The unquenchable thirst to wander in the mountains of Himachal will leave your throat so dry that you will take a sip from one of the many streams that you stumble upon when trekking in the valley. The valley’s charm literally sucks the energy from your body and replenishes itself, only to give it back to you, in the form of mental peace and satisfaction.
Every time you mark the wet soil and dry leaves with your shoe print, you leave behind a story that has traveled across the vale, only to immerse itself in the place where it all began.
A thousand elements that create the mountains and the beautiful trees are an embodiment of the artful workers who chiseled the Taj, some hundred years ago. Similarly, the mastery of the elements, in creating this beautiful physical structure of mud, rock, and life, is something that makes you believe in celestial things.
A fragment of such a creation is Kheerganga – a place blessed with Shiva’s purity and presence for thousand years.
Located at a height of 2960m in the Parvati Valley, Kheerganga is a meadow that nestles in the laps of the mountains, which surround it from north-south direction. To your east, an endless stretch of the gigantic Parvati Valley distorts your imagination, while the west dazzles you with a dramatic scene, which reminds you of the closing golden eyes of a baby that has seen the wonder of the sun at dusk, for the first time.
The 7km journey to Kheerganga starts from Barshaini via Nakhtan. Barshaini is a stop-over that leads you to the two of the most popular destinations in the valley – Tosh & Kheerganga. The trek from Barshaini to Nakhtan is physically demanding – if you plan to carry your backpack up there. One option is to leave your backpack in Tosh or carry it to Nakhtan and keep it with the locals or carry it all the way to Kheerganga if you are ready for some action!
As a trekker, if you are fast and leave your friends behind, then don’t worry about being left alone, because the Parvati River is always by your side. At Rudra Nag you get to interact with the gushing and wild Parvati River, from above a bridge – because who wants to flirt with Shiva’s better half! And that’s when your actual journey through the dense forest of Parvati Valley begins.
Just after you cross the bridge, a small open patch surrounded by the pine trees is perfect for relaxing before you begin the steep climb of 15 minutes – the only difficult patch of the entire journey.
After you cross this patch, the journey ahead is quite soothing. At a point, the forest gets so dense that the ferocious noise of the Parvati River seems lost in the realm of the towering pine trees. The smell of fresh pine and the touch of the moss gathered on the rocks will be your reminiscent when you resume activities and miss life.
And as you wade through the forest that wears a façade of timidity, you realize that your existence is just an imagination and that life, in its true sense, thrives in a place like this.
The spider-web is bejeweled by the dew and looks like the DNA strand, which has all the secrets of the life created by the forest for itself. The hollow trunk of a thousand-year-old tree is a peep into the dark yet alluring nature of the forest. You feel warm when you stand inside the hollow trunk and gaze at the abyss beneath you and the sunshine above you.
And as you march ahead for the meadow, you realize that you walked in a heart all this time, to reach the top, which is the mind of a celestial being.
(For more pictures – www.instagram.com/saumitra.s)
– Saumitra Shinde