The following is a guest post from Magy and Mr. Shushtari – two travelers using all kinds of transportation, but mainly hitchhiking on an overland journey from Bulgaria through Turkey, Iran, Pakistan and to the mountains of Kashmir, India. You can read about their journey at: magickervan.com
Journeying to Great Himalayan National Park:
Sleeping where God Manu – the creator of the human race – resides
11.06.2015 – We are tired of the crowds and tourists at Bhagsu so we decide to go to some remote valley – after all we are in the Himalayas and there are millions of valleys and heavenly places, so there is no need to go with the crowds. We make our minds to hitchhike in the direction of Neuli village and from there enter the Great Himalayan National Park .
We stop at Sainj village where we buy food and we are taken by a small truck full of bricks (we are of course at the back on the bricks) and we start travelling on some dirt road. After a while the driver stops at a shop and tells us to get off. It turns out we are only a few kilometers away from the village we want to go to. We decide to look for a place to pitch our tent because it is getting dark. We turn aside and enter the forest with gigantic thick trees. While we are walking we see a small tractor full of people coming behind us. They stop and tell us about a place with a temple and nice glades. They tell us it is only 3 km. away and we decide we will go there because we don’t feel like sleeping yet although it is already dark. In addition, the forest looks magical.
After we walk for about 30-40 minutes we climb to a small Himalayan village situated in the middle of nowhere. The village consists of 4-5 gigantic houses.
We meet the people with the tractor again and a boy shows us a narrow pathway that leads to the temple. The path is winding up and we feel exhausted because our rucksacks are pretty heavy. Half an hour later we reach an awesome glade bathing in the light of the moon. There are millions of stars in the sky and we feel like we are in some supernatural divine place. We can see the lights of some houses in the distance but we don’t see the temple. We pitch our tent near a very big tree and we fall asleep instantly.
12.06.2015 – All night long I have the strangest dreams and in the morning some people come to wake us up. They are really angry and we have no clue why. There is an elder who speaks English and explains to us that this place is very sacred – according to him and his people’s beliefs thes god Manu dwells here– the creator of the human race. We notice that all the people that came had left their shoes 50 m. away – that is before even entering the glade. We also see a sign in Hindi that according to the pictures probably says one can’t eat, sleep or even stay here. This all looks unreal to us.
The situation is pretty bad because the people are really mad and tell us we desecrated the god’s place and they have to sacrifice an animal to clear it. They insist that we have to pay $100 for the animal. We don’t have this sum on us and when we tell them this they start getting even angrier. Good that the elder is on our side and takes us to his place to drink tea and cool the emotions.
His house is the only guest house between the villages of Sainj and Neuli, so obviously tourists come here occasionally to visit Shangar (the name of this place). The elder treats us to tea with thyme and rice with mushrooms.
Then he goes to pray and when he comes back he sends us off. He says they will make the sacrifice anyway and he will pay for it. We feel really, really bad after he gives us this information. In addition he tells us he is a vegetarian and is against any killings but he is also an elder and has to take care of his people.
We go down to Neuli and continue on the pathway that passes through two gigantic tunnels that look more like caves and stops at a dam wall building site. Near the Sainj Village there are also dam walls and power stations and that makes it unpopular among tourists. But the real beauty actually comes after the dams.
After we pass by the dam wall we step on a pathway that leads to Shakti Village. This is in my opinion one of the most beautiful and picturesque paths we have ever walked on. The forest is amazing and there are many gigantic trees – it reminds us a little of the jungle near Dharamsala. The pathway follows the river bank. We don’t have any watch, our phone is out of battery so we don’t have any idea what time is it – around 11am in my opinion. We reach the first village before Shakti at 7 p.m. We walk slowly because of the heavy rucksacks but we rested only for 5 minutes from time to time except when we had lunch – but it took no more than 20 minutes. I think this is the most remote village we have ever been to. The people in the village get flurried when they see us and start chuckling. We are a big attraction here.
About the Authors: We are Magy and Mr. Shushtari – two citizens of the world who are travelling around the world using all kinds of transportation but mainly hitchhiking. We started this journey in Bulgaria (our homeland) and traveled through Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, and now we are in the mountains of Kashmir, India. You can read all about our journey and more at our blog: magickervan.com