My friend asked me what is my memorable experience in Himalayas I had to tell him the story of two Himalayan sheep dogs that followed me to the top of Chandrashila ( 4000Mts from sea level) . I saw these sheep dogs for the first time in my life while trekking to Kedarnath. They were really really huge in size slow moving and so puffy that one will think they must be most lazy dogs in the world. I had the same impression until I came back and studies a little about them!
Chandrashila is a 4000 Mts high peak comes in the Garhval Himalayas and my first attempt to reach this place was a total failure due to blocked road thanks to a landslide. Three months later I went again and I was confident only after reaching Chopta. We checked with our guide Murali Singh that we start very early in the morning . A six kilometer steep trek will take us to temple Tungnath and then further 1 kilometer trek will take you to the peak of Chandrashila where one can see giant Himalayan peaks .
While having lunch in the night we were shivering in the spine eating cold and I saw these two sheep dogs lying over there watching us . After a little chat with the hotel owner I found that the always live here . I have seen these dogs photos in so many blogs I read before preparing for the trek but wasn’t sure those photos are of these dogs as they all looked same to me. I forgot about them and went for sleep with all excitements about the next days trek.
After having a cup of tea at the hotel we started trekking around 5 am in the freezing morning . No breakfast so Muraliji packed lot of eateries and for myself I had couple of chocolates. As I just started feeling the lack of oxygen in the air I started to buy time looking here and there to relax. Suddenly I saw somebody is following us . Tow of them! They are the sheep dogs I saw last night ! Murali showed no interest in that and sarcastically he told they will follow us till the Chandrashila summit.
They follow us ? An 8 KM stretch and nearly 600 meters of ascent and they just follow us ? Murali said yes !!
A little light hit the sky and I could now clearly see the white Himalyanan mountains. And the beautiful dense forest before the mountains. I clicked while I was taking rest and I rested while I clicking photographs of heaven surrounded me. And both dogs rested while I was clicking as if they are the protectors of a serious photographer from south India! Of course they got some Cadbury chocolate in return as well!
I saw Murali shouting at dogs and throwing stones trying to send them back. He was worried that these dogs will make the wildlife run away . He was worried that I may not get very nice photos of some rare Himalayan species around. I told him it is not a problem as I am not interested taking photos if wildlife but I would rather prefer to enjoy them watching.
Trek continued and dogs followed like a rule. They behaved as a long time friends whenever I sat with them and touched their puffy skins . Muraliji could not resist patting heads of the dogs and started giving away some biscuits he brought .
The joy of seeing the nature in Himalayas is unexplainable. I have always wondered why saints tell Himalayas as their destiny. For now I think I found the answer. Nature is the biggest god. Come to Himalyas you forget lowering your head. You will be always looking around you holding your head high , those tall trees , waterfalls and the snow covered mountains! You become a small tiny object in front of the nature here. You loose here in front of nature! And you will feel proud of loosing here!
A steady trek and a energizing nature made me feel better and better . When we reached Tunganath , 1 KM behind Chandrashila I looked for dogs and they were not there! I thought they left us . Had a quick mouthful of biscuits and again my eyes were searching for those dogs . Murali was laughing at me and told ” Saab, Woh kutton to hamse aage nikalgaye ! ” (sir, they already gone ahead of us ) ! I did not believe him until I saw two tiny black dots on grass lands on the top!
Forget about the nature , for a south Indian who born at an altitude of 0 meters and walking up to 4000 meters is something special. When I reached at the top it was a joyous moment , a moment I longed for years. One side I could see layers countless mountains totally starting at blue and slowly disappearing in to the bright white sky and the other side I saw snow covered white Himalayan mountains . Murali was busy in telling me the names of the various mountains which I could not recall. Dogs chose a good flat stone for themselves for relaxing and I got busy with my camera capturing the divine beauty of Himalayas.
Couple of foreign tourists with their Indian guide joined us at the top and apparently they surprised by seeing two of us with two dogs . They started giving some foods to those dogs, patting them . I don’t know why I suddenly felt very bad and started thinking they may not come back with us while returning. I had not much food left in my bag to attract them too. “Wait a minute , why you jealous of them ? They are not your dogs !!? ” told myself and convinced myself not to think of them anymore.
Murali started insisting me that we should start back . Half heartedly I had to agree with him and started walking down leaving those tourists and the dogs. Five minutes walk, I know why , I turned my head and I could not believe myself ! The dogs are following us promptly! How amazing! They just came all the way down till the hotel and laid down for relaxing.
So a trek of a life time for a south Indian was guided by a local expert guide and accompanied by couple of Himalayan sheep dogs . Fact is the dogs were the first to reach top and first to reach the base as well! I was truly fascinated by their energy and even thought of taking a puppy if available with me to Bangalore. Apart from this they were all over my photographs making a good witness for what I witnessed of Himalayas at Chandrashila. I am sure I will go to this place again and will look for the dogs and buy them a nice lunch ! I Will sit down with them in front of a bonfire in the freezing night and enjoying the starry sky !!