Kinner Kailash Yatra: Part I

A Call from the Himalayas

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One important lesson that I have learnt is that mountains are enchanting and they get into your blood! Whether you will or not, a call of the mountains cannot, by any means, be relegated! It is, in fact, a call….a voice… of your inner self….that must be listened to. After my Shrikhand Yatra in the year 2012, I had decided not to go to another trek in the Himalayas. The reasons that my logical self wanted were all there in my mind. The most prominent among them was my age. I would be 58 in a week’s time and everybody around me always used my “advance” age as a pretext to stop me from venturing into dangers that a Himalayan trek might have in its folds. Believing people’s voice, I, too, had joined in giving various reasons to my logical self about it….I was getting old, I had a family who had natural claim on me, and more importantly, they were really concerned So how could I put them into trouble on account of my passion for trekking. I tried to put all kind of logic to put off my craziness but just could not.
And the result was that I didn’t undertake any trek during the year 2013. But come July 2014 and my feet started itching…aiming for the mountains. I started making discrete inquiries from frieeds and strangers about Kinner Kailash that had been high on my to-do list.
I searched on internet for some information and came across a mobile number of one Vikas Negi. I called him up for information. “How many people are in your group?” He asked me. “Only my brother and I would be going”, I replied. He was not very encouraging. And when I told him, “I am 58”, there was slight dead-silence on the line. Although, there was some assurance but still listening to the “unsaid’ part of the conversation, I could understand the message.
But I felt the truth of the old saying that when HE calls you then nothing else can stop you. I would gaze at the picture of Kinner Kailash wherever available and would keep my dreams to myself! I could experience to call of the Himalayas. I had been feeling since long that Himalayas were calling me. I had to go, I must go. The feeling was so strong that nothing in the world could stop me.
I had not planned this trekking the way I had planned my Shrikhand trek so honestly speaking, I was not in very good physical form. The only thing that helped me was the long walk of 5 kms that we, religiously, went for every evening. So when we had finally decided for the trek, I wanted a good pair of shoes to wear during the trek. I went to the local Addidas shop and asked the salesman to give me a comfortable pair of shoes as I would be going for a long walking…and added consciously…trekking. “Where?” He asked me. “Kinner Kailash”, I replied. With a smirk on his face, he said, “you cannot reach Kinner Kailash”. All my confidence came shambling down. I realized how easily negative comments can bring down your enthusiasm and zeal. I persisted to argue, “I can!”. Perhaps he was not convinced but he might have thought that he had done his duty to forewarn me. He went about his job of selling shoes in a non-challant manner. But my husband and I were perturbed. When we were paying the bill, KS told the salesman, “She has gone to Shrikhand…and she WILL go to Kinner Kailash!” I was really grateful at the confidence that my husband had in me. His faith in my ability brought me out of the sullenness that had enveloped me!
So the next day I boarded the first bus for Rekongpeo from Hamirpur at 4-40 a.m. The bus journey to Rekongpeo was tiring. The bumpy road kept me awake and I was able to enjoy beautiful panorama from the window seat that I occupied. National Highway-22 was damaged at Urni dhank. The entire vehicular traffic was passing through Urni. The road was so narrow that one would feel like jumping out of the bus and walking on foot! I was, honestly, appreciative of the driving skills of HRTC drivers. The driver of our bus maneuvered the bus in such a skillful manner that I wanted to commend him for his courage and skills!
Finally at 10-30 p.m, after an arduous journey of 19 hours I reached Shongtong, a place 10 kms, from Rekongpeo. We had made reservation at the Forest Guest House. The mere imagination about the cozy bed and sumptuous meal waiting for me made me happy. The sound of the mighty Sutlej along the guest house made me go stronger in my resolve. The mighty and powerful Sutlej who could go anywhere, cross any hurdle welcomed me with her mighty roars.
My brother, who has been a constant companion to all my treks, waited for me at Shongtong. He had arranged for a porter who would accompany us to Kinner Kailash. With all the arrangements complete, we went to sleep dreaming of the wonderful experience that waited us the next day onward!

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