Kotdwar (Mohan Bhulani): Nestled amidst the majestic peaks of the Himalayas, the Malan Valley in the Pauri Garhwal district of Uttarakhand beckons with an aura of enchantment, promising an unforgettable journey through time and nature. The valley’s recent designation as the ‘Track of the Year 2023′ by the Uttarakhand Tourism Development Council serves as an invitation to explore its hidden treasures, where natural splendour blends seamlessly with ancient myths and legends.
Manoj Istwal is a renowned senior journalist and the chairman of the Badri Kedar Cultural and Social Institute. He has spent the last 31 years studying the Vedic culture of the Malan Valley and Kanvashram.
The inaugural trekking expedition, led by the intrepid Colonel Ashish Istwal and comprising a 20-member team from Bayberry Adventure Lansdowne, embarked on their adventure from the GMVN bungalow at Kanwashram. With hearts filled with anticipation, they set out to unravel the valley’s captivating secrets.
Their first stop was Mathana, a site believed to be the ancient Kanvashram, the revered abode of sage Kanva and his wife Gautami. As they traversed the serene environs, the team could almost hear the whispers of wisdom echoing through the air, remnants of the sages’ profound teachings.
Next, they ventured towards Rajdurbar, a place steeped in mythology, where the celestial apsara Menaka is said to have disrupted the meditation of King Vishwamitra. The air hummed with an otherworldly energy, a testament to the transformative power of love and devotion.
Pathraiki Basi, also known as Vishwamitra Cave, held the team spellbound. Legend has it that within these hallowed depths, sage Vishwamitra composed the sacred Gayatri Mantra, imbuing the cave with an air of profound tranquility. The team could almost feel the reverberations of the mantra’s vibrations, resonating deep within their souls.
Proceeding further, they reached Saptarishi Mandal, a site resonating with tales of renowned sages and celestial beings. The team immersed themselves in the rich tapestry of legends and folklore, their imaginations ignited by the valley’s mystical charm.
Mayeda, the abode of the apsara Menaka, captivated the team with its ethereal beauty. The aura of celestial enchantment permeated the atmosphere, conjuring images of heavenly grace and otherworldly charm. They could almost envision Menaka dancing amidst the celestial beings, her ethereal presence illuminating the surroundings.
Kimsera, the legendary marriage ground of Dushyant and Shakuntala, unveiled another chapter of the valley’s enchanting narrative. The team stood in awe as they retraced the footsteps of these star-crossed lovers, their hearts touched by the timeless tale of love and destiny.
Farkhet, Shakuntala’s fruit orchard, offered a respite from their arduous journey. The team savored the sweetness of nature’s bounty, their taste buds awakened by the orchard’s delectable offerings. They could almost hear the laughter of Dushyant and Shakuntala echoing through the trees, their love story forever etched in the orchard’s memory.
Judda Raudiyal, a haven of medicinal herbs, provided a glimpse into the valley’s rich natural pharmacy. The team marveled at the diversity of flora, each plant imbued with healing properties. They could almost feel the healing essence of the herbs permeating their bodies, restoring balance and harmony.
Maliniyan, the source of the Malini River, marked the culmination of their expedition. The team stood in awe at the genesis of this life-giving force, their spirits resonating with the valley’s vibrant energy. They could almost hear the river whispering tales of the valley’s ancient past, its waters carrying the echoes of countless stories.
The Track of the Year 2023 extends beyond Maliniyan, encompassing Dhakri route in the Malan Valley East and the District Board’s Track Route, connecting over 50 villages. This expansive network promises to unveil the valley’s hidden gems to adventure seekers from across the globe, offering a glimpse into the heart of the Himalayas.
The inaugural expedition concluded with a warm reception by the villagers of Malaniya-Bidolgaon, who welcomed the team with open arms, their hospitality a testament to the valley’s welcoming spirit. The team departed with a newfound appreciation for the Malan Valley’s captivating beauty and rich cultural heritage, their hearts forever touched by the valley’s mystical charms.
As the Malan Valley embarks on a new chapter, its treasures unveiled to the world through the Track of the Year 2023, it beckons adventure seekers and nature lovers alike to embark on an enchanting odyssey. Let the valley’s enchanting beauty, steeped in ancient myths and legends, captivate your senses and ignite your imagination as you traverse its captivating landscapes, creating memories that will last a lifetime.