Yes, sanctity. The state of being holy, or saint-like. Now, many people will say ‘How do you find sanctity, in this world where everything revolves around objects?’. My answer is simple – in the Himalayas.
Its not an easy way to experience ‘sanctity’ – it involves being disconnected to the world, trekking distances you’d never even dreamt of walking, and of course – financial expenditure. But I loved it, and I would do it over and over again.
My family and I decided to do the Dzongri-Goechala trek a few months ago, and so we did it, just last month. We, however did the trek only till Dzongri – and it was still an experience that I’ll never forget. It is a Sikkimese trek, that takes to through parts of the Western Himalayas. You get to see so many of the tallest peaks, one being Mt. Kanchenjunga. The entire experience changed me – as a person. I became so much more self conscious and aware of my mentality. I realised all the toxic things in my life that needed to be thrown out. I discovered what my real dreams and goals are, who I value the most in the world, and so much more.
We started this trip on October from Bangalore, on a flight to Bagdogra, West Bengal. We then had to take a car from there, to Yuksom in Sikkim. It was around a 9-10 hour drive. We reached pretty late – around 10 P.M. We decided to immediately crash – our trek started the next day.
In the morning, we ate a nice breakfast in the calm serenity of Yuksom.
We then began our trek, after all our luggage had been loaded onto yaks, and after we had met the crew going with us – our guide, a cook and assistant cook, a horseman and 2 porters along with 3 yaks. It was absolutely beautiful, and added up to making the trek so joyful.
We started around 10’o’clock from Yuksom, and decided our first stop where we would camp for the night would be at Sachen. We reached Sachen at 4, much later than we expected to. It was then that we realised that this trek was much harder than all the articles, books and blogs say. Its not actually the distance which is hard, but the terrain. It may not sound like it makes a difference – but trust me, it does. It was completely rocky, and very steep. Normal sports shoes will not last. We actually wanted to trek to Bakkim, which we were grateful we didn’t do in the morning when we realised that would have taken another 3-4 hours! Its not a joke! (plus, I was trekking with my parents who, as young as they claim to be, are pretty old.) The views to Sachen were mostly rainforest, but it was very beautiful.
We decided to camp at Sachen that night. We slept in tents for the first time! It is one experience that we’ll remember forever. Its something absolutely different, and though it may not seem like a big deal – so many memories are created.
The next morning, we started heading for Tshoka. We decided that we would stop midway for lunch at Bakkim. The journey to Bakkim involved a downward descent and across a river, and up another mountain. It was quite strenuous, but we took it slow and steady and made it there around 11. Till the afternoon, the weather was brilliant – the sun was out and we got some wonderful clicks.
From Bakkim, after lunch, we started heading for Tshoka. We noticed that in Tshoka it was much, much colder. The walk to Tshoka is uphill, and is mostly through more forest. In Tshoka, we were lucky enough to get a cabin instead of having to stay in a tent. It was not at all luxurious – there were just three mattresses. But, it provided us with much more room and warmth than we would have gotten in a tent. My father and I also decided to go to the various viewpoints, and it was absolutely beautiful. In the night, we really began to feel the cold.
The next morning, we began heading for Dzongri. We had constantly read that this part of the trek was the hardest, regardless of whether or not its uphill to Dzongri or downhill the other way around. Its not the distance that’s hard to cover – its the steepness and terrain. We reached the mid-point Phedang around 1’O’Clock. We were all extremely tired, but we decided to go on till Dzongri, and we don’t regret it.
We were easily able to make out the altitude change – it was much colder, and we froze in the night. We had two nights to spend at Dzongri, which meant we could have two mornings at the Dzongri top. The first morning we had was a little bit cloudy, however we were not dissatisfied. The weather could have been much worse. We were still able to see many of the highest peaks, and even got a glimpse of Mt.Kanchenjunga! (All three of us went on this day) The climb up is pretty tiring. even though it is a short distance of 1 km. It requires getting up early, and being there before the sun rises.
We spent the rest of the day resting, and organising ourselves. The next morning, my dad and I decided to go to the summit once again. And it was one of the best memories we’ve ever had. The sky was absolutely clear – and we saw everything. We had a MASSIVE photoshoot, and just looking at the mountains like that, it changes you. It makes you realise how big and powerful the world is. It was magical. Just look at the pictures. (please note the colour changes due to the sun, it was just out of the world :)) And also, I will shamelessly say now that I am not uploading the best pictures, because I did the trek, and you didn’t. Get off your phone/laptop and do it now, its worth it.
On that day, we began our return journey with something extraordinary. We returned, and found ourselves changed. Completely different. We stopped at Tshoka for one night again, and from Tshoka we went straight back to Yuksom (that was so tiring wow). Here’s some pictures from the return journey 🙂
We are so so so grateful of the crew we received, and to all the yaks that came along with us to carry all the load. The guide, the horseman, the cook, assistant cook and 2 porters – all for us. It was truly an experience of a lifetime that we will NEVER forget. Because, after all, you don’t really experience sanctity all the time, do you?