“Hemkund Sahib” possibly, the most famous Guruduwara after the Golden Temple of Amritsar. And with the height of 4380 Meters from Sea Level, the Hardest one to reach…
The Base Camp for Hemkund Sahib (H.K.S) is Govindghat. From Govindghat, The Total Distance of H.K.S is 20 KMs. For the First 4 KMs, Cars are Available, which goes upto a place called “Poolna” From there on, you have to Climb the rest of the Way to the Next locality, Ghangharia (or Govinddham). Which is 10 KMs from Poolna. From Ghangharia, H.K.S is 6 KMs, and the Climb is the Steepest.
Now, I thought Taking a Car upto Poolna, was a luxury I can do without. So, I started from Govindghat on Foot, Around 7 AM.
Within 3 Hours, I was at Poolna; and with One Heavy Rucksack and Another Backpack for My Camera, I felt proud of myself.
I. Was. Wrong.
The next part of the trek took the life out of me. And with the flood of Sikh Pilgrim around me, All I could hear was “Jo Bole So Nihal” and “Sasriyakaal”.
It was a taxing climb upwards. But the Sikhs were very helpful, they offered me food, glucose, water, even drugs (Just Google “Dode”).
And it took me 11 long hours to finally reach Ghangaria.
I took my rightful place in GMVN, with my five roommates. One of them was a Tamilian, Four others were Punjabi.
So, what happens, when you put One Bengali, One Tamilian, and four Punjabi in one Room ?
…Nothing ! They sleep till midnight, until the Bengali creates a Ruckus, as water is dropping from the Ceiling into his bed…
Anyway… After spending the night in a wet bed, I woke up @5.30 AM as planned with a light fever. But couldn’t go out because of the Rains. I waited for another hour and as the Rain stopped, I went out for H.K.S
There are two thing I clear about.
1. Valley of Flowers was a bust; with this much rain, I won’t be able to take my camera out, and locals said that flowers don’t come out till late July or August…
2. I gravely underestimated the Cold.
I had only a T-Shirt underneath my Raincoat. And although I was constantly walking, still my light Fever turned into a real one. And a splitting headache wasn’t helping anything…
Then came the Rain… And the Snow…
As I was sitting Beside the Road, the Steepest 3 KMs of Journey still remaining, a man offered me a mule-ride (not free of cost, ofcourse). And I took it.
And… That was one of the gravest mistake of my life. As my Physical Activities stopped, I could feel the sweat on my skin freezing. My fingers froze, and my head felt like it’s going to explode.
When the road ended, i was unable to reach in my pocket and for my purse. I struggled a bit and paid the mule-man.
Like a zombie, I went straight for the Langarkhana. And took a sip of the saffron enriched boiling tea, signs of life returned to my body. I won’t hesitate to say, that was the best cup of tea I’ve ever had.
I ate a bowl of Khichdi and another glass of Tea, then as I’ve came to my senses, I went for the medical camp, and had a Paracetamol.
As a started my journey back, I met a young Sikh named Satnam Singh, and his wife.
We became acquainted pretty quickly, and planned on going towards Govindghat together.
We reached Ghangaria by 4 PM. Stayed the night, and started today morning.
I was in Joshimath by 2 PM. With my Calf Muscles and Thighs Complaining. I took a shower, ate, and Went to Bed.
I said to myself before, this trek is going to be a Trek of Soul Searching, and Self Discovery. And I was right. What I’ve searched, and what I’ve found, I can’t express in words. But with that food from Langar, I realized, best things in life comes for free.
Sorry for this hurried post, but this is all I could conjure up after three days of Exhaustion…