DAY 3 – 8th MAY 2015
Unlike previous day this day we had to trek a lot; almost 22 kms too and fro; so we woke up at sharp 0300 hours. We gathered all necessary things we might need leaving our rucksack at lodge. At 0400 hours we were all set and ready to move. After 2 kms steep stretch we crossed another village Khakra khal .To this point the trek route was nicely prepared; I was surprised to see cemented path till Khakra khal from Bantoli. But soon the cemented trek gave way to rocky path. We took a short 10 minutes break at 05:00 hours. I think we were going with the decent pace and almost covered 2 and half kms till now. As it was the dawn the moonlight started getting dimmer and we got first glimpse of Dhaula range at our left side.
Not wasting too much time we started walking again. As we moved on further uphill the view on our left got better and better. After an hour we were able to see Mt. Mandini and Mt. Pandav sera along with Dhaula. As sun rose the peaks turned from white to bright yellow.
With nice pace we crossed Nanu village at 06:30 hours. We knew that next village was almost 1 km far and in half an hour mark we could easily reach there and had breakfast. As soon we left Nanu behind the dense Rhododendron forest was in front of us.
We collected some of the Rhododendron flowers headed towards Maikhumba village. At 06:50 hours we reached Maikhumba. It wasn’t actually a village but just 2 small huts and a middle aged lady with her daughter living with few of their cattle. It was time to refill our water bottles here as from Bantoli till Maikhumba there are no fresh water streams. We had maggi with tea and started moving forward as Madmaheshwar was still 3 kms ahead. The last stretch was still steep but with few straight ones. Accessing our speed and time we were sure we could make it to Madmaheshwar at around 1000 hours easily but we were wrong at 09:25 hours the trees started dissappearing and bugyal (meadow) was in front of us. We started running as we knew Madmaheshwar is somewhere near us. With few meters we finally got its first view.
First glimpse of Madmaheshwar Temple
The serene environment around temple pumped new energy in our body. While Akhil had tea from the nearby shop , I was busy talking with the locals about Chaukhamba peaks and Budha Madmaheshwar. The locals told us to first visit Budha Madmaheshwar from where we could see Chaukhamba as the clouds are forming near himalayan ranges and the climate here changes very rapidly. So, without wasting any time we headed towards Budha Madmaheshwar which was 2 kms away. The trek was easy and we reached there within half an hour.
Bugyal near Budha Madmaheshwar
As we reached Budha Madmaheshwar we were just awestricken with beauty of the place, vast spread bugyals (meadow) with scattered snow and at background 320 degree view of snowcapped Himalayan range. The only disappointments were the clouds. Few of the Himalayan ranges were not visible as they were covered with clouds including mighty Chaukhamba
Chaukhamba peaks behind clouds
Closer look of Mighty Chaukhamba
Remains of Budha Madmaheshwar Temple
We stayed at Budha Madmaheshwar for next 2 hours and then went back to Madmaheshwar temple. We then took blessings from Lord Shiva and started our trek back to Bantoli at 12:30 hours. There was a little drizzle so we paced up as our destination was around 10kms far. At 14:00 hours we reached Maikhumba and had stuffed paranthas. Akhil and I took rest for half an hour and at 1500 hours the little drizzle stoped. We thanked the local lady for those lovely paranthas , paid them and start our journey again.
With overcast weather , we knew the rain will come any time , so we paced up again and at 16:10 we reached Khakra Khal. Bantoli was still 3 km far when heavy rain came pouring down. We were lucky and found a shelter at forest department’s hut. Within few minutes rain turned into a hailstorm and it carried on for an hour. Around 17:15 hours finally the hailstorm stopped but rain gods were in no mood to let us go so easily.We had no other option then to start moving again as it was getting dark and we forgot to bring our solar torch with us.
As we move on further rain turned to drizzle and around 18:10 hours we reached Bantoli. We were hungry and tired, so I asked Panwar ji (owner of lodge) for some food. At 19:00 hours we had dinner and within no time we went to bed.
DAY 3 – 8th MAY 2015