Deo Tibba Moments!

En route Chikka

Quick Downpour:
As we live, there are things that happen to us! As we travel, there are places that happen to us!
An octave down this philosophical tone, I was really excited for this one. I brushed and bath, for the big day!
When four strangers pack their bags for a Delhi-Manali road trip followed by a trek, you know you are at the brink of epic stuff! So here are some facts:
Region: Himachal Pradesh
Location: Manali
Altitude: 4800 meters
Best Time: June to October
Duration: 7 days
Grade: Moderate
Here’s what happened:
Day 01:  Manali (2050m) Rest & Acclimatise
After Rohit baba drove for an insane Five-Hundred-and-thirty-six km, all on his own, from Delhi to Manali, we thought rest & acclimatisation would be good. All nice and cozy! But that would be too boring for us!
We were staying in Jagatsukh, a tad farther from the hurly-burly Manali. To be truthful, no one fancies Manali mall road. No-One! It is the Colaba Causeway of Mumbai and Sarojini of Dilli, if you know what I mean!
But the moment anyone says Old Manali, I am sold! I have a history there, which you will find in my personal diary (page: whatever)! Not that you care, of course!
So we decided to hit Old Manali, as soon as we could. If you are my kind, you’d love it! If you are not my kind, well God save you then! Love having coffee next to the rasping Beas or a refreshing mug of beer? The place is a hub of free spirits. Live music, good food, greater shopping, hot firangs and hotter pancakes, need I say more?

Dear child, if you go there, don’t miss:
-Hot Chocolate at cafe 1947
-The singer in his pyjamas
– All the pyjamas


Day 02: Manali (2050m) – Jobra Naala (2707m) – Chikka (3100m) {Drive: 1 hour and Trek: 2- 3 hours}

The night before a trek lives in the wake of a looming adventure! You never know what tomorrow holds for you, literally.
We started at ease around 9 in the morning from Manali to Jobra Naala. It is quite a rickety one. The road has been under construction, yes, has been! But the drive, it made us feel like  men-on-a-mission! The trek starts from Jobra Naala, with rebellious Dhohangan river being your flowing companion. It speaks a lot, if you listen!
Dumping most of the load of our existence on tragic mules, we started heading towards Chikka. It is an easy hike unfolding every moment in a wonderland. Lush green meadows, boulders with inexplicable expressions on their  timeless face, and thousands of goats, keep the traveller’s heart humming.
Chikka, for sure, is an anti-depressant . I rushed to the ancient snake fossil, engraved in the heart of a rock! An old Sheppard there, explained the meaning of the name of the place. Quite surprisingly, “Chikka” is a strap tied on the muzzle of an animal. It has been a grazing ground and hence to stop excessive grazing a “chikka” was tied on an animal’s face. Kind of retard, I know.
Nonetheless, you will fall in love with this place. That’s destined!

On the trail

Day 03: Chikka (3100m) – Pandorupa (3500m) {Trek: 3-4 hours}

You know that feeling… when your wake up call in the mountains, says “chai piyogi?” I was taken, that very moment! This is when I woke up with a smile!
We packed our essentials and left at ease around 9.
Making our  way crossing little rivulets, old wooden bridges, humming along with the loud Dhohangan, walking next to a hanging glacier, amidst a mixed forest, we reached Pandorupa. Setting a few steep patches aside, it was an easy hike.
Now, here’s a little mythology. They say once upon a time, Panadavas planted rice here. The paddies are flooded with water, till date. The huge boulder on the campsite, as huge as a mountain, wearing a strange expression of history, written all over its face.  Almost, making imaginative souls believe that it has something to say. No, I am not schizophreniac, just a dreamer!
Moving to my favorite part of camping, we lit a bonfire in the evening, played bengali-punjabi songs, did exactly what you are thinking and slept snug in our tents.

The dreamland, Pandoupa

Day 04- Pandoupa (3500m)- Seri (3900m) {Trek: 4 to 5 hours}

By now we were all sun kissed, we were all children of the wild! We were all singing Himachali folk songs, kissing goats, patting horses… we were all, of the mountains. We were different people, once again!
It was around 8 in the morning when I lifted my tripod to head towards Seri. The sun was as bright as last night’s bonfire. Not that comforting, though! I still remember becoming a zombie dipped in sunscreen.
When Samik dada, smiled and said, “take whatever the mountains give you, even if it’s harsh!”

Thus, we started another day, another adventure! Amidst we met a melting glacier, pouring river Dhohangan, straight from its heart. Melting bit by bit and unbecoming itself to flow. Damn, the mountains always do this to me, make me a philosophical sucker! Anyway, the trail kick starts as a mix of beautiful wild flowers: purple, yellow, pink, and little rivulets. But as we dived deeper in this exploration, I found myself in the middle of an unending moraine zone. Mighty boulders!
To add a hint of drama to this tale, the weather drastically turned into a misty storm, Dhohangan became calmer: closer to the source , and boulders become larger than life!

When I was practically preparing myself to spend the rest of my life in this moraine zone, the unexpected happened.

After crossing a stretch of silt and sand, a flat lush greenland, surrounded by snow mountains welcomed us. Yes, Seri welcomes wanderers! It was still raining cats and dogs but we were in mood to pet, so we rushed to a trekker’s hut. The damp cave made me feel like an ancient sadhu, there to pay homage to the unknown.
Soon the rain stopped to take a deep breath, until it rained again soon. And again. And again. We knew it, either the rain God was way too impressed or just downright pissed off.
So we all snug tight in the kitchen tent together, singing sagas of the mountains. Indranil kar, the founder of Ongoz Escapades and a dear friend, is a man of humour. It would be hard to imagine what would we do without his whicked-bitchy humour! His love for the mountains is beyond reverence  and so are his stories.

Day 05: Seri (3900m) – Tenta (4200m) NO?
Seri-Seri, yes!

The magic of Seri

As much as we wanted to go Tenta, the rain wouldn’t let us! Just wouldn’t! So we got other things going. Interesting stuff like, two bongs by the river side discussing what would be the diameter of the outermost ripple credited if we throw a stone in the rivulet! Ahem! ***Smiles****
Dumb charades, oh yes, loads of Dumb charades! From “Being Cyrus” to “Finding Nemo” and much more! Playing Dumb charades with Rohit is once in a life “woh” experience: Arey wahi… wahi wala! In minutes he can run you through the script of the entire movie, but not the name! Sheer fun!
In the evening, when rain took a deep silent breath, we rushed to the waterfall. It was a quick 30 minute walk from our campsite in Seri. The calm Dhohangan, green pastures oozing of water, the left shoulder of Deo Tibba peak, fresh snow on Jagatsukh peak and the hike up to the waterfall, stirred the adventurous souls again.

Day 06: Seri (3900m) to Chika (3100m) {Trek 4 to 5 hours}
When we climb down from Chika to Seri, it was hard to believe that we ever climbed up! It was raining softly when we started but sun kissed us soon!
Day 07: Chika (3100m) to Manali (2050m)
And this was it!

Concluding, I always say this, the essence of a place can never be captured. Neither in words nor in photographers. It can only be experienced! And that’s what Ongoz Escapades aces at, helping one experience the mountains!
Special Thanks to:
Group leader: Harsh Thakur
Host in Manali: Deepak Thakur
Wonderful Cook of all times: Rohit
The guy who does it all: Yashwant Bhai
The man who introduces Himalayas like no one else: Indranil Kar
I’ve also created a short video about our experience: Youtube


Still exploring. Kind of bipolar- for my equal love for home and the world. Essentially believe in what George Bernard Shaw said, "life isn't about finding yourself but creating yourself"


  • Anushree August 26, 2017 at 10:09 am Reply

    Sounds like a great week in the mountains. The pics make them come alive. !

    • ambikabhardwaj August 26, 2017 at 7:54 pm Reply

      It really was! Where are you heading next?

      • Anushree August 26, 2017 at 8:07 pm Reply

        Still finalising actually. Should be somewhere in East Europe. And you ?

        • ambikabhardwaj August 27, 2017 at 8:38 am Reply

          Bhai, Tuesday, Parvati Valley. Aahahaah!
          I think I never wish to go beyond the Himalayas! 🙂
          P.S: East Europe! Exciting! Have a great trip. I really can’t wait for your beautiful sunset captures!

          • Anushree August 27, 2017 at 10:00 am

            Thanks, I’ll try and see if I can get any sunsets this time 🙂 I have heard about Parvati valley, am sure it will be fun. I miss Himalayas, have done a couple of hikes there. Hope you have a good time. Cheers!

          • ambikabhardwaj August 27, 2017 at 5:42 pm

            May you capture every moment (sunsets especially 🙂 )
            Cheers, hon!

  • Nisthur Anadi August 26, 2017 at 12:32 pm Reply

    Wow !😊

  • Gouri (Gourav Anand) August 26, 2017 at 4:31 pm Reply

    Wow.. Breathtaking.. Pics.. Loved it

    • ambikabhardwaj August 27, 2017 at 5:44 pm Reply

      Such are the breathtaking Himalayas! Glad you liked it! 🙂

  • arv! August 26, 2017 at 6:37 pm Reply

    Stunning images and pristine beauty. Refreshing actually ….. especially when you can’t trek yourself!

    • ambikabhardwaj August 27, 2017 at 5:44 pm Reply

      Why can’t you? Chal chalain! 🙂

      • arv! August 28, 2017 at 1:49 pm Reply

        Ha ha! long story Ambica. 😉

  • paulmansfield30 August 27, 2017 at 10:42 pm Reply

    Hiya Ambika, wow! really enjoyed this blog entree — especially the video that you put together at the end. I especially liked your light touch with the cinematography and the visual flow of the editing. The film brings the audience into the experience of what it’s like to trek in the Himalayas. Oh, and those jumping goats, so cute! ne. 😺 — 🎥

    • ambikabhardwaj August 28, 2017 at 3:22 am Reply

      You saw it? I just love you! Thank you so much! This really really really means a lot! It is my first video.

      • paulmansfield30 August 28, 2017 at 8:40 pm Reply

        well, in deed. You should keep on going with your video making. I think you’re Trekking makes for quite interesting subject matter. I’m currently studying video editing myself and if you can do your own videography, it really helps in the final edit.

        • ambikabhardwaj August 29, 2017 at 5:57 pm Reply

          Thank you so much, kind sire! Himalayas, are indeed inspirational. Even that is an understatement. Which editing software are you exploring?

  • Infinite Living August 28, 2017 at 5:09 pm Reply

    You bring the heavenly beauty to life with your pictures and words …really enjoyed your post.

  • paulmansfield30 August 29, 2017 at 11:47 pm Reply

    I am currently exploring Premiere Pro. (and like that word ‘exploring’, cause that’s exactly what it is) Here in the SF Bay Area, with Adobe nearby, it’s the industry standard. Of course, there are many choices one could use for post-production. I’m wondering what you used to edit your Himalayas Trekking adventure video — it was quite effective.

  • paulmansfield30 August 31, 2017 at 3:17 pm Reply

    I checked out your video Ambika, and it’s really good! It has a kind of post-trip documentary style. I’m thinking you’re working pretty hard to get the audio fades in/out in your video right. Because, it seems like the hiker’s impression of the Himalayan trek, and what they get out of it, is the most important subject. And all of them seem transformed, in different ways, which is an interesting aspect of your film.

    • ambikabhardwaj August 31, 2017 at 7:26 pm Reply

      Wow! You could understand that so easily.
      “…it seems like the hiker’s impression of the Himalayan trek, and what they get out of it, is the most important subject.”
      I literally had to explain this to so many people! You could understand it all, without any point of reference or description from my side! Thank you so much, love! This really really really, means a lot!

  • paulmansfield30 September 1, 2017 at 4:39 pm Reply

    You bet, Ambika! 😺 — 🎥

  • Bhavana September 2, 2017 at 6:45 pm Reply

    Amazing clicks… liked your travel adventure..keep it up

    • ambikabhardwaj September 3, 2017 at 10:44 pm Reply

      Thank you so much Bhavana! Colourfulcanvas, too is absolutely inspirational!

  • oldpoet56 September 5, 2017 at 8:42 pm Reply

    Excellent post, it is a very good read so I am going to reblog it for you.

    • ambikabhardwaj September 5, 2017 at 8:44 pm Reply

      That is so amazing! I love you! Thank you so much, buddy! 🙂

  • Colors of my life September 6, 2017 at 6:22 am Reply

    Your commentary makes the journey relived and replayed to us.
    You definitely have a good story telling art, which is so important!

  • ForgivingConnects September 8, 2017 at 12:38 am Reply

    Wow! It sounds like you were on quite an adventure 😊 Thanks for visiting my blog. Blessings, Debbie

    • ambikabhardwaj September 8, 2017 at 11:08 am Reply

      Debbie!!! So happy to see you here! Thanks for visiting! I am glad you liked the whiff of our adventure!

  • InspiresN September 8, 2017 at 12:51 pm Reply

    amazing beauty of nature ! it must have been bliss to be there .wonderful captures as well they could easily all be beautiful post cards!

  • Kullu Manali Heaven On Earth October 9, 2017 at 1:41 pm Reply

    Reblogged this on Kullu Manali Heaven On Earth.

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