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Passing through paradise

Sarvesh
Hina Talwar

Kuari Pass in Garhwal can make one feel on top of the world. It leaves visitors with happy memories of tranquil valleys and less travelled trails.

The Kurai Pass Trek, also called Lord Curzon trek, is situated at an altitude of 3,711 metres in Garhwal. Its deep blue skyline, pure air and gushing rivers make it the most sought after destination for tourists who travel 130 km to visit this mountain paradise.

From our base camp we travelled amidst jungles and bhugyals — open stretches of green. We progressed to Tapovan via Joshimath. The bus ride was fun as we crossed roads and passed through beautiful expanses of green and steep gorges.

Tapovan is situated in a gorge river, Dhauli Ganga, which is known for its hot water springs. On one side there were green ridges and a line of snow peaks and on the other the swishing sound of the water whirling in the Dhauli Ganga. It was evening and the sunset was an amazing sight.

The next day, we tried a bit of adventure sports — artificial rock climbing, a four-km trek and even some rappelling. We were able to see the Nandadevi peak that glimmered under the sun. And at its foothills, the bowl shaped valley made for a majestic view. This trek not only gave us a glimpse at the region's natural beauty, but also allowed us an opportunity to mingle with people from all walks of life. At Panha, a nearby village, we encountered the locals and saw women attired in traditional dresses.

The lush green jungle, beautiful trees of rhodendron that dotted the route to Khulara, was a picture perfect sight. We were lucky to get a glimpse of a radiant rainbow whose colours pierced thought the white clouds. Singing, dancing and merry making, we finally reached our destination... only to be greeted by the most exotic and rare species of flowers, mountain steppes and grasslands. Night fell and brought with it an atmosphere peaceful and quiet; the magnificent view of the snowy peaks shone in the moonlight like armoured sentinel in the still night. Shutterbugs happily clicked away at the scenery as we trekked on. Next on the cards was the trek to the most awaited destination Kuari Pass. Beautiful alpine trees and lush meadows now came into view. And the heady scent of the vajradonti flowers filled the air.

When at along last we reached Kuari Pass, we felt as if we were on top of the world and we could reach up and touch the sky. From Kuari Pass at a distance of six km the Pagurchuli peak can be seen. The other peaks are Trishuli (7,074 metres) and Lampak (6,325 metres) among others. There are many routes to Kuari Pass. One is from Gursa to Chitrakantha and Galgarh. The other from Joshimath to Tapovan and Khulara. One can also trek from Joshimath to Mirg, Tugasi, Khulara and follow on.

We will never forget this out-of-the-world experience and have brought with us memories of tranquil valleys, seldom travelled trails and the mesmerising trek of the Kuari pass.

Picture by Sarvesh

Fact file

How to get there: You can go by train or air to Rishikesh. From here regular buses and taxis ply to Joshimath, from where you can start your trek. Alternatively, you could drive till Tapovan, 20 km from Joshimath and start your trek here.

For more information, contact: Holiday Moods (Adventures India), 3/6, D.B. Gupta Road, Paharganj, New Delhi - 110055. Ph: (011) 23553270, 23612536

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