Watch out! Tiger!!!
Imagine the scare it would create. We were hurtling down the road at 1’o clock in the night and I was turning a corner in the hills past Tehri town.
Those were some crazy days… We were driving from Delhi for Ghuttu, somewhere between Ghansali and our destination Ghuttu, Praveen sitting next to me, saw a Leopard (that’s what it was!) getting up from the middle of the road. As our cars headlight hit it, it got up and scampered down the road side. We rolled up our windows and reversed to get to the corner of the road where it went down, but it was pitch dark and we couldn’t get a second glimpse.
This trip was for trekking to Panwalikantha Bugyal, which is one of the most expansive alpine meadows (Bugyal) of Garhwal Himalayas. It is known for its variety of flowering herbs, wildlife, and scenic landscape views.
The title is inspired from the local folklore. The villagers still say that “Germany ki ladai (WW2) aur Panwali Kantha ki chadhai, ek barabar hain.” Guess one of the villagers must have fought in WW-II.
Day 1 : Delhi to Ghuttu
From Delhi we drove 400km (12 hours) via Rishikesh, Talla tehri, Ghansali for our trek starting point called Ghuttu.
It was already getting dark as we crossed Rishikesh. Our funda on road has been that in plains avoid driving at night but in hills you can drive after evening. And we have always gone by the logic that, you should cover as much as you can on Day-1 and enroute keep your eyes open to find an FRH/TRH for your night stay.
Those days the work on Tehri Dam was in full swing. We drove through Talla-Tehri town (11+pm), which was to get submerged once the Dam was completed.
Reached our destination at around 2am. Found the GMVN TRH and luckily the guard also.
Day 2 : Ghuttu to Panwali kantha trekking
We must have slept around 3 in the morning and woke up at 11am, as we felt hungry. Had nothing to eat last night except for some chips etc with the old monk.
Spent time eating Aaloo ka paratha and asked for a guide. You need a local guide, who guides you through the terrain and also works as a porter. You should only carry your camera and water for the ascent.
Yes we were scared having spotted a leopard just yesterday. Anyways we started our track around 1pm. The initial half hour was through some fields and villages, but thereafter when the real ascent started, it showed us the glimpses of WW-II Germany.
Of the total 8 km trek we did approx 6 kms on day 1 and by 5 pm reached a point where there were temporary huts built/used by shepherds. Since this was an off season for them. We settled into one of these for the night.
It was made of mud, wood and dried grass. There was a fireplace with cooking space on one side and sleeping space on the other. Pankaj gathered wood/twigs and we lit up a nice fire. We enjoyed our drinks and Pankaj told us lot of stories re wildlife and life of shepherds etc. Meantime our dinner (Veg pulao) simmered in hot charcoal.
Ate and slept around 8pm.
Day 3 : Panwali kantha Bugyal
Woke up early @ 5am. Had our tea and went to bugyal in an hour, leaving our stuff behind.
It was only about 2kms and a comfortable hike to reach Triyugi Narayan. The Meadow was huge covering a dozen+ mountain tops, which were interconnected forming a huge plain green area.
I guess we were a bit late in October, but we could very well imagine the combination of green grasses, meadows of Alpine/Deodar and superb view of the greater Himalayan peaks, in April/May and August/Sept. Spotted variety of withering flowers, rhododendrons, moss etc.
Spent almost 3 hours exploring various spots in the Meadow.
Picked up our luggage on our way down to Ghuttu TRH.
Some villagers gathered in the evening. We shared our drinks and heard some more local stories.
Day 4 : Ghuttu to Delhi
Check the first two shots of Tehri Dam. Construction was on full swing and the roads were in bad shape. Had a cold water bath in a river.
Reached Delhi by evening.
Please ignore the dates in Pic. I realised later that the date setting in camera was not correct.
Also the credit for Feature image goes to internet as our trip was in dry weather.