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Personal experiences

The direct experience one gets at first is physical one like getting tired at the end of each day after a long walk. While social and spiritual experiences has deeper impact.

Since this was not trekking expedition we were far ahead than estimated time for the tourists. We were almost twice faster. As our sleeping bags were not very good one it felt cold there. But thanks to hotel owners who provide bed to sleep and rugs to cover body. The kitchen of hotel is place where not only food is served but also it acts as gathering place for all the visitors and socialize with each other.

As we move from Taplejung towards north the faces changes from Rai-Limbu to Sherpa and language changes as well. The kitchen changes and spices in food changes as well. The hospitability of people changes. Value of money changes. Finally your mind changes. The majestic beauty changes everything.

Bad thing: People are money oriented. And it’s due to inflow of tourists who pays in insane way and makes difficult for people like us to go and enjoy at such places. Even if your heart wants to go there, money tries to put constraints in one way or other. Another thing I would like to mention is skin color speaks as well. If one white skin foreigner, people gets attracted and behaves well while opposite is true for local people. This ignorance can only be attributed to lack of education in the people. One day in the future this will fade away.

This article will not be complete without mentioning the porters (brothers I should say) who not only carried our luggage and instruments with us but also served as good friends and made our trip more enjoyable.

This experience will not expire, I hope….

Launch at Japantar

Busanta Dai

At Tapethowk

Farewell at Ghunsa at Himali Chungda

A tribute to IOE T-Shirt ;-)Rajes!

Kaka, Sylvi and Devu Dai

Struck at Tapethowk Police Station

Sylvi.

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Yamatari glacier lies north east from Ghunsa. From Ghunsa it takes about three hours to reach the Dudhkunda which is a small lake (frozen) near the glacier. The terrain is beautiful and if you are lucky you can find some snow leopard (in extreme case, beware!) or some yaks in normal cases. There are some chances to see wild goats as well. This place is about 4500 meter above sea level and clouds float below you. The weather changes quickly from bright sunshine to dark and dusky in matter of moments, so don’t get worried much and don’t get deceptive by the weather. I am not sure but I feel that this place remains frozen all the time. Of course it’s a glacier.

You can also hear some sounds every few minutes. Something mysterious crackling sounds. These sounds come from breakdown of ice of glacier. Glacier is not good place to sleep! It’s a noisy place. Further rock toppling is common phenomenon in this place. However these random rock fall has also added beauty to this place.

At this altitude almost all vegetation stops growing because of extreme cold weather though out the year. But some plants are stubborn, they want to live here. And they have grown special properties in them due to their dedication. Their smell is very good. Dry and burn them to make your room smell like flowers. These plant are called Sunpati (सुनपाती) in Nepali.

This route is not the usual trekking place for the trekkers so virtually you will not find any people on the way. For lonesome trekkers this will be great. However because you are at high altitude going alone will be dangerous: take your friend with you.

If you move early in the morning from Ghunsa to this place you will reach at noon. Carry enough water and food to replenish your energy and strength for back trip.

The real journey starts from Fungling bazaar of Taplejung. You should buy all necessary items like torch lights and its batteries here. Shops will get rarer as you move towards mountains in one hand and other hand they will cost you more as altitude increases.

A view of Tamor river

Fungling lies on top of hill. So first part of journey starts with descending to bank of Tamor (तमोर)river. You will be following this river and its tributaries for rest of the journey. As you descend towards the river you need to pass through active landslide of Hangdewa. This landslide has been assumed to be the biggest in South Asia by geologist. After crossing this deadly landslide and descending for one hour you will reach your first station Mitlung (मित्लुङ). Mitlung is a small transit village where you can take rest after long descending trail of Hangdewa. If you leave Fungling in morning then you can reach Mitlung for launch. There are some lodges in Mitlung where you can rest for night if you like.

From Mitlung you can take two paths. One goes along the bank of Tamor river. This path is relatively flat and easy to walk. Or you may want to travel and enjoy concave and convex curves made by the trail which passes through the village. Both trail meets again and after 2-3 hours walk you can reach another village called Sinwa (सिन्वा). Sinwa has number of lodges and guest houses. This place is a business place for surrounding villages. This place has relatively large number of population and has a police station as well. There is provision of electricity generated by local microhydro power plant. You are not going to see electricity after this place until you reach Ghunsa (3-4 days later).

Strange rocks of Chirruwa

Loacal Porter kids

After crossing lots of suspension bridges along the trail you will reach Chirruwa (छिरुवा). This place is popular among tourists to take rest and stay night. However you can also reach Tapethowk (तापेथोक) on the same day if you like. Tapethowk is about 1-2 hours from Chirruwa. Have you heard of honey hunters by Eric Valley? This documentary was shot in the rock cliffs of Chirruwa. Strangely you will not see any of those bees now. People say there was a huge flood and after that no bees were seen in this area. However you can see some amazing size of boulders. These boulders are as huge as double stories buildings and lies in the middle of paddy field! The landscape of this place is really amazing.

Again from Tapethowk you can follow either of banks of river. Both way meets at Sekhathum. If you cross suspended bridge of Tapethowk and follow left bank of Tamor river you will also reach confluence of Tamor river and Ghunsa river and then follow Ghunsa river toward the north. If you follow Tamor river you will reach Olangchung Gola. But here we will follow Ghunsa river and reach Ghunsa towards Kanchenjunga.

A view of Tapethowk and a

old bridge of tapehowk

which is not in use now

If you had followed right bank of Tamor river from Tapethowk you would have travelled along the bank of Tamor river. This trail is old trail and now a day it’s not used by tourist except local people and porters. This trail is relatively easy than from the left bank. But it depends upon personal flavor. You will cross Simbuwa khola and cross suspension bridge at Hellok if you follow this trail.

Both the trail merges at Japantar of Sekhathum. Japantar is derived from (Japan=country name and tar=flat land). There may be some stories behind this name but I don’t know it now. There is only one lodge (without toilet) and good camping ground at Japantar. It will take about three hours to reach this place from Tapethowk.

Japan tar Majestic fall in way at Lamatar

The river gets loud from Sekhathum. The Ghunsa river gets stepper and stepper. You will see lots of waterfall. Some of those water falls can be called truly majestic. After about four hours you will reach Amjilosa. There are few houses and some flat camping ground here. You can take rest at this place.

Gyabla is about three hours from Amjilosa. There are some guesthouses in this place. If you will travel in winter season you will see frozen water fall from Gyabla. It will take another 3-4 hours to reach Phole (फले). Phole will take your heart away with its beautiful landform painted in amazing colors. You will surely realize the omnipotent God exists. It’s a spiritual feeling.

Cloudy view from Gyabla lodge of Phole

Ghunsa is only 1-2 hours form Phole and trail is flat. It will be the easiest trail for you now because you have had already travelled adventurous trail already for 3-4 days. You will like to run in this place. If Phole had taken your heart away then Ghunsa will make it fly. The human settlement at this altitude is in itself amazing thing to experience. Ghunsa is base point for the climbers of Kanchanjunga. As I told you before, now at Ghunsa you can see electricity working. Michael Faraday would have been the happiest person to see his invention working at such remote place.

For now there will be mucus in your nose due to cold and altitude. But don’t worry its natural.

Sherpa children even in their dirty clothes look so cute and innocent.

A local women of Ghunsa Our porter boys

More views of Ghunsa