Ali Bedni Bugyal Trek - Day 01


CONTINUED FROM - Rishikesh To Lohajung


Day 01 - 11-Oct-2021

Route - Kulling to Didna village

Distance - 4 KM


When I woke up at 6AM and opened the door, I saw the Himalayas in the distant. The tip of Mt Nandaghunti was shining with rising sun. It was a beautiful moment. 

There are many adorable dogs in Lohajung. Villagers raise them to guard the sheep in the meadows. They are all plumpy and fluffy. I decided to call all the dogs in this area as Bimba. Someday, perhaps, I could carry one of them back home. Hope they will survive the harsh weather down south. 


By 8AM, we were ready to leave. For breakfast, we were served Aloo Paratha. For Divyesh, the cook had prepared special Jain meal without onions and garlic. Throughout the trek, they took good care of him. He became popular among the staff as "Jain bhai"We unpacked some of the unnecessary things and left it at the lodge as we were anyway coming back to the same place. 


At  9 AM, we boarded the two Tempo travellers and drove 6km by road to the starting point of the trek - Kulling Village. Considering both teams together, we were 18 trekkers - 14 Men, 4 women. We had two guides - Dev Singh and Bhuwan Bisth, one chef - Munnai bhai, 2 helps, 2 mules and 2 men to guard the mules. 


The moment we began our trek, we were bestowed with beautiful views from the valley. The trek for the day involved a descent to the valley and then a climb to the other side of the mountains, to Didna village. 



We crossed a river, a waterfall and woods filled with oak and pine trees. Wild flowers were in full bloom. 


The climb was a bit challenging and the backpack we were carrying made it even more difficult. But it was manageable. The trek was short and within few hours, we were at the other end - Didna Village. 


Along the way, I got know some of my co-trekkers. Arjun had quit his IT job to start a cafe in Mysore. He had interesting stories to share about this journey and was keen on enquiring about the similar journey that I had traced. 


There was Sheetal who had left his Masters course in the US and returned back to his village to develop organic farming. Their family also owns a chain of schools and colleges near Bagalkot. His friend Rahul had quit his IT job to work as a teacher/coordinator at the same school. 


Then there was Sheetal’s brother, Nandesh, who was brought for an exposure to the outer world. Over the 5 days that we spent together, I observed a significant change in Nandesh from being a timid, scared boy, to a much confident and curious young man. 


Mithul was recently engaged and his fiancĂ©e was an avid trekker as well. They enjoyed taking time off and trek alone once in a while. He often searched for Cellphone network to communicate with his family back home. He had also carried a lot of food which he wanted to get rid of, because of its weight. So his two standard dialogues were - "Kuch Khana hai kissi ko?" (Anybody wants to eat something?) and "Network aa raha hai?" (Is there network?) He is an outgoing and friendly guy to be around with. 


Raksha worked in an IT company too. She was also a self-taught artist who mainly did charcoal art. She wanted to learn Russian and perhaps do something else in life than waste her time in the Corporate world. However, she is yet to figure out what that new path would be. 


My friend Divyesh was dealing with a personal tragedy and this was a much needed change for him as well. I would like to believe that this trek helped him. 


Therefore, we had a great group with an interesting mix of people. 


The village of Didna has around 50 houses. For everyone here, this is their second home. The villagers live here during summer to farm in the plateau and move back to their house in Lohajung or Kulling during winter. Recently the Government has sanctioned a few lakhs to each family, to build a house. Also, solar power is replaced with electric lines. Many of the villagers were busy building their new houses or home stays with the money they got from the Government. 


Both our guides had land and homestay here. We stayed in Dev Singh’s homestay made of mud and stones. It was an authentic Pahadi design and looked amazing. The mud walls, Wooden ceiling and stone roofing, reminded me of my Mangalore house when I was a child. 


The mules and the staff had reached before us and set up the kitchen in one of the two guest houses. We were served lunch at around 1PM - Rice, Rajma and sabji. I was thrilled to see my favourite flower - Cosmos everywhere. Seems like the flowers are native to this region. 


After lunch, we relaxed for a bit. At 4 PM, we were served tea and snacks. The view from the homestay was amazing. Our doors opened to the mountains on the other side of the valley. 


After tea, Mithul and I took a walk in the village. We spoke to a family of farmers who were harvesting potatoes. They also grow a millet called Chulayi


A lady from the village, who had just got some wood from the forest, offered us some tea. Most of us declined but she took the ladies in and served them some tea. It is impossible to be not touched by the modesty and kindness of the villagers.

All the mules in the village returned from their tiring work and fell on the open fields. They rolled in the mud to get rid of the itching, insects and perhaps also to exercise their joints.


At dark, all of us used Raksha’s binoculars in turns, to explore the night sky. We saw the 3 moons of Jupiter, the craters in the moon and the constellations. It was a great experience. We chatted with the village lady, taking care of our homestay. She showed us the fresh Pahadi Rajma that she had plucked from the fields and another vegetable that she called - Pahadi Karela (Bitter gourd from the hills). It resembled a bitter gourd a bit but tasted more like cucumber. It was anything but bitter. 


Soup and dinner was served on time. The last thing I had expected was such lavish food during a trek. I tried to eat carefully, though the food was very tasty. 


After dinner, there was nothing much to do. So, we went to bed early. 



Comments

  1. Thanks for the wonderful trekkelogue. And for the beautiful photos. I felt like I was also part of your group trekking along.

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  2. Awesome pics Ajeya feels like I'm there with you. Get the seeds of cosmos let's try them here

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Manohar...Already did and some other plants too and they are growing well. I had these cosmos anyways.

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  3. Nice reportage. Good to know other people as well, their experiences and perspectives of life. Great landscape and scenary. Looks like a great time.

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    1. Thank you! It sure was a great experience.

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