This is the Part 1 of our one of the Ultimate experiences in the trekking history – Conquering the Dainkund, that is all about our journey to the highest peak of Dalhousie in Himachal Pradesh.
Read Part 2 – Conquering the Dainkund II : A fusion of Adventure and Beautiful Nature
Dalhousie is one of the most popular honeymoon destinations in Himachal Pradesh. The land of snow is popularly famous for giving the couples the most romantic space. But as it is always said that “There are two sides of the story”. Dalhousie also has a very beautiful other side of the story. Dalhousie also provides its tourists with the experience of snow trekking. Himachal Pradesh is normally not known to provide adventurous experiences but we ourselves have been the happy witnesses of the wonderful experience.
We are always fascinated by the adventurous trips. And we came across this trip organized by Invincible NGO based in Ahmedabad. Our trip to the Polo Forest was also a trip organized by the Invincible NGO. A winter trekking camp to Dalhousie and that too for eight days!!! Who will not get fascinated by such a trip. We were really excited on seeing the proposed itinerary and the things we were going to do there. We had started preparing ourselves physically one month prior to this trip. You really need to be fit enough to successfully reach to the Dainkund without facing any physical barriers. So, here’s a detail itinerary for our adventurous trip.
We reached Ahmedabad Railway Station and our journey to the most adventurous trip started. We preferred going it with the Invincible group from their starting point itself as we wanted to feel the adventure from the very start of the trip. We had chosen for the package that included everything from travel to food. We starting recognizing our team mates by the backpacks on their shoulders. Obviously the normal public on the station seemed quite curious to see such a huge gathering of the backpackers on the railway station. We were provided with our tickets by our team leader and the journey in the train started soon.
Early morning the first station that came with a 10 min stop was Hanumangarh Jn. When the rest of the people around us were still asleep, both of us got down to steal the early morning moments. Next stop was Bhatinda, and we were waiting for it. Well, Bhatinda is very famous for the mouth watering delicacies. So, yes we got down at Bhatinda, had tea, Chole – Bhature, and a few more snacks and boarded the train back. What next, breakfast was right there, and we were enjoying it. Next comes Firozpur Cant with the highest break of 25 minutes, so we were explored the station completely. Then Jalandhar City came, the last break for us. And soon we reached our destination – Pathankot.
Over thrilled with our excitements packed in our backpacks, we started finding our guides to know the further plans. So here comes our first gathering of our trip. This gathering holds an important place in any trip by Invincible. All the participants are gathered at a single place and the participants are divided in a proper number of groups. Of course all the groups are given proper names. This method helps the guides in reassembling the participants and to organize the trip in a smooth manner. We were 72 participants in all, out of which female participants were more in number as compared to the males.
We were then arranged in two buses to leave for Dalhousie. Suddenly on the way to Dalhousie, the cold waves started attacking with full strength. By the time we reached Dalhousie, we were completely shivering with cold. The dinner was already waiting for us. The Invincible team was kind enough to understand our situation on a prior hand. We had been served with some hot soup, which proved to be a boon for us and to help us with our body temperature. We were allotted our rooms and then was the time to get fresh and go to bed. All of us were so tired that soon we fell asleep.
Dalhousie in February month is not at all expected to provide you with ready to use water until and unless its raining. So, we were asked to get up early in the morning to finish our morning routine as our washrooms would be able to have water from the taps only upto 7 am in the morning. After 7 am water gets frozen in the pipeline itself. The excitement itself had played the role of an alarm that day. I woke up at 4 in the morning. I was really surprised to see myself awake so early that too without an alarm. But I think that was a nature’s alarm that woke me up. The first thing that I did was peeping out from my room’s window. It was completely dark with a clear sky and the moon shining with its glory in between its numerous stars. So I decided to get ready. After getting ready, again I peeped out and this time I could not stop myself from stepping out of my room. It was 5 am in the morning with a beautiful painting painted just for us. I rushed in to get my hubby and we were just finding beautiful spots to show to each other. Of course he was more busy capturing those moments in his camera and I was just taken off with the mesmerizing beauty.
Soon we found many of the others in our group joining us. We were then served our breakfast and were being informed about the various places to be visited in Dalhousie as that day had been allotted for local sight seeing. Dalhousie has a union of taxis, so u have to book a taxi from the union office and they have fixed charges for the number of places you want to visit.
We had been given an advice of not washing our hair for this day as we were supposed to head towards Kalatop and we might catch cold. So, we got ready very early and were waiting for the next instructions. After our breakfast we briefing on the way to Kalatop basecamp started.
We were very excited to explore the place while trekking completely unaware about what were we going to face on our way. The path on the map seemed so simple and short that we were expecting to reach to the basecamp within a couple of hours. So our journey started. First stop was the Subhash Chowk in the market area of Dalhousie. Everybody assembled there and then we headed for our next stop which was the Gandhi Chowk . Everything was normal till then except the time. We soon realized that the time was flying away from our hands. The distance between our second and the third stop seemed to be a bit longer. This was the time when we started feeling a bit tired and started inquiring about the amount of trek left for the day. The problems that we face on our way was the steepy way filled with snow on both the sides which made it a bit difficult to breathe as well.
Finally we reached Lakkadmandi – our third stop and felt a bit relief. After leaving Dalhousie, we finally saw a few shops and food junctions. Tea and maggie were the most wanted there. Luckily we got some options in soup. And we had soup every time we passed by that point in our trip further. After a break of half an hour we again geared up for our final stop – Kalatop. The level of snow now increases to a greater level. Lakkadmandi to Kalatop Basecamp was the real trekking path in the snow. Feet going deep into the snow at a few parts we started crossing the Kalatop Forest and the Kalatop Wildlife Sanctuary. There are two paths from Lakkadmandi to Kalatop, one is through the forest and the other one is for the vehicles to pass by. Obviously, both the paths were filled with snow. We found the army jeeps stuck into the snow as we passed by them.
On the path we found many wild creatures but only in pictures on the boards indicating their presence. This path was not steep but much difficult then the previous part because of the snow. Soon the sky started changing the color indicating the Sunset to be close and luckily we get a chance to see our destination. So finally our trek for the day came to an end. We were at a height of 7900 ft. This itself was a milestone for us. But the next day was going to be most prestigious accomplishment for us.
Despite being so tired we very much excited to see the location. The wooden huts all around you with the roofs completely covered by snow. Dumping the bags in the room everyone was out to explore the place. And we got a wonderful location to help us with the cold all over the place. An uncle outside his hut which is his food stall too daily does a small campfire for himself and even allows visitors like us to enjoy his tea and maggie with this campfire. Few of our teammates were enjoying the rides available there and we had secured our seats near the campfire until we got a call for our dinner. After dinner if you want to have water, put some ice in the water heater and get water from the outlet to drink. Seriously, no drinking water is readily available there. Now this time we were participating in a bigger campfire organized by the Invincible. This was a musical one!
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