Tuesday, 9 October 2007

The trip to zuko, zuko...

‘Have cool, will travel’ was the motto of that trip in the year 2005, obviously picked up from a Megadeth’s song, who picked it up from where? I will let images speak louder than words, but to give you the general sequence of things…

Me and a good friend from Manipur, Bobby and his friends met at Kohima in July 2005, to get to Dzukou valley. We spent an evening buying supplies, with the adventurous thought of living up in a cave, trying to feel nostalgic about what homosapiens did thousands of years ago. Apart from that, more importantly, we wanted to see the valley half submerged in pink with the mass-flowering of the endemic lily, Lilium chitrangadae.

Thats Jakhama, the place (12 km away from Kohima) the trek begins from. The walk from Jakhama to the valley took us through a gradient of disturbed evergreen forests; initially up heavily human-modified forests and later into rhododendron patches and then down to the valley. Bro, our friend, who likes to be called nothing else but 'Bro', told us we need to keep shouting "Juko juko", if I could post an audio clip on the blog, I could tell you phonetically!

The walk was a bit tiring, amateur trekkers that we were; the walk took us six hours, I think the valley is about 10 km, not counting the angle-effort from Jakhama. We reached, and lo the valley was breathtaking, take a look...Mount Iso from Manipur is hiding behind the clouds.

Once we saw the valley, everything was relaxed and it was as if we just switched in to a zone where time stands still! We walked on and on looking for caves to stay. The ones nearby were all taken since July is the prime season when local kids visit the valley too. Here and there small shrubs were in bloom some white, some yellow and most pink, for the lily was in bloom. Everybody we met seemed happy; it was as if in the tranquility of the valley everyone was at peace. We moved on and found a small cave, enough for four of us and we parked. Heres the cave we booked for two days!

Next what, we needed a bath, enough to override the fact that the water was chilling. We braved in and bliss drowned us. Don’t we look happy? That’s me and bro.

The night was full of stars and we saw three satellites moving together in a triangular shape, and we couldn’t believe it was happening. Bro had taken some smoke before and we were wondering if we were affected too! We cooked noodles and in the small fire we made, bro dumped in the corn we bought. It was only then I realized that corn, when put into fire without peeling gets boiled and not roasted. We had forgotten chillies, but in the cave somebody had left salt, some masala and chilles in a cover(for us?). After the corn was ready with the dao our local friend ‘Pashchata’ carried we cut in strips of corn into the maggi and it was a sumptuous meal. We did not tell the maggi company otherwise they would have patented this recipe!

Morning was full of walks around the valley. We did see the lily up close and its looks subtly beautiful, check it out.

And in the gently undulated grassy slopes, Bobby was occasionally meditating, the person in the picture is bobby and not a girl!

We spent another two days in the valley, meeting and greeting people and occasionally grabbing a bath from the nearby dzukou river. The river freezes in winter and me and bobby promised we would be back some winter of our lives; that hasn’t happened yet. As the convention goes whatever we could not finish, like food and goods we left in the cave for the next batch that would live in the cave, just the way somebody left chillies for us!

Here are some of the conservation problems in the valley. As it happens, there might be few places on earth un-affected by the destructive ways we humans adopt.
* Everybody who comes to the valley writes in their names on the rocks, take a look at the cave picture. If there was a way to prevent this, the valley can retain its natural state.
* People dump covers all over the valley and these look definitely out of place.
* The locals burn the rhododendrons and once the trees are leafless, call it dead wood and use the same for fuel wood. There must be something the Forest Department can do about this. Afterall there could be an alternative of less conservation value for fuelwood than rhododendrons.

Me and Bobby also promised we have something to give back to the valley, a campaign to follow up the above, hasn’t happened yet and these thoughts are indeed cached in our head and hearts somewhere and we will return to follow up on the cause.

Cheers to other wander-lusty people.

1 comment:

Suresh said...

Heh ! AWESOME. Thats the word tht hit me after browsing thru the initial look of the blog.

Suresh Krishnamoorthy,
Special Correspondent - THE HINDU,
Mail: suresh.krishnamoorthy@gmail.com
Mobile: 092465-83999.