Thursday, March 12, 2009
Rupkund : The deadly lake (Part 1)
When our Sumo reached Mundali bazar, a pair of hilly eyes full of curiosity peeped through the window. A brief introduction revealed that our guide Ranjit Singh Bist had come to welcome us at the gateway of his kingdom. Within 15 mints, we , the members of "Bohemian" reached Lohajang pass (7980ft) with an intention to trek to the deadly lake Rupkund. At the top of the pass, the motor able track ends. After having the lunch at the G.M.V.N canteen the first day trek began downhill with two ponies loaded with our belongings.
All through the route, innumerable falls decorated the green body of the mountain like white strips. Some of them were thin like young models, some were like bulky aged ladies. Ranjit was walking side by side and talking nonstop. He covered the episode of his training in NIM, his kids, his achievements as a guide,Nandajat and so on...At some distance the road was bifurcated , one route gone to Ali Bugial via Didina village and the other to Wan (8000ft). A board showed - "Wan 5 km". Just before the village a small temple appeared to be a check post. We rang the bell and entered in the village. This was the last village in this route. The gateway of the village looked like a modern amusement park, several nullahs spread through the whole village like spider web. The combined flow is known as Katigad ( in local dialect GAD means river) which is a tributary of river Neelganga. A few small houses are scattered here and there, most of them are white in colour. They are made of slate/ sand stone and mud, with a grass/straw roof cover. On the roof a layer of thin slate stone protects the grass cover from blowing off in strong wind. The walls, floor and floor all are coated with mud. The houses are two storied, the ground floor being the barn for the livestock and the first floor is the residence of the family. Though the average height of the resident is quite high in Indian context but the entrance of these huts are only about three feet high. Al the houses had space in the front, which were stained with yellow, red, purple colours. The yellows are of mustard, red and violets are of local food grain 'Chuya' or 'Ramdana'. The violet variety matures quickly, it becomes harvestable in only three months but it's quality is inferior to the red variety. In bird's eye view, Wan village was a perfect multifarious collage of green, yellow, white, red and violet.
Suddenly a drizzle started. I took the wind-cheater, wrapped in the waist, to cover my cameras. After a very short walk, we had to cross the river, but discovered the bridge was damaged. So we walked through the knee deep chilling water to reach Ranjit's house. He opened the lock , laid a mat on the floor to sit. He welcomed us with dusty food (which was offered to the local deity) made of wheat, sugar and butter, then with large pieces of cucumber with spice and then with a sweet and sower local fruit 'Aru'.