glenn which amused us more than him I am sure! :D :mrgreen: I felt we were being a Virender Sehwag and poor Glenn was reduced to a medium pacer fending off our slurry of boundaries! :P

At 6.30 soup and popcorn were served and we wasted no time in allowing it to cool down and polished it off and were actually done with dinner by 7.30pm! Normally I would not even think about dinner at this time back home and here I was having finished dinner at 7.30.

One more important piece of advise to all Chadar enthusiasts from me is please try to keep a gap of one hour between the time you sleep and dinner. The reason behind this is nothing else but the fact that before going to sleep you can piss off whatever liquid you have in the body, for if you happen to have to get up in the middle of the night and go out of the tent and brave the unbelievable chilly strong winds boy you will have a job at hands! :mrgreen:

Thankfully our sleeping bags were quite adequate & warm and the first night on Chadar was comfortably spent. We slept at 8.30am and woke up at 7.30 am with black tea served the moment I sat up! Some five star service I say!!! :D :D

The first day was sans any accidents or any large discomfort and this spurred us and filled us with super high spirits for the next day…

I will stop this chapter here today and will continue further in my next post. Next episode… how we crossed water for the first time! :D :D

Hang on…

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,188 other followers

%d bloggers like this: