WORLD BEYOND ROHTANG - HAMPTA PASS TREK
The sole reason I wanted to do the Hampta pass trek was to see Chandra Tal lake (read the Fairy Chandra Kahani behind the lake and maybe to see this lake will also be on your travel list), I had dreamed of seeing this lake since April 2012 and the dream finally came true in September 2014. The D-days arrived and I took the first step (board the bus to Manali).Little did I know that the world beyond Rohtang had way too much in store for me, more than what I could have dreamed or expected. Firstly to see 2 completely different types of mountains while walking ( Himachal Pradesh mountains all green, the kind you see in Manali, Nainital etc. & Lahaul Spiti mountains naked and barren, raw mountain beauty). Secondly to actually experience the symptoms of High Altitude(from hearing people say pretty (instead of the party), mausham (instead of mausam) amongst other fun experiences on the trek. To clarify here high altitude can make you stammer. Thirdly the people/strangers that you travel with can really add lifelong memories.
The minute you leave the 4 wheel vehicle and start walking on your foot, you will only see views/ beauty which would feel like unreal, as if someone has painted this pretty picture for you to see, because honestly the trail seems/feels unreal (water stream, meadows, sunder sunder flowers, sheep’s, weather teasing you). The first campsite Chika is a teaser for the rest of the trek. Chika allows you to sleep peacefully at night only to wake you up to winds slapping you in your face and telling you welcome to 8000 meters & above and the roller coaster ride begins. Nothing to worry about as Mother Nature and the barren mountains from all sides keeps you protected and allows your DSLR cameras to take its best shots ever.
Walk endlessly with nature, company of humans, and collect memories to beat the heat of the city life. Next campsite Balu-ka Gera is a campsite which cannot be written about in words, experience it and like me hopefully fall short of words to write about it. Next day you walk through ice; ice everywhere, if you have read about what PASSES are in the mountains, after getting to Hampta pass you will realize why passes are difficult to cross. But again the beauty of the trail keeps you in best spirits. After you have crossed the pass you will enter the remotest district of India (Lahaul Spiti). Jaw dropping views of the barren mountains( I would any day prefer mountains of Leh/ spiti to Himachal/Uttarakhand, I have had endless discussion on the same, but each one to their own personal preference).
Camp site at sheagoru is definitely one of the best campsites for me personally. You wake up the next day to be on the road (after some walking) to one of the awesomest road trips in the country. And finally you reach Chandra Tal, sit by the Tal and see the water change colors because of the sunlight falling on the water. After chilling at Chandra Tal, you drive to Chatru and spend the night there before you meet civilization the next day. You end your trek by crossing Rohtang Pass and boarding the bus back to Dilli from Manali.
I have not spoken to or met most of the people (afterwards) I did the trek with but they never fail to bring a smile to my face whenever I talk/think about the trek. While I’m writing this (Molly, Girish, Piyush, Darpan, Refugee Camp, Nishant, Rakesh, Dennis, Polu Ram) I can’t stop laughing and too many crazy memories are shuffling in my head and heart. I’m glad that we crossed paths with each other. This trek for me personally was about the people in the trek and the nonsense/intellectual/dil ki baatein/talks. Piyush has already written a post on Hampta trek. Hampta pass trek is a bloody beautiful/mesmerizing trek. I remember sitting with Refugee Camp at Sheagoru at night and he told me “maine kabhie itne sunder views nahi dekhe”. Magic of the mountains makes you fall in love with yourself.