Monday, April 4, 2011

Har Ki Dun

I wrote this for my writers club. Thought my India and international readers who might visit Mussoorie would be interested.

There is a beautiful vale to the northwest of Mussoorie called Har Ki Dun “The Valley of the Gods”. I have never been there, but came to know of it through Jill Jornson, a NGO architect designing a school building for a nearby Himalayan village. She was attending the well known Landour Language School and blogging of her adventures there during the 2007-8 years. By this time it was easy to troll for information about Mussoorie on the Net and this is how I encountered her. That she wrote almost poetically of her spiritual journey had me coming back to learn more about her and why and how she had arrived at this place in time.

On one of her entries she described a trip to Har-ki-dun. She was a photographer with professional abilities and took some fine pictures during her trek. One in particular was of a wooden mountain cabin taken near sunset where a golden misty light seemed to envelope the whole scene. The cabin was on a knoll and surrounded on each side by towering peaks bathed in this same beautiful light. It was not part of a village but perched in its own splendor almost as if it were a destination. When I Googled Harkidun pictures, others had sometimes taken this same shot, but none so dramatic and colorful as hers.

It is not easy to get there. First there is a drive from Dehra Dun to Taluka, possibly taking a half day or better as one passes Kempty Falls and would surely stop there to enjoy their beauty. At Taluka is a rest house for those who journey on. Next morning motorized transportation is exchanged for real trekking by foot. It takes about seven hours to the next village which is Osla.. My impression is that it takes about the same time to actually reach Harkidun the next day.

Ir’s still relatively new as a Himalayan destination fot it requires some arduous hiking to get there. It is not on the way to a climbing destination so is a place valued for its aesthetic qualities alone. Even though there are habitations in the valley they are few and far between. The vistas are overwhelming, of a mountain stream gushing over huge boulders and great snow capped mountains at the end of the valley, beckoning for several more days of hiking if the resources are available.

In the Spring many varieties of flowers bloom there. Thus Harkidun is also sometimes known as the “Valley of Flowers”. If you can’t go there in person you may do as I do...visit there via “YouTube” on the Web. Wealthy healthy young people who enjoy this kind of adventure are arriving there, taking pictures or movies of this remote valley and posting them on line. For spiritually sensitive souls it must be a special place where great natural mountain beauty whispers of God’s presence.

Here are three "YouTube" links to Har-ki-dun:

Harkidun 1

Harkidun 2

Harkidun 3

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