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Hill Beckons: Trip to the Snow-Clad Uttarakhand

''Heavy snow, piping hot food, skiing & trekking: All these & more in Rishikesh, Ukhimath, Joshimath.''

'My backpacking Tale' : When you live in a big city you have nothing to call your own. Your apartment is rented, office is temporary, hell even your life is not owned by you. It is owned by all your petty worries. So, after reading about all this, seeing my friends crib about it and experiencing it first-hand, I decided to go on an adventure Cool.

For a person like me an adventure is a rare commodity and living life was something I hadn’t done in a long time. So, I packed my bags, got my bike serviced, convinced a friend to come along and hit the road. The first feeling after leaving Delhi was that of liberation. In my bag I only had my luggage, no laptops, no mails, no office work… no worries. We hit Rishikesh soon. We had planned to do some river rafting, but the majestic flow of Ganges made us sit there for hours.

The hills were calling us the next morning and we rode through the curvaceous and dangerous roads of Himalayas. We had planned to make a stop at Chopta, but the road had other plans. We were welcomed by snow after Ukhimath and it was a rude welcome. We had to turn back and stay at Ukhimath.

After a night spent in anticipation we woke up early and rode to Joshimath. We had planned to park our bikes at the GMVN guest house, but for the third time in 3 days we changed our plan. We rode further on the snow-laden roads. Looking back at it I feel it was stupid of us, we could have been killed Innocent. But at that time I needed some stupidity. Our stupidity lasted for 4 km, after that we came to our senses and to Joshimath as well.

Took a lift in an army truck and we 2 boys of plain reached the peaks of the mountains to the Ski Resort. The view itself took my breath away. For a person who hadn’t seen snow all his life it was like a dream. We got ourselves registered and started to practice skiing, something – to put it kindly- didn’t come naturally to us. And results were obvious we were…awful at it. It was like being back to school in the Maths class. Only this time I was enjoying the learning process.

After the first day everyday was more adventurous than the other. After taking our Ski sessions from early morning (we improved every day…though not at a rapid rate) we used to go on afternoon treks to nearby places and ate samosas & Jalebi at ITBP canteens. The ITBP soldiers were preparing for the Winter Games and performed awe-inspiring stunts. We used to gather for dinner early but the sessions used to go on till late. We made some great friends at the dinner/gossip sessions, fellow humans who were trapped in the world of machines. We spent 6 days merrily like this. But then something happened on the morning of the 7th day…

…it started to snow. At first I was apprehensive, but then I braved my fears and took life head-on. What I felt then playing in the snow can’t be articulated through words as it reminded me of that time of my childhood when I knew no words. At that time I realized why westerners love Christmas so much…it snows. When I went to sleep that night I kept waking up expecting Santa Claus to ride from the heavens on his sleigh.

We couldn’t ski for the last 2 days due to heavy snowfall, but the bon fires in the room, the gossip sessions and the snowfall more than made up for it. Then the dreaded day arrived we said our good byes to the new friends, picked up our bikes and headed home. But it was the first time that I didn’t want to see my home. I don’t remember much from my trip back but I do have the memories of those 12 unforgettable days in my mind. They are my own and no one can take them away from me.

Source / Review By : Anupam Kishore

Escape Diary (Lonely Planet). Anupam handles media relations in Old World Hospitality

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