Milam Trek ~ By Rajiv Chakraborty

Milam Glacier Trek~ Rajiv Chakraborty ~ Travelogue of a wondering Soul lost in the Himalayas

After a couple of aimless rounds at ISBT, Kasmere Gate, as I boarded on my bus on 24 May 2019, it took a little long to settle down, then slowly it started creeping in, the bubble of euphemism slowly gobbled up by euphoria of joy and then finally, I plunged into my usual nomadic state which generally prevails till my wild wandering gets over.
Delhi to Haldwani – Quite a long and tiring overnight journey on a bus, leaves you at Haldwani in the wee hours. My friend came to pick me up and after breakfast we roamed around Nainitaal, Raamgarh and Mukteshwar. The day was fun, I spent the night at Ramgarh, at his place.

Haldwani to Munsiyari – Next day, early morning, I took a shared sumo towards Munshiyari on 26 May 2019. These rides, ” along with serpentine river, falls, steep hills, gaining altitude on the mountain road with numerous curves, hairpin bends accompanied with hilarious warnings like “be soft on curves always exite me, like a warm up before a gala event. It was just the beginning of a very interesting journey ahead, like a series of connected dots slowly become a complete picture. Finally, at Seven o’clock, I reached my destination, paid the sumo, checked in to KMVN guest house for the night. Munsiyari, almost a sleeping city by then, the dreamy shape of Panchachuli was visible against a greyish, mushy, cloudy sky (I cheered inwardly, hallelujah). I took my time to feel the moments in the darkness and then took a long deep breath as if to fill my inner canister with the essence of serene, silent, solitary night, as much as I can, to quench my thrust.

The trek

A lost Paradise, secluded, remotest, reminiscence of a golden era, still evokes those nostalgic emotions when the silk route was alive and thriving, the length and breadth of the glacier would spread from Bugdiar till beyond human apprehensions.
The serpentine path to the Milam Glacier, the source of Gori Ganga river, through Milam Village and another 11 villages enroute, now a days, a treacherous, uninhabitable, glacial and moraine walkathon, was not like the other trek routes i’ve had taken. Luckily, I met some local people on the way, also taken the same route to settle their livelihood and to stay at their original home at those lonesome villages which were to be found broken at will by the food seeking bears and hunters during the winter when they left for Munsiyari to survive the notorious winter. The villagers are the sufferer and survivor at the same time.

One thing for sure, that the nostalgia would slowly unfurl her (the Himalaya) other side of mystic romance between the nature, the surrounding Himalayan and trans Himalayan peaks and these Nomadic residents of those 12 villages in between, who genuinely comes to settle there for 6 months only ( from May till October, as November to April the place becomes an Iceland) for their connection to the root, along with their cows, goats, sheeps and the dogs (yes they are the real followers). Mostly, the old ones only come, as the new generation are either settled in the city or going extremely higher altitudes to find those Keerajarees, A newfound invasion of money for the worth of doing it, but it’s too much rigorous and inhuman for an inexperienced one as they have to survive almost a month on those altitudes (above 5000 mtr) with bare minimum supplies and stay at makeshift caves, but it’s really worth taking that inhuman pain as the cost of those Keerajarees are astoundingly high (approx 25 lakh per KG) and in high demand.

And there’s another side of this trek, will be unfurled at the Base Camp, where the path slowly and painstakingly takes you through a almost broken narrow serpentine path, where your heart will melt, mind will blow, soul will liberate, emotions will explode and the solitude is so captivating that not only you will feel the mere existence of your true self but also something more, an indescribable euphoria to experience Her Magesty, the beautiful, calm n mighty, Nanda Devi….

When the morning sun light will drape her in golden, shining, dazzling silken robe, the view will mesmerise you and make you behold her beauty in your conscience forever. Only a lucky few will get an elegant Nanda Devi to enamour them with her most majestic, exceptional and the most beautiful costume, a morning view and her transformation. It happened in a very quick succession and i was a privileged one indeed to witness it.

As the story survives that there was one guy from Germany who summited Nanda Devi once in the late sixties and became a local patron after fallen in love with Nanda Devi. He even named his daughter as Nanda and another story says that one enthusiast tried 7 times till she got exasperated and thought of her hard luck not able to see the morning view, but the very next morning Nanda Devi gave her the most precious view… her most charming yet ravenous look… A life’s worth opportunity.
And when you think that you have seen them all, the return will again baffle you with the changing contours, melting ice and the new challenges. True to the promise, Milam Glacier and Nanda Devi peak will surely leave you with a sigh, a melancholia, which will prevail throughout during your return journey and… the feeling that it’s over finally will stay with you for long.

The trek route (I’ll let the photos speak for itself and let you fathom over the journey)

Day 1 – Munsiyari to lilam (14 KM, 2000m) (By shared jeep)

Day 2 – (Lilam to Bugdiyar 2600m 14 km ) [ In between Maan Singh top – Babaldhar – Rargadi – Syuni ]

Day 3 –  Bugdiyar To Martoli, 3400m 19 km [ In between – Nahar Devi- Mapaang – Rialkot ]

Day 4 – Martoli to Milam 3300m 16 km [ In between – Burfu, Bilju, Ghanghar and Pachhu on the other side ]

Day 5 – Milam to Milam Glacier (3550m) to Milam then to Pachu, 15 Km

 Day 6 – Pachu to The Base Camp (3900m) of Nanda Devi East (7430m) – 12 Km

Day 7 – Base Camp to Burfu 20 km (In between – Pachu – Ghanghar – Mapa)

Day 8 – Burfu to Syuni 26 Km (In between – Martoli – Rialkot – Mapaang – Nahar Devi – Bugdiyar)

Day 9 – Syuni – Munsiyari 9 km trek & 14 km Shared jeep (In between Rargadi – Babaldhar – Maan Singh top – Lilam)

Once again gotta say good bye to my unfathomable, unquenchable, unsettling, Himalayan passion…. I’ll be back again….till then I have to survive my metaphysical life and get bored too much to take the path again, a journey to the Himalayas, my destiny, my beloved… till then, Adieu.

Written & Photography by : Rajiv Chakraborty  ~ Category ~ Trek Blog ~ All Rights Reserved by Terranova Adventure

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