One of the most mysterious things of my childhood was a lush green mountain in front of my native home. For a long time, the peak of the mountain was the highest ever point on the earth and I always wondered to imagine the view from the top. I had believed that if my home was up there, I would have been living in the paradise. But the day when I observed the same mountain from a distant point, I was surprised to see that the mountain of the village was nothing in comparison to the lofty snowy peaks behind it. That day marked the moment when I saw the Dhauladhar Himalayas for the first time and my imaginations made a shift from the view from the top of the village mountain to the view from the high altitude Himalayas.
After visiting many places around and trans Dhauladhar and other Himalayan ranges in general, and after having received the virtual views from the summit of many mountains on Google Earth, the mystery of appearance of the world from the top of Dhauladhar had got dissolved to a great extent. So the day I landed on the crest of Dhauladhar at an altitude of 4300 meters above sea level, I could relate and compare the original view with my childhood imaginations and with what I expected based on my earlier experiences of Himalayas.
After day 1 starting from Mcleodganj of Dharamshala, on the 5th day of Himalayan trekking we reached the top of Indrahar pass. The 5th-day journey, from Lahesh cave to the top of Inderhar Pass, perhaps was the steepest and toughest treks I had experienced by that time. Dhauladhar Himalaya is a high-altitude barrier between Kangra and Chamba valleys of Himachal Pradesh and there are no motorable roads on any of the high altitude passes to connect them. However, there are a number of trekking routes, Inderhar Pass being one of them. The trekking route to Indrahar pass is well noticeable till the place from where Laka Glacier starts (3200m) but beyond that point the slope becomes steep and the trekking route starts to fade away and passes over the massive boulders which sometimes make it difficult to find the exact direction to move on. However, the route was traced out by spotting some rocks which were marked with red paint. In the region where we did not expect to see any human, 3 shepherds along with their herd of hundreds of goats and sheep, who were coming from the other side of the mountain, put us in the right direction. Sometime after our progression, the whole area started to get covered with the dense clouds and within a few minutes, the visibility went so down as if the sun was about to set. In those hazy surroundings, I had assumed that even at the top I would find myself in the middle of clouds and so would have to wait for a long time for the clouds to get disperse to get a transparent view from the top of the pass. But as soon as we reached the crest of the mountain, the first view of the other side of the mountain created a euphoric moment. We were at the natural border of the cloudy and clear sky. While nothing was visible at the side we came from, another side had full sunlight and we could clearly see the Peer-Panjal range, Manimahesh mountain, Chamba Valley and northern slope of Dhauladhar range. The panorama of Pir-Panjal range refreshed the memories of time spent in Lahaul and Pangi region and of crossing Sach Pass. Another thing I experienced for the first time was to be exactly at the sharp crest of any of the Himalayan mountains, as on the immediate southern side of the apex of the Indrahar Pass was the slope of Kangra valley, while on the immediate northern side was the Chamba valley slope. From the administration point of view, I was on the border of Chamba and Kangra districts of Himachal Pradesh.
I spent around one and a half hour at the apex. It was the moment of reliving the childhood imaginations and to view them in front of my eyes. Although I was there for the first time, I already had a generalised idea about the view from there. I knew that I would be able to see the Peer-Panjal range, Mani-Mahesh Mountain and Chamba and Kangra valleys from the top. But I also recognised that knowing something and to experience the same are two different things. So although I had some idea what it would be like to be at the crest of Dhauladhar, I acknowledged that originality could be observed only by to be at that place. My time at Indrahar reminded me that I was still deprived of the original feel from my village mountain. I also noticed that the original experience could have been much more strong and significantly different if I had not taken any digital view from the Google Earth. I remember, somewhere I read a statement which says, “To keep life interesting, avoid knowing everything.”