Shikari Devi 2 “Lost in the Kamrunag Trek”

Trek is an art of exploration, not easy for everyone, and not tough to be tried by anyone. We might think that trekking is very easy, but when you are lost in the forest at the time when the sun is about to set then you have to think of whether you really know how to trek or not.

Similar experience I faced when myself and Chetan Pathak were at Shikari Devi temple and doing the trekking cum traveling to Kamrunag Lake cum Temple.

After spending the night at Shikari Devi Temple peak with a 4°C temperature over the top of the mountain in the mid of month of June, we woke up with a fresh morning. At this temperature, it’s not easy to use the washroom, especially in the morning as the washing water is stone cold.

Somehow we both managed, and took quite an amount of breakfast as Alloo Paratha made by Eshu Bhaiya. As I already told in the previous blog that he is quite supportive. So he fed us with good breakfast.

Now we were supposed to go to the next and the most challenging trek of our lifetime, which is Shikari Devi to Kamrunag Temple, which is around 10km long with 5 mountain tops to cross and can be done in 5-6 hours, as the info provided by locals. Also, the locals warned us, that if you are not able to reach Kamrunag before sunset, then take shelter at any house on the way and wait till morning, as this is a real wild jungle and with real wild animals, who are very much interested in fresh meat.

At Shikari Devi itself, I asked one local person, where is the Kamrunag temple. And he just pointed out in some direction and said, “Wo Raha Kamrunag Mandir”. As per his expression and confidence, we were overwhelmed and thought that the trek was just a piece of cake and we will definitely break the record for covering it in 3-4 hours. But… the tragedy was about to come in a few hours.

After packing some snacks from Eshu Bhaiya, we shared goodbyes and moved with full potential towards the next and the biggest milestone of our life. Made some running videos in the green grasslands.

The green grassland-covered mountains make us feel like heaven. The dew drops over the grass felt like the best moment of our life and we never wanted to lose this moment at any cost.

The view was continuously changing and moreover, it’s improvising at every next moment. Soon, we saw some horses, initially, we got scared of them, as we didn’t know about the behavior of horses in the forest, but they seems quite calm, and they didn’t bother to look at us.

But as I pointed out the camera onto them, they are like, giving straight poses, like they want their pics to get clicked.

We were continuously on our path, and in the midst, we found a few local trekkers who are also going to Kamrunag temple. We started moving with them and discussing the local sightseeing, and local atmosphere. Some discussion of politics also. But as they were local so their cardio was fantastic and much better than us, so they were fast and needed less rest, but we bit urban slow people, who never know how to walk and sit whole day in our job, are taking instantaneous rest session in between.

At that time I thought if I joined a gym or started running every morning, I might have been more energetic and may be able to compete with them.

Anyhow, we were trying to move to our full potential. Soon, they moved far away and now they are not visible, maybe they crossed one more mountain. So we thought of being a real trekkers and trying to search for our own route.

Really speaking, if you do not know how to find the way in the jungle for the trek, then first study then plan, otherwise, everyone will not be as lucky as we were.

Anyhow, let’s continue the experience. At the start, we were at the top of the mountain, but soon at one place, there was 2 path in front of us, one going left, another right, and as its forest so no sign board. So we first plan to go right, but we thought of maybe the left looks genuine. So we moved left.

We walked for around half n hour, but after that, it was like we were going down the mountain line. Soon the trail ends with the cliff. We both were in shock and realized that we wasted our 1 hour on this wrong decision. Not thinking much, we again moved back and reached the T point from where we moved right. This was just the start of our lost journey.

On the next path, we saw some goats, these were goats of Himachal who knows how to walk over the edge of the mountain. They were quite adorable but did not give us any poses which we can capture on our camera.

As the journey progresses, we saw a plant that looks like a snake. But at beginning of the journey, the localities already warn us, not to touch an unknown plant as it may contain poison, so we avoided it.

Moment by moment we were losing path multiple times, and losing path in these forests is like losing hours. Anyhow, we still proceeded.

Now time is around 1 pm and we just stopped at an elevation and had our lunch. We had limited capacity to carry bottles as I am having camera bag and that really heavy with all my gadgets. So after a few more minutes, we reached the small area where we saw some houses, and meet with some of the local families. We asked them for some water and they provided it without any hesitation, but as I said earlier that Himachalis are the best cultured and helpful people.

You might be thinking why I am praising them for just giving me water, the fact is these people bring water from down the cliff in cans of 30-40 liters on their shoulders daily 2-3 times. Asking them for water means they have to go again for it. Maybe if I were in their place of theirs, I might have denied it. And maybe that’s why I am not at their place. The water given by them was crystal clear and pure. We thanked them and moved on.

Now after some time, we meet with a family who are also going on the same path, so we asked them about the trail to Kamrunag. They were quite happy to help us out, so they asked us to walk with them as on their way there is a shortcut to Kamrunag temple. When we heard about shortcuts, we were too excited. Now the time was 3 pm. It’s already been 7 hours and we were nowhere near Kamrunag temple. Still, we gathered courage and started to walk with them.

After an hour of walking, we reached one very small village, with 3-4 houses only. The family who are guiding us, asked one of the villagers about the shortcut to Kamrunag, but then to our disastrous surprise, there was no shortcut, and the place was opposite the route of Kamrunag. I and Chetan both were in a huge shock. The family who guided us to this location also apologized to us, but we were having no words to say to them. The time is 4 pm. And now we know that we lost our path and we really didn’t know what to do next.

Then suddenly one villager said, “You can climb this cliff and from the top of this cliff, you will have to climb another one. After that follow the trail and you will reach the Kamrunag temple gate in no time”. I asked this fellow how much time it will take to cross these two cliffs, then he replied, “half n hour”.

We both were scared and unplanned. We are not having any other option rather than climbing up the mountain. So we started climbing.

This was approx 35 degrees cliff with 90% hard muddy, and with a 7kg camera bag at back, you can imagine how dangerous a situation we were at that time. It was like nowadays “Khatron Ke Khiladi”. After climbing a bit I just tried to see the view at back, and it was like a suicide mission. If by any chance we slipped mistakenly, then I do not know whether anyone will be able to find my body in one piece or not. By artificially overcoming the horror views, we climbed both the cliff and moved ahead.

On the way we saw a house where a lady was washing clothes, so we didn’t bother them and moved on. Soon we reached a mountain top, and now we again lost the trail and from here we didn’t know in which direction we have to move. The time is now 4:40 pm with no path to be seen.

Now we were not in a position to be optimistic and hopes to reach Kamrunag temple were lost in the lost trails. As corporate employees, in our work culture, we always had a backup plan, but this time we didn’t have one. Chetan was like totally depressed, and asked me if he want to go home, and do not need to reach Kamrunag any way. The devotion, the optimism, the energy, everything was lost with the setting sun.

Then I just remembered the house we saw after crossing the cliff, so I asked Chetan to go back to follow the trail and asked the lady and her family to give us shelter till morning, as we were warned prior to the start of the journey to get shelter before sunset.

So we moved ahead towards the house. soon we reached the nearby location from where that house was visible, so we had a bit of relaxation. The Nearby location was covered with teak trees of huge height. and the ground was totally covered with leaves.

We were walking and looking at the house where we were about to reach. But suddenly a person came in front of us like he was hiding behind the tree, and asked, “Are you lost?” We said, yes we are definitely lost, and we want to go to Kamrunag, but unluckily lost our path long back, and went to the house in front of us to stay for the night.

After listening to our story, he said, I will guide you to Kamrunag temple, it’s just 15 minutes walk from here. At the start, I and Chetan both were a bit shocked, as in our urban world if someone supported this, it might be a criminal plan of the person. But anyhow at this time if he is creating some hopes to reach the destination, why not try, as now were having nothing to lose?

So we followed him and started the trail. While walking, Chetan comes to me and whispered, “if anything happens, that we strike him with bamboo in our hand, you run left, and I will run right”. Now after his words the scenario becomes scarier as we were again going away from the house where we were supposed to take shelter and going with this unknown man to the downhill side of the trail.

Soon we reached one cottage, and he asked us to sit outside of it for some time till he went inside it. We were again scared. We were imagining if he brings some knife or weapon then this might be our life’s last trek. But in an adverse scenario, he came back with one Bidi (local cigarette) and a matchbox. he lightens it and enjoys the fumes of tobacco.

After 5 minutes of smoking, he again started to walk, and we followed him. after 10 minutes, we met another person who was supposed to be this unknown guy’s friend, and he is having a dog too. I usually love dogs but this time my love for any creature vanishes as I just want to reach my destination.

In the next 10 minutes, suddenly the unknown guys stopped, turned towards us with a smile, and said, “Wo Raha Kamrunag ka Dwar” (There is the gate of Kamrunag). I and Chetan both were shocked and the ray of hope and happiness just grows in an exponential manner within us. We were recollecting the moment 20 minutes back when we were nowhere in the middle of the jungle, and now the destination is just in front of us.

So after thanking them and shaking hands, we moved ahead with happiness. But this happiness vanishes in the next moment. in the next 30 seconds, I asked Chetan lets wave my hands to them as they helped us to our destination. So we both turned back but… no one was there. The plain area was empty. It’s not like a place from which a person can vanish in minutes. But seriously there were not visible at every angle of visibility we tried. I asked Chetan what the hell was that and who the hell were those unknown people. He was also in shock, so we both ran towards the gate and stopped after entering it.

This was my life’s biggest mystery, as I tried to think about it many times, but I was answerless. What was it? Was this really God or spirit who comes to rescue us, or is all this a dilemma of ours for which we are overthinking? Anyways, whatever it is, it helps us to reach our destination, saving our one night and also saving our lives. So now we walked on the rocky trail to Kamrunag and after half an hour of walk, we reached the Temple.

Chetan stopped at the gate, but I was in total shock, and moved directly towards the temple and sat on my knees in front of Lord Kamrunag, and thanked him for saving us. After this, I got a breath of relief.

The temple campus was quite big and a small pond was in front of it. There was a board saying not to throw Rupee notes in the lake, but our Indian mentality cannot be controlled by any rule or law. The lake was full of Rupee notes in the pond.

We just clicked some pics and proceeded to finish the trek. Now, all we have to do is go down the hill to the base. The path to the base was also hilly but visible trails were available and a huge bunch of people was moving, so no further fear of losing the path.

In the middle of the path, we found one gentleman and his two sisters. So we started chatting with them and passed our whole hour of the downhill trek with them and on time we reached the bottom.

From here we were waiting for any bus which can carry us to Sunder Nagar, which we were not getting. But now luck was on our side and the gentleman with whom we came down from Karunag, provided us a lift till Sunder Nagar.

After an hour of gossiping, we finally reached Sunder Nagar. We thanked them and asked them to call us whenever they visit at our native place. After they went suddenly Chetan again whispered,” I think we didn’t share our phone numbers with them, so how would they contact us”. I gave a huge angry look at him and we were laughing like mad at the situation.

Now we searched for one hotel to stay in for the night and in the morning we moved back to Hoshiarpur with huge sets of memories that maybe we will not be able to forget. And I can say that this was the best birthday gift to me in my life as its 12th June.

I can say this trek is not just a trek for us but learning. Learning for living life, learning for living with passion, learning to always remain optimistic, as whatever critical situation we ever face in life there is always a solution, and if anyhow you were not able to pick the solution then the whole world comes to you to support you to correct it with the exact solution.

So my final advice to all travelers is to do research and enjoy life with traveling, as life is short and things to explore are huge.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *