Day 2 : LOHAJUNG TO DIDNA
Trek : 6.5 km
Altitude : 7662 ft to 8045 ft
We were scheduled to commence the trek at 6.30 am. Standing on the terrace of my homestay, I was able to have a glimpse of the towering Nanda Ghunti peak on my right, and the tiny Didna village, tucked away in the lap of the mighty Himalayas. From where I was, it didn’t seem a big deal for a full days trek. Even it’s altitude seemed similar to that of Lohajung.
But here was the catch. In the mountains, they don’t have any flyovers to connect two points on different hills!!! We first had to descend to the bottom of the valley, cross the river, and then start ascending to the top of the next hill to reach Didna….
The group was super charged up for the mystery that would unfold in next 7 days. Although all of us had read something about the journey, the anxiety was clearly evident on everybody’s face. After a wholesome breakfast, we finally started our trek from Loha Jung to Didna Village.
The trek began with a steep descend through oak forests, waterfalls, primeval river and long stands of bamboo. It’s a beautiful stretch indeed. You’ll come across some small waterfalls on the way, but you should be wary of the slippery rocks that remain scattered during the first half an hour of the descend.
After a relatively easy n stunningly beautiful 1.5 hrs trek through the deep forest, we reached an open field, that happened to be our first and the only pit stop for the day. We could spot Kulling, a tiny village up the hill, from here. We were told we would pass through Kulling on the last day, while on our way back from Wan to Lohajung.
A few deep breaths.. A few gulps of much needed water.. A few photographs clicked..Now the group was ready to make a move forward. From this point, it was close to a half an hour trek through some flower laden fields and a cross over the Wan river, till we completed the 4.5 kms trek to the Raun Bagad bridge, and came across one of the tallest waterfalls I have ever seen in my life..
Through the bridge, we came across the other side of the Neel Ganga River. It is from this spot that the the toughest part of the day was about to start. It was a fairly steep climb of around 2 kms to reach Didna Village from here. Huffing, puffing and stretching our lungs to its limits, we finally completed the 2 hour toil, and reached Didna, located at an altitude of around 8000 feet.
Didna is a typical secluded Himalayan hamlet, surrounded by beautiful waterfalls, green pastures and wild flowers. Our stay for the day was in a local’s house, the look and feel of which was in a perfect sync with its surroundings; rugged and charming. It was a typical village villa, with small windows, and made with the use of mud and wood.
Since we reached here by lunchtime, we had the entire day at our disposal. It was all about relaxation now. A game of carrom for few, while a short nap for some others. Few like me opted for a short walk to explore the beautiful and serene surroundings.
And what a night it was..A dinner in the open in the middle of nowhere. And a bonfire just completed the fairytale setting. I can still visualize those moments. A chill in the air, the shining stars, the bonfire providing the only shades of light, and the porters, in their own rugged voice, humming “Husn Pahadon Ka…”.
How I wished the night may never end…….