Contributed by Smita Jog. Smita is well travelled in India and abroad. Her hobby is to read and write travel related articles. A few of her travelogues have been published in newspapers. She has written three books on her travel experiences, for self-satisfaction.
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Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all? The answer was staring me in the eye, reflected in the lake before me.
As part of a nature lover’s group I have undertaken quite a few treks in the Himalayan region, each offering breathtaking mountainous landscapes—Valley of Flowers, Mani Mahesh, Sangla Valley to name a few. It was one such trek, to Roop Kund, that brought us to Bedni Bugyal (local word for high altitude meadow) and the aforementioned lake. At 12,000 ft we had already left the tree line behind; spread before us was a pleasing cover of soft grass. The bugyal, surrounded by mountain ranges on all sides, provided a beautiful campsite for erecting tents.
To get acclimatised for the arduous trek that lay before us, we decided to explore the area first. The meadows were studded with colourful high-altitude flora in places. On the road we met Garhwali women, sturdy enough to manage climbing steep slopes with stacks of hay on their heads while we huffed and puffed over them.
After praying at a Ganesh temple in the vicinity we came across Lake Bedni. The sun had started its descent, casting beautiful shadows on the mountains. The play of light and shade made the hills interesting. The wind whistled, providing a mystique quality to the atmosphere. Clouds gathered around the mountaintops to create the perfect backdrop for the landscape. On sighting the crystal blue lake, they bore down as if to catch a glimpse of themselves before sunset.
I too peeped in. One look into the lake and I knew the answer to the question. The floating clouds and the mountains cast a beautiful reflection in the water. Truly the fairest, prettiest of them all! I sat on the banks for a long time, appreciating Lady Nature, till she vanished from sight with the setting sun.