Thursday, January 22, 2015

A day well spent in Digha beaches

I wish to speak about some sauntering, in fact some sort of Bohemian spirit, albeit for a brief moment, imprinted a long-lasting memory. The first time when I heard about roaring waves of sea, I felt a bit strange because in that roar I found a peace. I am a mountain man. I love mountains for various reasons but the principle reason is of course a peculiar sense of calmness and a feeling of freedom, to clear some rust that I acquire during my tedious duty of work and daily living. Nevertheless, rolling sea waves created such feeling inside that I confessed I was astonished at the power of endurance – said nothing but to awkwardly look at the waves for couple of hours.

It was a day trip from the village, escapade in rural Bengal. It was couple of hours journey to Digha – the quintessential beach destination of Bengalis. Earlier I never found such places very exciting, simply because of rush and atmosphere that typically smells commercial. Perhaps I was fortunate or  I went at the wrong time of season. Digha was totally empty, not literally of course, but the amount of rush I was expecting, not quite visible.

Digha is divided into parts – old and new Digha. New Digha is relatively calm and beaches are not too crowded. It is also near the railway station and for fun loving people it has lots to offer like adventure sports, eating joints, souvenir shops etc. Old Digha on the other hand has that rustic charm, with hordes of food joints, cheap hotels, some cheap bars and people of course.

Beaches in Digha

Talsari Beach

It is nice and pristine beach, 9km from New Digha situated in Odissa border. Talsari Beach is a sea hinterland where fishermen bring fish to sell. There are small boats taking tourists from beach to a nearby island, it’s a nice experience during low tide when many people reach the island by mere walking through the sea. If you have time then walking is the best way to explore things, otherwise there are hired bikes that take you inside of the sea.

Udaipur Beach

This is another solitary beach, 3km from New Digha along Odissa border. There are small tea joints where you can enjoy the sea waves along with tea. There is no such rush like Old Digha and if you wish, you can visit the nearby Kaju Forest.


River mohana ( Subarna rekha river with Bay of Bengal ) is a place of fishermen, walking distance from New Digha. Summers when fishing activity is stopped, so if you go at the time, there is no point going there.

Shankarpur Beach

The beach is out of town, around 15km from main Digha town, so you need to hire a cab or own a car to drive to that place. If you are coming from Kanthi, Shankarpur Beach comes first near Choudamiles area along the Digha Kanthi Road. The morning time is generally high tide time, so you can watch some ferocious waves of Bay of Bengal. The place is quite serene with one or two hotels. It is better if you pack you lunch and spend some time near the beach.

What to do in Digha

  • Enjoy Bengali customized seafood in different food joints spread across Old Digha. The food is cheap and prepared well. You can also enjoy good Continental food in expensive restaurants. Try Bengali fish cuisines like Pomfret, Bhetki, Tiger Prawns and crabs.
  • Enjoy evening walks along with gusting sea winds. Don't forget to capture incredible pictures of Digha sunset.
  • Shop shell jewellery, local hand-woven mat in vibrant colors, cottage crafts and conch shells, favorably from near Chandreshwar Temple.
  • Pay some money to a local fisherman and venture into sea for fishing. These fishermen most of the time go deep inside the sea for fishing, so you can enjoy the thrill of fishing and depth of sea.
  • New Digha Beach is the best place for swimming. The beach is flat and water is not so turbulent.
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Friday, January 2, 2015

A few personal favorite films for your travel inspiration

I am a movie buff, though most of us called ourselves so, there is difference however.  Movies, books and music, these three elements greatly inspire me to do lots of things. I remember once I was determined to leave my home, possessions everything and ready for itinerant traveling. Things didn't work the way I wanted but the ignition came from a movie called ‘Into The Wild’. I had watched that movie 36 times, and every time I was watching with a different dimension, different philosophy albeit with the same mood. Well, I guess I am not alone who get inspired from a movie; that is the reason motion pictures have such as incredible impression in our mind for years. Here I am citing top six movies that are my personal favorite, not just because these films are based on traveling, but some great lines carrying life’s wisdom, with fascinating cinematography in some films, and even background music creates a sense of exploration in the mind of travelers.

Into The Wild

into the wild photo lonely

“It’s not always necessary to be strong, but to feel strong.”

A true story about a young and smart guy, Christopher McCandless aka Alexander Supertramp, moved me and lots of people like me. I showed this film to everybody who came to home and wished to watch a film. The movie accentuated with excellent music score, dialogues and some wonderful cinematography.

The guy Christopher was a philosopher who indulged himself in reading books and questioning his identity. After his tedious duty of graduation from Emory University (ranked well to get scholarship for Harvard) he donated his college fund ($26000) and cut his credit card and social security and hitchhiked through various parts of the US. His ultimate quest for human freedom and his spiritual liberation led him to Alaska wilderness where he spent his last days.

Read more about Christopher McCandless

One More to the Bus 142

The movie is visually fascinating and the narration leaves audience a big question. Was Christopher right in his approach or was it just a romantic folly of 24 year old young rebellion. The emotional impact of this film is even greater than the philosophy behind the life of Supertramp. Needless to say, Emily Hirsch in the protagonist role put everything to reflect real life Christopher McCandless on reel life.

Motorcycle Diaries

motorcycle diaries

“What we had in common - our restlessness, our impassioned spirits, and a love for the open road.”

Two apparently looking blokes started their journey of 5000 miles in South America and with their trip, a transformation occurred within these two. This film is not just a road journey but a story of revolution and staunch idealism with an outstanding direction. The film forces people to think about real issues, to see world around themselves apart from their tiny “worlds”.

The story centers around two young doctors from Buenos Aires who took motorcycle ride a bit seriously, to explore the continent and gradually exploring themselves within. With their journey, they eventually realized the futility of human existence and dived deep into different societal and humanitarian issues.

Personally I like the movie not because it shows the young life of legendary Che Guevara, but because of it shows how a young man can transform with gradual stages of life, and how traveling plays a pivotal part of this whole transformation.  The best part of the entire movie is the gradual building up the drama and changing theme of traveling to budding revolutionary ideas.

Straight Story

straight story photos

“Well, the worst part of being old is rememberin' when you was young.”

Directed by legendary David Lynch, this is somehow a different travel story, not essentially a man to travel after seeing this film, but certainly inspires a lot how old age can be defied with a strong sense of self-belief. The lyrical portrait of Alvin Straight who traveled 260 miles on a lawn mower to meet his brother sounds crazy for 74 year-old man, but the true story tells some life’s earned wisdom and sense of love of life.

The film’s cinematography earns lots of accolades. The background score what I feel is the best part of the film that gives a fantastic acceleration.  An unusually straightforward film from Mr. Lynch, a director known for his bizarre and surrealism, the film demands a bit patience but rewarding in the end with a peacefulness.

Easy Rider

easy rider photos

“They'll talk to ya and talk to ya and talk to ya about individual freedom. But they see a free individual, it's gonna scare 'em.”

The film reflects late 60s and early 70s hippy movement with psychedelic trips and lots of talking about individual freedom. A personal favorite, this film obviously inspires to travel, more importantly travel with a sense of freedom. The movie goes with two misfit individuals in the society who do illegal job to travel to Mardi gras in New Orleon. They are wild, they are free, they are smoker and they ride kickass bikes; what else you need from a film. There is more than bikes, smoking and travel, a deep message to society to accept the unconventional people out of them.

Easy Rider is not a travel movie; it’s a hippy movie with an element of travel. The acid trip in the movie is the best part of the film; in fact it is best representation of acid trip so far in the movies. Along with Dennis Hooper and Peter Fonda, Jack Nicholson quirky humor gives a hippy state of mind and experience.

Hideous Kinky

“Hello darling, where did you spring from?”

Not so popular movie in the travel genre, the movie captures my imagination with some beautiful shots and fantastic acting. The film is about a mother and two daughters who travel from London to Morocco. A typical storyline of 70s British free thinkers who used to travel without much in their pocket. The small adventure, new experiences and cultural diversification along with their travel make this movie a worthwhile.

Kate Winslet gives a solid performance along with Carrie Mullan. The story begins with a young English hippie woman who along with her two young daughters embarks to a journey to Morocco. The movie is simplistic without any convolution but deep inside it asks the fundamental question of human freedom, in search of spirituality, to break the shackles of conventional life.

Before Sunrise

“I like to feel his eyes on me when I look away.”

Two people met on a train in Austria. They started talking. They dropped midway in Vienna. They liked each other. They spent a whole night together exploring various parts of Vienna. And they separated. Before Sunrise is not exactly a travel movie; it is part travel, part romantic, part philosophical, part drama. If you are a solo traveler and feel to meet someone (opposite sex) with whom you can share something, meeting of the minds, lots of talking, this is the right movie.

Like many other Richard Linklater movies, this film is devoid of convoluted plot, no drama but lots of dialogue and sublime romanticism. Julia Delphy is lovable in this movie and perfectly suited to her role, while Ethan Hawke, a rather confused guy gives his one of the best performances.  The sexual attraction obviously present but it doesn’t destroy the depth of the movie. The timing of certain scenes, for example when both were listening booth of a music store, where each on looks at the other and then look away, was so neatly done.

The film as for me, is not an essentially a travel movie that inspires you to travel, but it is a wonderful movie to understand the relationships, traveling companionship and freedom.

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Friday, December 26, 2014

Modern yoga retreat, new dimension, new way of living

My friend Yann, a French Catholic priest and a Hindi student from Banaras Hindu University, every year spends 10-15 days of silent retreat in Himalayas. He surrenders everything including his laptop and phone and usually spends time in remote locations of Uttarakhand. I met him last in 2012, as we were trekking together to Gaumukh and Tapovan. Later, on the same trip he spent his silent retreat in Munshiyari (Kumaon).

He is not alone, at least amongst my acquaintances; there are lots of people who undergo this type of withdrawal process, cutting back usual life and giving up all habits including cigarettes and coffee. Another friend of mine, Philip, an Austrian yogi, who undergoes Vipassana meditation whenever he comes to India. He also suggested me lots of time to go for it, but somehow for many reasons, I couldn't. It is a conscious effort not to undergo this type of seclusion, perhaps because of my books and diary that I can't leave without. However, it is no uncommon these days when aspirants go to Yoga retreat, but totally cut off from the usual world, without communication. This type of queer withdrawal process invites curiosity.

So, why people want to to withdraw from the usual life? What is the motive or is there any motive at all? For bourgeois, usual people, who spend their time engaging themselves in tangible life struggles; this type of withdrawal seems strange, rather peculiar. They think it is only for hermits, but the question is, is it necessary to be a hermit to reach a peaceful state of mind.

Ancient Tibetan Yogis retreat and its modern consequences

Ancient Tibetan yogis performed silent retreats for years when they lived in small caves without minimum food. Even in today Tibetan yogis who wish to perform silent retreat take permission from their masters and go for retreat. For them it is extremely important part of their monk-hood as it gives awareness about duality of existence. Meditation in silent retreat for long time helps them to understand body and mind as a single entity. There are examples when Lamas underwent years of silent retreat without touch of human contacts.

chopta trek camp
Retreat at Chopta
Originally this type of solo retreat is known as 'Lerung', a part of Tibetan Buddhism that is believed to create awareness of the existence and stop the mind rushing about in an aimless (even a purposeful) stream of thoughts.

Urban silent retreats and yoga schools

Following the path of ancient Tibetan yogis, silent and solo retreats are becoming popular these days, especially amongst Westerners. The heavy life and daily frictions of professional and personal life create a self-hypnosis construction when a person sees things that appears, and life small and big judgments are based on those appearances.

Retreat center at Tara Mandala
In a solo retreat, a person looks down closely how the mind works. It is actually the breaking down this false construction of “me” within and see what is real inside. It is of course not an easy course of action because the years of impressions created on the mind lead the individual in according the resultant force of all those impressions. So, many people take frequent solo retreat and continue the meditation techniques in their daily life to break the “construction”.

The idea of detach from everyone, without any sort of electronic device is unfathomable to many, but things work in a different way in silent retreats where a person face to face with himself or herself.

Indian Silent Retreat centers

Vipassana Meditation Center in Dharamkot

Vipassana Meditation centers spread throughout India but I liked Dharamkot center because of its natural peaceful surroundings, dense wood and Dhauladhar Mountain on the back. The center is as usual like others where you are given a room with a mattress, and blanket. You are not allowed to talk to anybody, even not to look directly at women in the center. Minimum of vegetarian food, 10 -12 hours of meditation practice every day and sleep. You can talk to the master though once if you have any question. Many people don't prefer to talk and keep silent for 12 days. You can't take your electronic gadgets, books, notebook anything with you.

Tushita Meditation Center, Dharamkot

Aspirants, who sometimes feel too tough to lead Vipassana, can register themselves in Tushita Meditation Center, adjacent to Vipassana in Dharamkot. The center stresses on silence but there is no strict rule. So, you can carry your notepad, books but not mobile phone or laptop. There is even a small place where aspirant can smoke cigarettes if he or she wishes.

Yogoda Satsanga Society, Dwarahat

Paramahansa Yogananda founded this society in 1917 in the lap of pristine Uttarakhand valley. The center is probably the best place for Kriya Yoga and understanding the philosophy of life. The atmosphere is fascinating with surrounding green valleys and silence.

Mayavati Ashram, Lohaghat

advaitya ashram mayawati lohaghat
Advaitya Ashram, Lohaghat
Best known as Advaita Ashram, situated at an altitude of 1940 m, 9km from the town of Lohaghat (Uttarakhand), this Ashram and surrounding area is simply spectacular. This small monastery is a branch of Ramkrishna Mission, which governs by the principle of monism (advaitya) where no idol is worshiped. The guest house is neat and clean with plenty of silence.

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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Jostled, hurried, exuberant joyride – 24 hours in Mumbai

There are some cities, which infuse certain energy, oscillating between high and low, but always imbibe a peculiar sense of exuberance that hardly one can overlook. It was August 15, Independence Day of India, I and my friend luckily got a local train in Mumbai that was relatively roomy. That was the first day in Mumbai, I already sensed a striking similarity between Kolkata (my hometown) and Mumbai.

Well, I am here to write about a day in Mumbai, extracting the best of the city, though I know 24 hours isn't enough to explore this intoxicating city. I am citing here my favorite places, restaurants, memorable nightlife that you can also enjoy. If you are not in a budget, you can hire a car and zoom between exhilarating experiences.

Breathe in on Hill Road

g graffiti at Chapel Street mumbai ranwar
Graffiti at Ranwar
Sharukh Khan's fans never forget to visit Bandstand at the very first day, but personally I feel it is better to soak in fresh aroma of baked bread at A One Bakery on Hill Road rather than ogling blankly at Khan's bungalow. Stroll around the narrow lanes of Ranwar behind the bakery and see some amazing graffiti at Chapel Street.

Early morning is the best time to experience this city sleeping madness. There are more than 200 years old buildings hanging well all around as you slowly passing through Hill Road. For a relaxing tea, you can try 'Yoga House'. Also, you can just reach Salt Water Cafe near Lilavati Hospital Junction where you can break your fast with bacon, omelet, pancakes and more.

Delve into Asia's biggest slum

Leather market in Dharavi
Well, Dharavi is not a place that you can include in your travel itinerary but trust me, if you miss this huge slum, you will miss a chunk of Mumbai's true pulse. Dharavi is famous for its workshops and tanneries, so you can explore some of the best workshops in the world. Drop at the Sion Bandra Link road, and explore variety of leather items including bags, jackets, belts and others.

If you feel your appetite tells you give some attention, you can try quintessential vada pao at Dadar.

Related articles on Mumbai

Asia's biggest brothel in Mumbai

Move from Washermen's Colony (Dhobi ghaat) to Haji Ali

mumbai washermen colony
Mumbai Dhoobi Ghaat
Mahalakshmi Rail station is nearby, so just drop at Washermen's Colony. This is probably the biggest washermen's colony in India, which is shrouded with white sheets, harsh smell of detergent and incessantly swattering on the washing stones. Those clothes are then dried, packed and chartered off to different hotels, hostels, other places.

South Mumbai
Next is the famous Haji Ali, a white marbled shrine located on an islet off the coast of Worli. Personally I felt there was nothing to see except lots of people queuing at the shrine. However, you can sit and watch the high tide.

Next go to Chor Bazaar (Thief's market) and Mutton Bazzar. You might find some extraordinary item in a throw away price, but remember to bargain unapologetically. Stolen goods are thought to circulate early on Friday mornings from 4.30am, but the usual market opens from 10.30am and 7.30pm every day.

Lunch at Britannia, coffee at Kala Ghoda

If anything fascinated me most in Mumbai, it was Cafe Britannia (Sprott Road), a century old Parsi restaurant adorned in a natural rustic décor. Food is exceptionally good, though there is less option for vegetarian. Don't forget to gulp a refreshing fizzy pallonjis raspberry drink.

Mumbai Municipal Corporation building
Mumbai Municipal Corporation building
If you walk a little, you will reach Fort area, which is an area full of colonial-style buildings, now converted into office complex. There is a big book shop Kitab Khana where you can browse through books. Walk further along the Flora Fountain to reach Kala Ghoda (Black Horse) to savor home-brewed organic coffee.

Beer and chicken cheese burger in Café Mondegar

Cafe Mondegar
So, you have spent enough in hopping Mumbai, now you want to rest a bit and have some beer. Colaba in my opinion is the best place to chill. I feel Leopold Café is bit overrated because of Shantaram novel and bullet marks from a 2008 terrorist attack. If you really want some cool music with good beer, Café Mondegar (Mondy’s) is the best bet. If you are 3-4 people, just take a beer tower and chilli cheese toast or chicken cheese burger. The walls are adorned by cartoons by famous cartoonist Mario Miranda. It is very near to Gateway of India, so you can just sit beside sea and soak in beer plus Mumbai intoxication.

Marine Drive and Bade Miya

Plenty of people every day sit on the Marine Drive and shrug their Mumbai fatigue. The entire stretch looks like necklace. The breezy boardwalk is for everyone. You see people do jogging or fast walking, gossiping friends, tea vendors and masseurs.

You can end the day with Marine Drive, but if you still have energy and appetite, go to Bade Miya in Colaba and savor the taste of some extraordinary kebabs and mutton.

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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Varanasi Kinaram Ashram culls from conceptual Aghoris lifestyle

baba kinaram ashram varanasi aghori
If your basic understanding about Aghor sect is spooky; some black robbed insidious sadhus who eat flesh and meditate upon a dead body, then you must visit once to Aghori Ashram in Varanasi, popularly known as Baba Kinaram Ashram. The first thing I notice while entering Baba Kinaram Ashram was two big skulls erected on the entrance. Like ordinary people, I had a predetermined mind set about Aghori, expecting them to stay aloof in the temple. I had seen one Aghori (flesh eating) on Harishchandra Ghat once, who had some ulterior tie-up with domes (people who are officially assigned to burn bodies on ghats), used to gather remains after a body burnt down. Baba Kinaram Ashram was different – the serenity perplexed me, like many other Hindu temples, the place was calm, surprisingly neat and clean. It was not much different from conventional Hindu temples, but with an odd starkness.

The founder of the Ashram was Baba Kinaram who initiated by his guru Adi Guru Dattatreya at Kamandal Kund at the top of Girnar mountain in Gujarat. Adi Guru Dattatrey Ji Maharaj ordered his disciple to move to the ordinary world to serve the sufferers of the society. While returning back, he visited Hingalaj, a Shaktipeeth, now situated in Pakistan. Legend says, he got a vision of Shakti Goddess who suggested him to go Harishchandra Ghat in Kashi. This way he first came to Kashi thereafter he stayed here till his Samadhi.

It is a concept, somehow true because of large number of Aghoris follow the same that they don't care about anything. They usually don't get hungry and never touch flour and salt. They may be some reasons behind this but most of the Aghoris are notorious for their skanky food habit such as human flesh, urine, stool and everything. 

Read more about Varanasi

In a true sense, Aghor is not any centralized sect, religion or any extremity. It is a stage, or a state of mind where everything is Shiva, means pure. Many people associate Aghoris with Kaapalik, Saankalya, and others. Of course, the path of Aghoris is quite extreme because of their shocking rituals and methods. They meditate at cremation ground, as people mistakenly think that cremation ground where they get dead bodies. The fact is, the cremation place where the body journeys to its very end, is diffused with a certain form of energy. The place where people come up with sorrow and dejection, a partial realization of life's greatest truth. The funeral ground is overwhelmed with an energy of dejection and peace. That's the true reason why Aghors meditate on the cremation ground.

The common Hindu philosophies quite contradictory with Aghoris in general. The truth lies in in between two extreme paths of Aghor. The common conception is Aghoris drink liquor, smoke marijuana, eat flesh and use a human skull as a drinking bowl. They wander around funeral pyre and don't have any sex inhibition. There are many sadhus you may find leading the exact lifestyle. Nevertheless, the Aghori's true culture too often stigmatized with this dark conception.

tantrik workship in tarapith
Tantrik Workship in Tarapith (West Bengal)
Is there any truth about Aghori sect? Well, I have seen lots of sadhus, some seemed very normal, usual types, a few radiant positive energy and displayed great knowledge. I met aghoris too. I understand with my limited knowledge that Aghor path is not complicated. On the contrary, it is a simple and easy path but the irony is, simplicity is hard to attain. There is no fixed rule for this sect because truly speaking it is just a state of mind where resign yourself to Shiva. This is a tough stage altogether because it is extremely difficult to resign yourself truly to an abstract conception. A true Aughar doesn't behave like a stage artists with skulls and human bones all around him, wearing typical dress, living day and night in cremation ground, eating flesh all the time. One who has realized this stage automatically becomes simple and polite, full of affection and merciful because he sees Shiva in everything.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Sun falls on azure Rishikund: a trek to remember

This is the first time I was travelling to Joshimath from Rishikesh. After the great flood of Uttarakhand in 2013, things have been definitely changed. The cluttering houses and shops were seemingly less on road, while roads were more treacherous than before; perhaps it was the horror of deluge that still lingered in with people. Nevertheless, the infatuation towards mountains, nay, Himalayas made it happen that I was again venturing to a rough path.

I met two travelers in Rishikesh who were interested in Bagini Falls trek, so we had decided to go together, as it would be okay for me because the trek seemed treacherous and I needed some people to obtain permit for the trek. 

The whole Bagini region falls under the Nandadevi Bioshphere Reserve, and therefore this tedious formality of permit. The bus reached Joshimath at the evening, so we took a shelter in a cheap hotel and spent our night there. Next day we took permit from the forest department and bought some food for enroute. I had my tent with me, and the couple who I accompanied also had their tent, so it would be no question of renting tent.

The journey from Joshimath to Jumma

Jumma village near malari joshimath trek to bagani
A typical village en route (Jumma)
We had first thought to reach Bagini without any guide, but after much contemplation and my previous trek experience to Tapovan, I suggested hiring a guide because it was too easy to get lost on boulder pathway.  Joshimath to Jumma was around 40km situated on the Joshimath Malari highway.

The proximity to Tibet was evident on the locality and culture of people. Although we reached Jumma around 3pm, still we had decided to spend our day in the village before our trek. We pitched our tent a little outside of the village for overnight stay. From my experience I got to know that before trek, it was important to fuel yourself with good food and quality sleep.

More trekking experiences in Uttarakhand

Day 1: Morning 6:00 AM

langtoli meadow
Langtoli meadow
We started early because we wanted to compensate our hours spent in Jumma. The first village was Ruing, just 2km nearly flat trek from Jumma. The Dhauli Ganga accompanied us so we didn’t have any problem of water. Earlier also during my Gaumukh and Tapovan trek, I used to drink water directly from the river, as I didn’t want to increase my luggage (already it was a little more than 9kg).

We spent some time roaming around the village to see some obscure cottage handicraft items. We already bought some extra medicines and glucose from Joshimath because it was a customary to donate something to village older people here. Even if you don’t want to, they will ask you!

After having our breakfast, we started our journey to Dronagiri, a sharp but moderate climb amidst alpine forest. The best way to trek on sharp descent is to climb slowly without stopping. The trickiest part of our trek began when we stumbled across a huge pile of sunken, piled us landslide.

Landslide zone was 2km ahead of Dronagiri village. We reached there just before the dusk. There were 40-50 houses, mostly abandoned. No toilet, no water, no food – a godforsaken village. Actually we came here during the onset of winter when (handful) villagers went down to Ruing to spend 3-4 months. I was happy with this stark scenario with Kanari Khal at the back and Nandikund Pass lied in front of the village. A full view of Hathi Parvat to the South drank our fatigue to a great extent.

There was no place to pitch tents in the village, so we climbed a little higher and camped there. We brought some raw food with us so cut some branches and with bricks we made our stove, and cooked our food with some easy attempt. The night was chilling, the cold wind penetrated inside the tent and through my sleeping bag.

Day 2: 6 AM
dronagiri village
Dronagiri Village
Our first target was Langatoli, a 3km moderate trek to 3800m. From Langaltoli to Advanced Bagini Base camp or Garur camp site, this would be a 7 km trek. The total time would be taken to reach Bagini around 5-6 hours. The biggest hindrance is huge plethora of moraine and glacier, fed by the massifs of Changbag, Kalanka, Hardeo and Monal group of mountains. The azure water of Rishikund bestowed a heavenly charm to the whole place. Undoubtedly, the addiction of Himalayas is not just the snow clad mountains but the whole ecology where these mighty peaks imbibe in a celestial charm.

Hathi Peak
The roughness of the real trek was started to feel for all of us. The gradual gain of height would make anyone short of oxygen. To reach lower Bagini base camp took us 4 hours (it was pretty much good speed). Many trekkers generally go back from this place because of altitude sickness and boulder rich steep height.

After 15 minutes silent rest, we again started with Trishuli, Hardeol and Purbi Dunagiri peaks just in front of us. A gradual descend led us to the left bank of Bagini stream. After crossing the bridge, the left side went to Kanari Khal, leading towards a small village named Garpak. The right trail was big bouldered path that twisted as it ascended.

The climb was steep and exhausting. The river was fast but safe. We carried some water from the moraine.  It was impossible to camp in the moraine, so we climbed a little further to Changbang base camp. We trekked a little more to reach a place where Gujjar made stone structures. The chill wind and slight raining forced us to camp for the rest of the day.

Day 3: 8 AM

We started without having our breakfast because we wanted to return to Langatoli that day. Changabang Zero Point and Rishi Kund were almost 2km from where we pitched our tents. The climb was steep but after 2 hours of climb, we ultimately reached a place, which couldn’t be defined by words. The imposing Himalayan peaks Changabang (6864m), Rishi Pahad (6992m), Kalanka (6931m), Bagini Peak (5000 something), Garuda Peak, Dronagiri ((7066m), Gauri Parvat (6708m) and Hathi Parvat (6727m) could be caught by hands.

Necessary Suggestions

Design your itinerary considering time, budget and weather conditions.
You will find guide at forest department where you get your permit.
Make a strict schedule of returning, so that you can ask your car to pick you from Jumma.
Carry your own stove, food, medicines, high altitude sleeping bag etc.
Be in a right frame of mind. Short steps, deep breaths and without stopping anywhere.
Don’t cross the river or swift streams barefoot.
Carry a windproof jacket and poncho. 
Don’t start wood fire anywhere. Do not pollute the water. Respect ecology.
Hydrate yourself frequently. Also carry dry fruits and chocolates for quick energy.

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