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Phulara Ridge


Shrirang
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I first heard the story of how Phulara ridge was explored from the explorer himself. Ever since, I always wanted to do this trek.

I Finally had the opportunity to lead this trek. Every word of what I heard during the narration was playing back in my head. I was living through each moment. This time I wanted to narrate the story of how it felt to lead this trek.

Within no time of starting the trek, we entered a dense forest with Pine, Maple, Spruce & Deodar trees. It was as if someone laid a green carpet for us. What else could be better start of the trek? As it was autumn, we could see trees shedding their leaves. The bushes on the trail were completely green and if we look up, the trees were all orange and yellow & looking up it was clear blue sky with sun peaking out from the branches of the trees.

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Walking in the forest is catching the glimpse of the sun rays through the trees. The coolness of the forest and the the warmth of the sun in between feels like a perfect balance. Just then, you get on to the clearing with the sun welcoming you.

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Entering into the forest again after the clearing was majestic as if we could hear our own heartbeat. We heard sound of few insects and also found the skins of them.

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This day has almost everything you can think of on a Himalayan trek. Forest walks, open meadows and then the snow clad peaks playing peek a boo with you.

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As trek leaders, we look for elements around us to bring the trek alive for our trekkers. What can be a better setting than this to just pause, sit still and enjoy what is in front of us.

We also spotted a pack of Himalayan fox playing with each other. 

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On treks, we come across places with stories behind them. Some hold mythological significance while some have some cultural value to the locals. The stories help us understand the value of the place.

We went to Juda Ka Talab in the evening to know more about the place and also share our own stories. 

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Just 200 meters ahead of Juda ka Talab, was our first campsite i.e Sikolta. It was a very small campsite covered with trees all around. In the evening, after snacks we all went till Juda Ka Talab. By the time we went to the talab, it was pitch dark  and we could see reflection of stars in the talab.

We had to put on the head torches while coming back to the camp. It was whole unique experience to all of us. 

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Starting the second day of the trek, we again entered into the forest. The forest gave full autumn feels where we could see lots of leaves falling on the ground. It felt like all the trees are welcoming and shovering their love on us. 

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Covering the forest trail, we were on the point which felt like we are walking on the stairway towards heaven. 

Walk towards an opening

 

Climbing the stairway of heaven we entered into a clearing where we could see Rhododendron bushes all around us.  And going through the rodo jungle, we were into a vast meadow where we could see people standing on the other corner of the meadow tiny as ants. 

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At the Bhoj Gadi campsite, we experienced very colourful and beautiful sunset. All the colours were splashing from the back of Kedarkantha Peak. This campsite had everything, sunsets in the evening, sunrises in the morning and the beautiful night sky just like an Imax screen. 

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I remember listening to the story from Suhas, during our training. The ridge was much more beautiful than what I heard. The story is worth sharing - 

Arjun Sir, Sandhya Ma'am, Anika & Suhas Sir went on exploration of Devkyara Meadows in 2018. After the exploration, they were heading towards Sankri. One of our Trek Manager, Jagdish was telling them about the shepherd trail which goes from the top of the mountain. As the trail was going through the Kedarkantha trail, Arjun Sir & Sandhya Ma'am were sceptical about it ( as that trail is very over-crowded ). But the way he ( Jagdish ) was explaining, they could not ignore that. They had extra days in between. Arjun Sir & Sandhya Ma'am had to finish some operations work in Sankri, so Suhas Sir along with Kumresh ( senior guide ) started on the trail. Trail was same as Kedarkantha. Instead of going towards Juda Ka Talab, they took diversion in forest and headed towards east. They crossed forest filled with deodar trees, maple trees. After crossing a wooden bridge, they crossed the tree line. On the meadows of Bhuj Gadi, they camped for the night. On the second day, Suhas Sir & Kumresh were on the ridge and were astonished seeing the 250 panoramic v view of snow covered peaks. They walked on the ridge for four hours completely. After coming down from the ridge, they entered the beautiful Pushtara meadows. Suhas Sir says that  Pushtara meadows reminded him of the vast Bedni Bugyal. That night they camped in this meadows and Suhas sir said & I quote " If I died right here, I would die the happiest person in the world".

When they reached Sankri, Suhas Sir's smile said it all. While explaining to Arjun Sir & Sandhya Ma'am they were saying " this ridge" or "that ridge". Suddenly Suhas Sir said " Lets call it Phulara, as I saw lot of wild flowers on the trail". And that's how the trek got its name.  

The first sight from the Phulara Ridge

 

Turning around, I experience this beautiful winter line from the Ridge    Looking at the trekkers, walking on the ridge

 

There were some tricky ics patched on the ridge. On these patched we had to carefully walk and take support. 

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Walking down the ridge, we entered into vast Pushtara meadows. It was filled with grass and we could also see snow covered, green & barren mountains. Our Pushtrara campsite was located in the middle of all the mountains. We got 360 view of mountains from this campsite. 

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Starting to descend to Taluka, we entered into dense forest again. Forest filled with all green, yellow, orange trees. There were patches, were maple leaves were fallen on the ground and all we could hear was the sound of the dry leaves getting crushed under our feet. 

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While we stopped for lunch on the way, there was stream flowing on our right side. We all were sitting near the stream and I saw this tree. The element of surprise for me was its bark was complete while. Out of curiosity I went near the tree and saw whole new ecosystem on the bark of this tree. One side of the bark was filled with lichens ( while colour ) and other side of the tree was filled with green moss. 

 

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It was after 4 days we entered into the civilisation again in Taluka village. 

The trek was all that I heard about. In fact, it was more than that. Imagine listening the story of a place, wanting to visit it and actually experiencing it after a few months. This is exactly what it felt like. Dejavu of a place that I only heard of. 

 

 

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It was indeed a beautiful trek. We were blessed with good weather and great views. The ridge walk day was truly magical. The vastness of the view is beyond what a camera can capture.

Thanks for sharing the wonderful photos and the story. Brings back wonderful memories from the trek, and the heart longs to return to these mystical, charming mountains! 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Shrirang, thank you for taking us through your experience and putting this down.
I just got transported back to my exploration days and to the ridge from your story.

I can still recollect the moment when you gave me a call after your trek and told me about how you felt.

Hope more trekkers can witness this beautiful trek! 🙂

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