Being a night owl, I have always found it difficult to wake up in the wee hours of the morning. So when I was told we’d have to leave early for the trek to Jalori Pass, I was slightly skeptical. I contemplated staying up for the night to join the group early morning. I even thought of giving it a miss since I have never been an avid trekker. I was also quite exhausted from the previous night’s bus journey. Eventually, better sense prevailed and I decided to make that extra effort. It wasn’t long before the gushing sound of Tirthan river lulled me into a peaceful slumber.
Surprisingly, the next morning I woke up without hitting the snooze button even once. Unable to contain my excitement, I got ready in a jiffy and hopped out with my camera. After assembling the entire group, we embarked on our journey to Jalori Pass. I must say that reaching this place is not for the faint hearted. The road leading to the pass is rugged and narrow, with plenty of twists and turns. Of course, none of this affected me as I was busy clicking pictures of the gorgeous valley.
After an hour or so, we reached the base point of the trek. Some of my fellow travelers decided to rest at the temple situated over there. The more adventurous ones got ready to visit some of the most majestic meadows this place had to offer. The initial part of the trail consists of narrow winding lanes, with trees on one side and the valley on the other side. This stretch didn’t pose any major challenges.
The main setback came where the narrow lane vanished into the mountain. In the absence of a visible path, we had to navigate our way amidst bushes of wild-flowers. While the rest of the group wanted to reach the top of the mountain asap, I took my own sweet time to capture every detail from every vantage point with my camera. The air was crisp, the sun was shining and little drops of dew sparkled gloriously on the petals of wild flowers.
By the time I reached the top, everyone else was busy clicking selfies and posing for pictures. The lucky ones who had phone connectivity were calling their friends and family to describe the ethereal beauty of the place. I just stood there, numb and motionless, gazing at the endless valley. The beauty of the place was so overwhelming that I wouldn’t mind waking up early for the rest of my life if it meant I could cherish this view every day.
As I look back at the gorgeous pictures of Jalori Pass, I can’t help but wonder why we search for happiness and peace in all the wrong places. I have never felt more peaceful than when I was standing 12,000 ft above sea level, at the edge of a mountain. The experience was breathtaking – both literally, and figuratively.