Treasures of Aravali – Panikot

Serene and calm water soothed my nerves completely, the lake surrounded with hills adorning vivid colours displaying mineral content lending beautiful reflection in the placid waters.

Early morning capturing some striking images filled the energy bar in me, motivation enough to bounce off the bed. Humming to myself I was ready in half an hour, I had already charged my camera and emptied memory cards previous evening. After heavy breakfast, loaded with my packed lunch, water bottle and camera I was seated behind the wheel, raring to go.

The morning was basking in the glory of sun, the day promised to be warm and nice. Driving through the dusty roads of Faridabad I took to Bhadkal Pali road. After driving for nearly half an hour I turned towards major district road 133, Dauj road, the scene changed from ugly establishments to pristine green and yellow panorama.

I was forced to take a tea break just to appreciate the compelling beauty of Mustard farms in full bloom. I had barely poured a cup when the lady in the field approached me with a look of concern on her face she felt I had stopped because of car trouble. I was more than happy to see her and offered tea from my flask, after persisting a bit she agreed for tea and was soon joined by her family. I walked into the fields chatting with her, getting to know more about the area. I was rewarded by the family with raw “Sarsow ka Saag”, with cooking tips.

After the pleasant break and tea I proceeded further with additional knowledge on my destination. I drove straight to the Sirohi Village, by now I was accustomed to watchful and awestruck expressions, it’s still a novelty for locals to see a solo woman driving in remote location, I was thoroughly enjoying the excitement and attention. I found my way to the nearest location to reach the lake.

As I was about to alight from the car one of the villager approached me, after exchanging greetings he invited me to his house, I humbly accepted the invite and followed him. My wealth of knowledge increased in an hour of interaction, I was touched by the chivalry of the man, Devi Singh Bhagatji, Potter of the village. He did not allow me to go alone as the area is surrounded with three villages and not safe for single woman traveler.

It was 8am now and I was excited like a five year old to see the much talked about lakes in Aravali Range. After a short walk down the rocky terrain I got first sight of the lake. Yes, it was breathtaking, much more beautiful than the pictures I had seen. The beauty was mesmerizing, sensing impatience in my guide I started moving ahead. I crossed few boulders tiger patterned and well textured, I came to a halt and the photographer in me couldn’t resist clicking pictures of this massive lake from this vantage point.

Devi Singh lead me to a goat trail, leading me away from the lake, I was disappointed like a child being denied a chocolate after showing it. I just trudged ahead looking backward occasionally. The rocky path and gradient demanded my attention and soon I was absorbed in the beautiful Aravalis, massive walls with rugged façade enlivened with vived colour and patterns. The air was fresh, all the stress just melted off me and I was ready for more. We had barely climbed for 15 minutes and nature rewarded us with yet another enchanting water body, small but pristine and beautiful. I just took few shots and then packed my camera aside.

Something turned inside me encouraging me to unwind and relax in this beautiful place. I just wanted to be, doing nothing, silent, savouring the freshness of midmorning. After an hour of meditative atmosphere we were again walking, this time the destination was religious. After walking for nearly an hour through village and fields I followed Devi Singh to the hillock, a small temple stood at the top of the hill. The hill belonged to Jatadhari Mahadev, Lord Shiva adorned the temple of kot. After praying to my favourite deity I just moved around the periphery absorbing the 360 degree view of the fields full of flowering mustard, women in colourful attire looking like rare plants in the midst of yellow and green.

It was already mid noon by the time I came back from my trek with Devi Singh. As we reached his house I was welcomed by another village family, I was offered lunch. The simple dal, bhaazi, chapatti and rice were cooked deliciously, I offered children chocolate bars I always carry with me while travelling.

After lunch I walked over to the lakeside and just relaxed for a while in the soothing ambience. The sun kissed water look silver in the afternoon. I was counting my blessing sitting on a rock. It was already 3.30, the thought of braving evening city traffic shock me back to my real world.

I thanked my new found friends, exchanged numbers and headed home, happily humming my favorite tune, reflecting on the memories of the day. My thoughts were still of Sirohi village, the destruction done by illegal mining took shape of a beautiful lake and provided water to the area. Nature has its own course of mending destructions.

Panikot Sirohi