My first amateur trekking experience was a 5 day trek to Deo Tibba, a mountain with a height of 6,001 meters in the Great Himalayas of India. It lies to the southwest of Manali above Jagatsukh village. Deo Tibba in Hindi means “the hill top where Gods sit”. Located in the Pir Panjal Range this is one of the least trekked places in the Himalayas. In my whole 5 days trekking, I only crossed 6 new people who were all coming back from the hill top expedition.
Our trek began on August 26 from Manali. Gaurav, the owner of Hippie in Hills drove us to the starting point of the trek in his cool Maruti Jeep. The Indian Army uses this jeep a lot too.
We were 6 guys in total for the trek. Three clients including me, two tour guides and one porter. Guys like me who don’t do regular exercise are meant to be exhausted within the first 15 minutes of the trek. We climbed steep rocks and crossed multiple streams to reach our first stop in Chikki. The team didn’t want us to do heavy lifting on the very first day. Chikki is famous for its festival where nearby villagers gather once every year to pay tribute to their gods. It is said that it is mandatory for the festival to be held or the Gods will get angry. Chikki has a shelter place which is open for everyone and that is where we slept for the first night. Rest all nights were spent in tents. The shelter place has running water facility in its kitchen, it has utensils to be used by anyone and everyone to cook food. We spent our time cooking, getting to know each other and playing antakshari for the first night.
The next day we were to trek to Chota Sheri first and then camp at Sheri for the night. Breakfast was quick, we didn’t want to waste time and headed for the picturesque journey to Sheri. With no cellphone tower, your only time pass was to gaze into the forest and listen to its music.
It is obvious that you will get tired. But the trick is to set a goal and push forward. Having a good pair of shoes is very much necessary. Also carry energy sticks, they consume less space in your bag and are easy to eat while walking. Do not carry too many pants, sweaters and jackets. Instead carry a lot many underwear and socks. They will make you feel fresh.
Water was not at all an issue on this trek. We crossed numerous streams and drank from it directly. The villagers believe that any stream of water that flows from the north has medicinal content in it. It is far better than your packaged drinking water. We used to walk for half an hour and then take a 5 minutes break. The 5 minutes break felt like half an hour. The air so pure, you feel like sleeping at any rock lying nearby. We made a hard stop at Chota Sheri for lunch. Our guides, Hemu and Lata, prepared sandwiches with mayonnaise, cabbage, capsicum and cheese.
After lunch we continued our journey and reached Sheri at 5 PM in the evening. 3 tents were set and food was cooked by Lata Rana, our second guide. Lata, aged 18 at that time is a licensed mountaineer and her goal is to one day summit Mount Everest. Our porter whom we all called Daju was from Nepal. We carried gas cylinders, utensils and food for the 5 day trip and this is where porters are needed. We were not experienced trekkers, so a porter was needed for us.
Day 3 was the toughest and the most scariest trek day. We needed to cross the mountain you see on my back in the picture below. We went over it crossing nalas which would expand as the sun melts the glacier with time. One wrong step and you would fall off the ridge. Like I told you in the beginning it is a very less travelled trek pass and if something happens to you, no one would come for help.
And so we headed out for Mini Chandratal in Deo Tibba. Even though the journey was tough, the view was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. We came across a shepherd who helped us guide the easy way through the ridges. These shepherds stay in the mountains for 4-5 months at a stretch. They have no connection with the outer world at that time and are totally dependent on the food that they have bought with them months ago. Salt is a luxury in the mountains, the sheeps and cows like to eat as much salt as possible. The shepherds come in a group of 2-3 people. They bring hundreds of sheeps from the village to the mountains. Each villager pay as per the amount of sheeps he is going to hand over to the shepherd. The shepherd is supposed to feed the sheep and bring it back to the village after 4-5 months.
We walked halfway to Chota Chandratal and returned from there to our base camp in Sheri. Upon arrival we were surprised with a cake which Lata had prepared for Ila. It is then that I realised that the couple who were travelling with me all these time were in the mountain to celebrate one of their’s birthday. Such should be how birthdays be celebrated. You push yourself a step ahed in life in celebrating your birthday. It was cold and windy but with help from Lata, Ila cut her birthday cake in the mountain.
And so it was time for us to head back home. The descent was easier for us. On Day 4, we made the plan to spend the night again in Chikki, but this time in tents. Day 4 was happy day for us. We were talking, singing and climbing down the hill. I gained more confidence in where to put my feet and how to cross the creeks. It didn’t take us much time and we were in Chikki. We set our camps, cooked food and went for bed early.
And so our trek ended with Day 5 as we climbed down to the hustle and bustle of Manali. Always carry sunscreen whenever you go on a trek. As I came down to Manali, I started receiving multiple text messages and miss call notifications. 5 days without any communication, does feel good. This was a very refreshing trip for me. Oh and by the way, we took to nature’s call out in the open. Carry your sanitizers and toilet paper. Download some songs on your phone. Do not waste your storage space on movies. You would need space for the photos and videos. Carry multiple socks. Until next blog, take care you guys!
Also Read Everybody once goes on a trip to Tosh
Below are the links to the shoe and the trekking pant I used on this trek. These are affiliate links, meaning at no cost to you, if you buy these products I will get a commission from Amazon.