Well, could I get attention with that title? Our plan for one day in Jibhi was to hike to Sarolsar Lake. To do this, we had to drive back 10 km to the Jalori Pass. We wanted to do that by bus. We were told that one would leave around 9 am. We stood by the road, but no bus came. Instead there were many dogs. They had no aggression towards us, but were quite affectionate and could not be persuaded to go anywhere else. They surrounded us and copulation attempts were made again and again. However, none were successful and so it was tried again and again. In the evening, about 10 hours later, we met the dogs again and they were still tireless. Incredible!
We were then told that a bus would arrive at 11:00. Time enough to visit the local waterfall. You had to walk up a path over small bridges and there was a pretty waterfall and we took some photos.
Then we were back on the road and the 11:00 bus didn’t come either. So our price negotiator had to go at it again and got an OK price for a taxi that would take us to the pass and back down again later. The waiting was a good idea, as there was no return bus to be seen either. And hitchhiking with three people didn’t seem so easy.
I had already done the hike in 2016 and unfortunately had rain and fog. I was all the more hopeful this time – and what was? Rain and fog…. The sky had started to close in around 12:00. But cheerfully we walked on, happy to finally be able to move in nature. The path is easy and only goes up/down a little and mostly through forest, partly with nice mossy rocks. The previous time I met quite a few people, this time we only met one hiking couple. Because of the many rains with damage before, tourism (also local) had not really started yet. At least we were lucky that one of the dhabas was open and we got rice with dal.
Then the rain started and it didn’t look like it would be just a short shower. So we put up umbrellas and carried on. The lake is sacred, i.e. there is a temple on the lakeshore (actually also a priest, but he might have been in his dwelling) and signs that one must not bathe in the sacred water under any circumstances, but a small bailer with which to fetch water was allowed to wet oneself. I wondered what the difference is in India between sacred water that you are allowed to dip into, like the Ganges or the Hemkund Sahib Lake, and water that is forbidden. But I haven’t found out yet.
Then we made our way back again. The trail is about 5 km long and at an altitude of 3,000 m – a very pleasant route for hiking. On the way back, the rain became less and even stopped.
In the evening, we wanted to go out for a nice meal. Jibhi has quite a lot of accommodation and also many restaurants. However, almost all of them were closed. There was a shortage of cooks. A Punjabi dhaba had 1 full table and so many house orders that they couldn’t manage to cook us something as well. We then found a shiva cafe which seemed to be left over from hippie times and they wanted to cook us something. There we were the only guests and sat on mats on the floor under a wall hanging in psychedelic colours.
But the bigger challenge was the way home, about 400 m along a dark road. In the meantime, the dogs had made further connections and multiplied to about 15-20. They yelped and ran around and didn’t seem to want to leave us again. But that was too tricky for us and we didn’t dare start. What now? There was rather nobody to be seen. Back to the shiva place and ask for help. A gentleman grabbed a big iron bar, rushed out, went after the dogs and they actually moved off in the other direction!
And then our day in Jibhi was over. Neeraj had to head back the next morning and Eva and I were off to the next stop. It was really nice to have travelled together in such an uncomplicated way. A little travel happiness.