In search of Chanderkhani moments…

splendid view of Himalayan ranges from base camp at 15 Mile (Manali, Himachal Pradesh, India)

To lay down the background, I am an engineering student, just finished the college and will be joining my first job soon. And hence I decided to spend the last official summer vacation of mine in the beautiful, scenic Himalayan ranges — on foot rather than in closed cars or buses. And choosing Chanderkhani pass for my first national trek certainly paid off.

Beas river and surrounding forest

I have done few other treks in my home state — Maharashtra, but to begin with I selected one with ‘beginner’ tag on it. It is quite an easy trek, and with little help one can finish it comfortably. The maximum height trekkers attain is around 12,000 Ft. (so, there is a very less probability of person getting hit by any mountain sickness). The organizers usually arrange these treks so that participants should get balanced ascend and descend while moving from one camp to another. To start with, I joined Youth Hostel Association India Chanderkhani pass program. It’s very efficient deal; costing you around 5000 bucks to finish the trek. Although, to reach the base camp you need to make arrangements on your own. The tented accommodation and food arrangements were really appreciable at all the camp sites. The camp sites chosen are breathtaking and beautiful. Talking about the trek, road to Chanderkhani pass takes us through various riverbeds and mountains covered with unique flora and fauna. These alpine forests form totally different world for a person like me who had done all his trekking in tropical regions of southern India. For the first timer in alpine ranges, I would definitely recommend this trek.

“Climb the mountain not to plant your flag, but to embrace the challenge, enjoy the air and behold the view. Climb it so you can see the world, not so the world can see you.”

After 2 days of acclimatization and physical activities at base camp we were dropped off near Malana dam — starting point of our trek. Day 1 of the trek seemed very easy with fairly built road to walk on and a small ascend at the end. What really got pointed out is the village Malana — it’s rules and ‘secrets’.(you should try googling ‘Malana’! :P)

From left to right — Well, the ‘Expected’ visitors-Bum Bum Bhole! — Beautifully carved temples from village of Malana — Campsite Yosgo (9000 ft.)

Walking through this village was little messy as every human civilization has it’s way to destroy nature, but the village has few very beautiful temples and structures for sure. But all these was taken away by the camp site which rests on cliff with breathtaking panorama to look at. The night was spent speculating various things about Malana village itself and we danced a little too.

Few glimpse from campsite Behali (8900 ft.)

The next day, the camp leader convinced the guide to have small tour of village, to see their heritage. After pack lunch, we got ready for trek no. 2. Destination was the most beautiful camp site of this route — Behali. Camp site resides on the banks of river. Surroundings are covered with lush green grass and mountains guarding from 3 directions. One can find his/her moment of ‘inner-peace’ in loudness of flowing river. It was a beautiful time indeed.

Next day we marched to Dadru. This walk was a usual and smaller trek and again ended up in yet another beautiful campsite. I do remember epic view of sunrise from Dadru.

The amazing sunrise, the waterfall and a cup of tea at campsite Dadru (9300 ft.)

The Next camp is Nagaroni — Highest campsite of this journey. Even being at such high altitude we were served with Gulab Jamuns and that made my day. The weather at such heights do surprise you with ever changing winds and raining and hailstorm at random.

And then began the last, memorable trek of 14 km. We woke at 2 in morning and with breakfast, pack-lunches we began at 4 o’clock in the dark. This last part of trek is amazingly wonderful. As altitude rises, mountains loose there tree cover and we are left with grasslands. We saw huge Griffins hovering around and newly blossomed violets. We touched 12,300 ft. Having an omelet at 12,000 ft was a heavenly experience. Then began the descend. We reached Nauya Tapru at 2 pm in the afternoon.

Final ascend towards Chanderkhani pass

Descending around 4 Km more from the last camp, we reached the city of Nagger. Base camp — an hour ride from there. The last trek would have gotten boring as everyone was eager to reach home but we found our joy in wild strawberries. And these small sweet incidents made this trek memorable. It was a great experience meeting strangers and becoming friends with them. Sing along before sleeping in tents, playing games with camp mates, learning from experiences of elders and professional trekkers. Before losing ourselves in the rush of job life, we certainly did breathed some fresh, clean air and we found our Chanderkhani moments…

I hope this little travel story will help you know more about Chanderkhani trek. No matter which age group you belong, you should definitely give try to such experience. You can get more technical details about the trek on the various adventure organization websites.

“The life you have led doesn’t need to be the only life you have.” — Anna Quindlen

Cheers! Have a good day! Keep wandering!