Dharali Devbhoomi, Heavenly abode of Devdar forest धराली देवभूमि, देवदार वृक्षों का स्वर्गीय निवास

AR Ardent Rambler

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Prologue

It has been a while (six years) since I last visited the mountains. COVID-19 pandemic had become a part of our life for the last 3 years. Many (physically, emotionally and financially) have persished during the pandemic. We should be thankful to Almighty to be "Alive & Kicking". Now it was time "to Break Free and not for the very first time and for real".

First I was contemplating to make a solo trip to Spiti Lahaul region. However after news of massive tourist rush in Spiti I had second thoughts of going there. Then I changed my plans for our own UK (Uttarkhand) AKA देवभूमि. I got connected to Arun Panwar, owner of Shivay homestay in Dharali via गूगल. Within a matter of week we came up with a nine day formative plan and itinerary. I decided on doing it in the third week of September which is the best time for trekking in Harsil Valley. My friend Sunil D insisted on joining me for trip.

So we started preparing for our trip. This time I bought my trekking shoes a size bigger and allowed "Breathing In" two weeks prior to our trip. A week before the trip I was got rather busy. However I started ticking my shopping list on the day of departure. Last minute shopping included 50 liters pack back, toiletries, pair of slippers and socks. Final weight of my backpack was 10 kilograms. My camera gear included my samsung mobile phone and olympus stylus 1.

We will start with Har Har Ganga Maiya and teasers in BCMTouring tradition.

Harsil valley from view point just before Zangla Bridge



Our alpine abode above the clouds in the midst of Devdar and pine forest



Gangotri Dham



View of snow peaks from our homestay



Sattal trek



Monsoon vibes in Harsil valley



Monsoon vibes in Harsil valley



Overhanging Wooden hanging bridge at Gartang Gali



Prachin Bhairav ghati Mandir



Bagori gaon, the cleanest in India



काशी विश्वनाथ मंदिर Uttarkashi



My partner @ Harsil डाक घर made popular in Hindi motion picture “Ram Tere Ganga Mali”

 
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AR Ardent Rambler

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Day 1, September 21, 2022: Planes, planes and automobiles:

We started our journey at the stroke of midnight courtesy an hour's delay for our first flight from BKK to दिल्ली. Immigration @ IGIA was slow due to inadequate staffing. IGIA looks less impressive with its worn out carpets as compared to my last visit several years back. After clearing the customs in T3 terminal we walked to T2 for our next flight to Dehradun (देहरादून). Our Indigo airlines flight landed in the capital of देवभूमि on time around 7:15 hours. Jolly grant airport was better than I expected.

We continued with young blooded driver, Vipin P’s brother in his Bolero jeep to our destination, Dharali. He took the Rishikesh Chamba Tehri dam bypass route. This route was very scenic with 50 shades of greens, stepped rice fields and colorful houses in the foreground, Tehri water reservoir in the midground and mighty himalayan mountain in the background. We took our short break for stretching our aching body parts. On proceeding onward Chaliyasaur was the next town which looked very beautiful. After passing Chaliyasaur our car cried trouble; first with clutch plates which took over an hour followed by right rear tyre puncture which took another 15 minutes. We managed to reach उत्तरकाशी around 14:15 hours.

IGIA



We were the last ones to board our flight. However we saved the embarrassment of last call announcement. We were impressed with Indigo updated aircrafts.



Aerial shot over Devbhoomi sky



Jolly Grant airport



Jolly Grant Airport @ Dehradun; close to Doon valley after 24 years!



The Bridge, BronBroen over Chamba reservoir with overcast sky



There are quite a few suspension bridges; this is one of them



We took a short break to stretch our aching bodies and captures a few shots



This Chamba reservoir bypass road is a very scenic route


Chamba reservoir with picturesque views



Window with a view point of green paddy fields



Love these green paddy fields with Garwal mountain backdrop



Monsoon green Is very eye pleasing and probably a very good source of Vitamin C, Chlorophyll



You can’t enough of this brilliant green paddy fields



Brilliant green stepped paddy fields with Garwal mountain backdrop



Monsoon green are special: very pleasing to the eye.



Picturesque village over the Garwal mountains



Love to have a small house facing the reservoir



Very scenic drive along Chamba reservoir



Love the reflection on crystal clear water of Chamba reservoir



Many such colorful villages are located in Garwal mountains





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AR Ardent Rambler

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Day 1, September 21, 2022: Planes, Planes and Automobiles

We took our lunch at a small restaurant which was okay. We took time to pay homage @ काशी विश्वनाथ temple. There were very few devotees as it was bathing time for deities. शिवलिंग over here is tilted and inclined. ब्राहमण पंडित told me the importance of this temple. According to him this is medieval temple and the one in Varanasi is the primitive one.

I used wide angle lens on mobile to get a different perspective.

Purohitjee in one of the small temple in main temple campus



Devotees also believe that Lord Kashi Vishwanath will be shifted to this location when Varanasi (Kashi) will get submerged.



Kashi Vishwanath Temple Uttarkashi is one of the most sacred temples in Devbhoomi dedicated to Lord Shiva.



According to beliefs, a true devotee of Shiva attains ‘Moksha‘ (salvation) and also lives with Shiva in his abode at Mount Kailash after truthful service and worship at the Temple.



Family performing special Puja in temple premises



Purohit bathing the deities



Purohit bathing the deities



Purohit bathing the deities



Huge and primitive Trishul is 6 meters in height and 90 cms at the bottom. It is believed that this Trishul was thrown at the devils by Goddess Durga.



Amazing feature of the trishul is that it cannot be moved with greatest of force but it vibrates the moment you apply pressure with one of your fingers.



The significance of the temple is that Lord Shiva is present here in the form of a self-manifested lingam, immersed in deep meditation.



The temple is Nandini in in the outer room



It is believed that this temple was built by Parashurama. Later, Sudarshan's wife, Maharani Khanti, rebuilt it in 1857.



Selfie time in holy abode of Shiva



Few devotees in Kashi Vishwanath Mandir



Entrance of Kashi Vishwanath Mandir



Entrance of Kashi Vishwanath Mandir

 
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AR Ardent Rambler

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Day 1, September 21, 2022: Planes, Planes & Automobiles

After our best cup of chai @ Auli Cafe we headed for Dharali. Our day was beginning to get worse with light showers and fading light. There were lot of stone and rock debrie on road in the landslide zones. The positive was the dreamy moonsoon views of snow clad mountains. We were soon in the sea of clouds. The light was fading faster than we thought. We finally reached Dharali around 18:15 and it was getting dark. We met Arun jee our home stay owner on the highway at the designated place about one kilometer further down the main Dharali market. We had another one kilometer uphill walk to reach our homestay. We wore our raincoat and with our daypack started our uphill climb. The steep uphill path was wet, slippery and damp. We were gasping for breath after every few minutes and meters. I took us more than hour to reach our homestay. We were relieved and changed into dry clothes. The homestay owner served us with home-grown, बंद गोबी सब्जी, पीली डाल with delicious wooden baked rotis and सफेद तिल and पुदीना चटनी for dinner. The rain continued till the early hours of next morning. It was a warning sign for bad weather to follow in the next few days.

Monsoon vibes in Garwal hills



Monsoon vibes in Garwal hills; light was deteriorating fast.



Monsoon vibes in Garwal hills



Small colorful villages scattered along Bhagrathi river on Garwal mountains



Small colorful villages scattered along Bhagrathi river on Garwal mountains



Small colorful villages scattered along Bhagrathi river on Garwal mountains



Small colorful villages scattered along Bhagrathi river on Garwal mountains



Small colorful villages scattered along Bhagrathi river on Garwal mountains



Small colorful villages scattered along Bhagrathi river on Garwal mountains



Winding road along the banks of Bhagrathi



Gangotri highway and Bhagrathi river going hand in hand



Gangotri highway and Bhagrathi river going hand in hand



Snaking Bhagrathi river in fading light



Snaking Bhagrathi river in fading light



Snaking Bhagrathi river in fading light




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AR Ardent Rambler

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Day 2, September 22, 2022: Rains, Rains and Fire:
Today we woke up with rains and followed up with steaming bed tea. We were served आलू पराठा with home made ghee for breakfast. POA for today was to rest and take short walks around his place to acclimatise ourselves. We went for short towards forest of Devdar (himalayan cider), kaen and pine trees. There were some patches of slippery surface in our path. Our lunch included serving of famous homegrown Rajma and आलू की सब्जी with रोटी baked on devdar woods. Sun God refused to oblige. The irritating light rains continue to play spoil sport. The rains did stop in the evening and gave us ample time to enjoy Bonfire before and after our dinner. Our dinner included उत्तरकाशी कड़ी and गोबी की सब्जी. Our desert included special खीर. Rains resumed late night until the next morning. The weather forecast was grim and rainy so we decided to spend next two days in nearly towns and villages before we disembark for गंगोत्री गौमुख Tapovan trek. In the hind sight Lesson for Day: “Don’t blindly believe in internet generated weather forecast”.


Woke up with fresh snow over the peaks and clouds hugging the peaks

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Monsoon vibes over Harsil valley with overhanging clouds

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Morning view of Harsil valley from our homestay with monsoon vibes

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B & W Monsoon vibes

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Clouds floating over Dharali’s Devdar forest

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Dreamy monsoon vibes created by floating clouds over Dharali hamlet

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Dreamy monsoon views of Dharali floating in the clouds

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Love this capture reminiscent of monsoon vibes from Bollywood motion picture

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It is a reminder how magical monsoon are in the mountains

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Our homestay with cow shed in the front and main house at the back; shivas running in the foreground

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The homestay is made entirely of Devdar trees. Our room is on right side of balcony.

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It is an wooden alpine abode in the midst of Devdar and pine forest. The apple orchard are to the left of the balcony. The kitchen is on the lower floor at the back.

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It was relaxing to enjoy the monsoon views of the mountain after a long drive yesterday

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Mukhba gaon is floating in the midst of clouds on the opposite hill and Bhagrathi river down under.

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Appreciating the brilliant green of monsoon amidst the clouds

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Devdar and pine forests in the midst of clouds around our homestay. These were captures during our morning walk with Arun jee, our homestay owner.

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Devdar and pine forests in the midst of clouds around our homestay. These were captures during our morning walk.

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Devdar and pine forests in the midst of clouds around our homestay. These were captures during our morning walk.

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This view of Mukhba gaon and Bhagrathi river is from the back of homestay.

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Beautiful view of Mukhba gaon, winter abode of Ganga Ma and Bhagrathi river down below

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Beautiful view of Mukhba gaon, winter abode of Ganga Ma and Bhagrathi river down below? This view from the back of the homestay.

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You can here the sound of roaring Bhagrathi river

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Mesmerizing view of Mukhba gaon, winter abode of Ganga Ma and Bhagrathi river down below

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What is he pondering about? This view point is just below our homestay? You can sit here for hours idly and enjoy the mesmerizing views of mountains.

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Monsoon vibes in Dharali

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Monsoon vibes in Dharali

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Monsoon vibes in Dharali

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Monsoon vibes in Dharali

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Monsoon vibes in Dharali

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Monsoon vibes in Dharali

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Monsoon vibes in Dharali

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Monsoon vibes in Dharali

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Monsoon vibes in Dharali

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Monsoon vibes in Dharali

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Monsoon vibes in Dharali

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Monsoon vibes in Dharali

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Monsoon vibes in Dharali

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Monsoon vibes in Dharali

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Monsoon vibes in Dharali

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Monsoon vibes in Dharali

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Monsoon vibes in Dharali

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Monsoon vibes in Dharali

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Monsoon vibes in Dharali

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Monsoon vibes in Dharali

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Monsoon vibes in Dharali

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Clean rooms with 280 degree views. Mukhba view from far end window



Front view from my pillow end; clean room with adequate quilts for a good night sleep



Near end with small cupboard for clothes and small tables for keeping personal belongings and charging your gadgets



Our homestay from different prospective



Our homestay from different prospective



Cabbage gardening



Finger licking Bandgobi sabzi prepared by housekeeper



Monsoon vibes in Dharali



Monsoon vibes in Dharali



Monsoon vibes in Dharali



Breakfast with delicious allu ka parontha with white til chatni and aam ka achar



Balcony with a view



Dreamy captures during our morning walk in the nearby forest trail



Dreamy captures during our morning walk in the nearby forest trail



Dreamy captures during our morning walk in the nearby forest trail



Dreamy captures during our morning walk in the nearby forest trail



Tall coniferous trees in our forest trail



Tall coniferous trees in our forest trail



My partner Sunil D and our homestay owner, Arun P having a chat



Dreamy captures during our forest walk in the morning



Picturesque monsoon vibes in the air



Wild flowers in the foreground and our homestay in the background from a view point from the forest trail



Yours Truly



Appreciating the beautiful panoramic mountain around them



Early start for our Bonfire


Abhi To Aag Shuru Hui Hai

 
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AR Ardent Rambler

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Day 3, September 23, 2022: Walk though villages

We woke up with irritating rain. Today we had local speciality for breakfast, mandwa roti with आलू की सब्जी. It was delicious but on the heavier side. Despite the light drizzle we left for Harsil. The downhill walk from homestay down to main Gangotri highway was tough on our knees and quadriceps. We walked another one kilometer along the highway to main Dharali town. From here Arun J drove us to Harsil.

First set of pictures

Peaks covered by clouds on my morning walk



Peaks covered by clouds on my morning walk



Morning walk along the forest trail around our homestay



Mukhba gaon under the spell of clouds



Clouds playing hide and seek with the mountains



Fresh snow on the mountain top in the midst of clouds



Peaks in the sea of clouds



Monsoon vibes with perfect contrast of brilliant green of coniferous trees and grey overcast sky



Ek B & W Toh Banta Hai


Dharali under the spell of clouds


“Cauthgt in the act” First they joined me for a walk. Then they mate marry!




Forest trail around our homestay. Main Aur Mere Tanhein!


I miss this morning walk in our urban living


Mukhba gaon under the sea of clouds






Panwar Apple orchard


According to Arun P it will be ready for harvesting in another two weeks. Royal black


Granny Smith apple!



Our breakfast with local Mandwa roti and yummy home grown Alu ki Sabzi



Captures on downhill walk to Gangotri highway



Ek Aur B & W Banta Hai



Walkin’ downhill from our homestay


Nepali workers are the ones who do all the hard work





Field of famous Dharali Rajma


This house had way downhill with picturesque landscape and backdrop



Capture of this beautiful temple on the opposite side of Dharali along the Bhagrathi river from Gangotri highway




Walkin’ towards Dharali market to pick up our ride to Harsil and Bagori







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AR Ardent Rambler

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Day 3, September 23, 2022: Walk though villages
From here Arun J drove us to Harsil. On reaching Harsil the network was good and we were able to contact with our near and dear ones. First we walked to Bagori village. The village is clean and well organised on both sides of small walkway. The path was muddy due to rain; would be a good idea to lay an all weather stone track. The houses here are primitive: We noted that most of the people living here are elderly and weaving wollen gloves and caps. Arun Jee told us that young were doing government and civil jobs in the city.

Bagori gaon
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Portraits of Bagori




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Their colorful attire
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Colorful houses
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Arun P chatting with Bagori homestay owner

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My partner Sunil D and our homestay owner Arun P

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These primitive housesare

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One of the few younger inhabitant of Bagori
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Portrait of Bagori
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Primitive houses are located along the path
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Primitive houses in Bagori

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Bank of Bhagrathi river in Harsil valley

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Bridges


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AR Ardent Rambler

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Day 3, September 23, 2022: Walk though villages (continued)
Now it was time to explore Harsil. It is more touristy as compared to Bagori with colorful shops and restaurants and eye catching grafittis. It was lunch time and we opted for delicious vegetarian soup, momos and chowmein noodles at Harsila restaurant. Arun Jee took a break of 20 minutes for haircut; as for ourselves we walked to the Harsil Post Office made popular by बॉलीवुड , राम तेरी गंगा मैली हो गए। Hoever we drove to pay homage at Prachin Kalap Dharali temple.

Harsil, Uttarkhand’s Apple basket with colorful graffiti
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Harsil more touristy but with less tourists today
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WIlson cottage now converted into a guest house
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One of the bridges over milky river
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Colorful graffiti in Harsil
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Yours truly @ iconic Harsil Dak ghar featured in motion picture “Ram Teri Ganga Meli “

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Prachin Kalap Kedar temple in Dharali

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Walking Bridge from Dharali to Mukhba
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Arun walking on the bridge connectingDharali and Mukhba
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View from the bridge towards Harsil

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AR Ardent Rambler

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Day 3, September 23, 2022: Walk though villages (continued)

Then we left for our final destination for the day मंदाकिनी waterfalls. From the highway it is a short walk of five hundred meters to this waterfalls. There are no sign boards so many tourists miss this place. It was high time to return to our homestay 9090 feet above ground. So we huffed and puffed over an hour to reach our abode. On reaching we took a wash and some refreshments. It was Bonfire time again. Tonight it seemed colder than previous one and Bonfire kept us warm. Our dinner consisted of डाल, आलू ke सब्जी and रोटी.

Point on the Gangotri highway to access Mandakini waterfall. There is a small food stall which serves very good chai.

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Arun P in the the left and Sunil D on the right
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Tonite it was colder. Bonfire to keep us warm
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