Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Rudragaira - the beginning of the adventure

Well, the time had come...

Mount Shivling and Baby Shivling

After a year of gazing at a picture of Mount Shivling and Baby Shivling that adorns my table at my workplace and fantasising about climbing Shivling Junior, June finally came around. Following the tensions of examination duties and corrections and what not had come depressing news about developments at work. We were impatient to get among the mountains and shake off the baggage that tends to accumulate during work.

A source of worry was that our mountaineer friend from Dharali - Shivraj Singh Panwar, was not reachable by phone for quite a while now... However, when he contacts, he contacts on all fronts - messages by email, on Orkut and Facebook, followed by a phone call! Anyway, we were relieved to be in touch with him again. However, he had some dampening news. He was just back from Tapovan where he had gone with a French couple and had the opportunity to study Baby Shivling from all sides. The weather was bad, he said. It had been snowing heavily at Tapovan and the gullies on the mountain of our dreams were full of unconsolidated snow. Treacherous conditions to climb, especially for us inexperienced climbers. How about Rudragaira, he asked.

I was unwilling to give up on the mountain that had given me a dream to hang on to for a year now. "Let's take a final call when we reach Uttarkashi." I replied, hoping wildly that the weather would clear miraculously, as it is perfectly possible in the Himalaya. And that the Sun would melt away all the troublesome snow by the time we reached.

Thus we set out on the morning of June 11 to Margao, where we stayed for a day, moving about in the market, window shopping for fishing tackles and such stuff. Later, Kailash and I could not resist the lure of the spirits in Goa. Poor Sudhakara Sir - a teetotaller vegetarian stuck with two most unscrupulous elements! He caught up on his reading while we both struck a spiritual high.

Kailash insisted we walk everywhere in Goa - preparation for the trek, apparently!

Next day we were on the Rajdhani to Delhi. The journey was made enjoyable by the presence of a little Sardarji - Indermeet Singh, in our coupe, whose antics kept us amused. At Delhi we were welcomed by Shri. Duggal - Kailash's classmate from B. Arch. and a most endearing character. We freshened up at his house and went to the Qutb complex and Ba'hai temple. There we discovered the dangers of travelling with a Professor of Islamic History. He didn't spare anybody - including poor Duggal and Prof. Sudhakara the mathematician!

The Qutb complex

KR didn't even spare the poor mathematician

Duggal gets even with his former classmate finally!
After another session of spirits and non-veg at "Rajinder da Dhaba" (with Sudhakara Sir forced to sit in the car with his Paneer Tikka and coke), Duggal dropped us at Nizamuddin station, where we caught the Dehradun Express to Haridwar. We arrived at Haridwar at the unearthly hour of 5am, and as we picked our way among the several hundred prone bodies of people sleeping at the station, it struck me for the first time that our journey had really begun! But I simply could not wait to be away from the crowded pilgrim centre to travel deep into the Himalaya.

Breakfast at Hardwar


We checked into a hotel near the station to catch a few hours of sleep and had our breakfast. Next was to take a taxi to Uttarkashi, where we would meet up with Shivraj.

(To be continued...)

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