Nelong and mountains glum…

Nelong valley, Uttarakhand, India

Nelong valley, like many of its militarized brethren, lies glum… twixt blasts of dynamite scraping roads out of brittle rocks and some rounds fired hither and thither, there’s an eerie silence, uncharacteristic of mountains that can conjure music out of almost everything, animate or inanimate… but these are the ways modern societies define assertiveness and settle scores, one ponders, giving cynical glances to pieces of paper authorizing a right of passage, and sighs at the futility of it all…

We only had time to kind of dip our toe into the valley, the ‘Ladakh of Uttarakhand’, both in its arid trans Himalayan landscape and the misfortune of bordering Tibet which makes it a part of the Sino-Indian border dispute, so all that the civilian gets is to drive till the point where the valley just starts to open up, and duly wind his way back…

This region had an old Indo-Tibetan border route – something I tend to summarize as ‘salt for wares’ – the vestiges of which can be seen in Gartang Gali, a half a kilometre long wooden bridge hammered onto a steep cliff face above the Jadh Ganga that one can these days trod upon for touristy pleasures… ‘twas a little underwhelming to be honest considering how bots and bloggers describe it as a historical marvel, while in essence ‘tis another one of the countless utilitarian ingenuities of the past… ‘making do’ rather than ‘making grand’…

Given a choice, I’d much rather travel to the opposite side, up from Gangotri into glacial playgrounds all safe within the boundaries of the map, where one needn’t bother about the vulnerabilities and protocols that come with the olive green… for looking at empty bunkers and camouflaged tarps over ordnance depots, there’s a sense of melancholy that takes over, one that doesn’t have a sweet aftertaste but sows seeds of despondency over the state of affairs…

Nelong valley, Uttarakhand, India
First panoramas, Gartang Gali on bottom left


Gartang Gali
For all the hullabaloo, Gartang Gali is little more that an ingenious way to bridge a trail


Himalayan blue sheep
Even the wild  sheep look a little bit glum


Nelong valley
The eerie silence of military roads


A brief trip to Nelong valley, Uttarakhand

Author: Parth Joshi

Mountain lover ⛰️ | Hiker 🥾| Runner 🏃‍♂️ | Cyclist 🚴 | Photographer 📷... allured by the outdoors, the author is a quintessential lost soul craving nature while suffering in a desk job...

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