Monsoon Scenes from a Year Ago On Har Ki Dun
“..And the earth itself. It smells differently in different places. But loveliest fragrance is known only when it receives a shower of rain. And then the scent of wet earth rises as though it were giving something beautiful back to the clouds—a blend of all the fragrant things that grow in it.”
― Ruskin Bond, Rain In The Mountains
We see a lot of mountain lovers enquiring specifically for treks taking place in the dead of the monsoon haze every year in this very spirit shown by Mr. Bond. Red flags of rain forecasts, landslide threats, and leech warnings going unheeded, we would have a big bunch of folks willing to trek decorated in long coats and even umbrellas if need be, just to have a taste of the enchantment that rains bring in the hills!!
This year too, even though in the wake of summer, the northern latitudes of the subcontinent were reportedly lashed with heavy rain and storm during a period of a few weeks, enquiries for rain treks have been unrelenting!
Sankri Turns a Delicate Watercolor Painting in Various Shades of Blues
When our jeeps pull in before the rest home at Sankri after a nine hour long drive from Dehradun, the sun would already be dipping away behind the mountains. Monsoon seems to be setting in more thickly at this end of the earth when such blue, blue evenings slowly descend.
The sky, likely to be overcast with dark clouds and heavy chances of drizzle, you will still be intrigued to go out and explore the quaint local mart and also get some last day utility shopping done for the big trek kicking off the next day.
Supin Gets Fiercer Than Ever In the Rains
The entire course of Har Ki Dun Trek runs following the course of this beautiful, fearsome river. We meet one of her downhill tributaries on our very first day upon entering a village near Sankri, start trekking along her sides from the next day, and camp the second night by her ferocious flowing. Drunk with rain, she turns quite indomitable by this time. And we meet her again in the Har Ki Dun valley, now close to her origins near the Ruinsara Lake.
A Trail Draped in Rainy Mists
Treading into the thick of the jungles from Day 3 on, the enveloping of rain carrying mists becomes an inseparable part of our lives even more than the days before. Discounting the fact of rising dampness in clothes and the spray of water droplets accumulating on camera lenses, the trek gets dreamier by the minutes.
And then, at one turn of the trail when stopping to catch a breath, you may come to see one moody sun unveiling from the mists, effecting a kind of gorgeous backlighting to the rain swept greenery.
When the Cloud Curtain Lifts
Our camp at Har Ki Dun nestles in the valley at the feet of Swargarohini- the mythical stairway to heaven which the Pandavas are known to have taken. The sense of mystic grows even stronger when the characteristic monsoon cloud cover slides at some point, revealing the mountains that legends are made up of.
To the far back of our camp, a miasma of black clouds was passing over the Har Ki Dun peak and slowly gliding towards the valley!
The Theatre of the Clouds Beyond the Strange Temple in Osla
The Duryodhana temple in Osla is strange because it is a worshipping site dedicated to the most renowned anti-hero of the Mahabharata! You may or may not find its gates open, depending upon the time of the day you reach the village of Osla on the way back from Har Ki Dun, and the schedule of the locals guarding the site.
However, the moving theatre of clouds beyond the peacock-carved steeples of the temple is always one hell of a visual to behold!