Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Into the Nature



Gosaikunda Lake situated in Langtang National Park in Rasuwa Nepal
Frozen Gosainkunda
Gosainkunda is a sacred Hindu and Buddhist religious site. I am not much aware of Buddhist mythologies and inscriptions but many Hindu mythologies attribute Gosainkunda as the abode of Hindu deities Lord Shiva and Goddess Parbati.  Many Hindu purans and epics like Ramayan and Maharatbharat refer to Samundra Manthan, which is directly related to the origin of Goshainkunda. Its holy water is considered of particular significance during Gangadashahara, which takes place in Jestha (second month of Nepali Calendar) and the sacred thread festival Janai Purnima, in Bhadra (5th month of Nepali Calendar) when thousands of hindu pilgrims visit the area. Gosainkunda is believed to have formed from the digging of the land by the Trishul of lord Shiva after he drank the poison from Samundra Manthan and desperately wanted cold water to quench the overwhelming heat.
Gosainkunda is not only famous for religious purpose but also is one of the most attractive trekking routes for tourists visiting Nepal. It attracts tourists with its natural beauty and diversity. It falls under the Langtang National Park, which is also the habitant of the most endangered Red Panda.

Tourism Map of Langtang National park
Tourism Map of Langtang National Park
Altitude/Mountain Sickness Symptoms
Be Aware of Acute Mountain Sickness :)
The popular starts to the trek to Gosaikunda are in Dhunche or Syabru Besi both from the Langtang side. Alternatively, trekkers may also start from Sundarijal, which lies on the outskirts of Kathmandu. Dhunche is in Rasuwa district and about eight hours bus ride from Machha Pokhari, Balaju, Kathmandu. And Syabru Besi is about forty five minutes away from Dhunche. Trekkers can start their trekking from either point. Syabru Besi is not only starting point of Gosainkunda trek but also of Langtang Valley trek. If you are starting from Dhunche, the first day involves a long steady climb to reach Chandanbari, which is at the height of about 3300 metres. On the second day, one reaches Laurebina (also called Lauribinayak) at about 3910 metres. At this point, some trekkers choose to climb ahead to Gosaikund, though altitude sickness is a concern due to rapid ascent. Many trekkers choose to stay at Laurebina which also provides excellent sunset and sunrise views of the Langtang and Ganesh Himal.  
Langtang Peak, Rasuwa Nepal
Langtang peak



Hanging Bridge over Ghatte Khola, Langtang national park
Hanging Bridge over Ghatte Khola
Dhunche, Trekking starts from here, Langtang National park
Me posing just before starting our journey :)



11th April 2012, 4:00 AM, it was raining heavily, though it was not Mansoon. From someday it’s been raining daily. I was worried a lot cause this weather could have ruined our trekking plan up to Gosainkunda. Despite of heavy rain, four of us, I, Kamal, Puja and Utshah anyway hit our way to Dhunche. It was not less than a battle to get into the bus which was already packed with passengers more on corridor than on seats. We somehow managed to stand. It was 7:00 AM when driver started the engine. The road to Dhunche was scary on some places. Landslides of last monsoon weren’t yet managed. But we also had chance to enjoy scenic foothills. Before arrival of Dhunche there was an Army check post, where all the foreign tourists were supposed to register themselves so that they have record of tourists visiting that area.
Deurali Hotel in Deurali on the way to Gosaikunda
Hotel Deurali

Langtang National Park
Rhododendron on our hand
We reached Dhunche at about 1:30 PM; someone in the bus had suggested us to climb the hill the same day, as we had ample of time before sunset. We agreed on the same and started the trekking right away after having light lunch in Dhunche at Maila Dai ko restaurant. We walked all the way up through Rhododendron (National flower of Nepal) covered forest; it was not an easy day for us. It was a long steady climb to reach Deurali, we had thought to reach Chandanbari by the end of the day but we could not, as it was already dark when we reached Deurali, 2625 metres. There was only one hotel and we had no choice but to stay there. We had dinner, dal, bhat, aaluko tarkari and achar. It was very delicious after tiresome walk. We could not wait to go to the bed as we were tired as hell. What I liked most about these hotels in the mountains are – they are very clean and tidy; they serve hygienic foods and are very polite and courteous despite of all those difficulties of life.
  
Deurali, Gosaikunda
Deurali
12th April 2012, 6:00 AM, we had Tibetan bread with omelet and tea for breakfast and started climbing up to Chandanbari around 7:00 AM. Chandanbari is also known as SinghGompa, situated at the height of 3300 metres. Before Chandanbari arrived Dhimsa at the height of 3007 metres. There was an Army Check-post. They must have been placed there to control wildlife trafficking. It took us around 2 hours to reach Dhimsa from Deurali. We stopped by a hotel in Dhimsa for tea break. 
Dhimsa, Gosaikunda
Dhimsa
We met a German couple there. They were returning back to Dhunche. The wife nearly broke her knee as she slipped off on the snow and was walking very difficultly with the help of sticks. We reached Chandanbari at around 10:00 AM. There was a cheese factory and i was surprised to know that it was of DDC. We bought cheese and enjoyed it along with the scenery. 
Singh Gompa also known as ChandanBari
Singh Gompa
After half an hour rest we again started our way up to the Cholangpati, situated at height of 3584 metres. The walk from Chandanbari to Cholangpati was not much difficult as it was ascending slowly. We mostly saw pine forests there. It took us one hour to reach Cholangpati from SinghGompa. We decided to rest for some hours and had lunch there. At around 2:00 PM we started climbing up to the Lauribina, 3910 metres. It was about an hour walk from Cholangpati. 
Cholangpati
Hotels in Cholangpati
As we reached Lauribina, I started having a terrible headache. I thought I was having headache because of cold, as the cold wind was blowing and there had been heavy snowfall last night. We reached a hotel in Lauribina, the nearest hotel, it was packed by foreigners. We rested there for some time and climbed even up to other hotels. We happened to find room in one of the hotels. It was hotel Maya, small but the rooms were okay. The Buddha temple on the top of the hill could be seen clearly from the hotel we stayed. We enjoyed the magic of clouds. It would come to our glass window and cover it and would disappear within minutes. The wind was blowing very swiftly and clouds were flowing with it. I had never ever seen clouds so near to me, as if I could touch them with my hands. When there were no clouds we could view Langtang Lirung, Ganesh and Sanjen Himal.
Cholangpati
Snowy day in Cholangpati
Lauribina or Lauribinayak
Lauribina
As I was enjoying the scenery, my headache was becoming severe. I pretended not to care much about the ache, so asked hotel sauni to make noodle with lots of garlic in it. We had noodles and I took medicine so that I could sleep for some hours. I tried hard to sleep unfortunately I could not hold my body too long. By then I was pretty much sure that I had an altitude sickness. Without panic I put on warm clothes and started climbing down. I had vomiting at the same time, a local on the way told that I had altitude sickness. I and Kamal hurriedly ran down towards Cholangpati. We reached there in less than half an hour. I felt much easier after reaching there. We decided to stay on the same hotel where we had lunch in Cholangppati.
  (To be continued in next post)
Cholangpati
Bird seen on the way in a snowy morning, doesn't know its species, so gave the name 'SNOW BIRD' :)
Cholangpati
While we reached Cholangpati, he was busy cutting mountains :) , his name is Krishna, who helped us a lot later...

Photos by: Kamal Kumar

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