It was raining a lot in Kolkata. Even though the winter is gone, there is a light mood. Beginning of March. When I see the rain again, my mind becomes mountains and mountains. Read out. No special planning is required. A destination is fixed and reached. After that, the rest fell into place. That time too. That’s how I found Verse. Some say Berse too though. A short trekking route in West Sikkim. After spending one night in Pelling, I reached Sombaria for Verse trekking. Passing town after town of West Sikkim including Nayabazar, Legship, Zorthang. Verse trekking starts from Hille. You can stay in Hille. Apart from this, many people live in Okhre as well. But we couldn’t ignore the charm of Sombariya’s amazingly beautiful wooden bungalows. I don’t know when the rain that started after reaching there stopped.
I woke up in the morning and saw that the sky was not clear but the rain had subsided. So I went out after having breakfast. Must go to the hill. The trek starts from there. I reached in a short time. Entry to Verse Rhododendron Sanctuary requires a ticket and a permit. Staying at night is the same. And to go back day by day is different. After all, the walk began. Walking path through the forest.
My lonely sky stops at this balcony
Thinking where to go to worship? There are some unknown places to visit near the city!
Surrounded by the Singalila National Park, this forest has an abundance of hemlock, silver fir, magnolia and rhododendron trees. The mountains were still wet from heavy rain the night before. The guide said that it rained continuously till dawn. That is why the road is slippery. Tread very carefully. Sometimes the feet ‘skid’. Our guide understood the problem and broke the branch from the tree and gave it to everyone. There is some benefit! Small springs have been made on the side of the hill for rain. Water is pouring down from the trees. It gets colder as we move through the damp environment. But who knew the surprise that was waiting a few feet away! I’m going to lean and swing to take pictures on the four kilometer road. As I said before, rain water was falling from the trees. Suddenly something heavy fell on his head! Who else looks at the sky while walking. On top of that, there is no way to see the sky in this forest, completely covered with trees. But this time I had to look. The surprise starts from here. I looked and realized that the snow had fallen from the tree. The whole tree is snow white. There is snow on the trees as far as the eye can see. Snow in March! It is also very fresh. It is understood that it has been snowing for some time. The guide said, “The snow looks like it happened this morning. This untimely snowfall is because it rained all night yesterday.” But along with the pleasure came the problem. After a few steps, it was seen that the whole road was covered with snow. You have to go through that ice. But no one has shoes for walking on snow. Who knew in March, to walk on the ice! The guide also said, “Snowfall in March is unusual.” The danger increased. The foot was ‘skid’ as the road was already slippery. In ice it increased several times. Go hand in hand somehow. But the fun of walking on ice cannot be described. Some say ‘pa pichle alurdam’. It took more than 4 hours to reach the four kilometer road. But when I first met the snow, I never got a clear road after that. The whole was covered with snow. I reached the verse with joy and apprehension. Guras Kunj is the only accommodation built on a bit of ‘plain land’. A small wooden house. But very beautiful.
Ice is spread on all sides of Gurus Kunj. Meanwhile, our chat was frozen with hot tea and muridi-chanachur. At that time, due to rain and snow, the temperature in the square was also low. And as the day wore on, he was falling. As long as I was walking, I did not understand. As soon as I finished walking, I felt the coldness. But was regretting not planning to stay in Gurus Kunj. And let’s say here, we were so ‘lucky’ to get both snow and rhododendron together. Rhododendron is called Guras in the local language. And that is the name of this accommodation. There are many rhododendrons blooming on the trees. Most are red in color. Also saw yellow, white, purple rhododendrons, but that’s in Yumthang. Everything here was bright red. March-April is the rhododendron season. It has just started to boil. It has been slightly damaged by the premature snowfall. The guide chased us to set foot in the afternoon. I have to return this time. If it gets dark, you will be in danger on this way. really so Darkness always comes early on the forest covered path. Sunlight does not reach here. Gurus had to leave the illusion of Kunj and verses and find their way back. The ice on the road has melted a lot. Somewhere there still is. Especially on trees. But the road has become more slippery as the snow has melted. Had to return that way. It took much less time on the way back. By then the sun had set. The sky is still red. It was already dark in the forest. Even if there were no mobile phones then, torches were always with us. Burning it is the last way back. Entering the hotel room, I discovered that everyone’s feet were more or less damaged due to lack of snow walking shoes. Early stages of ‘frostbite’. Some relief was obtained by soaking feet in hot water, massaging oil, cream. The people of the hotel advised me to sit with my feet under the blanket after wearing multiple socks. After spending that night in Sombariya, I went down to the plains. How to go – The direct distance from New Jalpaiguri to Vers is 146 km. It usually takes three hours to reach. But the time depends on the road conditions in the mountains. Sombaria, Okhre or Hille are easily accessible by direct car reservation or from Pelling or anywhere in West Sikkim. There are different types of accommodation, big and small.
This report is a part of ‘Anand Utsav’ feature.
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