There is something about this place, which lures me into writing about it again and again. Kolti, the land where sweet echoes of human songs fill the air, where birds fly singing away to glory, where the trees stand arranged and mountains seem to hold each other’s arms and cover the land, as if there was a small street show going on in here. Meanwhile Kolti sits on a ridge drained by two beautiful streams on either side. These streams then meet in front of Kolti’s ridge and rush into to the Aglar and later into the Yamuna. The land being paradisaical in nature, never fails to present its beauty. Be it summer, when the cool breezes flow through your hair or winters, when the sun comforts you with its warm hugs. The mystical Kolti sky is home to many bird species. One can see raptors soaring high into the sky all the time. Also, its streams are always busy with spotted fork tails jumping around.
After three dry months of saturated university life, we headed home to celebrate the festival of colours but the yearning to visit Kolti was the foremost objective of this short holiday. Spring filled the air with a distinct muse, which could be felt looking at the blooming rhododendron trees. Spring signifying rebirth in the world of nature, could not be understood in a better way. As morning started setting in, with two of my friends, I was already amid the forest, on the way to Kolti. Black-Lored Tits had already made their presence felt with continuous mid notes of busy chirping from all sides! As we ventured deeper into the forest, and yes I mean deeper as one has to descend constantly downhill, a lot of butterflies greeted us. An attempt to photograph them was made, but they did not seem to want a photograph clicked. It was only later that some of them posed for us!
As we came to the lower part of the forest, something green, resembling a parakeet flew by. But a parakeet does not fly in that fashion. It sat on the branch of one of the Chir trees. No time was wasted in spotting it through the binoculars. The magnification revealed a blue-fronted Barbet. Having seen it for the first time ever, was quite a surprise. But then Kolti is always full of surprises. Previous visits had already divulged species like the Koklass pheasant,
Broadbill and also the Himalayan Monal. Kolti never fails to please us and today the rhododendrons were among the delicacies! It is only when you put a rhododendron flower upside down in your mouth and then slowly chew it, that you discover how delicious they are. The raw nectar is no match for any of the decorated drinks available in the market.
After relishing the spring flowers and clicking some of photographs, we finally reached the village. The children of the village welcomed us happily and we handed over some books, which we had got with us for the village library. Then we made our way to the camping site above the village. The sun, by now had started descending from its apex and our stomachs screamed out to us for some food. Maggi, juice and oranges was the answer to this call. Smokes started rising as water in the pan reached the boiling point. Then after a while, our very own ‘Smoked- Maggi’ was prepared. Anything on smoke is wonderful when you are already high on the mountains! Atop the ridge, sitting on some chairs, savoring the food we were seen by none other than the hills, the birds and the trees. Soon cool breezes started running on the green wheat steps. A small pup had been sitting with us the entire time there. It was as if he wanted us to keep sitting there forever. The food was now finished too and we sat idle on our chairs looking at the landscape ahead.
Gradually notes from the guitar blended into the atmosphere. Being a good singer and a master at the guitar, one of my friends, started playing his own compositions. Silence, with a melody on the guitar, some voices of birds and humans, cool breezes and beautiful surroundings induced a spell! Yonder trees now looked as if they were racing up the hill, then gradually like soldiers with rifles running down for a battle. Few seemed to be swaying with the tunes of the guitar, resembling the Mexican waves! Then a tree, standing on the far end of a slope caught our attention. It seemed to be the most special tree. And one could actually imagine a new beautiful misty paradise ahead of that tree. Perhaps, this is how one is high on the mountains! The fire from the saturated university days was extinguished now. And this remains one of the happiest moments of my life. Truly this break turned out to be such a beautiful one.
After a while we bid farewell to the village and were on our way back to town. Going into the depths had left us high and now we had to climb back up the physical high, which being high already did not seem an easy task. The heavens then poured, to make our task somewhat easier. With refreshed souls then, we walked back up slowly and marked the end of this beautiful journey!