If we talk about most beautiful treks in India, this trek rates higher than most of the other treks for a very good reason and you will definitely agree once you are on the trek.
I feel that there is something about the call of the mountains that is stronger and more addictive than any psychotropic drug. Once you’ve had the first drag of the crisp air and felt the adrenaline rushing through your veins, you know you are hooked and you know you will feel that itch again. To breathe in the crisp air, to feel the enormity of your surroundings, to feel how insignificant you are in the grand plan of the world and still to feel at peace with the way things are. My trek to Deo tibba base camp was one of the many that satiated my soul and satisfied my cravings. Within 2 hours of leaving Manali & few minutes into the trail you feel like you have been transported to a magical world of the holy mountains. On this trek you get to see peaks of Deo tibba, Indrasan peak, Inderkilla peak ,a glacier, Mini Chandtra Tal lake, a stream throughout the trek,pink,yellow,lavender colored flowers, and tonns of snow if you come here in the months of early summer. The combination cant get better and I don’t think you can wish for anything else on a trek. It is unquestionably an easy trek and feels more like a long walk.
Day 1: Jagatsukh-Khanul-Chika
I am not the one to take things too literally; I usually maintain the stiff upper lip. Maybe it’s the sailor in me or the discipline sea life commands. But I couldn’t help smiling as we drew up to the quaint green board which read Jagatsukh, which literally translates to – the happiness of the world. As far as first impressions go, you can already feel the positive vibes. Jagatsukh is an old kullu capital and now a beautiful village community.
The drive from Jagatsukh up to the local dam at Khanaul is full of hair pin bends that slowly draws you in with each passing breath. The drive is of around one hour and covers a distance of 12 kms. It’s like a well-made thriller,with each passing moment you can sense the excitement build up. You reach Khanaul and start the trek to the first camp site at Chika; the walk starts with a steep climb for fifteen minutes, for the next one hour the walk is gradual and takes you through the wondrously dense alpine forests in between offering a pretty lunch break site by the stream to relax and enjoy your lunch. Once you have stuffed yourself with food you start to walk again in the jungles which after a walk of twenty minutes opens to a small & ferocious mountain stream with snow on the other side. First few steps on the snow are difficult as you are trying to find balance, once you gain confidence to walk on the snow you leisurely enjoy the snow walk for half an hour. The last half an hour walk to the first camp site at Chika is in open grasslands filled with colourful flowers to give you company. The total distance covered is five kms.
Day 2: Chika-Seri
I woke up the next morning to a glorious foggy mountain valley, the sun slowly filtering in and the river gurgling close by. As we trek up from Chika the landscape changes almost every turn you take.The distance to walk today is six kms.The walk is quiet easy as you are mostly walking through open grassland with gentle ascends and desents. The first two hours the walk is mostly through grasslands and a river flowing close by.There are snow covered mountains from all sides and small streams keep coming in your way and its a lot of fun to jump and cross the streams. When you get tired of walking wash yourself in the streams and water is amazingly thanda. After walking for four kms, for next forty minutes you have to cross boulders which is a different kind of experience, and the boulders are of big size.The flowers keep changing colours from yellow to lavender to pink. Lunch at the clearing at Dodu Pathar amidst the beautiful surroundings. It is also a beautiful camp site at Dodu Pathar. After lunch at Dodu Pathar again the terrain is mostly comprises of snow and the tree line starts to dissappear slowly and you start to feel the air getting thin. Breathing gets a little heavy because you have entered the High Altitude zone.Dusk starts to set in. Enjoy the sunset once you reach Seri, campsite for the night. An impressive company of Sainik School boys have already setup camp and they are here to climb the Deo Tibba summit. The evening descends into the usual camp site revelry before you call it a day.
Day 3: Seri-Tenta-Mini Chandratal-Tainta
The final day of reckoning. We started early because the day ahead had steep climb & long distance to cover. After a walk through the meadows of Seri , we encountered a climb through the boulders onto a ridge. After taking a left turn through the ridge, the enormous view of Deo-tibba opens up. As the climb gets difficult we have to walk slowly because firstly the air gets thin as the altitude increases and secondly you have to use toe-ticking technique to get through the snow. Help of the guide really comes in handy. It gets interesting to try new techniques as directed by the guide and the trek leader to get through the tough snow covered path. After negotiating the ascend which takes time there is walk through the moraines to get to the camp site at Tenta . As i look at the altimeter of my watch in Tenta it shows 3900 Metres. The view from Tainta is funnelled and the view of Deo Tibba stays along. We continued ahead with the trail negotiating the boulders, crossed a stream and a small campsite. You walk with excitement filled in your head/heart to see Chandra Tal lake surrounded with mountains from all sides and some amazing peaks. This glaciated lake is high up on a mountain ridge. Much smaller than its other counterpart in Lahaul/Spiti, what it lacks in size it makes up in beauty. After collecting beautiful memories at Chandra-Tal, we retraced our way back to Tainta for the overnight camp.
Day 4 :Tainta to Chika
You walk back the same path you walked for last three days and camp at Chhika again where you can sleep under the stars before you hit civilization again.
Day 5 : Chika to Manali
The trail back to the Khanaul took around an hour from where we took our cab and headed for Manali to board an evening bus to Delhi.
We wander for distraction but we travel for fulfilment, whatever the reason may be the journey is always the most savoury part.As we head back home, I can still feel it in my bones. That addiction is never going to fade. If travel is a drug then the mountains are my opiate of choice.