My heart is aching for the mountains. Yet again. But, since I am staying put in the city for a couple of weeks to come, I will do the next best thing that is; writing about the mountains. The answer to wanderlust sometimes is re-living memories to fool the heart that places you long for are not as far away as they seem to be. That’s precisely what I plan to do today by sharing heartwarming stories of the Himalayas from a trip that I was fortunate enough to be a part of. Curated by TCBG World as a part of their second anniversary celebrations, this one brought along an interesting bunch of people at the pristine Tirthan Valley of Himachal Pradesh. Our stay was hosted by Tirthan Angler’s Retreat , located in the outskirts of the sleepy old village of Barnagi, which we all instantly fell in love with.
Leaving the village behind by a couple of hairpin bends, imagine a valley covered with a lush carpet of greenery bordering to eternity. A misty hangover of clouds dramatically overshadowing the sun and river Pulachan gushing away, creating melodies too good to be described in words. A staccato of pretty cottages lined up here, the only signs of civilization as far as the eyes can see. A hammock overlooking the river and aroma of a delicious meal being cooked on the make-shift chulla by the riverside. A downhill trek of around half a kilometer brought us right in the middle of a beautiful nowhere that is Tirthan Angler’s Retreat.
Far away from the chaos of life, many heartwarming travel tales sprung to life. Conversations brewed up and flowed across as freely as the river outside. Weather played along, and a light drizzle added to the charm of Tirthan valley for us city dwellers who were anyway waiting to be swayed away by the mountain wind. We spent a leisurely day admiring the beauty of the valley as well as simplicity of life beyond network connections. I hardly noticed when the evening gave way to dusk, the mountains still kissing the clouds in a lovely embrace, not allowing them to leave.
Anticipating rain the next day, we still made plans of visiting Jalori Pass. It was a tough call to choose between a leisurely hike around the village or a drive to Jalori Pass. Thankfully, sanity took over and voted for a drive to Jalori Pass, my legs still aching and tired from the trek to Rainbow Falls in Meghalaya, a couple of days ago. Next morning, as we bid adieu to Tirthan tucked away in an Innova, the Himalayas surprised us all once more.
Our hearts warmed up as we admired the beauty of the mountains, with the views getting better and beautiful with each hairpin bend. Our driver noticed fresh snowfall in distance, and claimed we were very fortunate to see nature’s pristine white love in the month of May. Jalori Pass was still a few bends away, but this stopover was so pretty, it was hard to move away.
As we moved further, these snow clad mountains started emerging to reality from the realms of our dreams. Soon, we could touch it and feel it, though it seemed like an unreal, mystic fragment of our imagination. I guess we were nature’s favourite children that day. As someone rightly mentioned, our destinies converged and the collective power of this amalgamation created a white canvas of snow on the mountains.
Nothing could have prepared us for what lay in store for us at Jalori Pass, 10,200 meters above the sea level. Like a bunch of excited kids, we got out of the car and stepped into what can be only described as a piece of paradise.
We have our own personal Lonely Planet Guide Puneetinder Kaur Siddhu to thank for the chai and maggi we had staring at this view from the windows of a dhaba ! I swear I could have looked at it the entire day without blinking an eye.