. Kalapani - The Blue Waters
Trip Start Aug 19, 2006
21Trip End Sep 13, 2006
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There is, however, a worrying aspect. The rise in the traffic is bound to adversely affect the environment. The volume of garbage will increase manifold year after year. The situation will worsen once motor transport reaches these remote areas. Empty glass bottles, tin cans, polythene waste, etc, are already visible littered here and there. In years to come they will not only become eyesore and impair the aesthetic beauty of the hills but also become serious environmental hazards. Polythene waste in particular may pose serious danger to the lives of the wild animals as also of the domestic animals. Sooner or latter, therefore, garbage management issues will have to be looked into, so as to keep the environment clean and healthy. The pilgrims have a responsibility to ensure that they keep the camp clean when they leave.
We say goodbye to Gunji for now. From here onwards up to Lepulekh we will be guided by the ITBP personnel. We move lazily we have to cover about nine kilometres along the gradual ascent.
A short distance ahead is yet another extensive level terrace at foot of the towering hill. At the base of the hill is an old temple dedicated to Rishi Ved Vyas. The area has a good share of delicate flowers sprinkled along the way. Red ripe berries in bushy plant of Rubush and some other edible berries grow all over in the area. River Kali in full flood races down swiftly and is at places hidden under giant rocks. High up in the mountain near Kalapani is a cave where Rishi Ved Vyas is believed to have meditated and composed epics in praise of Devine. The cave is visible with naked eyes. Just before Kalapani, many steps deep down and quite near River Kali is a hot water spring.
At the end of our trek we cross over a small wooden bridge over a youthful and turbulent river foaming in rapids and falls and arrive at Kalapani. It is situated at an elevation of 3600 meters above sea level, by the river which flows through a narrow valley surrounded by tall almost vertical hills. As we enter Kalapani there is a small, beautiful temple of goddess Kali. Alongside it a spring gushes from a huge boulder at the foot of the hill. It is dedicated to Goddess Kali. There are many such springs in this area. This place derives its name from the dark waters of these springs and called Kalipani or Kalapani. They are regarded as sacred.
Our camp is on a narrow terrace above ITBP camp.
From this camp we move to Navidhang tomorrow and thence to Lepulekh day after. We therefore, leave our surplus baggage here with the KMVN personnel and keep only the items we need in Tibet.
The clouds have been in the sky for last couple of days but retreat as day progresses. Today, the predawn sky in Gunji was fluffy with thick dark clouds which thinned out as the day advanced, but started gathering again towards the afternoon. By late evening here in Kalapani there is lightening in quick succession exposing the rugged grandeur of the landscape set in the dark grey depths of dark; followed by deafening thunder cracking all over the valley to herald approaching down pour. As I look up and watch the picture of dark clouds forming interesting shapes in the sky, few soft raindrops kiss my face. Finally rain comes down in all its fury splashing in all directions. When it rains, it pours its heart. It is violent, ruthless and loud enough to make its presence felt. It pours gallons of water within a short time, giving little chance of survival to weak hearts. See the quantity of slush it has gathered in such a short span of time. It appears if by any chance it lasts for a longer duration it is capable of carrying the whole mountain down in its stride.
Most of the yatris had gone for evening prayer in the Kali temple which is about 100 meters away, before it started to rain. I was left behind to witness the nature's fury.
It has been an easy passage today. We were hopeful of seeing new moon this evening but this is not to be because of the overcast sky. Thus ends a week since we started our yatra.
Where I stayed