Indrahar Pass: Part 3: Tranquility at Kuarsi along Chamba Valley
We may be one day behind schedule but not disappointed, The lush green valley of Chamba looked promising to us. That one extra day of leave at work should be well worth it.
We were up and on our toes by 7 am. The boulders here were unusually large, and we zigzagged through cracks and gaps. We could hear the faint sound of water flowing, and desperately we began to move in its direction. An hour crossed before we could see a body of water safe enough for us to cook. Almost an entire day passed since we last had a stream at Lahesh caves. Savouring every drop of water that touched our lips, we had our fill.
Ahead, a strikingly massive piece of mountain rock that spanned several hundred meters in length lied and along a fissure along the middle was a moss-covered slide merely waiting for us to have fun. We first let our bags slide down so that they could break our slide at the bottom. "Wheeee," we were accelerating down the slope and braced for the crash at the end. It was indeed an enjoyable moment.
The terrain was now a meadow gently sloping down, and we could smell the freshness in the air. There were no rocks; soft grass spanned our entire view for the next couple of hours. The valley's charm did not stop here; Waterfalls, pools, tree trunk bridges, and beautiful flowers kept us amazed and ours wide open.
It was almost 5 pm, and the trail abruptly ended. It was seen resuming on the other side of the valley but no easy way to cross. The bridge which should have made the crossing more comfortable lied in pieces at the bottom of the valley. With no other choice, I climbed down and deployed ropes. After a gruesome hour by which darkness fell, we brought everyone down the steep rock.
GPS reported that we were 3 km from Kuarsi, so we thought we could make it by midnight, but we had limited number of torches and the night slowed us down. By 1.00 am we still had a km to go. We took a strategic decision to whip out our sleeping bags and sleep on the trail itself.
Next day, we resumed along the snaking path for quite a long time until yellow-orange flowering plants replaced the tall green trees. On closer inspection they revealed to be Rajma crops (Kidney Beans). We reached Kuarsi. This crop was the primary source of income for the people of Kuarsi. Everyone from kids to the elderly took part in the cultivation and processing of these beans.
Less than hundred homes and less than 400 people populated this tranquil and colorful village made of wood, mud, and stones and painted in bright colors. Straws lined every roof, possibly as insulation from accumulating snow during winters. The temple there had a mystic feel to it owing to dozens of Trident, Skulls with long horns, bells of various sizes. Surely at night with oil lamps, the mystical feel would have been many times more.
The people were the real wonder of this village, cheerful with a smile on their faces they rushed to know about us and were remarkably hospitable. Adding to this amazement was the fact that we could see religious diversity in total harmony. The only different feel we got was the sales of Maggi, coke at the sole grocery shop.
We took advantage of this shop and had ourselves filled with Maggi noodles before we bid farewell to Kuarsi and took the two and a half route cut into the mountains to Hilling. Hilling, being an ordinary Himalayan village was well connected by road, and there were Public transportation services available. We ended our trek by taking the bus to Pathankot.