By Rup Narayan Dhakal: At that time, we had not heard much about Dudhpokhari (Milky Lake) but as we fixed the date of trekking to this highland destination, we became excited about out tour. Pokharacity.com, Recentfusion.com and Anamol Film Production were the key organizations under which we some 15 persons were ready to enjoy that adventure.
Some of us are journalists and as we unveiled our plan, many of journalists seemed curious about the trip and wished to know sponsor behind the journey. Normally there is a trend that very few journalists in Pokhara trek in their personal expenses and here also at last happened same; however Sanjiv, Basanta and Som of TAAN WRA helped us to make our trip a success.
We were going to trek this route for fun as well as adventure so we hired tents, mattress, sleeping bags, porters, cook men and bought first aid medicines, dried foods, lighters as well as baskets for the porters. As we were about to leave Pokhara (900M), it was raining all morning that time (Aug 24) and it wasn’t stopped all day that day. We traveled by taxi up to Kahun Khola and then took jeep ride for Lamakhet, which was the starting point of our trekking.
We could see landslides next to us and our porter Kaji dai hardly saved him as he was through a dangerous landslide. Lal dai was our other porter and I created their common name as LalKaji. We took our lunch with fish curry in Sodha on that day. It took a whole day to reach us to Sikles (1800M), one of the largest Gurung villages of Nepal. Funny and helpful Fim sir who has already been in Japan managed our night stay in that night and remained with us in whole of our trekking. I as well as my techno-savvy friend Rajab who is also a nature lover had locally brewed millet wine here.
Next morning as we received lovely farewell in Sikles, Madi River, cattle huts, green forests, wildlife, havocking fug, suspension bridges, waterfalls- we witnessed while on walking. Many of us were carrying our backpacks and it used to be hard to cross the tough uphill. In forest areas, the leeches remained one of the most boring factors. There was not water springs everywhere so we arrived at Tasha (around 2600 M) near a water spring. There were no households so we unfolded our tents and set them first time in our journey. Rajab and me used bamboo spoon to take our dinner (rice) and passed our second night inside the tent.
Rice, noodles, soups, chocolate, tea, hot water, cucumber in some places were our feedings. Some time we walked up to 13 hours to get water spring. Uphill walk without drinking water was really a hard-hitting experience. We faced rainfalls most of the times and used raincoats and umbrella in the journey. Botanist Aabishkar remained busy in collecting the highland orchids and Jitesh in documentary work.
Since it was raining, we set our tens above wetland in Kori (3,800M) for the 3rd night. We saw natural gardens of thousands of mountain-flowers, caravan of devotees, who were on the way to Dudhpokharai to take holy bath, before arriving Kori. We wondered when our two friends without any logistic arrived here however they joined with us and shared the tents. Rajab and I passed our whole nights in a same tent but we felt suffocation here in Kori. The interesting thing here was the sound of avalanche in the nighttime.
Next day we saw two lakes including Thulne in the route. We walked from 8 am to 8 pm and had to use torched light that day. We slightly felt the sign of high altitude problem (headache) that day however I didn’t take any medicine though we had carried Diamox. The lung used to be full of air after every step of our walks. Yellow flowers and their strong smells made us feel uneasy.
There was totally water under our tents in fourth night stay at Thurju (over 4,500M), which is a Dudhpokhari base camp. Our shoes and most of the cloths were wet due to the rainfall and horizontal blow of fug while on walking. We trekked with wet shoes in whole of our journey.
Since next day (Aug 28) was the Janai Purnima (Rakshay Bandhan- Festival of sacred thread), hundreds of pilgrims were passing their night in Thurju to reach Dudhpokhari early in the next morning. Most of them left the base camp at around 2 am in the night to reach Dudhpokhari in the morning time but as we were heading Dudhpokharai, the pilgrims were coming back to the base camp having holy bath. It took us 2.20 hours of time in reaching the Dudhpokharai (4,685 M).
The lake water was relatively white in color and snowcapped high mountains are surrounding it. Pilgrims were taking bath and offering sacred foods to the lake. Porters in the lake carried some pilgrims suffered by high altitude sickness. The weather was changing into sometime sunny and sometime fuggy in every 5-10 minutes. Some of our friends couldn’t arrive here due to the uphill and altitude factors.
Kevin and me washed our hands and feet but didn’t take any bath. The water and environment was very cold and the pilgrims were shaking their body before and after the bathing. The place is equally respected place of Hindus and Buddhists. It is believed that the breasts of Sati Devi (wife of lord Shiva) had fallen here as lord Shiva was carrying her dead body in his shoulder. It is a religious place and the villagers are trying to develop it as a touristic destination as well.
We witnessed the water sources of Madi and Marshyangdi Rivers as well as the beautiful Annapurna III, Mt Manaslu and Lamjung Himal. It is also said that the Gurung people through Dudhpokhari and Namun Pass (4,911M) entered Nepal from Tibet. There is a place named Kola Sothar near Sikless wich most of the Gurung people take as their origin (capital) in Nepal. Dudhpokhari is the treeless bordering area of Lamjung, Kaski and Manang districts and here were no facilities of telephone, Internet, newspapers and even the radio at the time when we had arrived in Dudhpokhari.
Kevin and Ram dai took dozens of snaps of flowers while on the trekking. Kevin was saying that he would forget all his tired and hardness when he will show the photographs to his friends and family in Pokhara and Korea. Hardness made Rajab to take this trekking as his foolish decision in his life. Same day we returned to the base camp and beheaded a sheep, which had grazed mountain herbs including Yarshagumba.
So its meat was tasty. Next (6th) day remain hardest day in our trekking. We walked downhill more than 13 hours to reach Siurung, a Gurung village in Lamjung district. Some friends passed their night in a cattle hut due to the foot pain and wounds there. Next morning porters brought them to Siurung.
There were too many routs in the jungle and we felt hard to find the right track however a shepherd Bhim Bahadur Gurung guided us and we sowed paper sheets on the trail to mark right way for our other friends who were following us. We felt thirst in the walking however Bhim Bahadur gave us mohi (shake of curd where butter is removed) and we tasted strawberries as well.
Today (Aug 30-7th day) was our final day. We again took downhill viewing Tamang and Gurung villages and reached Bulbule of Lamjung. Then, we arrived Beshishahar by jeeps to reach Pokhara in bus at 12 pm.