Tuesday, January 9, 2007

In the Lap of Devbhoomi !

That was the way I always loved. A great start to a new year. 13000 ft height, -7* temperature and 12 km trekking of snow cladded path to freezed lake of Serualsar.

Sona's birthday gave me an opportunity to revive my thrust for Himalayas. Jalorijot pass is around 140 km up north from Shimla capital of state of Himachal Pradesh (Devbhoomi- Land of Gods, as its called). At around 10300 ft height Jalori Pass connects inner and outer Seraj valley. Another victim of today's global warming, Jalori used to obtain 20 to 25 ft of snowfall in good old days but now days its only 5 to 8 ft. And when I reached there it was not even that much of snow. On the name of population Jalori have only a tiny temple and a couple of tea shops being run by local villagers of nearby lower areas.

When we reached there in the noon of 6th January, the bone chilling breeze was challenging us to stay steady on our feet and was comfortably reaching our skin through heavy and thick layers of warm clothing. As if this was not enough, Rajeev asks us to take off our shoes (socks we removed ourselves as no one could afford them to get wet in snow) to offer prayer at temple. I could not understand either my feet were burning or freezing. Trust me, the pain of burning or freezing is almost same. It took around 10 match sticks and 3 pairs of hands to lit the Dhoop at temple. After we somehow managed to wear our shoes back on, we started for the Serualsar lake, around 6 km trek from Jalorijot.

With panoramic view of thick oak forest, snow covered peaks and steep gorges, the trek to lake was just terrific. As the snow on trek was week's old and thus freezed, it was really tough to keep step steady. Paramjeet fell twice on the ice as he was not experienced to walk of icy trek. At some points the trek was so narrow that a loose step could start a non stop toss into endless fall. On the way to lake we were joined by three local lads. One of them, Lagan Dass was amateur singer and on our request he sung some melodious Himcahali songs for us.

It took us two and half hours to cover the distance. Soon we got the first view of lake. Whew! It was breath holding, surrounded by small hills and dense oak trees the lake was all freezed that one could walk on it. On one side of lake was two small treditional wooden Himachali temples of a devi called Budhi Nagin Mata. One was around 50 years old and other was newly built in the same style. The idols of Budhi Nagin Mata were recently shifted to new temple.

The lake is at around 12500 feet height. According to local saying, ancient sage Shring Rishi meditated there, a golden temple is lying underneath the lake and Aabhi named birds keeps the lake clean of all the leaves or other stuff. To my surprise, even being surrouned by various trees, not even a single leaf was there on the bed of lake. The temple and lake is worshiped with ghee and it is a custom to encircle the lake with flow of ghee by devotee if a wish is fullfilled.

The depth and source of water in the lake is unknown and according to saying once a man from local town to keep his promise offered a pair of gold earrings in the lake after his wish for son was granted. But on the way back to home, feelings of lose of gold engulfed him. He thought may be a son was written in his destiny otherwise also. What this temple has to do in it? It was such a waste of money to throw gold earrings in the lake. In the midway around 30 km downwards from the lake, he stooped at another temple for water at a natural water fall. As he put his palms under the water fall for drink the same pair of earrings came along the water in his hands. This temple was of the husband of Budhi Nagin Mata of Serualsar. He was very happy to get his valuable back only to realize that his only son was dead when he reached home.

After we performed pooja at temple, it was time for pait pooja. We found a shelter to protect ourselves from cold air and ate aloo paranthas made by Sarita with green chilli chutney made by me and hot milk.

After spending an hour at lake we started back for Jalorijot at 3’o clock. On the way back we also found a couple of empty mud huts made by sadhus for shelter in summers. How do they people feel like while living at such places? Anyway, its nice as long as you keep walking as it keeps you warm but as soon as you stop you start shivering of cold. Back at Jalori pass all of us drank tea at Mamji’s stall.

Around 10 km from Jalori to Khanag is a beautiful old bungalow now a rest house of PWD. It had nice veranda and lawn in front. If ever I could get one in my life, it is going to be exactly the same.

We reached Kumarsain at 8 in the evening and after saying goodbye to Rajeev and Sarita, I and Paramjeet started back for Chandigarh.

This was my another memorable yatra only possible cause of Rajeev & Sarita (and of course Sona). God bless them. This was great start of year and I really wished for at least two more such trips in this year. Let’s see what God has kept for me!!


Manish said...

Oh what a description - seems like a heavenly place. A 12 Km trekking at -7 deg Centigrade - you are hills man.

But where did you left you lovely little kid ?

Praney said...

He and Vande (my home ministry) are not supposed to leave home yet. And as you must have read in 'Nanhi Pari' I had to attend that function.

So thats it. And there is another famous Shrikhand Mahadev Yatra to be held in july - aug this year. It's a 5 days trek, you are welcomed to join Manish. Wink !

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