It was a toss between nature and culture, between a hike to Jalori pass and a walk around Barnagi, to soak in pahadi way of life. Jalori got the maximum votes from the dozen odd travelers in the group, despite reports of snow and sleet. However, since no one was equipped to hike on the now-slippery trail, it was decided that we travel on wheels. From Tirthan Angler’s Retreat in Barnagi cozily nestled in a valley, we trooped up to the motorable road in the light drizzle. From here began the exciting journey to 10,000 feet above.
As we made our way through the winding mountain paths, nature’s cinematography kept turning on its charm. The drizzle, almost a constant companion, did not deter us from feasting on the alpine landscapes lush with cedar and pine forest.
The best was yet to come… We were now in the vicinity of Shoja and almost 8000 feet up, when we were treated to mountain peaks covered in fresh frosted whites!! Mountains are known to bring in surprises. It was already late April and the snowfall at this time was least expected – nature had decided to treat us to exceptionally dreamy sight…
The group went into raptures when a few minutes later the alpine ranges were found completely clad in snow! The higher we went the more beautiful it turned. And then at the eye level, pines trees festooned with snowflakes made a pretty picture. The panoramic expanse of white snow, green slopes and the blue skies just took our breath away and of course we wouldn’t stop clicking!
On the mountain top, we checked into a small shack that served mixed rice and short eats. In the corner angeethi was at work and offered some respite from the cold. Tea along with Maggi was getting ready when someone spotted a door at the other end left ajar. Pushed further, it led to nothing short of Narnia-esqe moment – for, from just where we stood, the terrain was completely carpeted in snow until a good few feet below. We couldn’t help but go berserk (again)!!
Cool vistas and warm food always make a great combination. We settled down (finally) to a plateful of piping hot food. Kadhi chaawal albeit slightly salty never tasted so good! I stepped out to take a stroll, making the most of the mountain air and the cheerful atmosphere. I shied away from thinking of the urban existence, now just a few hours away.
That afternoon on mountain top amidst scenic views, in the far reaches of the mind, Switzerland just went into hibernation.
Many thanks to TCBG (Travel Correspondents and Bloggers Group) for zeroing on this beautiful valley for the anniversary trip! Thanks also to our trip collaborator, Tirthan Angler’s Retreat, which deserves a separate write-up.