Today’s plan was to traverse a long ridgeline South of Uttarkashi rising up 1600m above the Bhagirathi river valley. As per the Survey of India 1:50K scale map a trail was following the ridge on top. I had pitched up my tent near a stupa overlooking Dunda town from the opposite side of the river just below a Buddhist monastery. The sky was clear and night cold such that the inside of my tent and outside of quilt was wet due to condensation of body heat and warm breath.
Even tough I was blogging till 1am in morning I woke up automatically as the daylight broke. Walked across a small bridge to Dunda to have breakfast in the one and only dhaba which was open. I could see Tibettan prayer flags everywhere around town. I crossed the bridge again in search for the trail near the start of the ridgeline. I found an initial promising trail which soon started contouring along the mountain rather then taking me on top.
The ridge was sharp and jagged so I was doubtful of any trail running across. I decided to follow the lower path which took me to the scenic hamlets of Majaph and Danda offering mesmerizing views on the Bhagarathi river valley below filled with smoke from wildfires. A nice family in Danda invited me home for a yummylicious breakfast and tea. Home grown / made food is so much tastier then what you get served in a road side dhaba.
Meanwhile I found a temple called Nagni Tang further away on top of the ridgeline. Mentioning the name my host showed me an unmapped path above Danda leading up to the temple. I was hopeful again to reach on top as per my initial plan. A nice path climbed up through majestic pine forest to a saddle on top of the ridgeline from where it contoured high above the valley towards the peak where the temple was located.
I got treated on mesmerizing views of the snow covered Bandarpunch range high above Uttarkashi. The trail was sometimes eluding me while going through denser forest but with contour map and my destination in mind I was able to stay on track. Towards the early afternoon I reached the temple offering me a 360 degree view from 2700m altitude on the surrounding ranges.
Southwest I admired countless lower mountain ranges of Uttarakhand fading out till the horizon, silhouettes of trees dotting the ridgelines. East I got breathtaking views of the snow covered Southwestern Gangotri subsection. North the more nearby Bandarpunch range was clearly seen.
As I walked up to the temple I noticed someone below an orange blanket meditating. A sadhu from Vijaywada, AP was residing here during the winter months. A smile appeared on his face seeing a lone visitor entering this remote hillock. He immediately offered me some snacks and tea and suggested I halt here for the night.
As it was still early afternoon the man on a mission had made up his mind to move on. After taking in the absolute silence and mesmerizing snow ranges the soul of the same man felt an overwhelming sense of peacefulness to this remote place and decided to sacrifice a few hours in experiencing night stay at this enchanting location.
The sadhu was happy with my decision and immediately was busy preparing delicacies in his small kitchen for his unexpected guest. I sat down on the Western side of the hill catching up with some blogging while watching the sun setting down over the lower ranges indulged in a meditative silence.