Recently I am having varied conversations about trekking opportunities around us and I believe that if you wish, you can trek anywhere :). This is second post from the series 'Not all treks have to be difficult'. Here I am trying to share the treks for groups where some people like trekking a lot but few of them are not really confident about taking up serious treks. These treks would add lot of fun to everyone in such groups. This Photo Journey will share about a trekking around high mountains of Murari Devi in Mandi (Himachal Pradesh).
I was on week long vacation with my friend from Sunder Nagar. During one of the days, we had to drive to Hamirpur and we thought of going via Murari Devi. The peak of Murari devi is clearly visible from the town and one day before the hill was looking brilliant during sunset time. We started early in the morning and it took us 45 minutes to reach the base of Murari devi. So this hill has also a temple on top of it. Now there is a road till temple, many folks drive till the top. But planned to park our car near the shops at the base and planned to trek till the top. It's not more than 2 hrs trek from the base.
I have been to this trek twice and during second time I realized that path from the base till temple is well paved now. It's not really a road but a narrow path with solar lights installed around it. These lights were pretty helpful when we trekked down in a little dark. As you move up, you start seeing some of the brilliant views of villages around, fields and other high hills all around. This was harvest season for corn crop and that's why you see empty fields & orange colored corns lying of roof-tops. Agricultural production is well dried in sun before storing and that's very important. If we store without drying the crop properly, a farmer can loose all of the production.
As you keep climbing, you come across various kinds of plants and herbs. Some of them were quite new for us. On our way, we met a family who was carefully choosing some of the herbs and they offered us a few. I forgot the name but it was a tiny plant with purple flowers. It seems that plant is used to boil water, especially when you have fever. It's also recommended to have few leaves in your tea even when everything is fine. It helps in building immunity. All in theory, because I never tried. So not sure how effective these methods are.
All these hills are full of various kinds of trees, flowers and herbs. If you there in right reason, you would find multi-colored hills all around. Weather is pleasant most of the times. During summers, it can a bit hot because of direct sunlight. The good part is that 60% of the trek has tree shade. There are some water sources on the way, but it's recommended to keep some water, juices and snacks with you.
There are few beautiful villages around this trek and you can also encounter villagers with their cattle on the way. I love these roofs, which are made up of tiles cut out of a specific rock which is considered as one of the strongest rocks in Himalayan terrains. These black rocks are usually found in areas which get lot of snow. Over time, people are not having this kind of roofs in new houses. As you can notice in above photograph, the houses near the road have flat roof-tops which is common all over India now.
As you keep hiking, new layers of mountains keep coming up and all these layers look more beautiful at the time of Sunset or sunrise. Don't miss the top edges of hills which are not completely visible. On a clear day, you can see unlimited layers of mountains on one of the sides. If you look towards Sunder Nagar and Manali, the shades of mountains changes dramatically. On a clear day you can see all those snow covered peaks around Rohtang Pass.
We were carrying packed lunch with us, so took a break on the way and enjoyed home made lunch with friends. As we reached on the top, we got to know that temple had also arranged a langar on same day. Since we wanted to spend more time around the place, we planned to have another round of lunch in temple compound. Not sure about current scenario, but langar at Murari devi temple is not available everyday. So do carry stuff to eat with you when you have planned a day outing around this place. There is only one shop on the top, which offers tea and very basic snacks.
It was sunset time when we thought of getting down towards our car. Since whole stretch has solar lights installed, it was pretty convenient to go down. But dense bushes and high grass was making us uncomfortable. There is probability of encountering snakes around these hills and we didn't want to be surprised in dark. We were also carrying few torches, which is always recommended when roaming around hills and especially if you are on a trek.
Here is how sunset looks from the top.
That day we changed the plan and stayed with my parents in Kot(Rohini), which is around 35 kilometers from the base of Murari Devi. We sat outside for a long time after dinner and noticed these stars in the sky. Sorry for bad quality photographs of stars. I didn't want to spoil the evening for friends by going away with my camera. :)
Next trek to Murari Devi is due with parents and hope to do it during my next visit to my hometown.