(view from Nag Tibba Jhandi)
There are somethings you’d do just for the sake of doing them, as you once planned so. Nag Tibba is one such trek that I completed about three weeks ago, in the month of August (2013).
Along with two close friends, I set out for Pantwari (the starting point with shortest route to the Tibba – 8 Kms to the top from there) on the morning of 25th August, 2013 at around 9 am. Weaving out of Dehradun city’s traffic, we steadily climbed the Rajpur road on our two wheelers (an Enfield Electra and a Honda Aviator) heading for Mussoorie – our first pit stop.
(Chai, at Mussoorie Library)
Although the weather is pleasant in the valley almost round the year, the grizzly black clouds hanging above betrayed the possibility of a heavy downpour. We halted at the Mussoorie library for a cup of tea and a quick snack. Post breakfast, we shopped for some essentials such as candles, matchsticks, tea and sugar, and were soon on our way.
The route from Mussoorie to Pantwari skims through, Kempty Fall, Nainbagh, Yamuna Bridge and some villages en route. Yamuna Bridge is quite famous for its fish rice stalls by the river. Here we halted for lunch and ordered a steaming hot plate of boiled fish rice. A first timer at eating fish, I thoroughly enjoyed the delicacy and fishing for fish bones from between my teeth.
(Fish Rice at Yamuna Bridge)
Most of the route from Yamuna Bridge to Pantwari falls on the leeward side hence the mountain are bare or grassy – with the rock structures along the road quite pronounced. This can be tempting for any bouldering enthusiast or climber. However, our attempts on scaling any of these rocks failed miserably as the holds blasted and mildly injured my friend’s knee.
We reached Pantwari at about 1 in the afternoon. After having a cup of tea, storing some more provisions of food and parking our vehicle in a shed, we set out for the trek at about 2 o clock.
The trail to the tibba is quite simple. Starting from the temple’s welcome gate in Pantwari one can take any trail that is climbing up the hill. There is plenty of water sources on the way so you don’t need to carry a lot. First fill can be made in Pantwari, after that it’s a half an hour climb to the next source. Between the two, one will pass the intersection with the big road (good enough for a jeep to ply on) four times. Keep climbing to reach a water trickle source; a little up is a reservoir and a hamlet.
(These 3 were tied near the temple gate)
Basically, it is quite difficult to ‘get lost’ on this trek (except in the snow). With plenty of shepherds and villagers treading this path to collect firewood or lead their flocks to greener pastures, there will be ample number of people to take directions from. Also there are hamlets at about every half an hour’s distance until 4kms from the Tibba.
(break! and another one…)
We climbed for 3 hours at an earthwormly pace with several breaks in between for water, snacks or clicking pictures. An hour and a half before sun set we pitched our two men tent at a kilometres distance from the last house on the trek and at a 5 minutes walking distance from a water hole. Confident that we’d be able to find firewood (and due to a lack of any serious planning) we didn’t bring a stove or butane cylinders along. Unfortunately there wasn’t any dry wood in the forest (due to a recent downpour) and all our attempts at lighting up a blaze were in vain. Resigning to our fate, we were about to tear open a packet of instant noodles and consume them uncooked, when something huge, brown and furry showed up on the hillock nearby. A closer inspection of the apparition revealed that it was a Bhotia dog (shepherds use to guard their flocks from big cats, wolves, beer and foxes). Accompanying it, standing a little further, was its master. This filled us with immense hope for reasons still unknown to us.
Inquiries began for dry firewood or if the herder could help us with building fire?! However, he flatly ruled out any possibility of lighting a fire on the moist floor of the forest; and warmly invited us over to his hut. The man and his wife lent us their kitchen fire and utensil for cooking the noodles and even turned the flat taste of the noodles into a delicacy by adding a pinch of homemade chilli paste. Post dinner we thanked our host for their generosity and retired for our tent.
The night sky was clear and the glint of the stars pristine. However, there was thunderstorm on the horizon – it must have been raining somewhere. After some star gazing we sought for our sleeping bags; after a while of friendly banter inside the tent, being totally worn out from the day’s toil we instantly fell asleep.
I woke up at about 6 in the morning due to the constant drone of a bumble bee. The bee must have taken liking to our bright blue tent and buzzed about it until we reached the Nag Tibba Jhandi (a shrine en route Tibba) – this was located a kilometre uphill from where we pitched our tent.
Nag Jhandi is a place worshipped by the locals. It is marked with a pole standing on a small hill at about 50m distance from the forest department’s bungalow built at the base of the Tibba. Trekkers can choose to stay in these bungalows – which are almost clean, devoid of any furnishing and have a fireplace in each room. However, the floor of one of the room was entirely under water owing to a harsh monsoon.
We climbed to the Jhandi and took in a good view of the surrounding low lands. By now it was already 8 o clock and so we abandoned the remaining climb to the Tibba top (2kms uphill) – since one of our group member had to head back to Delhi on the same day, so we were faced with a paucity of time. We completed our climb down to Pantwari in 4 hours and stuck to the main trail (called ‘chopti’ by the locals) this time. The incline took its toll on our knees however, the route down the main trail was even simpler than the obscure trails and no trails at all we took on our way up.
(climbing down the chopti)
This beautiful weekend trek ended with a toast of chai raised in a dhaba in Pantwari. From there we set out for a fill of Lovely’s amazing omelettes on Mussoorie mall.
For More Pictures Visit: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.213133022194737.1073741828.173644712810235&type=3
All photos clicked by Nitish Bhardwaj (https://www.facebook.com/89.99p?fref=ts&ref=br_tf) using Sony XperiaL.
How to Reach:
-Nearest Railway Station: Dehradun
-Nearest Air Port: Dehradun
-Cab to Pantwari can be hired from Dehradun Railway station/ Mussoorie, Picture palace.
-Buses to Pantwari can be boarded from Dehradun Railway Station/ Mussoorie, Picture palace.
Equipment for a 2 day trek:
– Light attire: T-Shirts, trousers, shoes, cap, sunglasses and socks; thermals and fleece for winters.
– Tent (We used a 3.4 kg Quechua 2 men dome tent, for 3 people).
– Sleeping Bag (I use a Quechua poly fill, that works upto -5 degree Celsius).
– Iso Propane Butane Cylinder and cooking stove.
– Dry ration and liquids.
– Kiwi bag for waste disposal.
– Pocket knife, torch, camera, spare batteries, lighters, candle and matchsticks.
– A comfortable trekking bag (50L-65L).
– Trekking pole (optional).
– Crampons in the snow season (optional).