I couldn't have asked for a better 26th birthday. The drawback of a place like Ghangria is that our phones don't work. There's only one BSNL tower, and that too can only be accessed when you're at a specific altitude on a specific mountain. And there's no Internet. So this is my much delayed apology to those of you who tried to call me, but couldn't get through.
That being said, I couldn't have asked for a better 26th birthday. I woke up late, pleasantly surprised to find my legs not burning in excruciating pain. We trekked to the Valley of Flowers, a 4 km hike up to the mountains. To attempt a written description would hardly do justice to the serene yet gorgeous landscape that unfolded before me. From grandiose, gushing waterfalls to sweet-smelling pine to the star of the show - the flowers. I'll let Nikhil's and Ani's photographs do the talking.
The hike was challenging but far from torturous like yesterday's trek. We returned to Ghangria at 5 pm and guzzled bowlfuls of chowmein. The evening was spent uneventfully, roaming around the narrow streets and satisfying our craving for sweets. Nikhil and Ani got a quarter kilo of jalebi, while I had my fill of scrumptious, syrupy gulab jamun. Tomorrow, we go to Hemkund Sahib, the Sikh pilgrimage still higher up from Ghangria. A photograph of steeply ascending zig-zags has done its job; I'm thoroughly intimidated by what looks to be our most challenging climb yet.