Thursday, April 4, 2013

Wait! Have I found a Million years old Fossil ? Oh, Wait I Lost it!

It was a trip, to find something, even more learn something about the Diversity and Geography of Mustang. A report was to be made! It all started out pretty well, a sleepless night travel, with a complementary tea(On the house, that is) at 4 am in the morning in Khaireni. So, half asleep- half awaken we reached Beni. The first sighting or learning of anything happened in Kusma, few vultures warming their bodies, right on the road way. Until they were chased by getting to close, Haha! Anyways, Beni, a small town with to many people, as it seemed then, may be its all because its the hub to one of the trekking plus a pilgrim, a very important one. It was already late afternoon, we were to have our meal and then Travel to Jomsom via a local bus. (We wanted to hike all the way, but most of them disagreed). So, bus it was. It was more of a rollar coaster ride than a bus ride. Rough and rugged roads, with Kali Gandaki running away from you anti parallel to your destination. If it wasn't for the absolutely majestic scene around you, you'd actually notice the back pain you have by sitting in the bus on that road. But the best thing about the that particular trip is the road! You couldn't ask for more adventure than that, if you're not willing to walk three days ;)

So, where were we? Oh, Wait, we were about to change the bus, change the bus ? (You may think) Yes change the bus, there has been a landslide so you have to change 3 buses, so as we've been told. Before that, or at present (I assume the road are clear now) you have to change 2 buses, one from Beni to Ghasa, then from Ghasa to Jomsom. What we did was, we took one from Beni to Bhirkatte, then from Bhirkatte to Ghasa and to Jomsom. Before you reach Ghasa there's not much to see around, just few land sides and dangerous roads. But after Ghasa the real experience starts to rise above the shinning snowy mountain to your left, right, in front, Oh, wait it because we were on a bus! But anyways it will rise in one direction. I think, before Ghasa to the North and after that, when you're half way to Jomsom to your South or at least on your back side! haha! 

So, Ghasa - a quiet, small place, beautiful and peaceful place. From there onward it was all about mountains and scenic beauty to your left, right, back! Oh wait , that because we're on a bus, again. But anyways then comes the road you've never thought of, one minute you're travelling on a road- actual road and next minute you're running on and over the Kali Gandaki river, and the bank. Not sure if that's the actual road or if its a detour since the river isn't that big at this time of the year? Not sure though!

We're almost there, look ahead to your right, that's Jomsom- said the driver. You have no idea how it felt to hear those words, haha! after spending a whole day in a bus I was more than ready to get of it and look around the place that I had dreamed of going to since very long time! Jomsom - I think everyone wants to go there,even you, the one who's reading haha! Of course if you haven't been there already. Back to the road, on your right , Jomsom as the driver said was quite far even in a bus. By the way I forgot to mention another famous stop in between. Marpha - famous for its Apple Brandy! I've heard its one of the best, I cannot give you guarantee because I don't drink and even if I had a little sip of Marpha in Marpha I'd not know how good it was since I don't know how good other brandy's are haha! Anyways, I've heard its awesome and some day, those of you who drink should definitely try it :).

Finally, we reached Jomsom, I know you're expecting for me to tell you a little about Jomsom, but we reached there at 7 Pm so I couldn't really see any part of Jomsom haha! So we have to wake up early in the morning to know what Jomsom looks like.

Tired as hell, had a dinner slept, laughing our way out haha for too many reasons, had to wake up at 5 in the morning then walk up to Muktinath Temple and return back, which was doable at that time, because we were told it would take not more than 5 hours to reach there :) . I slept well and woke up in time, and went outside to see what Jomsom looked like. It was quite dark and almost nothing was visible, I could only see a mountain- glimmering with snowy bed. But then again, with me seeing Jomsom, we had to start the long walk up to Muktinath Temple, we will see Jomsom later. The journey had begun, within pitch dark road, and a wooden bridge started walking, and walking. The first light of sun we saw was the one striking on a mountain, that made it look like it had a top made up of Gold. Here's a photo, not good quality though! (I had to convert it because it was too big for my internet to upload it haha ) 

Here you go! :)

It was a long way from there, walking beside and sometimes above the Kali Gandaki river bank.  
This is what I'm talking about! Hard to explain how it was haha!

After walking for few hours you reach Eklebhatti, with only few houses/hotels and nothing much, then for the first time you actually start to ascend upward. By the way there are two roads, there, one via another well known and famous place - Kagbeni - The mostly traveled one and another, not from Kagbeni haha - because I don't know what that other place is called. 

But in the words of Robert Frost 

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—. I took 

the one less traveled by

We did see Kagbeni on our right as we marched our way to the temple. And, separating away from a group of 45, me and two friends of mine walked a different way, not sure if it was the right way haha. But then we realized something, we didn't have water or any food with us haha! And I had forgotten some of the dry foods that I carried back from Kathmandu, I left all of them in Jomsom,since we were returning later that day! So we were half way to Muktinath, still about 3-4 hours to walk without food, without water, and oh wait, on empty stomach haha! But, after 1 hour or so, I did find one lonely hotel and bought few packs of biscuit and a fanta at almost the price of Gold ;) But it was enough to help us not die in the middle of the road. And, then after about another 1 hour we did meet up with rest of the gang and we reached a small village, had a cup of tea and biscuits and they said it would take about 2 hours from there, so we started walking and walking again! By the time I had walked for about 15 minutes I realized I was walking alone and everyone were walking slowly at the back, while I, fueled by Pink Floyd songs in my ear, walked alone. 

OH wait! I forgot the story of the Fossil, haha!

Well, what happened was, since we were to make a report about something, regarding the trip, we had thought we'd so something about the Fossils found there, and we weren't really looking for one but strangely we found one haha, and one of my friend had it in is pokect, and that place where I said we had our tea and biscuits, there was a small hill, completely snow covered and we were all rolling around the snow and my friend didn't even realized where he had dropped the only Fossil that we had found! But thankfully I had taken picture of it as soon as he found it! SO here it is hahah! 

That is all we have now, of the fossil that was few million years old I guess! 

Anyways, where were we? Oh, I was walking, and the thing is , we had walked for about 3 hours and it wasn't that exhausting, what was exhausting was the rest of the trail. Slowing ascending towards the top, and there were no people apart from me, well in front of me,  not even the local people from around there. But the way isn't confusing, moreover its almost one way to the top.So I wasn't lost, well I was lost in my thoughts, but that's different thing. 

Finally I saw some houses, and I was so glad that I reached there, just only to realize that all my joy were in vain. It wasn't Muktinath temple yet, it was Jharkot, which by the way was absolutely beautiful. Here, have a look at it yourself.

But then I saw the map in Jharkot and Jharkot was at the left end of the map and Muktinath was on the right end! And, not only was it on the top end of the map, it was actually on the top way of the topography as well haha. 

It was a long walk from there, but finally I saw the door, and which was just a door to the village, still you have to walk about 10-15 minutes to reach the temple, and on top of everything, If the whole trail wasn't enough to drench your feelings and drench you in sweat, the final few ladder steps to the temple will :) 

                        Stairway to heaven , well not heaven but its heavenly up there and, its believed you'll end up in heaven if you take a bath in ice cold water, not in a single but 108 Taps and if that's not enough, dive in two ponds with almost frozen water ;)

But its all worth it though ;)

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