Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Trek to Chandanwadi

We stepped out of our tent to look at the clear blue skies and the silver clouds drifting across. The sun had still not risen. The distant snow clad peaks shimmered from the light at the daybreak as the golden sky kissed the peaks. The chirping of birds and the ruffling of the leaves by the wind were the only sounds that could be heard. The thick foliage of the trees and undulating slopes with a carpet of velvet green grass made the environment truly romantic! My wife was besides me. We were married less than a week earlier. The location was somewhere off Pahalgam at the Army Adventure Camp. We had arrived there the previous evening after gathering the details of the place from the Transit camp at Srinagar. There was a cluster of olive green tents for accommodation in the midst of the jungle where a sparkling river flowed.
‘Hello! How are you doing?’ a voice from behind our backs started us. A tall sikh gentleman almost six foot high with a silver beard and a rucksack on his back looked at us as he smiled.
‘We are fine sir, ‘I replied.
‘I am Col Manjeet Singh, retired from the Army in 1971 ‘he introduced himself.
We too introduced ourselves and he was amazed that just after our marriage we were there. We too were equally amazed to see the spirited retired Army officer roughing it out, full of zest. He had a married daughter who was settled abroad and his wife had passed away a few years ago. He was an avid traveler and fond of trekking. He was planning to leave for Chandanwadi which was about 16 km from the camp.’ Wow! What a coincidence! We too are leaving an hour from now’ I told him. He had interesting experiences to share as we chatted with him over the breakfast of aloo poori and tea prepared for us by the mess havaldar. It was very well prepared and after polishing off the breakfast we got our packed lunch from him and left. The colonel was in a fit physical shape, and soon overtook us.
My wife was still to get used to the new way of life and with high level of energy we both continued meandering through unfamiliar path. Soon we reached a hill top as we had strayed from the track. Luckily a local girl who was grazing sheep came to our rescue and we were back on track again!
After four hours we reached Chandanwadi and saw a lot of people having tea and lunch in dhabas. They were going on pilgrimage to Amarnath. It was good to see human faces again!  Col Singh was there too and waved at us. He had reached more than an hour earlier and was enjoying his lunch. We ordered tea and then opened our packed lunch as we were almost famished after the trek. Chandanwadi was a small hamlet with a few dhabas where people usually had sojourn en route to Amarnath. The wind was chilly and the spray of water from the gushing water rivulet nearby added to the beauty. We rested for an hour and Col Singh bid us goodbye as he stared the return journey. I asked my wife if she was willing to walk back.


‘Sure, ‘if the old Sardarji can do it I too can’ she replied. So we started our trek back. We completed more than half way when I realized that I was being unfair. Just because my wife had agreed to rough out with me did not imply that she would do all the soldiering from week one of our marriage.  I looked around and found a truck passing by. I waved at him and the driver stopped at a little distance. He asked us to hop in as he was headed in the direction of Pahalgam. My wife was tired after the long trek. I felt proud at her achievement and seeing her inspired by Col Singh. Later in the evening we enjoyed a campfire with him and others who too had joined. 





103 comments:

Chintan said...

My mum used to teach in a hill station called Bakloh. I used to live with dad in Adampur (punjab). Couple of times when I travelled to Bakloh from Adampur, we used to get really late and not get any bus...dad and I used to walk/trek for 5km to reach the town :) those were fun days :D

Chintan said...

This was a very nice story sir, please do share more...

Rahul Bhatia said...

Thank you Chintan for your beautiful comments!! I am touched..Good, that I could bring back some of your fond memories back!! I have a travel blog too which you may see http://travelpod.com/members/rahulbhatia20

Dr (Miss) Sharad Singh said...

Interesting memoirs ....

Rahul Bhatia said...

Thank you Dr Sharad Singh for liking the post!

☆ Rià ღ said...

Sounds so interesting...loved reading it.

Rahul Bhatia said...

Thank you Ria for visiting my site and liking the post

Spiderdama said...

Oh, how nice!!:-)Wonderful story. I love to hike with my husband. He has always said he will not go to the high summit with me, because I want to complain after 30 minutes.. but in August we went to the Tatra Mountain and walking for 9 hours! Without me complaining! Now he wants to go to Norway`s highest mountain with me:-)

Rahul Bhatia said...

Spiderdama- Thanks for visiting this blog! It must have been a wonderful experience to scale Tatra mountain! I have been to Norway but am yet to see fjords there :(

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Arti said...

Nice sweet encounter you had.. Such incidences not only touch our hearts but also leave permanent impressions and make the trip even more memorable for us.. Very beautifully narrated :)

Rahul Bhatia said...

Thanks Arti

divya ranjith said...

Interesting...

Rahul Bhatia said...

Thanks Divya for liking!

Arnab Majumdar said...

It's always nice to have such enthusiastic travellers alongside you on trips like this. Makes the whole experience that much more fun, doesn't it?

Cheers,
Arnab Majumdar
ScribbleFest.com

LUAR said...

Great writing! Wonderful story

Rahul Bhatia said...

@ Arnab- Thanks for liking!
@Luar- Welcome to my blog and thanks for liking this post!

Crystal Mary said...

It sounds wonderful and so good that you and your wife enjoy similar interests...I am glad you realise your wife doesn't have your vigor. Look after her and I am sure she will do the same with you. God Bless you.

Alpana Jaiswal said...

First of all thank you for visiting my blog "MOTIFS"..You have a nice place here,I have spent a greater part of my life in the hills,so they do interest me a lot.Will come back again.

Rahul Bhatia said...

@ Crystal Mary- Thanks a lot for the follow! I wish you the very best and am happy you liked my blog!
@ Alpana- Thanks a lot for the follow and am so happy that you liked it! It was a delight to read your nice creation

Menachery said...

that was an amazing read, good story as well.. loved the flow, and tyhe style of narration

Rahul Bhatia said...

Thanks for liking !

A guilty conscience said...

i liked the writing style....its like i am reading novel or something...nice read and a good story..

Rahul Bhatia said...

Thanks a lot for liking

Maitreyee Bhattacharjee Chowdhury said...

Interesting story :)

Rahul Bhatia said...

Thanks Maitreyee for liking this! I write more frequently for the other blog, which you may see , if you like! http://rahulsblogandcollections.blogspot.com/

Ruprekha said...

A very sweet post. Your space is lovely to visit.
This post took me back to my school days when we, a group of friends took a trek to Upper Shillong. I have always encouraged my children for this wonderful experience called trekking.
Nice to know DCE is your alma mater, my son is doing mechanical engineering from there now.

Rahul Bhatia said...

Ruprekha, Thanks for that nice comment!I am happy that as a teacher you inculcated this hobby in children! I have recently posted one more post on my trek to Gangotri and Yamunotri in the other blog!DCE was a great place to be and I wish your son a great career ahead after finishing studies there!

alka narula said...

i grew up in tht state and rem having spent most my summer vacations in pahelgam ,yr blog brought bk old memories ,,v beautiful place indeed.

PAPS said...

Interesting encounter.
www.thoughtsofpaps.com

Rahul Bhatia said...

@ Alka- Thanks a lot for liking! The place you hail from is just amazingly beautiful.. :)
@ PAPS- Welcome tomy blog! I liked your nice blog! You may see my other blog, if you like
http://rahulsblogandcollections.blogspot.com/

Rohit said...

vivid imagery, I could travel through your mesmerizing words,
~and that Fibonacci sonnet in ur other blog was a crafty piece too.
hmm.. lots of pick up from ur writing!!

Rahul Bhatia said...

Thanks a lot, Rohit for liking the blog! Welcome to my blog..

Rambling Of A Single Girl In The City said...

I love the way you wrote. beautiful written ..The way you praised nature reminded me of dad's way of writing.. Trekking sounds interesting but it is very difficult to do . I appreciate your wife's will power....

Irfanuddin said...

interesting one Sir and well penned too..:)

Art said...

I wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

sm said...

interesting story

Rahul Bhatia said...

@ Rambling of a Single Girl- Thanks a lot for liking and also following!
@ Irfanuddin- Thanks for your nice comment and liking!
@ Art- Thanks a lot!
@sm- Thank you!

Insignia said...

Its nice to reminisce wonderful moments as these isnt it?

I trekked with you :)

Rahul Bhatia said...

Thanks Insignia! That was a lovely comment! You may see my other blog where I write more frequently!
http://rahulsblogandcollections.blogspot.com/

fantasy in practicality said...

very well written,nice post:)

Rahul Bhatia said...

@ Fantasy in practicality- Thanks a lot for liking. I am honored that you are following! I also write more often on the other blog http://rahulsblogandcollections.blogspot.com/ which you may please see!

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Megha Sarin said...

I love the description of the post..well written.

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Rahul Bhatia said...

Thanks a lot Megha!Happy you liked it:)

sbo said...

thank you so much. fosbobetr good Archive

Manreet Sodhi Someshwar said...

Lovely story! isn't it amazing the ways in which we inspire one another? Cheers!

Martina said...

Lovely way of writing - like a mini-trip!

Rahul Bhatia said...

@ Manreet- Welcome to my blog1 Thanks a lot for following:) I am glad you like the story..
@Martina- Thank you Martina for those kind words!

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Ruprekha said...

Such fond memories! A lovely post. You reminded me of my trek at Shillong as a young girl. Thanks a lot.

Rahul Bhatia said...

@ Neesa- Thanks
@ Ruprekha- Thanks a lot Ruprekha for those nice comments! You may see my other blog too where I write more often:)

Christy Gerald said...

Very nice write up. Enjoyed reading it. Never did trekking. Wat an experience!

PAPS said...

Oh how really sweet of you to be so considerate towards your wife. I am not sure whether younger generation is as nice these days.
www.thoughtsofpaps.com

Krishna said...

beautifully narrated

thanks for sharing

Rahul Bhatia said...

@ Krishna- A sincere thanks for liking!

María said...

Gracias por visitar mi blog y dejar tu huella.

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♥●• İzdihër •●♥ said...

as usually nice story/

Rahul Bhatia said...

A sincere thanks, Izdiher for that kind comment!

Rahul Bhatia said...

Thanks Maria:)

DrZakir Ali Rajnish said...

Lovely Post.
............
कितनी बदल रही है हिन्दी!

Jenny said...

Rahul sir, this is an amazing encounter, and kudos to your wife
I have got a link of your travel site from the comments :-)

Rahul Bhatia said...

A sincere thanks Jenny! She still treks with me on every trip:)

magiceye said...

Wonderfully narrated!

Rahul Bhatia said...

Thanks Deepak!

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Nisha said...

this s so interesting...g8 tale...

Rahul Bhatia said...

Thanks a lot, Nisha that you liked:)

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Noopur Kothari said...

This was a nice story...will wait for your next !!

Thanks for landing on my blog, visit again :)

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Rahul Bhatia said...

Thanks , Noopur!

windiaw.com said...

very nice post ...

Rahul Bhatia said...

Thanks!

Ramya said...

Superb Superb :D Loved every min of your adventure and superb ‘Sure, ‘if the old Sardarji can do it I too can’ :D

now even I want to go there :D

Rahul Bhatia said...

Thanks a lot Ramya for having read this and enjoyed!! You must see Kashmir if you get a chance! It is just amazing:)

Madan Mohan Saxena said...

wow . Nice expression of feelings and words ... so beautiful. Good luck.
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Rahul Bhatia said...

Thanks a lot Mr Saxena! You too have penned nice gazals!

Tanya Sehgal said...

A fantastically intriguing experience :) Thoroughly enjoyed it ! Chandanwadi seems to be a paradise undoubtedly :) Thanks for sharing your experience Sir !
Glad to have you on my blog :D

Rahul Bhatia said...

Am very happy you liked this one Tanya! Thank you

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MillionLuck said...

Campfire make you romantic. Did u get romantic. Ha ha ha. Just Kidding.

R. Ramesh said...

haha answer millionluck..:0

Magia da Inês said...

¸.•°♡♡♫° ·.

Uma ótima semana!
Beijinhos do Brasil.
¸.•°❤❤♫° ·.

Team G Square said...

Amazing, wonderful to read a trekologue without a picture .

Magia da Inês said...

Boa Noite!
Ótima quarta-feira!
Beijinhos.
º° ✿✿ ♫° ·.

Magia da Inês said...

Boa Noite!
Ótima quarta-feira!
Beijinhos.
º° ✿✿ ♫° ·.

Magia da Inês said...

❥°º•.¸

Ótimo mês de novembro!
Bom fim de semana!
Beijinhos do Brasil ❥°º•.¸

Purba said...

That was some adventure and I'm sure you won your brand new wife's heart with your considerate ways :-)

Rahul Bhatia said...

Thanks a lot for that kind compliment, Purba:)

Akanksha said...

Very Interesting and captivating indeed for those who love trekking. Keep it up sir!!

Rahul Bhatia said...

Thanks for liking Akanksha!

i NumeroUnity said...

wonderful memoir Rahulji..
keep writing and yes, pl no captcha.. I am not robot :D

Rahul Bhatia said...

Thanks a lot Ekta! This was an older post so forgot to remove the captcha! I know you are more than Live and wish you continue writing to keep bagging all the prizes:)

Anita said...

Pretty interesting experience, Rahulji :)

K.Mathur, KayEm said...

Lived through that with you and your wife - especially the aloo puri :-)

Rahul Bhatia said...

A big thanks, Kay EM for taking time off to read my old posts:)

Renu said...

very in interesting..I find army people's life very fascinating..

Rahul Bhatia said...

Thanks a lot Renu!

Rachna Chhabria said...

Very interesting, Rahul. I find your travel posts engrossing, though it does leave me with a little bit of envy.

Rahul Bhatia said...

Am happy you liked this old post Rachna! Thanks a lot!

Rachna Chhabria said...

It felt nice reading the old post again. I feel you have lived a very interesting life Rahul, with lots of travel thrown in :)