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This is journal of a trek to three Himalayan Sanctuaries 2006 . We had always wanted to go to the Himalayas and out of the blue were invited by our friends Phil and Anna. Two friends of theirs, Michael and Mary Green putting together a small party of 8 friends. (Our guides and porters were provided by trek operator Adventure Trekking in Josimath.)
The aim was to visit three sanctuaries in the Indian Himalayas: Hemkund, a Sikh temple next to a sacred melt-water lake, the Valley of Flowers, made famous by Frank Smythe’s book, and the Nanda Devi Sanctuary, the ring of mountains enclosing India’s second highest mountain. Michael had done his PhD research on musk deer in the Valley of Flowers and could arrange access to forbidden places through the Indian Forest Service.
We describe the overwhelming impact of the colours, sounds and smells of Delhi and relate how we bought a silk carpet. We recount our climbs through steep green valleys and raging torrents into the soaring snow-white mountains. We tell stories about the people we meet; the Sikh pilgrims on their pilgrimage to Hemkund, our young guides from Joshimath, the people we stay with in the small mountain villages and the merchants in the hill station Mussoorie.
Main photo: Trekking into the Nanda Devi Sanctuary.