the-south-asian Life & Times                 January - March 2011




 Editor's Note


 Cover Story
 Kashmiri Pandits

 Eminent Pandits
 Neel Kashkari

 Veer Munshi

 Pradman Kaul

 Pandit Bhajan Sopori

 Photo Feature
 The Obamas in India


 100 years of aviation
 in India

 Mt. Kailash
 Stairway to Heaven

 In the footsteps of
 Smythe in Garhwal


 The Wild Ass

 By O P Dutta


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In the Footsteps of Smythe

- A Trek to the Valley of Flowers & the Twin passes Bhyunder Khal and Gupt Khal

By Ashutosh Mishra

The name Frank Sydney Smythe is synonymous with "Valley of Flowers". The British explorer and mountaineer, after his successful climb of Kamet in 1931 was coming down into the Bhyunder valley when he saw "… splashes of blue, a blue so intense it seemed to light the hillside." The splashes of blue were the primula flowers and Smythe called it the Valley of Flowers. In 1937 Smythe returned to the valley, explored a few high-altitude passes, and wrote about his journey in his book, ‘The Valley of Flowers’.

Inspired by his spirit of adventure, I formed a team of eight enthusiasts to retrace the route he followed during his famous exploration in 1937.

The route we were to follow was divided into two stages. In the first stage we were to trace the traditional route to "Valley of Flowers" and then go beyond "Bhyunder Khal" to reach the Bankund Glacier. The second stage involved traversing the Bankund Glacier upstream, crossing over the hidden pass- "Gupt Khal" and to reach Badrinath.


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