Thursday, August 22, 2013

My First Camping Fiasco In Lohajung

In the middle of my sleep I vaguely experienced something terribly cold slowly piercing inside my body. When I was fully awake, I observed water seeped into my tent, drenched my sleeping bag and other belongings. When I came out of my tent, it scared the hell out of me. I was standing nowhere in a valley, pitch dark and howling wind carried torrential rain almost flooded my little tent. I somehow managed to pack my things, leaving behind my tent and ran towards the village but I lost that guy’s room whom I met in the evening. Finally an hour of running and screaming, I finally knocked his door in the middle of the night.

In the evening from Lohajung (forget about the date)
The inaccuracy and ambiguity of our own rational knowledge in a way dangerous, but on a deeper perspective, it gives a fighting spirit, and to accept infinite varieties and complexities in our own multidimensional characters. My fiasco with my first camping experience was my inability and inexperience, and also certain level of lack of confidence but defying my rational explanation of proper camping techniques actually instilled me a courage, which I inadvertently used in my latter trips.

The valley in Lohajung
During my 6 years of stay in Delhi, whenever I felt to travel but unsure where to go, I always went to Rishikesh first. I was not fully confident in my first solo camping trip; however, I decided to rent an alpine tent, a backpack and bought a sleeping bag for the first time in the year 2009. It was several hours before I managed to sleep that night. I put all necessary items including a lamp, some food, books and lots of woolen. The bag became heavy, but the tent looked uglier. It was heavy, clumsy and difficult to pitch.

I stopped at Haridwar before Rishikesh in the morning. There were shared taxis lined up for different places in mountains. In the bus I had decided to trek to Bedni Bugyal, a high altitude meadow, perfect for my camping.

after night ordeal
My thought process was eccentric enough but people tolerated and encouraged my eccentricity in general. I must admit a little grossly, a bit flamboyant attitude inspire loathing, disgust but it also sometimes calls admiration from people around me. So I found a travel companion in my taxi who first raised eyebrows seeing my travel alone but then patted me for my so called bravery. The nice guy gave me his phone number and cited direction to Lohajung from where I had to start my trek to Bedni.

ajan top in lohajung
Ajan Top in Lohajung
I reached Lohajung around 5pm. A small village with some shops and a lone hotel and restaurant surprisingly invites trekkers from all over the world to trek to Bedni Bugyal, Roopkund 'Skeleton' Trek and others. As I dropped my feet from the bus, a young guy came to me and asked me whether I needed guide, tent, kitchen etc. for my trek. I politely refused and asked if I could pitch my tent anywhere outside the village.

Village woman in the field
At first he asked me to rent a room in the hotel, but after my insistence he invited me to his room. He later carried my tent to an open ground overlooking the whole valley and helped me to pitch my tent. He once again asked for any guide etc. but again I humbly refused.

After the night disaster morning I was sitting on the porch looking at my drenched tent. That night the guy and his friend went to the ground and rescued my tent. He came to me and asked whether I would like to go to Ajan Top, a big ground that locals called it haunted ground. I readily agreed and walked 5-6km through village fields and houses to reach Ajan Top.

Lohajung though just a stopover for trekking, a beautiful hamlet with nice solitary places to sit and see the Himalayan range. I spent two nights there and the place reflects me as a queer mixture of great warmth and great aloofness.
 

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 How to reach Lohajung?


First Route

Lohajung is a small hamlet perched at 2350mt, 7700ft in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. You can take either Ranikhet Express that leaves at 10:40pm or Sampark Kranti from Old Delhi (leaves at 4.00 pm) and reach at night. If you come from Ranikhet Express you will reach at Kathgodam at 5:45am and start your journey at the same day. Otherwise, you have to stay in Kathgodam for the night.

There are lots of other stay options in Kathgodam or Haldwani. Kathgodam and Haldwani are twin towns (5 kms separate them).

From Haldwani you can get buses to Gwaldam, which is 174km and takes around 4hrs to reach. And another 2 hours to reach Lohajung via Tharalli and Debal.

Alternate Route

Some trekkers prefer Rishikesh route rather than Kathgodam because of proximity and connectivity between Rishikesh and Delhi. You can take bus from Rishikesh bus stand on the Joshimath/Badrinath route and booked a ticket to Karnaprayag. It is 6-7hrs journey so take the bus as early as possible.

At Karnaprayag you can find shared jeep to Tharali, which is 47km. From Tharali to Debal you can find bus or jeep till Debal (14km) and from Debal to Lohajung (24km) you need break another bus or jeep. From Karnaprayag to Lohajung is around 3-4hrs.

There is a direct bus from Rishikesh bus stand that goes directly to Mundoli/Lohajung. Alternatively, if you are coming from Delhi, you can take a direct bus from Anand Vihar ISBT at 9:15pm, which directly goes to Lohajung via Kathgodam.

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6 comments:

  • Anonymous says:
    December 2, 2016 at 2:28 PM

    Hi

    I am solo female traveller planning to do trekking in brahmatal during Jan 2017. However I am confused as to how to reach lohajung which is the starting point according to the agnets. Will it be safe to use these shared taxis. Though I am indian i live abroad and my experience in indian public transport hasn't been plea sant. Thank you

  • Shubhajit Chakraborty says:
    December 4, 2016 at 11:58 AM

    hey

    Nice to hear from you. Lohajung is perfectly safe, and I can guarantee you one thing, Uttarakhand, especially Garhwal is totally safe, even with your belongings. Shared taxis are okay but you have to change two our three taxis or bus..depending on from where you are coming to Lohajung, either from Haridwar (long route) or Haldwani (shorter one), you can catch a bus.

    There is one direct bus from Haldwani to Lohajung, I don't know the timing but you can find it out.

    When you are going for the trek? I am also planning for a winter solo trek, probably in Garhwal..Brahmatal is a nice easy trek

  • Unknown says:
    April 10, 2017 at 9:05 AM

    Hello,

    Your post is very exciting to read. I am eager for my trip in June for the roopkund trek. I am a solo traveler
    I would prefer to reach by flight to Dehradun and then take road way to Lohajung.
    Do you have any information or leads for road transport from Dehradun to Lohajung. I have read your post but the availability of vehicles troubles me. Loitering around with big bags wont be fun
    Please shed some light
    Thank you

  • Janmejay Doshi says:
    April 10, 2017 at 9:08 AM

    Hello,

    Reading your post excites me. I am going for the roopkund trek this June. Solo traveling.
    I would prefer to go by flight to Dehradun and then take the road to Lohajung.
    Can you provide some leads or information about the availability of vehicle and the road and everything. I have read your post and the route but the uncertainty of vehicles troubles me.
    It would be difficult to loiter around with heavy bags.
    Kindly shed some light
    Thank you

  • Unknown says:
    April 11, 2017 at 9:57 AM

    we are coming to lohajung & planned for a trek to roopkund. we r starting our journey from Haridwar. Is there any bus from Haridwar to lohajung directly? or we have to go to Hrishikesh for a bus? can we rech lohajung in one day from haridwar?

  • Shubhajit Chakraborty says:
    April 12, 2017 at 11:07 PM

    There is no direct bus or shared taxi service from Haridwar or Rishikesh directly to Lohajung. You need to break from Karnaprayag to Debal, from Debal to Lohajung.

    I think the best way is to go from Haldwani. take a night train to Haldwani, and then Haldwani to Debal. Also, you can find a bus from Haldwani to Lohajung direct.

    Roopkund trek starts from Wan. you directly go to Wan and stay there overnight. For Roopkund trek, you need to take permission from government authority. You will find porters and guide in Lohajung.

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