Mayali Pass Trek

Mayali Pass trekking route is followed by many trekkers every year. In ancient time this trek was being used by adventurous pilgrims while their pilgrimage travel from Gangotri to Kedarnath. Some followed Gangotri – Budha Kedar – Ghuttu – Panwali Kantha – Triyugi Narayan – Kedarnath and some Gangotri – Bedha Kedar – Khatling Glacier – Mayali Pass – Vasuki Tal & Kedar Nath. 
Mayali Pass Trek is loved by many trekker as one can enjoy actual Himalayan life in Gangi & Reeh, Dense himalayan forest, Beautiful Himalayan meadows, Himalayan peaks like Jogin Group, Kirti Stambh, Meru, a High altitude pass (Mayali 5000 mts.), three high altitude lakes Masar Tal, Painya Tal & Vasuki Tal and a famous pilgrim center Kedarnath.

Whenever I remembered my khatling Masar Tal trek, I felt very bad because we had to return back from maser tal due to heavy snow in June 2001. Now the time has come to complete this trek in Sep.2007. For this trek we started preparation activities from first week of August. I was posted in Gairsain (Chamoli), Other team members were Sh. Shiv Singh Negi (Hitam) Tehri, Mr. Anil Sharma (Advocate) Tehri and Mr. Rajendra Rawat (Raju Bhai) B.E.L. kotdwar. I was keen to complete this trek because of failure in 2001 but I was known to the problems what we could face. Negi ji & Sharma ji were doing arrangements of ration & fuel so we took responsibilities for tent and medicines. I had already taken leave, because I don't want that the trekking preparation get effected due to official work load. Sep. 01 2007, me and raju bhai reached New Tehri in evening. It was a rainy day, so I was thinking about the success of trek.
We stayed in Keshav’s room, who is posted in New Tehri and lives in a govt. house. It was raining whole night. Next morning weather was little changed then we went to Negi ji’s house where we took bath and lunch. Here Negi ji introduced us to Kedar Bhai, he was also fond of trekking & mountaineering and few days back he did manali – leh by his maruti 800 car. While lunch he shared his Manali–Leh exp. His actual name is not kedar, but he was named Kedar by his friends, because he has been visiting Panch kedar every year since last 25 years.

 We loaded our luggage on bus and moved to Ghansali, enroute we heard that a bus has got accident in same route and many local people have died. Most of the victims were from Ghuttu and near by area. We reached Guttu by taxi from ghansali and stayed in GMVN TRH.
On 03/09 we wasted our lot of time on porter search and at last we got two nepali porters who came ghuttu few days back and finally we started our trek very late. We reached Reah via debling village. Sky was clear and land was green everywhere. Our porters (Kali & Kamal Bahadur) had got tired as they were not experienced porter, we were encouraging them to move forward. I was again on same route after 6 years but nothing was changed except some electricity poles without wire. Before Reah, Raju bhai and sharmaji were trapped among bushes and could come out only after hard job. Sharma ji’s leg started paining now and reah was 6-7 km. from here..

It became dark slowly-slowly and everybody lighted the torch. Rain was started and we were walking fast to reach Gangi. Negiji, Raju Bhai and porters had moved fast so me and sharmaji were in last and got distance from our friends, suddenly sharmaji slipped from the route and fell down in slope, I was shouting only. It was a dark and rainy night and I was alone for rescue. Sharma ji was lucky that he was dangled in a tree 20-25 feet below. I focused torch light and saw him on tree in a deep ditch. Bhilangana was flowing just behind him. I kept my backpacks and shouted for help but no body listened me. I couldn’t leave sharma ji in this situation so I decided to rescue alone. I went down slowly slowly and stood with the help of a tree and after a strenuous work, sharma ji could come back on trail.
It’s was a dark night and I was helping sharmaji to walk. Our friends were waiting for us in a next turn but they were in another side so they couldn’t listen my voice, we didn’t tell them anything and moved ahead, suddenly we heard dog’s bark and we became hopeful that we were in safe zone, because dogs live with people only. After moving forward, we saw a temple and two saint were sitting there. After their permission we went inside, where they had set a fire. They have made an asharam near the temple for saint and travelers. Here we told the story to other members, Negi ji prepared tasty dinner and we had a good sleep.

Next morning we started porter search because nepali porter was not ready to move ahead with us, so we sent them back and started porter search in Gangi village, which is the last village of route. After visiting gangi we came to know that they have to celebrate a function on 5th , only then any local guy can join us. We had no option except to stay there. It was good that we were with saint otherwise we could face problem. 05/09 It was a festival day in Gangi. Shepherds were coming back from high altitude after summer. Villagers were welcoming them and playing local musical instruments. Each shepherds was coming with 800-1000 sheep. Lord Shomeshwara’s temple is located in the middle of village.

Nobody was ready to come with us till the next seven days because it’s business time for them. They had to shave their sheep and many people from outside had came to village for business. I met an old porter gajendra who went with us in 2001 during our Khatling, Masar Tal, Sahashtra Tal trek, he introduced us to kundan and he became ready to join us after two days so we decided to move on 07/09. We were very thankful to saints who helped us. They gave us local Rajma, Potato & Ghee.

On 07/09 we started trek from gangi with Kundan, his son Jai and Tirepan Singh. After few mts. walk we had understood that one more group was going ahead because every camp site was filled with rubbish. We reached kharsoli (2896 mts.) in evening. Which was 16-17 km. from gangi. Next day we started at 8:15 am, from here the trail was beautiful and snow capped peaks were looking fabulous. En route we met to a shepherd, whose one sheep was died last night. We purchased mutton from him. We met a maharashtriyan group en-route who were going to khatling glacier. We reached chowki (4000 mts.) at 2 pm and pitched our tent. We lived in a cave in 2001 but this time we could not go there because water level was high in the river.

Chowki is base for Khatling & maser Tal and is 14 km. from kharsoli. Maharastriyan group had pitched their tent near us. We burn the fire in night and enjoyed mutton. From this place tirepan singh was not ready to go ahead so only Kundan and his 14 yrs. son were with us as porter. Next morning (09/09) we moved towards Masar Tal but this time I was feeling tiredness. It might possible that in 2001 we left our backpacks at chowki site and this time we were carrying more load due to porters problem. It was a steep climb and it's tough to hold our breath. While holding our breath we were viewing Himalayan peaks which were looking marvelous. Till evening we reached few mts. down from Masar Tall, where a group of Bengali trekkers have pitched their tents. We also pitched our tent and did rest due to tiredness and enjoyed Himalayan beauty at this location. Here we met the guide of bangali group karan singh who was from uttarkashi and was an experienced guide. Raju Bhai and Jai singh went to masar tal for photography.

Next morning we got up late and reached Masar Tal (5100 mts.). When I came in June 2001, the lake was frozen but this time water was clear and we could see the reflection of nearby peaks in lake. From here the route was totally new for me. Now we were gaining height and walking on boulders. We were facing problem in each step. We reach now at Masar top. We were near glaciers and Himalayan peaks. We took a little rest then moved. Trails was tough from here and we were walking on big boulders, we were following the experienced Negiji, who was guiding us on right direction. There we had to cross a big glaciers to reach mayali pass.

We sat on one side of glacier and did planning to cross. We crossed it slowly-slowly, glacier has lot of crevasses. It was a time of horripilation. I tried to peep inside a crevasse but it was so horrid. After crossing this, we again had to walk on boulders and after a short time we reached at top and that was the highest point (5300 mts.) of the trek, Mayali Pass.

We stayed here for few minutes, jai singh faced the AMS problem here, after a little puja we moved ahead. We were in steep slope and walking on boulders, after trekking in such tough trail, we saw the beautiful lake Painya Tal. It was a beautiful lake. Land was without vegetation. We didn’t stop here because we had decide to reach Kedarnath as we had already wasted our lot of time in gangi. Now the vegetation zone started and the land was filled by Braham kamals & Fen kama and we were climbing down in green land. From here we saw the Vasuki tal. I had already visited vasuki tal so I know the route from here. Now it was the time of kundan singh and he didn’t want to walk now due to tiredness, but he had to walk as rain has started and his son jai singh was feeling cold. It was a continuous rain and sometimes rain is getting changed in snow fall. We left our ration at vasuki tal, because we could get everything at Kedarnath. Raju Bhai gave his pullower to jain Singh, our youngest team member (14 years).

We walked very fast till the top. Kedarnath was looking very beautiful from here and we took the photographs. Now network has started so we gave messages to our family members. From here negiji and sharma ji walked very fast, I was walking slow and Raju Bhai and porter were following me. We reached kedarnath very late and negiji has to come back to take raju bhai and porters because they were not carrying torch. We stayed in a lodge at kedarnath and next morning after temple visit we moved towards our destinations. We put our backpacks on mules and hired a taxi from gaurikund.

Rudranath (One of Panch Kedar)

Devotees come to Rudranath to offer ritual obeisance ti their ancestors, for it is here, at Vaitarani river that the soal of dead cross when entering another world. The temple of Rudranath at 2,286 mts, entails trekking through ridges at almost twice that height before reaching the meadow where it is located. Within the sanctum, Shiva's image is worshipped in the form of his face.Last week of June 2007, I went to Pauri. One day when I got up in morning I thought about to visit Rudranath. Rudranath is one of five shrines of Lord Shiva in Garhwal (Panch Kedar). I just started to think about such partner who would be adventures, courageous and ready to visit such places and same day 3 friends got ready for pilgrimage. D.S. Negi, Thanna (Thaneshwar) and Makan Singh. Thanna & Makan had already visited the shrine so they became ready to accompany till motor road. We had a detailed discussion about the route. We were intimidated by them (Thanna & Makan) that the route most toughest route but we took it positively & started the journey with more passion.
We did necessary arrangements and left pauri at 1:30 PM by Negi’s Car for Gopeshwar. Next morning we reached at sagar which is 4 Km. from Gopeshwar and base for Rudranath.
In sagar there is trust named Sagar Aashram, formed by Sh. Yoganand Ji. Yoganand Ji is working in a bank at Gopewhwar and do spiritual elucidation time to time. He is grandson of Mr. Shyam Singh ( Famous Patwari ( A person who keeps records of village account) of Niti & Mana Valley). Pilgrims can stay and have good food at ashram. Thanna & Makan decided to stay in ashram untill we come back from Rudranath. We take necessary things & left Sagar at 8:00 AM. Steep climb starts from here and after 4-5 km. we reached at a small Bugyal (Grass Land) where we saw a hotel with STP, PCO signboard. We got WLL phone there and did a phone call to our family members. Here we took tea and after a little rest we moved forward. We were trekking in a dense forest and steep climb but the route was very enjoying. We were enjoying birds chirping and viewing different types of vegetation, Negi was testing wild fruits and explaining its name and taste after seeing this I couldn’t stop myself and tasted some fruits. It’s most dangerous to touch, sniff and taste wild flower & fruits, if you don’t know about that flower or fruit.

We reached at Panar Bugyal For which we were horrified by Thanna & Makan and we had to think about the journey but the Himalayan beauty made it easy. Panar is a beautiful Bugyal and one can enjoy the beauty of Panar only after visiting it, but we need strong will to visit these types of places. We didn’t stay here and moved forward slow & steady. Here we got a hotel where most of pilgrim do night stay because it’s not easy to reach Rudranath in one day. We met some shepherd also who lost their 80 gots next day, in cloud burst. Rudranath is about 8 km. from here. Rudranath is situated at 3286 mts. but one should cross 4000 mts. height enroute. When we reached at top we stayed there for few minutes and ate wet grams which we were carrying with us and a lemon also. Negi was taking care of water. He was carrying a water bottle in his hand. We saw a rat on the way, Negi introduces that as dawar rat. It looks like a little rabbit. After 4-5 km. from Panar we reached at panch ganga bugyal, where a person of dumuk village was running a shop and his income was totally depend on pilgrims. It was 2:30 pm and time for lunch, so we had alloo parantha. We listened his experience, he was telling about fuel problem what he faced in current season and totally depend on forest which is far from this place. Rhododendron tree has changes it’s shape in this height and looks like shrub, which is used as fuel.
We gathered information about Ansuya Devi trek and came to know that there is a steep slope from here But we decided to follow the trail while return and moved to Redranath. Enroute we met four local ladies who were going to Rudranath ji & carrying ration & wood. We saw fist view of Rudranath from here. Temple is located in a nice slope. 4-5 Dharamshalas are available here, some of them are in good condition. We walked through a gentle slope and after 10 minutes we reached at temple gate. We found a natural water spring and a kund near gate. We sat in open area of temple for few minutes and did rest. Natural beauty worked as a medicine and we forgot the tiredness of journey. It was 4:30 pm so we did arrangements for night stay and dinner.

There is a group of temples with different shapes of Shivlings, which looks very beautiful. We joined evening Puja. Rudranath is the place where lord Shiva is worshipped by face. Idol looks very nice in cave shaped temple. Temple gate is made by mud and wood. Idol is slightly bend to it’s left side. After puja we met priest Tiwari ji who was talking to every pilgrim and asking about their journey, food and accommodation. We stayed in a dharamshala and had dinner, prepared by a local guy and went to bed. Next morning we thought to take bath but water was too cold so did panch snan (Washed hand, face & feet) only. Morning puja started at 9:00 am.
After having breakfast we started moving back and followed Ansuya Devi trail. It was steep slope and we had to walk on boulders, at some points the slope was more the 70 degree. Negi was doing this type of journey first time and was facing problem while getting down. I was thinking, that two days back I was thinking about to visit Rudranath ji and today I was coming back from there. Route is not too wide but one can walk easily. After crossing this area we entered in forest. Most of the vegetation was known to me and Negi ji was introducing the unknown. Here one can get confused due to thick layer of leaf. Fortunately we didn’t face any problem. After forest area we found some sheds made by shepherds, we sat with them and listened their experiences. We gave them a small amount for their warm hospitality. Ansuya devi temple was visible from here and just 4 km. from this place. Trail goes via forest but this is a good route. Ansuya devi temple is situated in a nice location, after visiting temple we were in hurry to reach on motor road. We reached there at 6:00 pm and called our friends who had already visited temple same morning and night stay at sagar.
Next morning we moved to sari village which is base for devaria tal. We did breakfast at chopta and reached Sari village. We confirmed lodge for night stay and dinner and moved to Devaria tal. Devaria Tal is just 2 to 2.5 km. trek from sari village. It’s 125 mts. long and 75 mts. in width. Here some local people were running shops for tea and food. We took some snakes there and stayed till evening and than return to sari village. Next morning we returned to Pauri.