Why my heart sings for the Himalayas
There’s nothing in the world that I find more gratifying than being out in the wild. I can spend hours gazing down into a valley or watching a river flow by and that’s what attracts me to trekking. It gives me the opportunity to be amid settings that I love the most.
When I’m in the wild I become one with God’s creations. All the treks I’ve been on and the places I’ve visited are etched in my mind forever. The moments of unadulterated joy I’ve experienced on these trips live on within me; captured in my mind’s eye to open and relive at my own free will.
Trekking has a therapeutic effect on me; it’s like a magic pill that calms my mind and soothes any emotional pain I may be in by making me focus on all that is spellbindingly beautiful.
Trekkers say trekking builds character. Through my own experience I’ve found that to be true. When faced with seemingly insurmountable odds, you muster the courage to fight and when you emerge victorious it fills you with immense confidence. The resultant burst of optimism has a tendency of spilling over into other aspects of your life as well. Therefore, in many ways trekking brings out the best in me - it pushes me to explore the outer limits of my capabilities as an individual that would lay undetected and unascertained otherwise.
My trysts with the mountains have equipped me with life skills like resilience; adversity has ceased to daunt me. I come back from expeditions with the confidence and the knowledge that I have it in me to endure absolutely anything that life has in store for me.
The friends, one often makes, during treks become confidants for life. You start off as random strangers thrown together by fate but over the course of the couple of weeks that you spend in each other’s company, you learn to look out for each other and come to depend on each other for assistance. Aid may come in the form of a buddy sharing his limited supplies and medicines or nursing an injured trekker. It’s impossible to share these experiences with people and not be bonded for life.
Every trek is a unique experience. We’ve been stranded in obscure hamlets for days due to landslides. We’ve befriended the locals while on treks in the Himalayas, eaten at their homes and explored their settlements. My friends and I have jumped off boulders and dived straight into the Ganga after overcoming the initial hesitation. (This was done under the guidance of professional rafters)
I’ve cycled hundreds of kilometers in the wilderness of Ladakh as a member of a cycling expedition. I love the subzero temperatures, the snow, the perpetual hunt for water, huddling together in tents for warmth, the evenings spent chatting with army officers and the friendly banter.
As an amateur trekker, my experiences have been challenging, exhilarating and incredibly enjoyable. Treks pose a physical challenge that I enjoy undertaking, they may be strenuous but when you stand back to enjoy the view, the thought of aching limbs is wiped off from your mind. In that moment everything melts into insignificance and all that remains is an overwhelming sensation of pleasure and awe at having the privilege of witnessing nature in its fully glory untainted by human touch.
It’s a sensation that you’re unlikely to ever forget.
Invariably, every night, I find myself browsing through photographs taken over the years and then I await the next summer to visit my beloved Himalayas once again.
I hope the pictures I’ve shared here evoke the same emotions in you as they do in me.
Read more by Bhakti here.
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