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Monday, March 16, 2009

Things to see and do at Mori - 2

To get the most out of the valley, you have the option of pitching your own tent or putting up at an organized campsite on the sandy banks of the Tons River. The day begins with a wake-up call from the birds and the surreal sight of the entire valley bathed in the quiet of the first rays of the sun. The day brings options of rafting, cycling, trekking or simply lazing around by the riverside under the shade of the tallest pine tree in Asia. For people who like walking down the historical lane, a visit to the ancient temple built by the Pandavas is a must. The Tons Valley also boasts of the only Indian temple dedicated to Duryodhana.

If you are not the active type, you would still be persuaded to do the walk to Lunagad Creek. From the Aquaterra ventures campsite, it's just 30 minutes away, through a narrow gorge, fragrant pine forests and Gujjar huts, and at the end of it, there's a clear blue pool with a small waterfall. Just like in the movies - only, here you can be almost sure there are no prying eyes.

To-do trail:

The Tons Valley is a base for treks to Kedar Kantha, the gorgeous Har-ki-Dun Valley and the pristine, remote Ruinsara Tal. You could also trek to Kinnaur and on to the Yamuna and Bhagirathi water-sheds. Plus there are several trails suitable for mountain hiking.

There is also lots of trout in the Tons, but you need special permits from the office of the DFO at Purola if you plan to fishing in the river.

Rafting or kayaking down the river is highly recommended at Mori. If you do not have your own equipment, the camps here will arrange it. But be ready for some hard paddling - the crazy rapids do not allow for time to soak in the sights.

Warning: Check the boat before you step into it and make sure there are lifeboats on board. This stretch of the Ions River is not for unescorted beginners, so venture in only with professional guides.

Jaunsar ka raja:

The people of the Jaunsar-Bawar region venerate Duryodhana, the arch enemy of the Pandavas. Legend has it that the Kaurava king, travelling through Kashmir and Kullu, arrived in Hanol, where he was mesmerized by the natural beauty of Jaunsar. He decided this was just the place for him and so appealed to Lord Mahasu - the reigning deity in the area - for a boon.

Duryodhana wanted a piece of land in the lap of the Himalaya. Mahasu bestowed upon him this Jaunsar region, instructing him to look after the people carefully. Inhabitants of Har-ki-Dun believe that the great monarch's spirit still lingers in his beloved realm.

No surprise then that most of the Jaunsari villages have beautifully carved wooden temples to Duryodhana. However, the village of Jakhol occupies pride of place in this remarkable belt. It has the only Duryodhana temple which boasts an actual idol of the lord.

What is in it for kids:

The Tons Valley comes with an excitement guaranteed tag for children. They a can attempt rock-climbing, rappelling, even river-rafting, or choose from cricket, nature walks and birdwatching.

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