Imagine a valley ringed by nirvana quiet snow capped mountains, and you stand in awe as they loom before you, seeking more than spiritual solace in the natural world !! The experience is a real delight in a heaven which offers almost everything, amongst the open valleys, meadows, pine-thick forests, changing shades of green patches, freezing waterfalls, known for long after Hampta Maharshi meditated here for several years, and thus being named after him, THE HAMPTA PASS.
THE AWAITED START!
Making way from Manali by a jeep, inhale the contented fresh air, leaving away all the emotions behind as you drive further and now , there is something big to accomplish in the spirits of freedom, to complete a 4-day trek of this pass, beginning in Manali and ending in a place called Chatru, which is located in Spiti Valley. The trek starts at an altitude of about 10,000 feet from a place called Jwara. The terrain is mostly rocky amidst large sized boulders. The trek from Kullu District to the Lahaul and Spiti District, takes one from the Windward side to the Leeward side. Witness the terrains changing from a green paradise to a rocky cold desert in just a few meters across the pass.
Day 1: TOWARDS FREEDOM!
Pick up from Manali, trek from Jobra to Chika-
The actual trek starts from Jobra to Chika, which is at an altitude of 9800 ft, around 3100 ft higher than Manali. It is a simply beautiful trek, wherein one gets to witness tall mountains and trees all around, right at the start of it. The fluvial Rani river and the cattle grazing on the left away green pastures and the playful clouds make the entire view more serene.
Reaching Chika, an energetic chit-chat session would go on for hours with our team-mates accompanied by hot tea and then a heavenly dinner! The night ends for those who want to hit the sack!
Day 2: THE IMPULSE!
Trek from Chika to Balu-Ka-Gera-
Waking up hearing the pleasant voices and whistles of nature, after a hefty breakfast, the trek begins from Chika to Balu-Ka-Gera. Surrounded by foggy highlands, and aromatic wild flowers, you would feel more magical witnessing nature’s best surprise of a bright and clear sky, quickly engulfed with thick layers of fog in the next few seconds, bringing down the visibility to near zero.
The ecstatic feeling wouldn’t be done with this for the day. The roaring river- Jwara Nullah waits to excite you. And when you are done crossing it, you would have a story of your own called ‘The Paralyzed Feet’.
Day3: THE INNER HAPPINESS:
Trek from Balu-Ka-Gera to Sheagoru via Hampta Pass-
Balu ka Gera campsite is a flat ground amidst the mountains that you will cross this day to reach the pass. Situated at an elevation of 11, 900 ft, the day’s trek encompasses 9 hours.
The rivalry is friendly but fierce and cold. There will be penalty misses, maybe penalty shout outs too. Yes! Football is the game of the day. After an exciting match and counting onto the goals accomplished, the highest altitude will be achieved on this day at Hampta Pass (14, 100 ft). The day starts by heading towards the mountains you spotted the previous day. The river side trails take you further to the base and then the actual climb to the Hampta pass would go on. Crossing two plateaus and a ridge, the climb to Hampta Pass is a vertical one and is a hard mount.
You would definitely be tired, but the stunning view wouldn’t remind you of it for sure!
Day 4: FOR MORE THAN JUST EXIST!
Trek from Sheagoru to Chatru, drive to Chandratal-
It is a tricky trekking day, for you will have to cover Shea Goru, placed at an altitude of 12, 900 ft to Chatru at 11, 000 ft amongst the counts of your heartbeat and the slippery trails with a careful navigation. Not scary or difficult though, because you would enjoy the unexpected slidings sooner or later. Glaciers stand next to be crossed. The other side of the Glacier you begin to cross is Chatru, a union of the three passes, Hampta, Rohtang, and Spiti. And then the drive awaits to the Chandratal. There are smaller water bodies above Chandratal.
As you slowly sip the hot soup and tend to feel the warmth, the jovial activities like cooking competition, story telling, and much more begin, bringing a life to the liveliness in you. And when there is no sound at all, experience the ‘zap’ moment viewing the beauty of this quiet moon shaped lake, with the lost hung up milky way above you.
Day 5: THE SEEKER!
Drive from Chandratal to Manali-
You would probably turn all around to take that unforgettable glimpse this morning, since the jeep is waiting to drive you back to Manali. The drive being nearly 7 to 8 hours, you would take a trip journey recalling every fond memory of these five days. And as the jeep would finally HALT in Manali, you would now clearly know as to how this was the BEGINNING for all of it!
LIFE IS BETTER IN HIKING BOOTS:
Everyday adds a new story to your book of life. Why don’t you opt to make it a unique story this time, for maybe next time, it would all get under a unique chapter!