Around Kandbari -Triund at 10,000 feet- A Photo Essay
Huffing and Puffing, Finally Atop
This is the fourth in the series on Kandbari, a small hamlet at the base of the Dhauladhar Mountain Range in Himachal Pradesh in India.
Triund is a grassy meadow perched at an altitude of 3,000 metres (~ 10,000 feet). It is approximately 60km from Kandbari and is a pleasant climb from Dharamshala and McLeodganj.
All photographs (except the one on the Horsehead Nebula) have been taken by the author.
I'll Huff and I'll Puff till I Reach the Top
Like the Big, Bad Wolf in the story of the Three Little Pigs, I huff and I puff till I finally reach the top (though I really don't feel as though I could have blown a house down).
My breath steadies, only to be taken away again, this time by the beauty that surrounds me.
Saying I climbed to 9325 feet (which is what the signpost at the Forest Rest House tells me is the altitude), isn't quite as romantic as saying I ascended 10,000 feet. What's a couple of hundred feet between friends anyway?
So if you ever make that trip to Kandbari, leave yourself a couple of days to climb to Triund. And when you get home, do say you climbed 10,000 feet.
As I near the top of the Triund meadow, a gentle fog drifts across the mountainside, forcing me to abandon plans to sleep in a tent and take refuge in the Forest Rest House. Spending a rainy night in a tent isn't my idea of fun.
The Sun through Fog
The fog does crazy things including allowing you to look directly at the sun if you are willing to take the risk.
Walking along the meadow, I look up to see the fog-blanketed sun framed between two huge boulders.
It is around 5 o'clock in the evening and the fog is just beginning to lift. Looks like we are in for a fine evening.
The halo formed by the sun around the treetop makes for a very special moment.
Barren and Leafy Together
Bird life at these altitudes is scarce with huge vultures like the Himalayan Griffon ruling the skies. On the way up, however, I heard the Monal pheasant in the underbrush.
Where's the Difference between Hillary and Tenzing and Us
These fleet-footed goats are the lifeline of the Gaddi shepherds who depend on them for milk, warmth and sorely-needed income.
Attacks by leopards and bears are becoming increasingly uncommon as loss of natural habitat causes the population of these predators to fall.
The Sun in All Its Glory Emerging from behind a Cloud
The rarefied air at 10,000 feet is clean and crisp, bringing with it great clarity and a sense of surrealism in all that I see. I am overwhelmed by the purity and humbled by the grandeur that nature unfolds.
Triund's Own Horsehead Nebula
Horsehead Nebula in the Constellation Orion
Horsehead Nebula in Orion
One of the most striking sights in the night sky, the Horsehead Nebula in the constellation Orion is simply fabulous. It is visible to the naked eye though binoculars bring out the details clearly.
The nebula consists of a cloud of ionized gas. Hot, young stars provide the light source and a dark cloud of interstellar dust gives it the unique horsehead shape. It takes 1500 years for light from the nebula to reach the earth.
How fortunate am I to be able to see a lookalike here on Earth.
As the Sun Begins to Set
The hues change every few minutes as the sun goes beneath the clouds which have covered the countryside below.
The View after the Sun Has Gone Down
This beautiful panoramic orange band cuts right across the evening sky.
It promises to be a clear night and I know that the constellations led by Orion will be brighter by far than that visible to my fellow beings down below.
Early Morning Rays
Morning breaks and the sun will soon shine in all its glory, bringing on another day to savour.
A Slug's Progress
So as we mull over whether to climb that mountain or not, the little slug making its ponderous way reminds me that sluggish progress is so much better than a sluggish liver.
So put on those mountain shoes and climb away your blues.
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