“This is what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object“, quips Joker (played by Heath Ledger), when finally held captive by the Batman in Nolan’s phenomenal work; The Dark Knight.
Similar events have happened in Earth’s History when unstoppable forces battled with immovable objects and all those events made our planet what it is today.
For instance, formation of the Great Himalayas when plate tectonics forces fought it out tirelessly and resulted in a great summit series running all along the length and breadth of Himachal Pradesh.
The geology of the Himalaya is (arguably) the most dramatic and tangible creations of plate tectonic forces.
And why am I talking about this science and geology stuff? Because I have just returned from a trek to Dain Kund, where from the great White Range of Dhauladhar Himalayas originates. It runs E-W for several hundred kilometers forming the Kangra Chamba divide and at the same time giving birth to many glacial lakes and rivers that serve as lifeline of inhabitants downstream on either side of the divide.
Dhauladhars rise abruptly in Himachal and that’s evident throughout the length of Dhauladhars; a near vertical climb from the planes of Kangra, Kullu, or whichever place you choose to start your journey from.
Thick forests around Khajiar – Dalhousie appear to be hiding this abrupt rise from us and that’s where from this great range appears to be rising majestically.
Dainkund – Origin of the Name
Kund is a Hindi word which means a small reservoir. Although no kund is visible these days but I am sure a lake existed up here few decades ago. An Indian Air Force base station has come up at Dain Kund in recent years that gives an eerie look to this beautiful place.
I hold nothing against the armed forces but I find it amusing that these guys have stations at every hill station, from Kasauli to McLo.
Relishing the good old British times, you see!
Dain Kund is located atop the hill that is surrounded by thick forest in all directions. The winds passing by slip through these trees and sounds produced create an aura as if there is an ongoing dialogue between the high ranges and the cold breeze. And that’s why another name; the Singing Hill.
Another local story is of the witches (daayan/dain means a witch). This place, which till date serves as a grazing ground for many gaddis’ (shepherds), was believed to be occupied by witches.
I think these whispering sounds produced by the winds and dance of the witches has some connection.
In the Shadow of Manimahesh Kailas
One of the reasons The only reason I wanted to walk along this trail was to catch a glimpse of the King Mountain. And that’s why I decided not to hike from Dalhousie but from Chuwari Jot top. Both the ends, from Dalhousie and Chuwari, are level walk towards Dainkund but from Chuwari Jot, you walk in the shadow of the Manimahesh Kailas, figuratively speaking.
The Pangi Range runs flat until it reaches close to the Kailas and at the confluence, the mountains rise & fall abruptly; the formations appear jagged, as if every mountain is ecstatic at the mere sight of the King Mountain.
Dainkund offers a 360 degree view in literal sense. For an observant eye, the mighty passes of the Pir Panjal are visible from this high point, which stands at an altitude of 2750 meters.
Gaddis’ from the planes of Kangra spend a couple of days at Dainkund pastures before moving to the higher passes of Chamba – Lahaul. To the immediate east of Dainkund lies the trio of Bohar, Baleni, and Kali Nali Passes.
There are many viewpoint huts installed by the Tourism Department throughout the trail on either sides. The Dalhousie hike is relatively short where as from Chuwari Jot top you have to walk approximately 6 km one side.
You’ll find no water on this trail so be advised to carry your own bottle. However, there are many gujjar settlements en-route and you can always ask them for a glass of water.
There is a hotel (probably the only one) atop the hill and it is good enough to spend a night and absorb the marvelous view of the Pir Panjals from its roof. Contact: Des Raj: 9816531563
Here’s what the trek profile looks like from Chuwari Jot to Dainkund. You may as well give it a read at Inditramp, a brilliant site documenting unexplored regions of Himachal.
Much research has been done to identify the rock types and their characteristics in and around Dainkund. I came across two documents that talk in detail about the rock type and its probable source of origin. Interested parties may give them a look. Himachal Pradesh District Gazetteers, Chamba | Records of the Geological Survey of India