Today Mr. Shankar Rajaram came to meet us at Noida. He was here in Delhi after Chadar Trek last month. Shankar has been trekking around Himalayas for more than 20 years now. His passion for trekking started when he used to visit various pilgrimage places. Today's discussion with Shankar reminded me of my Shrikhand Mahadev trek, which I did with my friends in 2008. This post is just a refresher of #LifeLessOrdinary experiences at the height of 18,700 feet with snow covered Himalayan ranges.
Shrikhand Mahadev Trek is one of the most difficult treks I have done and Shankar also agrees with me on this. Shankar, who has done many more treks in his life considers Shrikhand as something he will not even dream of attempting in future. While we can still think of Kailash Mansarovar, Chadar Trek, Lamkhaga Pass, Rupkund, Pin Parvati etc. At the same time, it's said that treks can't be compared and they change every year and experiences can be drastically different which usually depend upon the weather conditions.
When we started from Delhi, we had never thought that next 7 days would be very different and exciting as compared to regular life we live in Metro cities. After reaching the base-camp of Shrikhand Mahadev, we lost connectivity. It was the time to inform everyone that we would not be reachable for next few days. This trek starts from Jaon village. After long drive from Delhi to Jaon, through Chandigarh, Shimla & Baghupul, it was time to have some rest and be ready for the real adventure from next morning.
Shrikhand Mahadev was not a popular trek in 2008, but lot of local pilgrims used to go till the top of Shrikhand peak. Shikhand is basically a huge rock standing still on snow covered hills. It's a very unique thing and that's the reason that local folks from Himachal consider it very auspicious. But for us, it was an adventure and a good break from routine life.
First day of this trek was mainly about crossing some rivers, water-streams and dense forests full of fog & high trees. We were trekking in the month of July, which is the only time to trek till Shrikhand peak. Rains and low visibility are two main challenges in this trek. This is what we thought on day-1 but we were not prepared for other challenges we experienced in subsequent days.
During this trek we had some exceptional experiences which are hard to describe through words. I would recommend you to see photograph above, as it is very difficult to explain what we were experiencing. We were walking on the clouds and I do not mean metaphorically. It was surreal, though day dreaming was very risky owing to the steep gorges just one misstep could lead us to fall into.
Sustained by Maggi, fresh air, and an adrenaline rush, we carried on in spite of the biting cold, mortal danger, and exhaustion. With only the rock, the Mahadev, in sight, we carried on. Never have I felt more in touch with myself as I did amongst those invincible mountains and the rolling valleys.
At times the next step felt as if it could be my last, and at times I felt as if I had transcended mortality. Reality and dreams merged and I seemed to be slipping in and out of reveries. Being one with nature does this to you. There are no more questions. Amidst such pristine surroundings, it is just the Truth, The Ultimate Truth.
I don't know what it is about these treks but they are immensely emotional experiences. By the time we reached the summit, all of us were overflowing with emotions. I tried and blinked fast to fight them, but at last I had to gave in and the tears flowed. Once they started, I couldn't stop and soon I was sobbing. No one asked me why. Because all of them were experiencing something unique. And I wasn't the only one crying.
And let me now treat you to some ethereal sights from the trek...
Now it's time for Kinner Kailash ! Thanks Shankar for coming over and bringing me back to the world of great memories from Shrikhand Trek & inspiring to plan for Kinner Kailash...