It was dark and still night. I adjusted my head torch and started walking towards the summit again. I was constantly feeling a combination of tension and excitement, thinking ‘how magical it will look when the first golden rays will kiss the tip of the mountain’…
This story is not about a hard mountain expedition. This is a romantic story of a traveller and nature. Last year, during a three month long trip to Uttarakhand, I had travelled to many lovely places. But Tungnath and Chandrashila were the most remarkable among them. Chandrashila is the summit of Tungnath, but this description is just a ‘tip of an iceberg’. The beauty of Chandrashila is unmatched. This story is a continuation of my story of Tungnath. I will request my readers to read the previous post to get the complete essence of my experience.
When I stepped out from Sanjib’s shop, it was four in the morning. The sky was clear, and I had a feeling that I will be treated to a spectacular sunrise. Chandarshila’s top was about a kilometre farther from the Tungnath temple. But for this one kilometre, I had to trek an altitude of 1000 ft, making it short but not easy in the cold morning. I started looking surroundings; the lower valley was still covered under the dark blanket, with only a few blinking dots trying to signify their existence against the darkness. Silhouettes of gigantic mountains were visible due to the moon light.
I was not in a hurry. I started walking slowly, enjoying the Nirvanic Silence. In today’s time, experiencing silence is a rare opportunity. Even ‘silence’ is now an uncommon word in our civilised jungle of bricks and cement. Thus, for hundreds of years, many travellers & explorers have travelled to the Himalayas to experience the silence, which helped them immerse themselves in nature.
After a little hardship of crossing boulders and loose rocks, I finally stepped onto the summit and realised why people call it marvellous. From the top, almost all major mountains of the Garhwal Himalayas were completely visible. Among them Chaukhamba, Nandadevi and Bandarpunch were looking noticeably beautiful.
Suddenly I found one gentleman sitting in a corner. I was surprised, as I thought that I was the first person to ascend that day. I had not seen any lights before me on the trail. As I came closer to the person, I noticed that he had long hair and he was wearing a saffron dress. He was a Sadhu; mesmerized in his own thought. It looked like he was aloof even about his own existence. I thought to myself about the significance of the place for meditating. According to legend, this is the holy place that Lord Ram meditated at, after defeating the demon king Ravana. This place is also known as the temporary residence of the Moon God, Chandra Dev. Another legend mentions that he stayed here sometimes, during his banishment from heaven. The name Chandrashila was derived from that.
I wanted to chat with him but decided not to disturb him, and selected another corner. Meanwhile, it started getting brighter, with the colour changing from dark blue to tangerine. The dark abyss that was all around started making way for all the mountains that were around.
A rising superstar
After some time, the sun started illuminating the world with his rays. The first mighty rays peeped from behind the Nanda Devi peak.
The view was breathtaking; I think my words are insufficient to describe what I saw and felt. Only those who had experienced it before can understand my feelings. All the mountains of Kedar Dome, Trishul, Nanda Devi, Bandarpunch and Chaoukhamba started glittering in a shower of gold.
I spent some more time on the abode of Moon God and then I started descending.
I came back to Sanjiv’s shop, and found him listening to Garhwali songs on his radio. Words were unknown to me, but the music was really heart touching. He offered me a bowl of hot veg Maggi, which was really delicious. Meanwhile Ankur and Newton had also joined Sanjiv.
It was my time to leave Tungnath. I decided to visit the temple for last time. The old temple was then bathing in the morning sunlight. No one was there. I entered in the temple and thanked almighty for the beautiful sunrise.
Deoria Tal is another popular destination among tourists. This lake offers an amazing view of mountains, especially mount Chaukhamba. But Deoria Tal was not in my plan. I wanted to explore some other region of Uttarakhand. So it was my time to say good bye to the lovely Chopta meadows. I geared up my backpack and resumed my journey.