Tag Archives: Rajus cottage

Trek Days 3 & 4 : Back to destination Goshaini from GHNP

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Trek Day 3  – Shilt to Rolla Hut (Trek 8 kms/ 4 – 5 hrs)

Day 3 as planned originally, was supposed to be a rest day with minimal trek activities and more of exploration and bird watching around the place.  However, we were unsure about spending the day at Shilt, as we did not find much to do the earlier day and minimal water access did not seem inviting.  Also one of our team mates, was unwell and preferred to trek back to the cottage.    So we all decided to go back to Rolla Hut.

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The trek downwards was faster, as expected.  We took in the breathtaking landscapes all over again.    It was blissful to be surrounded  by wilderness … a feeling altogether different when the only sound you hear around you is that of your breath and of your footstep.

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The way back though faster, was tougher on rocky terrains.  It was especially telling on the knees .   My knees gave way about half a km before we reached Rolla and I almost fell inadvertently a few times just before we reached our tents.

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However, we made it back in good time and then chilled out by the Tirthan riverside.    I spent some time with our guide Karan from Rajus cottage, to understand more about the place.   Trekking at GHNP has just picked up over the last few years.   People around in the villages usually do agriculture.  They also serve as part time guides, porters and do all odd jobs during the peak vacation seasons.  Popular activities here are cycling, trekking, fishing and camping.

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One interesting thing we observed at Rolla was, occasionally we would spot  some folks running down with huge sacks on them.    Apparently there is a therapeutic root called “Nagchatri” that grows in these regions.  Though it is illegal to remove these herbs ,   some villagers do sneak in somehow  and stuff them into these sacks.  Its big money for them when they sell it.  So finding labour during peak seasons gets tough apparently as many of them indulge in this.

As for the habitat, musk deers, mountain goats and leopards are apparently spotted sometimes.  Its haven to many birds like the Monal, Western Tragopan, Koklas, Flycatchers, Blue Whistling Thrush, Pulumbus water red star and many more. Apricots, raspberries, apples and cherries are a delicious delight you find on the roadsides.

Trek Day 4 – Rolla Hut to Goshaini (Trek 11 kms/ 4 – 5 hours)

As per our revised plan, this was meant to be the rescheduled rest day.   But  then, we woke up to a rather chilly and misty morning.  By breakfast it started drizzling.   It certainly did not look like an inviting proposition to be stuck to your tents when its raining around you.  Also there was this scary prospect of a heavy rain ruining your tents.   So, we  took out the only piece of accessory that hadnt’ come to use so far….the rain gear. We headed out in batches, from Rolla Hut to Rajus Cottage, that is, to the starting point.  We also thanked our stars, for getting back to Rolla hut, the previous day as it would have been awfully tough to navigate from Shilt during rains.

It was certainly a slippery slithery experience.  I watched my every step with extra caution.  I did not mind being the last trekker.   My husband stayed by me and we thoroughly enjoyed this lovely trek on that rainy day.  The lush greens just looked much greener.  The gushing waters under the bridges were noisier than before.  Unfortunately, we could not capture camera shots of the beauty we witnessed.    There were moments, when I felt, ‘if you could feel God’s presence,  it is here’.  Strange for me, to feel that way, but it stuck to my mind.

The rains sort of expedited the entire trek back.  In a way, it was best that way.  We were all focused on reaching the cottage as soon as possible, than to get stuck in the tracks.   It was also getting obvious that many of the trek trails can get completely washed away after a reasonably good rain.

We made it to the Cottage by lunchtime.   From then on, it was all about unwinding, drying some wet clothes and generally chilling out.  Raju’s cottage incidentally is a family owned place.  With just a handful of people, they manage the entire activities.   It is not like a hotel, so one   cannot expect things like room service.  Food is good.  However, you need to get to the dining area during the specific breakfast, lunch and dinner times.   The place is beautiful and adorned by a lot of butterflies, birds, trees and flowers.  Adequate spaces available for bonfires too.   They do have cycles for biking and conduct trek camps.  Most popular and sought out camps are the one day camps or a one night, two days trek camps.  Serious trekkers camp for 7 to 10 days where they go further up from Shilt to the source of the River Tirthan.

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So, all is well that ends well and our trekking expedition at GHNP ended thus.

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Trekking experience – at the Great Himalayan National Park

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Well, this is my first ever travelogue, largely inspired by my recent trekking experience at GHNP, Himachal Pradesh.    I havent really trekked much in the past and a trekking cum vacation plan at the Himalayan valley was more out of a  sheer irresistible temptation when I looked at the photographs of the place.  It turned out to be one of my best ever vacations .

On the 23rd of May we (2 adults and 2 children aged 3 and 7) boarded a flight to Chandigarh.   We reached Chandigarh by around noon.  We were warmly welcomed by Brighu (runs a travel setup Himalayan Adventures), who drove us down to Gushaini our next destination.  Our drive took around 8 hours approximately including the mouthwatering lunch at the roadside dhaba and several chai breaks.

We had booked in at Raju’s cottage at Gushaini for accommodation and for all the trekking arrangements.   It was quite dark when we reached and all one could hear was the only sound of the gushing river Tirthan.  We were quite amused to find out  that the way to reach the cottage was through a pulley over the river. It was a nerve tickling experience for the first time. This pulley is manually operated, meaning someone on the other side actually pulls you in, while someone on your side ensures you are seated.  (Perhaps the idea is to ensure prevention of riff raffs. )  We walked in straight into dinner where we met up with our pal Usha and family and her friend Gita and family, whom we were to join in for this trek.

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Trek day 1 : Route – Gushaini to Rolla Hut – (2100 Mts)  [Trek 11 Kms / 4 – 5 Hrs]

Next day around 8 am after breakfast, the trekking team comprising 5 adults and 6 children along with Karan (from Rajus cottage)  who had volunteered to be our guide for the entire trek, left Gushaini.   Apparently as per Karan, this is the first time a trek team of this size with families were taking the 5 day trek route from Rajus cottage.   The porters, carried our stuff like clothes for 5 days, tents, sleeping bags, stuff for cooking, etc and went either ahead or came later but never accompanied us.

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We carried backpacks comprising the lunch, some essential medicines, water (atleast 3 litres per family), some snacks, caps, kids jackets, camera and the rain gear.    This trek was a combination of hills, valleys and plains.  The picture absolutely scenic.  The kids did pretty well all on this trek .      Like treks go, you are definitely ready to crash, as your legs twitch and body aches (atleast mine did) before reaching the goalpost.    Just before the GHNP gate, we stopped for lunch at Hippo falls.  A sheer delight it was, to see the falls and  to put our feet in the ice cold glacier water. Refreshing ourselves, having lunch and stretching and turning, we took nearly an hour’s break as the kids played.    Then we headed to the Rolla Hut.

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The GHNP entrance is about half km from Hippo falls.  The entrance is apparently another spot where camping happens too.  But we proceeded to Rolla hut.  The path  to the hut is nearly a one man’s lane for most part.    Some of the inner routes required a  certain amount of navigation skills.

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After a 2.5 km walk from the entrance (again up, down & plain) we reached our destination, Rolla hut.  4 tents were pitched in.  Then there was also this “Toilet tent” that was kept at a strategic location – a high-tech (not really, yet a piece of ingenious conception) contraption.  Came in pretty useful too.

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The Tirthan river is quite accessible at Rolla.  We spent a good amount of time relaxing there.  By around 5.30 pm the bon fire was lit and by 7.30 we were done with dinner and made our way to our tents and got snug in our sleeping bags.  The only light by now was that of our torches.

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That concluded Day 1.  My next blog would be on day 2 Rolla Hut to Shilt, a tough trekking day for me.