It is rare to get ‘peak winter‘ like conditions in ‘peak summer’ at destinations like Rakcham in Himachal Pradesh. Tourists who were holed up at this place between 16th – 18th June, 2013, carried indelible impressions in their mind for having watched a continuous snowfall for two days, followed by a clear sunlit day. The extreme chill in the air notwithstanding, it was a god sent opportunity to capture the scenario through the lens, for once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and share it with nature lovers.
Frame 1 Date: 16.6.2013 Time:5.25 am
After getting up in the morning and coming to verandah, a cool surprise! Icicles hanging from corrugated roofing catch my eye. With the previous day’s rainfall being reinforced by today’s snowfall, it took everyone by surprise. One could foresee a chilled atmosphere for the rest of the day.
Frame 2 Date: 16.6.2013 Time:5.26 am
Not so distant view of Kailash View Camp offering luxury tents, the two parked cars indicated two families as inmates. The infiltration of cold air through the tent canvass in such a climate perhaps makes them rue the fact that they were not holed up in a hotel. The three lights are the mute spectators in the murky morning.
Frame 3 Date: 16.6.2013 Time:5.49 am
The neighboring stone and wood two storied building had the agglomerated snow mass hanging by the roof edges. The rain accompanying the snow was aiding in detaching the snow mass with wavy impressions from the roof and slide down the edge.
Frame 4 Date: 16.6.2013 Time:5.51 am
With canvass roofing holding on well, the onslaught of slanting snow mass and raindrops can easily leak through the zipped joints in canvass. That must be ominous for the inmates.
Frame 5 Date: 16.6.2013 Time:5.51 am
The bridge over the roaring Baspa river is conspicuous by the absence of people or animals like cows and sheep which is usual in early morning. From indoors one can vision the roaring river from extreme end of valley and passing by the hotel.
Frame 6 Date: 16.6.2013 Time:6.22 am
The brick colored two storied private bungalow in mid-ground with snow mass hanging down the roof and a lone light in one of the rooms indicates activity in the kitchen. The pine trees in backdrop collects some of the snow and the foreground apple trees make rest of the picture.
Frame 7 Date: 16.6.2013 Time: 6.24 am
Switching the location, I face the road from corridor running along the rooms in the hotel. The parked cars had a layer of snow with blistery appearance. Compounding the woes for the tourists, roads were blocked with boulders sliding down the hill. The cars will surely not see any people venturing anywhere near it. The guests holed up in hotel missed their chance of vacating the hotel with their tour itineraries going for a toss.
Frame 8 Date: 16.6.2013 Time:7.40 am
The much touted picturesque Modern Village of Rakcham looks bereft of any activity. The lush green hill in backdrop as was visible yesterday takes a pale white hue. The accumulated snow on roof tops gives the impression of an destination in Indian Himalayas in winter.
Frame 9 Date: 16.6.2013 Time:12.17 pm
By noon it was exceedingly clear that the inclement weather was there to stay. The drivers of the vehicle hold a conference on the wet road, discussing the prospects of their vehicles getting stranded for days due to blocked roads. The tourists resigned to fate with no option but to be confined in their rooms.
Frame 10 Date: 16.6.2013 Time: 5.27 pm
Snowfall intensifying in afternoon, the cottages had roofs totally covered with snow and sliding down the edges, from time to time, with a spectacle of its own.
Frame 11 Date: 16.6.2013 Time: 5.33 pm
After a cup of evening tea and snacks to go with it to beat the chill, it was worthwhile exploring the scenario from hotel entry gate. The makeshift steps of wooden planks placed on stones, did not look too encouraging with a layer of snow cover, making it slippery. A few inmates did venture out as can be seen from foot marks on door mat.
Frame 12 Date: 17.6.2013 Time: 5.19 am
As has been a ritual with me, coming out on verandah after waking up in the morning, more surprises. Overnight heavy snowfall did not spare any portion of landmass, houses and trees. Pure and pristine white landscape was being displayed in all its glory. We reconciled for another cold, snowy, rainy and power starved day in hotel.
Frame 13 Date: 17.6.2013 Time: 6.16 am
Switching my position to corridor and facing the road and the village, the lone villager, gingerly walking on snow gives some life on this snowy day. The overnight snowfall was very heavy, with about 10” snow on ground and prospect of more to come. We were like sitting ducks holed up in hotel.
Frame 14 Date: 17.6.2013 Time: 6.17 am
Looking beyond, the village house roof tops were heavily loaded with snow as a result of lashing snow particles in full fury.
Frame 15 Date: 17.6.2013 Time: 6.50 am
Ordering for a cup of tea in canteen, looking through the window, the road to freedom to take us to Sangla, was totally covered in white deposits. So was the triangular arch with signage for Modern Village.
Frame 16 Date: 17.6.2013 Time: 6.51 am
On the hill side the giant trees give an impression of having stopped quite a bit of snow, unable to shed all that was incident. One gets reminded of Christmas trees crafted out of paper and wood with white cotton stuffed to give impression of snow cover. Here a real life Christmas scenario in summer! That is the vagaries of Himalayan weather this year.
Frame 17 Date: 17.6.2013 Time: 6.53 am
The tourist cars were doomed to remain mute spectators for last two days. When they will whir to life is anybody’s guess.
Frame 18 Date: 17.6.2013 Time: 8.37 am
From the room verandah, facing the backyard consisting of apple trees, one can see the lone soul wondering about the desolate road, which is usually sees a lot of activity on a normal day. Today was different.
Frame 19 Date: 17.6.2013 Time: 9.02 am
The Baspa river, bridge and the pine trees and even the rocks see enough deposition of snow. The tented camp in far end is conspicuous by the absence of cars. This means the guests have abandoned the tents finding it not too comfortable a place to stay during heavy snowfall. What better place to move than the hotel where we were holed up.
Frame 20 Date: 18.6.2013 Time: 6.05 am
At last rainfall and snowfall totally relenting, the morning view from verandah was prominently green and white with a splash of brown shade of river Baspa. The bright sunlit day brought some warmth in weather and hope at heart. Can we come out of our hibernation today?
Frame 21 Date: 18.6.2013 Time: 6.05 am
Another view of landscape with the river, the tented camp, the greenery, the fresh snow splattered hills in backdrop give a picture postcard scenario.
Frame 22 Date:18.6.2013 Time: 6.10 am
The bright sunlit day and blue sky surfacing after 3 days in hibernation brings in the hope of moving to our next destination. Will the road reopen for vehicular movement today?
As a post script, only on 20th June we were able to leave the hotel and trek 14 km to Sangla.
The readers can view some astounding footages of snow swept Baspa valley by taking the following link: