Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Visiting Shringa Rishi, Chehni Kothi, Jalori Pass and Sareolsar Lake in One Day - part II

Before reading this second part, you can read the first part here, which covers the story of our visit to the Shringa Rishi and Chehni Kothi in Banjar valley. After taking the lunch meal on Shringa Rishi temple's grassy ground, we realized that it was already 12:00 PM. We were expecting to reach the pass at 1:00 PM. 

On the way, we spotted a number of foreigners at a small sleepy town, named Jibhi, it appeared as if we were in some foreign land. Vinod told me that some of the foreigners have permanently settled at this place. 
Road till jibhi was not that bad for a biker, it was paved and surfaced with the bituminous concrete, single lane though. 

Jalori Pass and Sareolsar Lake:

The last 8 to 10 km of road was the worst kind of national highway, in terms of the surface smoothness and easiness of the gradient. We could not move in the second gear, and I bet even bullet would have failed in second gear. All the layers of the pavement were worn out, revealing the bottom surface and over which rested the foreign stones and pebbles, which further were hindering the movement of the wheels.

The dust was the biggest problem for a bike rider without an eye protection, especially while overtaking another vehicle, or when overtaken by it. It really needed a repair, but every year, due to the snowfall, the road condition deteriorates, so it would cost more money. The serene beauty of the pines resting vertically on the mountains, which rose abruptly from a rivulet, that would merge with Tirthan at its downstream near to Sidhwan, were the constant healer to my dusty eyes.

These trees are among the tallest living creatures of the Himalayas, almost everyone of them rising to 40-50 metres of height. Shoja is a hamlet, from where trekkers love to trek up to Jalori Pass. Houses are built on a very steep mountainous terrain, and one is bound to puzzle between the beauty and threat of falling, both linked with the same place.
Google map image of the Sareolsar Lake

A government forest department's rest house can easily be spotted at Shojha,  so if you wish you can book it for night. Others are also available at Jibhi, Ghiyali, Jalori Pass and at Khanag, last one is on other side of the pass.  It was 1:00 PM when we reached Jalori Pass, the highest point on the NH-305 in whole of its length from Larji to Luhri.

Jalori Pass to Sareolsar Lake

There were three four tea shops, on both sides of the road, and a small temple at an elevated spot on left side of the road, further up from it rose the ridge that would follow a path almost parallel to that 5 kilometre trek . A one and half meter wide paved gentle path was available for bikers up till not more than one kilometre of the total five kilometre distance leading to the Sareolsar lake, located on the east of the Jalori pass.
Tenting at Jalori Pass, Kullu

While walking on that path surrounded by the oak trees, there was a feeling of inner peace and tranquillity. All the exhaustion of the road and tiredness was gone. Feet moved without effort as if they had their own source of energy. A number of wild shrubs and flowers could be spotted, but I don't have the names and knowledge of them to share here with you.
Gentle trek from Jalori pass to Sareolsar lake, Kullu

It was not a solitary walk though, a number of pilgrims were going and coming back. Many of them were the locals and some even from the other states of India. We reached the lake within not more than 40 minutes of time, we took tea and biscuits, and rested for a while. 

Finally at Lake

Lunch, dinner and even night stay is available, if you wish to stay at this divine land. Lake is formed due to a depression at the top of the mountain ridge, similar to the one at Prashar lake, but smaller than that, I guess.

Oak trees were very near to the lake, while the deodar trees were quite distant from the lake at Prashar. Its elevation is around 3100 metres, while that of Prashar lake is 2730 metres. A relatively newly constructed temple of the Budhi Nagin, a goddess revered by the locals, was already crowded with the pilgrims. 

Locals come here in crowds, singing and dancing, a kind of procession devoted to the goddess, which is known as 'Jatar' in district Mandi. The humps and hillocks on the ridge of the mountain provide the panoramic view of the Banjar valley on one side and Anni on the other. NH- 305 runs almost north to south from Banjar to Anni, to be more precise, south east, but the elevation rises in the Pir Panjal mountains. There is a local legend linked with the Budhi Nagin and lake, which one can hear from the temple priest.
Can you follow the ridge?- It separates the Banjar valley from the Anni, Kullu

A numbers of trekkers can be spotted on this trail, and if interested, you can enjoy their stories, provided you can befriend them. Generally they come with tents for the night stay to experience the camp fire and gazing the starry sky. For us, it was a day of hurry, our starry night was to be spent at home. 

Way back

Our next day was already planned, trekking to the Kheer Ganga was the next target, so again we hurried back along the same trek and road, to reach back at Nagwain. I can not forget to carry an aged woman on the motor-cycle for that one kilometre of narrow path on the way back from lake to Jalori pass.

I was happy to help her, because she was in a sick condition and could not walk, but my happiness was accompanied by the pain in my balls which were about to crush against the petrol tank of the bike, when aunty grabbed me tightly circling her arms around my waist, so that she would not fall from the bike.
I don't blame her, because she was a local and already aged, and at present moment, was sick. But, at the same time her more than 80 kg weight was partly resting on my back, while the pot holes in the ground added to the impact. She thanked me at last when she was able to get off the motor-cycle at Jalori pass, and I wanted to smile back and say 'welcome,' but I don't know how successful I was.

I rode back to pick Vinod on the way back, who decided to walk with the relatives of the lady. When we reached home, we were more than tired and exhausted, but filled with satisfaction and joy. In the next post, I shall post the story of our next day visit to Kheer Ganga. 

Thank You!