Trip to Darma valley has always been very close to my heart. Even today, when the memories of that first foray into the valley, reignites a desire to witness the magical aura again. More often than not one could find a ride up to this place, from the bordering town, Dharchula, even though a Kaccha road from Sobla, will take one right up to the village Dar. But the roads in this region are functional for a very small period, as the Sobla region is notoriously known for frequent cloud bursts. But since i love to walk on lovely nature tracks so this was not a showstopper for me, and I kept moving ahead.
After 5-6 kms trek we reached our destination for night halt, the village of Dar. There is no shortage of guest house or lodges here and one easily finds a cozy place to rest. Next morning we started for Sela. The path from Dar begins with a trudge which was very narrow and treacherous indeed. It cuts through the face of the rock but there is ample space to carry your rucksack in an upright position. I had my heart in my mouth on seeing the ponies being carried in such narrow streak of path, and then I had to cling hard-pressed to the wall, to give them the way. Fear runs down your spine on seeing roaring river Dhauli, makes a frightful appearance. After almost 5 kms walk through the dense forest, mainly of Ringal (Thamnocalamus strictus), i reached the next stop in my journey, the village Bungling.
We were able to get some refreshment here.
The trek ahead from Bungling village was relatively easier.We moved ahead to the banks of the Dhauli river, precisely reaching Urthing. One witnesses a vast expanse of plain grasslands and it is an amazing view to solace any travellers weariness. There are few makeshift hotels where one can find meals as well. There is amazingly beautiful space 2 kms ahead of this place.
The hotel owner had advised us to make bare minimum noise if we were close to Ringal forest as a Bear had been sighted with two young cubs, very recently. Bear are well known for their violent nature and they need least of incitement to attack someone.
For an avid nature lover like myself, the rich floral diversity of these lands leave you in no state other than being spellbound.
But one gets a real idea of the beauty of the Darma valley when one reaches Nangling, some 7 kms from Sela, wherein begins the sudden change in the vegetation cover-Tall Abies and Deodar dominate the flora now. Nangling has been named so because of local deity who got rid of the awful Nag (Cobra) by feeding it with red hot stones. And so there is a popular story that there are now snakes found in this region since that time.
The next village in our trek remains simply the most beautiful village in the whole of Darma valley.
If Nangling threw a sample of Darma valley's beauty then Kuti is makes tourist the witness the Darma valley's majesty in all its prime.
The entire experience of the place was such sublime and pure that it can not be put into words.
One can see the locals drying out the collected truffles, mushroom in the sun. Locals told me that the collection of the mushrooms in a season amounts to a figure close to 5 quintals. This apart, the forest is rich in Morels (Morchella esculenta). Locals also garner it for their own consumption.
The Son-Dugtu and the adjoining village Dantu are the centre of all the activities in Darma valley. One gets a majestic view of Panchachuli peaks from this place. One can leave his/her belongings in one of the shops in the village Dugtu, and then climb onto the path that leads through a thick covering of Birches and then subsequently to Phaatab, an alpine meadow. You can experience the avalanches breaking loose from the Panchachuli peaks from this point. This is also supposed to be a common trek for the mountain climbers, who seek to scale the Panchachuli Peak II.
Spending some time in this place leaves in all spell bound with the frequently changing hues of mountains. But one should make sure that they reach to Dantu by sunset. There is a Panchayat Ghar where one can take rest. Next day i went to the village Dhakar. It is only village, which appears to be completely desolate. One could cross over the Dhauli River to to reach village.
We reached to Sipu after passing Tsedang. Sipu is one of the richest villages in terms of the resources. There is a small lake Muldi Bai, which remains the only source of water for people in the village.So it was the last village in the valley-The village Sipu
It was a great experience exploring the pristine land of darma valley and I hope the readers would have enjoyed the read.