Interface with the staff over a cup of tasty tea reveals that we are in an extremely nice setting as far as witnessing an early morning glow was concerned. It was but natural that fellow participants indulge more in nature and adventure related issues rather than the scheduled official visits to two nearby villages: Sunkya and Sunderkhal.
Since scenario at dawn was to be observed, experienced and captured, one was up sooner than expected to come across dark night situation around 4.15 a.m. Hope, I was not sleepwalking. Even at this unearthly hour, the beauty of spacious rooms was irresistible. Despite sincere attempts, one could not catch up with sleep. Perhaps, old age had begun knocking.
Suddenly around 5.14 a.m., one hears a voice or two. One feels as if somebody is up and moving towards large terrace to get the first view. To confirm the same, I leave the princely bed at 5.18 a.m., to eventually find that no one except me is at the sprawling terrace. After a quick recee, Shetty is woken up in view of his request prior to dinner. Punetha almost refuses to be disturbed in spite of showing adequate interest on arrival. Deshmukhs and their Maharashtrian brethren sporting thermal ware, jackets and woolen skull caps, however, are ready to have a pleasant date with nature. Dr. Kanan despite his advancing age, too makes his presence felt with his ever smiling life partner.
Within a few moments, some more people join us, a few with spouses in tow, others, all alone. Most of them are armed with latest cameras, while a handful decide to shoot with cell phones. In sum and substance, all are interested, involved and eager. Before the actual ‘ball’ emerges over the horizon, we take shots of pinkish glow over sky, close to China border. The border is not visible as such but one believes so, based on inputs of Dinesh and Himanshu, active and friendly Faculty Members of Nainital Academy. While I concentrate on the point from which sun was to rise, Shetty meticulously captures a peak resembling a Shivling.
The wait finally gets over at 6.02 a.m. The all pervading and powerful, source of all energies, Sun decides to rise. Initially it is a small reddish ball, soon to transform into reddish orange colour. The tip of the ball becomes slightly bigger in no time and the simultaneous light over the four peaks- Trishul, Bandarpoonch, Nanda Devi, and Panchachuli is simply awe inspiring and mesmerizing. While one group captures sun rise in the front, other one concentrates on the range to our left. We are more than convinced about the nomenclature of the snow covered peaks based on reflection of sun at this time of morning. Each one was blessed on relishing a truly glorious and spectacular sight. Who will not flash a winning smile on seeing such colours of joy?
While the sun is rising and moving steadily, its sparkle and redness multiply. Being lost, no one takes attention of hot cups of teas faithfully brought by the bearers, even though one has to brave rather cold conditions at a height of 7,000 feet. I, nevertheless, do not forget to put an empty cup over a low pole and use the same as a shield or front to attempt an unusual shot. The momentary pleasure surely was going to have a good impact and make our day more fruitful and interesting, than expected. This is why, even when the whole complex is bathed in sun shine, some of us are still capturing the Sun God from behind the bushes and trees. A few also trek on the right side hill to get a different and more commanding view. Attractive flowers of various shades and sizes get relegated to the background owing to the photographic spree focused on sun.
While returning to room, one is rightly reminded of similar clear and remarkable sun rise witnessed in November, 1999 at Tiger Hill, close to Darjeeling in the green and more fragile Eastern Himalayas. Two are comparable to some extent only, as latter had a much wider reach and canvass, including rare views of Mt.Everest, Mt.Khangchendzonga and several snow capped peaks located above 22,000 feet.
Before performing the usual morning rituals prior to a village visit, I do not forget to relate one more memorable brush with the rising sun to DT and CB. One did not have the normal camera but I suppose the one in cell had captured the essence of candid photography. In addition, snaps taken from other cameras were also going to serve the desired purpose. Thus I console myself and get ready for the day upon feeling more energetic and relaxed.