The annual pilgrimage to Chamba Kailash starts from 22 August this year. However, trekkers and pilgrims don’t wait that long and start thronging in as early as April. Every year, a local trekking agency in Bharmaur opens the trekking route by organizing a winter trek in April.
This year a bunch of overenthusiastic trekkers tried to reach the lake in March, which led to a fatal accident causing death of two and a temporary ban on winter trekking. The ban was lifted in May and that’s when we decided to pay ‘another’ visit to the divine land of Chamba Kailash.
Our trekking party included three first timers and to my astonishment they trekked as if they were walking in their backyard. Despite this being my fifth visit to Kailash, this was the most difficult and arduous experience I have had so far. So much so that I almost gave up just after walking two kilometers. Now when I look back and think about it, it was nothing but my faith in the ‘mountain’ that led me to the top.
Dhancho is made of two words. 'Dhan' means livestock and 'Cho' means waterfall. Dhancho is a massive meadow spread across the both sides of the nallah that comes from the glacial slopes of Manimahesh Kailash.
We too had our over enthusiasts in the group. My friend Sourabh, a hardcore athlete and a passionate cyclist, decided to run all the way to the top. Because it was his first time in this region, he chose the path which should have been avoided by a first timer. There are two trails that run along the either side of Dhancho Nallah.
Sundrasi trail is most commonly used, which is on the right bank whereas the Bhairon Ghati trail on the left bank is steep, short, and usually secluded. Sourabh inadvertently chose the left bank and by the time we reached Sundrasi, he had completed his first Kailash Yatra came back via right bank to meet us at Sundrasi.
The tiny black spot you see towards left, between the glacier and blue tent is Sourabh. While we approached Sundrasi, he was coming back and was trying to negotiate his way through this tricky snow slope.
While the four of us walked 9 km on first day, Sourabh walked 17 km and he was still physically better than the rest of us. Although it was avoidable yet he decided to outperform all of us or maybe being an athlete, he always likes to stay ahead. However, such heroics should be avoided at high altitudes.
Surprisingly, the Deputy Commissioner himself is actually overseeing the preparations of the Yatra by personally visiting the lake. The makeshift bridges are yet to be erected but that will not take much time now because of active involvement of the DC.
जिलाधीश चंबा सुदेश मोक्चा की अगुवाई में दल रवाना
भरमौर से प्रशासनिक दल निकला मणिमहेश
मणिमहेश यात्रा की तैयारियों का जायजा लेगा दल
— Etv Himachal (@himachaletv) June 22, 2016
This year the valley hasn’t seen much snow. Even the higher reaches of the valley are dry and parched. India is witnessing a normal monsoon after ages and if it rains the way it should, you have all the reasons to not wait until August but embark on Kailash Yatra in June itself.