The trail less taken-Dain Kund, Himachal

Date:7/08/2018

Venue:pohlani mata temple,dainkund,dalhousie,Himachal Pradesh.

approximately 10 kms from Dalhousie.

dhaulandar ranges

getting a 360 degree view of the Dhaulandar and PirPanjal mountain ranges.

Well, i feel extremely grateful and privileged, to have experienced something, i never did before, something that i will never be able to forget, something which i felt was my own, somewhere, where i felt i belonged. The day i witnessed all my senses becoming gateways of enlightenment.

I don’t know how many of you have ever experienced something like this. But, i hope many of you do. Those who have will totally get what i am trying to express.

After a very pleasant stay of 6 days at McleodGanj,we(me and my husband)hired a taxi and took a trip to Dalhousie,stayed at the Grand view hotel after reaching on 6th of august(8pm precisely),the journey was exceptional,which is beyond the scope of this blog(cannot help ,sorry for the technical language ),in short we experienced the richness,unpredictablity along with stability of the mighty himalayas ,from the kangra valley to chamba valley,there is a slight change in culture.we also chanced to experience a land slide amidst fog ,which delayed our schedule by around three hours.finally we reached our hotel,decided to take the night off and dozed.Woke up to clear skies(which we hadnt seen for the previous 3 days),Had our breakfast and took off for the day that changed something in both of us!!.

After visiting the picturesque Khajjiar valley(i wouldn’t demean i by calling it mini Switzerland because it has its own beauty and charisma) and trying a few adventure sports in kalatop, we decided very, fortunately, to go to Dainkund, like any other traveler I got interested in the etymological origins of the word.

The mountains are always full of unpredictable turns and paths,they are full of mysticism and ofcourse folklore and plenty of eerie stories.The people surviving there are’ far above the rest of world so high’ have their own set of beliefs and values and like many of them Dainkund has a special story.A rather interesting one,and there is something about the place that makes you believe it. p.s.We did not know it before be took the trail.

Dainkund=pothole/lake/water reservoir of witches.

The local folklore suggest(source:an old shopkeeper ,who was coming down the trail while we were going up) that this hill and the adjacent ones were inhabited by many witches once upon a time,who troubled the villagers and made it difficult for them to take their cattle for grazing and hampered their work .

so,they prayed to their ‘Mata,’ or deity “pohlani mata”(the wrestler Goddess).

She eventually got impressed and defeated the witches in a bout of wrestle,freeing the pond and adjacent hills from them.Therefore,it is called ‘Dainkund’.

sadly we couldnt go to the kund ,as it is located inside the airforce establishment and entry is prohibited.

Due to the windy and cloudy weather that day and previous 3-4 days, we did not find anyone except for two couples near the trail.

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empty chairs and lonely trails, the trail less taken.

We started around 5 in the evening and unaware of the magic that was awaiting us and tired of the days traveling, were not very motivated to take the trail, even our driver did not seem very enthusiastic about it.

But, we are very thankful to the two couples we met in between, one which encouraged us to go up(and see a glimpse of Manimahesh Kailash mountain)and the other one who said that they were retreating because they felt it was unsafe. nothing could stop my risk-taking husband now. am glad nothing can.and we took the plunge.

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the mighty Mani Mahesh mountain can be seen from here, where lord Shiva resides apart from our minds

We carried on the scenic 1.5 ridge walk, amidst the loud sounds of crickets and the very chilly yet moist wind blowing on our faces,with the smell of moist wood and soil,and a sight so picturesque and refreshing that i will be using it all my life for relaxation and guided imagery,my happy space.
The trail goes through a small patch which was dark ,slippery and adjacent to deep ridge as well,which looked less dangerous ,than it actually was due the the tall pine trees and other temperate flora and fauna.

we reached when there was nobody, not even the priest of the temple, only the three of us and it was so peaceful, we could hear our own thoughts, though covered with clouds we could not see the Mighty Manimahesh Kailash mountain. But, we suddenly saw a figure on the adjacent hill, and were taken aback, at the same moment, a man came from almost nowhere and said that there is no need to be scared, “that is an idol of pohlani Mata, you will be able to see it when the clouds go,but you should leave soon now, as it is getting darker and bears and other wild animals might harm you on the trail back” . Without waiting much now we started our walk back downwards, but the best part of the experience was yet to come.

THE Splendid sunset:

while coming down ,we halted for a while,just trying to absorb what we experienced and unknown to the fact that mother nature has yet another surprise planned for us.

The sky all of a sudden got clear and turned red, we could see the pretty orange ball, watching over us,the mountain around us seeming to celebrate the light , glowed , turned all bright and beautiful.We decided to play along and all three of us , without being under the influence of any substance experienced a feeling close to ecstasy.

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a sense of an unknown ,yet pleasant presence around me.
unending floating clouds and mountains
looking at the unending floating clouds.
dainkund trail
no filter glow
high on nature
high on and by nature

i started singing, both the boys started dancing we had the most gala time ever.

And yes we finally got to see Shiva’s abode, the mighty Manimahesh all glowing like fire, fierce yet comforting

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We understood that the time we had would not come back ever, and that nature is absolutely bizarre and unpredictable, you never know what you will experience next,it is possible that no one else finds this place as special and as intriguing as it felt to us,

“because it is the experience that heals not the place,and experiences are subjective”.

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no filters used

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we glowed along everything around us

The next day we took out time again and visited again, and while driving back could hear the mountains singing as they are called, bidding us goodbye and hoping to meet very soon.BEcause we belong to them and they are a part of us.

the best first impressions…

my first impression of mini Lhasa or mc leod Ganj

Well, I was extremely skeptical about this trip for a very long time since it was my very first solo trip far far away from home, it gave me jitters!!.

But, somehow since I really wanted to attend the workshop on RECBT (rational emotive and cognitive behavior therapy) and my husband persistently urged me to do so(on a lighter note, he had his hidden motives in sending me away I guess!!) I gathered all the courage I had and took the plunge.

I began my journey on 27th of July, from Bhavnagar( a small city, approximately 170 km away from Ahmedabad, known for its kayam churan by Sheth brothers and a lot of other things) where I am working and stay with my husband (We’re both doctors by the way).

I took a bus (Rajdhani travels) from there to Ahmedabad, reached home in about 5 hrs.

I had a flight to Delhi the next day, I took an afternoon flight as I was extremely scared of being all alone in Delhi at night, and my mother reinforced the fear,anyways i reached Delhi safely,took a cab to Isbt Kashmiri gate and waited for my bus(himachal road transport volvo bus, direct delhi to mc leodganj, u can book it online from the hrct bus website or red bus website) the wait was long for about 2 hrs, in those two hours I encountered an unclaimed bag lying around on the station ,reported about it to the authorities,bought a book called emotional intelligence first copy just for 100 rupees,talked to an old couple who were going to Dharamshala in my bus and finally the bus arrived(6:00 pm sharp,so it was exactly on time),it was a really good bus with facilities like a charging point near the seats,blankets , a common Lcd screen (watched the movie raid ,3rd time in a bus!!),they served bottles of mineral water sealed,and good recliner seats with proper leg space(not an issue for me, cause im short) and cherry on the cake was my next seat passenger was a pretty blonde girl!!(though I could gather courage to talk to her only by the end of our journey,so from myself being the damsel in distress,became the helping local co passenger(helped with translating english to hindi and vice versa), I felt awesome!.it was a 12 hour pleasant journey,though not sleep as the roads are all curvy . I was up early to see the sunrise and I cannot express how happy that made me.

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on the way to dharamshala

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I actually could not believe, that I made it so far all alone, in one day I came all the way from the mostly dry low land in Gujarat to this mesmerizing picturesque place!!

This wasn’t the first time that I visited a hill station during monsoons, ‘ve been to Mahabaleshwar, Lonavala, Matheran, Saputara, Munnar and Mt Abu and I loved all these places for their own beauty, But this place, brought out a new energy in me, I felt like i belonged here,i has always wanted to see Himachal after seeing it on screen ,in the movie Highway and a documentary called ‘when hari got married ‘ on Netflix,and my dream was about to come true!! maybe the air in Dharamshala is so pure and peaceful, it brought out the new spiritual being in me!!.

i reached the main bus stand of mc leod ganj and took a local cab to ‘takhyil guest house'(they pronounce it as takhil),this was my first experience of staying at a guest house(apart from ONGC guest houses), nd it was much more than expected. he location is prime and the manager is very cooperative, he let me check in way before the usual check-in hours with no extra charges.I had my breakfast at the neighboring cafe called ‘the peace cafe’ nice, cozy cafe welcoming me to the cafe culture in mc leod ganj!

the view from my room was of the marketplace, seeing people of all races, watching maroon-clad monks walking in sneakers and bikers on their enfields Tibetan flags gave me a hint of how the next 7 days of my stay were going to be!

mcleodganj market
the singing bowls

It rained heavily at noon, and the scene from my window was beyond explanation!!

the mountains were all covered with clouds,the sound of the drops of rain masked all the other noises of the marketplace, i could see people below running and looking for cover, i saw people below helping dogs to come under shelters,oh i knew i made one of the best decisions of my life of coming here!

dhaulandar
the dhaulandar mountain ranges
market place
mc leod ganj,#shot on one plus

In the evening our trainer had organized a pre-workshop introductory session, so i got ready went out , own the road had my cinnamon rolls at the BUdan cafe and walked up to the workshop office that is the altmind shift office, ocated at the jogiwara road, near the illiterati cafe. on my way to the office i got confused, at’the y junction, (Vodafone network at least prepaid is not very good in mc leodganj) as the map thing on my phone was not working properly, i had to ask the locals for the way(very unlikely of me!) they did not know where i wanted to go, so a young Tibetan monk helped me ,and i went all gaga!! finally,i reached the workshop and met with all my co-trainees and our trainer and all the first impressions were so good!!

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takhyil guest house

making me look forward to the upcoming adventures

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all charged up for the week

aloo matar!!!

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why aloo matar??

well because we being together since college times, have a very long history

but to cut it short, I was called aloo(the Hindi vernacular name for potatoes) by my friends with a lot of love they said and I trusted them(ignoring the hidden body shaming ?? maybe).

and my husband was called matar( the Hindi name for peas) just because his name starts with the letter P!!!! (lame I know, but this is how we were!!).

however lame and funny it may sound, this name aloo and matar has a very emotional significance for us.

 

and for sure the preparation of both of these that my mother prepares, is mouthwatering,slurp slurp.

therefore ,aloo matar 🙂

Gu jun Pyo!!

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Hi readers,i hope this catches your eyes.

Well during my very awesome 7 days stay at the surprisingly vivid and exclusive McLeod Ganj experience(about which i plan to write explicitly, later), this happened two days before I was about to leave.

I went to The Green Cafe at Bhagsu road, to try some carrot cake as suggested by our trainer for the workshop.(I’m so thankful to her!!). It was a Friday, around 6 in the evening and the cafe was filled with people from the USA, Australia, and Germany(i was intently observing everybody while waiting for my cake!).

when this very very adorable baby came in with 2 other girls, the girl carrying the baby had caught my eye earlier than I spotted the baby, as she was helping a dog to get under the shed.

But, being the introvert i am i could not start a conversation until i heard them speak,i could not control and exclaimed ‘are u from Korea?’ i don’t know but i guess they sensed my excitement and got excited in return “oh yes, have u ever been there?”

i said “no, I haven’t But i am an ardent fan of Korean dramas especially one”

they asked,”oh!! which one??”

i said “boys over flowers”.

they talked amongst themselves and said “gam Jan di”

i said”yes!! gu jun Pyo!!!”

and we both exclaimed together “oh he is soo handsome” and giggled,

therefore we bonded over a Korean actor!

thanks to my dear junior from school, who has recommended this drama to me.

I had binged it on Netflix!

yes we blame social media most of the times,but it has helped me in my growth for sure(apart from the entertainment)

about the baby,the picture tells,his name is jun hoo,and he was one of the sweetest bundles of joy ive ever seen.he was reaching out to me constantly ,so i gathered courage to ask the girl if she could let me hold him,she gladly did and he made me soo very happy!!!.

i regret not asking for the girls’ names ,may be we could connect more.(i went to the cafe again the next two days,hoping to see them,but i could not)

But this experience will have an impact on me for days i guess.

I still believe in goodness ,kindness and compassion,such incidences strenghten my belief for the same!

visting south korea is on my wish list now!.

and yes for the drama,do watch it if you like watching college ,cuddly romances!,the actors and the music make it very impactful! gu jun pyo(btw) is the lead protagonist character .

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the carrot cake that had me crave for more
the carrot cake