Starting Location: Baddi
When: September 2012
Crew: Abhinandan, Harish, Navneet, Rohit, Sanjeev, Saurabh and Sunil(me)
Good memories do not vanish too soon and first time experience always remain fresh in the memory. During my college days I had the opportunity to visit Churdhar in 2012 in the month of September. This one was my first experience with trekking.
Churdhar is the highest peak of Sirmaur district of Himachal Pradesh ( a small northern state in India ). It has an elevation of 3647 m( that is 11,965 ft), above sea level. Churdhar is a famous trekking destination and has great religious value as well. The temple of Shirgul Maharaj also known as Chureshwar Baba, a famous deity in Sirmaur, is located here. The place itself derived the name form Baba Chureshwar. A 5 feet tall statue of Lord Shiva adorns the peak of Churdhar. There are two ways to reach to the top :
- From Sarahan village present in the Shimla district. This route is a almost 8 km short in length than the other one, but is highly daunting because of its steep slopes. If you are an adventure freak , I would suggest you to opt for the route.
- The second one is a comparatively smooth and lengthy track which starts from Nauhradhar near Rajgarh town in Sirmour District.
With six of my classmates. we planned this trip at Baddi University. The Journey started from Kalka Railway station. The idea was to travel in Toy train up to Solan. We had to reach Solan early in the morning, so took the 0400 hours train from Kalka. The whole night was spent, wandering at the Railway station. We boarded the train around 0400 hours. Ascending on curvy track, passing through the valleys and tunnels, it is always a joy to travel in the toy train. The train dropped us at Solan railway station, around 0700 hours. Toy train journey was the starter to the main course.
We chose to trek via Nauhradhar route. So boarded a private Bus for Rajgarh. Little more than 2 hours and we reached Rajgarh bus stop, where a fully packed bus was about to leave for Nauhradhar. So the rooftop was the only option left for us. The bus started running on narrow roads. The cold breeze, bumpy roads, the views of greenery around and mimicking Altaf Raja; our adventure had started.
On 1100 hours we were at Nauhradhar, where we got freshen up, had a brunch, took some packets of snacks and water bottles and proceeded for the 20 km walk.
We started our trek around 1200 hours. It was a shiny day few patches of clouds romancing with the sun. Our crew was one of the last to start the trek, so we started to move fast initially. We made first few km very sharply. About 3-4 km walk we reached the location, where the dense forest of Pine and cedar starts. The cold breeze passing through the trees in sync with tweets was producing a pleasant sound. That was really mind refreshing for all of us. For some one living in a place like Baddi it all was nothing less than a heaven. There, we met a dog in the way who kept walking with us for quite a long way.
So while marching forward on the trek we saw a huge rock. A couple of guys were on top of that rock. Our curious engineering minds could not resist to checking out what was there on the top. Two slanted tops are a little dangerous bid for a few poses of photograph. For more than two hours we kept our walk without a stop. Feeling a little tired we had our first break in a meadow right between the forest. We had snacks and drinks and some rest for 15-20 minutes. As we resumed the journey we saw a herd of goats and a few cute lambs. My friends could not resist taking pictures with them.
Then for another one and half hour walk, we crossed the forest and reached beautiful green meadow. And good thing was there was a tea stall. It was getting cold, fog had covered a part of the valley. We had tea and Maggie that was a relief to the tiredness. It was 1630 hours and we had another 6-7 kms left to cover. We moved ahead without wasting time.
This part of the trek was most exciting. We had the tight time constraint to reach before dark, at the same time the weather was displaying all its colors. Fog kept playing with us, as we kept marching towards our destination. For one moment the fog would become so dense making the visibility very low and on other moment it would be all be clear . The view of mountains shining in golden color by the setting sunlight, were just amazing. Soon we were able to see the Churdhar peak, but we did not waste any time and kept moving ahead.
As we were reaching near to the peak, sun was almost at the horizon and a layer of cloud had covered the entire area beneath. There was only a sea of cloud we could see. The clouds were in a hide and seek game with the sun, displaying the rapidly changing views. For better sunset view, we decided to go towards the peak top instead of following the regular way. And we did not get disappointed. I had witnessed the most beautiful sunset of my life that day.
We were almost near the top of the peak where the Lord Shiva's idol is situated. We also found a path but again four of us decided to climb the rocks from one side, which was a pretty much immature and risky call for immature trekkers. But I think it was the age effect which no one could help with.
Reaching on the top at that moment was a feeling like conquering some summit. At the top there was a very narrow passage and hell deep Gorge on both sides, a small misstep could have been fatal. But having taken this much risk, again no disappointments. We could see two horizons parallel to us and for our luck the Sun and the moon were at almost similar positions with respect to their respective horizons with a difference that one was colder and other is a bit warmer in color.
It was getting darker and colder as we reached the Lord Shiva's idol. We reunited with three of our friends there. We had blessings from Bhole Baba and left for the temple for the night shelter. At the temple we met our other batch mates. The best thing about Churdhar is that you don’t need to pay hefty bills for food and stay. Stay is free with very minimal charge for beddings and food is totally free in the Langar organized in the temple. We took the beddings had dinner and enjoyed India Vs Pakistan Cricket match before falling asleep.
The next morning two of our friends ,went to visit Lord Shiva's Idol again, while others chose to have half an hour sleep. The morning was very pretty. The Sun shining to fullest, the blue sky which was very rare to see in baddi, and the trail of the peaks of the Himalayas, was a very pleasant view altogether.
It was the time to conclude the Churdhar chapter with a hope of visit again. But the trek back to Nauhradhar was equally adventurous and joyful as well the rest of the journey upto Baddi.