India is rich with its scenic beauty, and places where the pollution of the city life has not touched her yet, she continues to remain untouched and in her celestial brilliance. One of my favorite places in India is the Himalayas. I love going there and in the past many years I have revisited the Himalayas again and again for the sheer pleasure of being in the mountains. As Kipling said, "He who goes to the mountains goes to his mother"! The statement is so true for one can really feel the mountains embracing you in her arms like a mother, and perhaps that is why one must return...

During one such sojourn into the mountains I stumbled upon this beautiful cluster of villages in the Garhwal. It was a delight to trek from one of the villages, Duggalbitha to Chopta and then to a mountain called Chandrashila above Tungnath. Then there were the smaller hikes around the other village called Mastura a little lower in altitude more like in the Shivalik range of the mighty mountains.
We started from this village area where we spent the night camping in village tents. In the morning we saw big fat crows, more like ravens, but they were so friendly and they also had a bit of maggie strands and boiled carrots. A brook similar to the ones I had read in many English poems before gurgled noisily piercing into the otherwise quiet morning in the wild. The green of the meadows shone brilliantly under the sun, and it was heartbreaking to leave this place to walk ahead to the next village, but one must... one must...
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On our way to the next village we came across this dilapidated house where no one lives now. The house was locked and no one around. Its white washed walls had seen better days, I presume, and in the ground below tufts of grass grew crowding the mud floor courtyard around it.

Nonetheless, it looked like an imposing majestic building that might have so many stories within her, now only the spiders in their cobwebs and an occasional nesting sparrow might stand witness to these untold tales.

A little higher up we came across the shepherd you see in the picture below. He had taken his herd out for grazing and rested under the sun as the sheep, with their shiny golden coats, loyally continued to crowd near him instead of grazing. The old man was used to the attention, he did not move. At his age one must make as much of the sun and its warmth as possible - especially, during the winters...

We also came across this shepherd's house a little distance ahead. Its boundaries were not made of picket fences or iron gates but of humble thick slats of stones, and yet it looked so beautiful!
A little more ahead, the long climb up from the village towards the mountain. It seemed like a never ending walk under the scorching sun, but the sight the eye meets at the end of the toil is so much worth it. 
The sight on the other side is spectacular to say the least! The mountains personify not just beauty but, for me, even faith and hope and joy and eternal. It was so beautiful that the mountains of Tungnath and the final climb of Chandrashila will require another blog post. So, there it is, reserved for another day!

A little lower, the next day, we came across this village unexpectedly. Mastura was not in our plan, but life does throw some sweet surprises at you every once in a while and the walk through Mastura allowed us a glimpse into the lives of the maize planters and the hilly women with sunburnt, rosy cheeks continued to smile as we passed by their beautiful and colorful village whose buildings were mostly constructed of mud and wood. 


It's been quite a few weeks since I've been on these hikes and treks, and yet how relished and comforting the memories are. 

There will always be the mountains to return to... Always...
 


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    Hello! The idea of this blog was born during one of those contemplative rainy afternoons when you are just amazed with the beauty all around you and decide to share it with the world. Yes, it was one of those crazy moments when the idea of Winters and Warmth was born... And now that you are here, I hope you find your visit interesting! Welcome. 

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