Stayed in Chhitkul today. And stayed mostly on foot. We started late and took it easy. We enjoyed the chilly morning air and I even felt the cold floor with my bare feet for the lack of slippers! For breakfast, I finally decided to adapt and had an omlette with the parathas- just to keep warm. To prevent mishaps, I took a swig of pudinhara- you know, just in case- especially since I haven't been having eggs directly for ages.
|Freezing in my summer wear!|
|View from our rooms|
Everyone was ready for the trek and looking at the weather, most put on their warm gear- some even wore their biking gloves! I made a mix of gatorade in my alum bottle for the climb up. We felt rather stupid when we saw that there was a bridge over the stream to walk across- while last night we had been trying to jump over it or walk through it- in the dark! Anyway, we walked through the village, clicked a gazzilion pictures and yet again, it proved tough to take Dev away from little girls- these kids wanted pens in return for permission to photograph them!
We even chatted with some Kinnauri menfolk who told us that ther are all taught Hindi in school and thats why they all know the language. We met an old man who offered us some freshly harvested turnips- that we washed and ate at the spot- was way better than what we had last night. The village seemed to be quite developed- it had solar panels in spots, there were water channels everywhere and water even powered the sole wheat-mill that we saw there- Apparently, people had to just give a share of their wheat in return to be allowed to grind their wheat- that's all! This was a village of a claimed 600 people- but they seemed to be doing rather well. I really like the atmosphere around here, natural or cultural- and generally I am someone who doesn't like people so much!
|Beni starts his funny poses with his Japanese hat!|
|Temple temple everywhere|
|They take this to heart-learned it last night!|
|Contemplation + break|
|Dev treks up valiantly- all by himself!|
|The village becomes a speck|
|The flag-top- lower than our point! ;)|
|Beni gets up, close ad personal!|
Kjo, Alok and Suku went on some trail that went up to a hiltop that had some flags. Bijoor san had disappeared in the horizon somewhere. Dev, who was walking ahead managed to find some route (or so he thought) that seemed shorter to the same flag-top. Me and Beni took it easy on the climb but kept on the trek route that we were all on from before. And in the middle of green mountains we came upon a whole rocky section and from that point you couldn't even see the village or anyone else. It felt like we were finally really away from home. Bijoor san was at the end of the route and we stopped for a mini photo session and just to contemplate. We saw Dev still climbing hard to the top on his supposed short route and soon they were all on the top. Beni was showing signs of AMS but it probably was just the lack of oxygen and we were all tired without a doubt.
As we (me, Beni and Bijoor san) made our way down, Suku and Dev were making their way up from where we came from. We three did not see the other two so we proceeded to look for food in the village- we saw the SUVs and taxis we had seen the day earlier. We finally found food and service in the more expensive guest house- the food was pricey at 200 a head! We met our Israeli neighbors from our guest house and a Israeli couple who were riding on one bike- a beat up enfield with a bent front end and busted meters! They were almost on the same schedule as us so perhaps, we would see more of them.
The drizzle had returned on our way down and was getting a little heavier while the clouds engulfed the mountains we had trekked earlier today. We three walked back to the rooms where the rest of them joined up soon. The rest had lunch here and everyone fell asleep after that! I was bored to death and the Airtel recharges were not working at all and I was not getting any signal on signal point in front of the guest house!
We had a brief chuckle when we saw these group of bikers making a big deal out of the little crossing in front of our guest house! One guy got stuck in the middle of the water, one got stuck before the water and everyone was terrified on seeing this water body! I guess they got back their courage when a guy on an avenger on the other side just plowed through the water effortlessly! What surprised us was the presence of a Splendor and a Samurai in their midst!
|Stuck guy on his pulsar while Avenger guy is about to show how its done!|
Beni woke up soon and with Bijoor san in tow, we headed back for photographs on yesterday's roads. I took him pillion on my bike and at points, one realized how tricky it would be to have a pillion in the mountains, esp on slush and ditches at bends. The sun was playing hide and seek with the clouds but we did not get much of good light and darkness was creeping up fast. Calling up Airtel customer care was a pain and futile for calling needs. Bijoor san's BSNL worked perfectly fine. As Bijoor san felt his bike would be slow so he headed back before us and we followed soon.
|Signal point- in front of our guesthouse- everyone comes to call!|
|Floating clouds meet us again|
Dinner was again at the hotel but not before the owner met us with the local alcohol that beni had asked for. After looking at our photos, he proceeded to show the potency of his land's alcohol by inserting his finger into the alcohol directly in the bottle and burning the bits of alcohol that he could manage to put on his finger. It was sort of freaky to see him do that but more gross because everyone else had to have that alcohol afterwards! Everyone says alcohol at high altitudes is inadvisable- and I just hoped that we wouldn't have to find out the hard way-esp since it's hard to keep Pegus away from alcohol!
|Arvind demonstrates fire catching abilities of Kinnauri alcohol|
It was a good day with hardly any riding- good rest for the bodies but I was itching to be back on the roads again. I think the road had been harder on the rest much more than on me, so we do need these recharge stops- plus, I really like this village a lot. Tomorrow, we head to Nako via Rekongpeo.
Total distance covered= 0kms
Total cost= Rs. 1120
[ Lunch= 200 + Recharge= 200 + Stay(dinner,water,breakfast)=720 ]