I opened my curtains first thing in the morning to behold a magnificent view- majestic hills covered with jewels of vegetation ranging in every shade from pale jade to deep, deep emerald.. The terraces of the mountains filled with more jewels, looking like the very stairway to heaven.. The wispy clouds that had stopped romancing the rest of the mountains and were kissing just their very tips- forgive me if this sounds like it's full of cliches but the English language does not have enough adjectives that can help me describe that enchanting view.
When I reluctantly tore myself away from this view framed by my hotel window, little did I know that I would later find myself travelling up and down those very mountains on some twisting, turning, scary and dangerous looking in places yet picturesque roads on the way to Karadi near Barkot. Merrily accompanying us down in the valleys was the river Yamuna. We followed that playful river upstream as she grew narrower and more turbulent. Tomorrow we shall visit her birthplace.
On the way, we took a diversion to visit Lakhamandal, the place where according to legend, the Pandavas were tricked into visiting a palace made of lac built by the Kauravas, who then locked the palace and burnt it down. The Pandavas, however, escaped through an underground tunnel that opens into some caves on the hills opposite to the place. The area is protected by the Archeological Survey of India and the locals claim that digging anywhere in that region is sure to turn up idols of Gods, tiny mantaps that house them and other artefacts. The ancient temple, housing idols of Shiva- Paravti and more idols found in later excavations is said to have been built by the Pandavas and gives one a feel of the timeless. The legends narrated by the wizened old priest of the temple as though the incidents happened only yesterday come alive and haunt your thoughts for many hours thereafter..
More winding roads, going uphill and now lined by Pine trees have brought us to the sleepy little village of Karadi where we have halted, the night to be spent in anticipation of the memories that will be made tomorrow..