26th February 2015: For a change I slept in the room the previous night instead of the car. Though I slept well yet the overall feeling was not all that great. Came out of the room and saw everything buried under snow. It kept raining and snowing throughout the night. It was still drizzling when I got up. Luckily Mr Panwar was up early and prepared tea for both of us. It was amazing sipping hot tea in such a cold weather.
Drizzling became lighter and having nothing much to do I started walking on the main road towards Harsil gate. I wanted to have an idea of the the road when it might get open. The entire road from the main bazaar to bridge and cantonment was full with snow. The chances of opening of the road that day looked remote. So instead of focusing on whether the road would open or not I started enjoying the surroundings.
Since I was walking in the snow and mud my shoes got wet. Even the socks were drenched with cold snow water. In the beginning I felt very cold. Soon I got used to it and started enjoying the walk. My legs and feet got warm and I felt like going for a longer walk. Returned back from Harsil gate and started walking towards Harsil village. Walk was through knee deep snow and mud but the landscape was just amazing.
Crystal clear water of Bhagirathi River gurgling through the snowy embankment presented a beautiful spectacle. The snow clad mountains, orchards turned white with snow, beautiful meandering brooks and a number of bridges were like a picture post card. It was beauty spread all around. I kept on walking and walking. It was like Swiss meadows.
Harsil is popular for the legend of Raja Wilson. Wilson deserted the British Army just after the Mutiny of 1857. He moved into the mountains to escape detection and landed in Harsil. He married a pahari girl Gulabi. He built a fortune out of the export of skins, fur and musk. He sent huge cut deodar trees floating down the river to the plains.
Raja Wilson built a cottage which became famous as Wilson’s Cottage. The cottage was on the far end of the village and was destroyed in a fire. It is now rebuilt and converted into forest rest house. According to the locals, on moonlit nights one can still see Raja Wilson galloping down the area.
I was told that people of the area has many relatives in Sangla valley and use the same trek for going to Chitkul. After walking 3-4 kilometers a village gate greeted me. This was village Bhagori. Soon I was walking through the snow laden streets of Bhagori. It looked like a ghost village. There was no one in the village. It was totally deserted.
I noticed almost all the shops and homes were locked. The only two living beings I met in the village were a pup and a laborer. The labourer told me that the people of the village abandon their homes in winters due to harsh living condition and move down to village Dunda near Uttarkashi.
I continued walking beyond the abandoned village on a trek through the forest along the river. It was now becoming bit lonely. I met few shepherds and few laborers on the way. They assured me that there was nothing to fear around and I could continue walking. After few more kilometers I came across a temple.
It was time to return back. Instead of choosing the same trek I got down to the bed of the river and started walking along it. The trek was lonely but beautiful. There were huge snow clad mountains all around. The landscape was unique and beautiful. I took hundreds of pictures and was still hungry for more. Crossed many small streams and wooden bridges on the way. By the time I reached Harsil it was almost evening.
Evening in Harsil was bit dull that evening. I was tired. We had had enough of snow and wished the weather could clear up. There was no electricity. Weather was dull and damp. So took early dinner and decided to sleep early. There were chances of more snow and rain during the night but I was not feeling like staying in the room. So chose to sleep IN THE CAR again that night.
While I was trying an early sleep Devendra Tokas young boy from Dehradun knocked at the car. He advised me not to sleep in the car as it was too cold. If I still insist come to their room in case of some eventuality. I felt so good. He was around my son’s age and knew me for couple of days only.
People like him make life so worth living!!!