Last year, I decided to visit the Valley of Flowers and that is one trek that changed my life forever. The beach person in me finally decided to temporarily cross over and become a mountain lover. Soon, I realized I can easily manage being both. Summer set in a little early this year and with it, I decided to head to the mountains again. This time, I chose a trek to Nag Tibba in the lower Himalayas. I had heard very good things about this one, and trust me, it was better than my expectations. The trek begins from a small picturesque village called Pantwari near Mussoorie and can be completed in three days time. It's not a difficult trek in terms of number of kilometers to cover, but it sure requires a certain amount of fitness level.
Nag Tibba or the serpent peak derives its name from a famous legend of the area. Back in time, the area was drought ridden and lack of water was a pressing problem. Milk was available in abundance but there was no water. A farmer from one of the villages in the valley dreamt that serpent God asked him to build him a temple on the hill-top to solve the water crisis. A temple he built, and hence the name of the peak. Milk was offered to serpent God in the temple, and magically, it transformed into a stream of water coming out of the temple. They say that during summers, the phenomenon is still visible. And since then, the area has always got ample rainfall for life to sustain.
It is stories like this one that make visiting unknown villages so interesting. Whether to believe them or not is a separate thing, but they sure are very entertaining and thought provoking at the same time. Back in the day, prayers were answered, but today, our farmers are committing suicide in response to the same problem. :( Alas, No Gods, no Governments are able to change that. That's the sad part but maybe somewhere out there, there's a better picture too. We passed many a farms through the days and it kind of brought this feeling of immense joy seeing a good harvest.
We were a group of six including a guide and we reached Pantwari by noon. It had started raining just when we reached Pantwari. Our guide recommended to rent a rain-coat from the village before moving forward. In his words, "Pahad ka Mausam, Bombay ka Fashion kabhi bhi badal sakta hai" meaning whether of the mountains and Bombay's fashion can change within minutes. We were all very amused at this comparison and I made a mental note of including it in the blog-post. From behind the mud-huts on the other side of a narrow road, we spotted a walking trail. And then, the adventure began. Rain had stopped by now, after making the path slippery. In a few minutes, we left the village behind.
What followed was a walk into dreamland. There were trees all around and the air was as fresh as it can be. The sky was blue and my camera was warming up to new found beauty all around. There was fragrance of rain in the earth, birds were melodiously singing and my heart was happy. We spotted a pair of magpies, swaying around and chirping all the way. Though they were too far away for a picture but that image is permanently etched in my memory. We were only a few minutes away from the village and it was already so serene.
There's a lot that happened on that trek and I can't possibly cover it all in one post. I learnt many a things about mountains, trails, people, travel and life in general. This was the first time when I ventured into the wild without any of my buddies and that was something that opened my eyes about a lot of things. My adventure story to Nagtibba trek is coming up soon.
All thanks to GIO Great Indian Outdoors for sponsoring my trek. I would never have liked it as much if it hadn't been for the various people from GIO and their commitment towards the Himalayas; to make these snow clad mountains accessible in such a way that it does not damage the ecosystem and the environment.