The month is September, rain gods have emptied their dark clouds filled with water, every stream now resembles a river, green moss has enveloped branch of every tree and the forests now resembles a dark green world, with a cloudless, hazeless, beautiful Blue as the background. All along the jungle path we see multitude of Oak, Rhododendron and towering Deodar Trees, some growing up to 80Meters in height. A Multitude of Song birds sing their songs and the Jungle seems to be reverberating to their tune. This is what I experienced when trekking through the Jungles of village Waan and around, during my trek to Nanda Raj Jat in 2014.
The Temple of Laatu Devta in Village Waan opens once a year, only upon the arrival of Maa Nanda during the Raj Jat and the small Jat. Laatu Devta is fabled to be the “God Brother” of Maa Nanda and it’s believed that, once when Maa Nanda and Laatu Devta were passing through here, Maa Nanda felt tired and she went for a bath in the Kail River, asking her brother to stand guard. Laatu Devta felt thirsty after some time and asked the Women of Village Waan for Water. They instead intoxicated him with a liquid and he could no longer continue further. Maa Nanda revived him using her powers and told him that you will stand guard to me in this Village. Whenever I pass through here, you will be worshipped and from here on, you will lead me to my home in the Himalayas. Until now the tradition is intact and from Village Waan, the Parasol (Chintoli) of Laatu Devta leads the Raj Jat forward to the holy Himalayas.
Trekking forward, trying to comprehend the Majestic Landscapes around, I seem to have reached a different world. Villages on the far side of the Mountain are dwarfed by the Monumental size of the Himalayan ranges and the houses appear as dots amidst the impenetrable evergreen forests. Ranakidhar is an intermediate stop for lunch. It’s fabled, that Demon Mahisashura was killed by Maa Durga in battle here. Dhar in Garhwali roughly means a place situated on a ridge and commanding a massive view around. Ranakidhar is no less beautiful and we can see the Scary yet Adrenaline pumping thick Forests which we are gonna tread on our Way to Bedni Bugyal. A thought crosses my Mortal human mind, whether it’s humanly possible to reach a place of such beauty while still being alive. We also get a glimpse of Aali Bugyal from here and we can’t but wait to get there as soon as possible.
The trek continues further, first downhill to the valley below and then up a different Mountain. The next few kilometres is an excruciating uphill walk. Yet you wait for a moment and take in the beauty of the Jungle around, and the tiredness vanishes in a flash. As the height increases the trees seem to become less and less dense and then suddenly they vanish and are replaced by the Velvety green grass of the Alpine meadows. One cannot see Bedni Bugyal until at the last moment, and then you cross a ridge and there you are. I don’t believe there’s a word in dictionary that can describe the Landscape that I see in front of me. Emotions swell up inside of me and I just want to sit there forever and thank god for showering his blessings on me.
The Landscape in front of me is but a vast expanse of Alpine Meadow, with the Himalayan peaks of Maa Nanda Ghunti and Trishul in the background. Trishul in Garhwal is supposed to be the Home of Lord Shiva and is also called Kailash. Amidst the meadow is Bedni Kund. It’s fabled in Garhwal that Vedas were written here and also the Marriage of Lord Shiva and Parvati happened at this very spot. A huge double rainbow forms in-front of me and seems like a blessing from Maa Nanda itself.
The Green Alpine Grass is hard and soft at the same time, you can walk over it multiple times and it doesn’t seems to crumple and yet it’s softer than cotton. We camp here for the night. Aali Bugyal is short and very soothing 5Kms trek from here. The expanse of Aali bugyal is itself in Kilometers. Mighty Trishul, towers in front and one actually has to look at it as if looking at a multi-storeyed structure standing at its base. I am not a writer and might not do justice in describing the beauty of Aali and Bedni, so I will now let the Images do the talking for themselves.