Indiahikes trekker Sujit Thakar recollects fond memories from his first Himalayan trek to Sandakphu. He says that viewing the Kangchenjunga was an unforgettable moment in his life. Here is why.
We do many things every day. We have many successes and failures. Many of them are quite important – at time for others as well. How many of these moments are really remembered? A dear few. There’s that success in the game-changing breakthrough in that critical project, sometimes simply settling in bed at 4 am after a really long night, sometimes winning the match with a six for the last-ball.
How many of these stay with us when the euphoria dies down?
There is one which was imprinted on my mind in a way that it won’t disappear. It came on my first Himalayan trek. My trek to Sandakphu. It wasn’t a success or failure – I don’t know how to categorise it. It was probably a sight. It was just a moment. It was my first sighting of the Kangchenjunga. We had started uphill in Jaubari and kept walking up with Tumling with the first halt. The situation was gloomy – both the weather and the body. So after all this effort we were not given a sight of any of the glorious mountains we had signed up the trek for. It was predicted to stay cloudy for the rest of the trek. Did this mean 5 more days of only walking? I mean, the jungles are beautiful and all, but I hadn’t come here for them.
The tea house owner suggested that the clouds normally clear early morning. This would be our best chance. So we got up at 4.45 am and looked out the window (luckily the three of us were put up in the attic) – it wasn’t sunrise yet but some light had probably leaked in.
The sleeping Buddha awakens PC-Kasturi Sule
There she was! The Sikkimese deity at Sandakphu in all her glory!
Normally I am used to seeing Gods and Goddesses concealed in temples, but this one was different. She was right there, visible from far away, in the temple called nature. I am not too emotional, but in that moment I was simply silent. My brain was empty of all thoughts, body of fatigue and pain. The deep blue hues were visible on the white mass of snow. The ridges were slowly discernable against the grey-blue haze.
They call it the Sleeping Buddha. Someone showed me the head, torso with folded arms and legs. Well that was something. But my mind was caught at the mountain in the middle. This is the peak I was dying to see for so long – in school, during the geography class, I used to dream of climbing it up. Well 8.5 km wasn’t much of a distance, and everything in the world was possible back then. And there she was, years later. Climb it or not, at the end of the Sandakphu trail I got the sight of it. A childhood dream come true.
Sunset view of Kangchenjunga from Sandakphu camp site PC-Nimisha Dakoria
The scene changed as more light began to pour in. The blue turned golden with the most beautiful reddish hue. The cloud plumes were now visible more clearly, flying off the surface of the mountain. Slowly as the sun came to, the mountain was finally revealed in full glory. The white mammoth, with ridges running along both sides and clouds hugging the waist was standing tall, beckoning the intrepid to go for glory. They say that it hides untold treasures in its bosom. It gave me a moment, which is worth them all.