Adventure travel writing in Hindi language does not occupy much space in travel and adventure section of bookshelves as most travellers prefer to write in English language for its wider acceptance globally. Although, many would-be adventurers are increasingly taking up travel-blog writing in Hindi yet publishing a book in the same league find fewer takers. The most popular travel writers whose writings have been translated in many languages include the likes of legendary Rahul Sankrityayan and Krishanath.
Posing a serious challenge to afore notion, the book Darra Darra Himalaya authored by Ajay Sodani captivates and takes you along on some of the toughest terrains of the Indian Himalayas. In his debut book, the author has chronicled his adventures through the challenging Kalindi Pass and Auden’s Col located in the Garhwal Himalayas. The fact that he trekked both the challenging high-altitude routes, along with his wife and a teenager son, got recognised by the Limca Book of Records. Written in Hindi, the book brings alive the breath-taking beauty of the route as well as the dangers associated with it.
The author Ajay Sodani is a doctor by profession and hails from Indore in Madhya Pradesh. Mesmerised forever by the spiritual pull of the Himalayas, the author and his family has been frequent travellers to the Himalayas, more particularly the Garhwal Himalayas in Uttarakhand. Not only the sereneness and raw nature of the terrain, Ajay Sodani has a deep respect for its original inhabitants and locals. Walking in the footsteps of his mother, Sodani decides to retrace and trek the routes which were once said to be popular with hardcore pilgrims.
In the spring of 2005, the author and his family lands up in Uttarakashi to trek the glacial route connecting Gangotri with Badrinath via the Kalindi Pass. Popularly known as Kalindi Khal trek, completing this route is a no mean feat and can give jitters to even seasoned trekkers. With just enough supplies and assistance, the family completed the arduous 99 km trek that begins from Gangotri (3048m) and passes through Gaumukh (3892m), Nandanvan (4500m), Vasuki Tal (5300m), Kalindi Base (5590m), Kalindi Khal (5948m) before descending to Arwa Tal (3980m), Ghastoli (3600m) to reach Badrinath at 3100 m. The trail passes through some of the most fascinating Himalayan landscapes under the shadow of the Bhagirathi I, II and III, Shiblinga, Basuki, Chandraparbat and Satopanth peaks, etc.
Next up, in the monsoonal summers of 2009, the Sodani family was back in Uttarakashi; this time to trek the high-altitude route connecting Gangotri with Kedarnath via the Auden’s Col. The objective of this trek was to feel the raw and untouched Himalayas as well as to retrace the pilgrimage route popular in the Hindu mythology. The Auden’s Col is situated on the connecting ridge of Gangotri III (6577m) and Jogin I (6465 m); and offers a passage from the Rudugaira Glacier to reach the crevassed Khatling Glacier. Part of the route, the Col connects the Rudugaira valley with Bhilangna valley. The author later rated this route to be even tougher than the Kalindi Khal trek.
Enthusiasts particularly interested in these two treks would find this book to be full of preparatory information, a handicap which Sodani faced while planning his own adventures. All 160 pages of this book – comprising useful information and necessary details – make for an interesting read for anyone who is thinking of attempting these routes or similar feats elsewhere in the Himalayas. The best part is the frank and easy language used by the author in describing incidents on the go and you actually feel as if you are trekking along. The book is averagely priced at Rs 120 on most online resellers including Amazon.in