Trans Hima 2020 – 48 Goriganga River Valley

Plan for today was to loop around Goriganga valley near Munsyari across the ancient rock paths high above the river. I slept like a baby at the home of my host at Suring village. Home made wine and soft sheep skin was the perfect combination for a good night rest. My host woke me up with hot black tea followed by wheat rottis with salty green chutney. Non expecting hospitality of the innocent soul. I handed two hundred rupees to his young son as a pongal gift and bid goodbye.

I climbed back up to the wide rock path above Suring which I had discovered yesterday. Hoping it would take me all the way to Lilam village upstream where I could cross the river and come back the opposite side of the valley. The cobbled path contoured high above the valley offering mesmerizing views on the hamlets below. In several places large landslides had destroyed the path in recent years and a small makeshift trail usually got me across.

The rock path passed through burned grass slopes 900m above the river below. It entered into a first side valley in the lush green Munsyari reserved forest and crossing the side river near the hamlet of Senar. Once again climbing up while contouring around the ridge into the main Goriganga river valley flowing down from the Milan valley, an ancient trading route between Tibet and India untill the 1962 war. The once thriving valley became abandoned after that as locals migrated in search for opportunities elsewhere. 

The East facing sun exposed main valley slope was again barren until we entered yet another large side valley into lush green Zimya forest nested on the North facing slope. The path finally entered in the farmlands of Quirry village where a kind family offered a cup of hot chai to s lone traveler. The path continued heading further into the side valley till the last hamlet of Jimia where the it dropped down to cross the side river to the opposite side.

Climbing up again through the hamlets of Polo and Batgaon. Wonderful views from the 4 feet wide cobbled path running along near vertical cliffs high above the thundering Goriganga river flowing down from the Milan and Ralam glaciers. Near Lilam village the ancient path finally merged with the new road heading into the Milan valley. A small trail got me steep down from the road to a small bridge to cross over to the other side of the main Goriganga valley.

While climbing up to the village of Buin I passed a small dhaba and at 3pm was starved for a late lunch. Tea, Maggie, boiled eggs replenished the lost calories. From Buin a beautiful rock path contoured back downstream high above the river through lush green forest. For a good while there was no habitation on the Eastern side of the valley until the small settlement of Kultham. Similar to the other side landslides  had again destroyed the path in several places.

By evening I reached the village of Uchchaiti where yet another friendly local invited me to stay over for the night offering tea, dinner and a cosy bed. Humanity in the small villages is beyond words. Quite a contrast with the cities where we sold our souls to materialistic enrichment. I admired the row of heritage homes made of natural materials rocks, wood and mud. Friendly smiles appearing from behind the small windows. I felt home immediately.

Trans Hima 2020 – 48 Goriganga River Valley Plan for today was to loop around Goriganga valley near Munsyari across the…

Posted by Peter Van Geit on Wednesday, 27 January 2021