The majestic Hatu peak near Narkanda at 11,000 feet is a vantage point for appreciating the Himalayan grandeur. The emotion of scaling a peak with clouds passing below you and the light — shade show before you, simply enthrall.
Only 64 kilometers from Shimla on the highway to Kinnaur, Narkanda is a popular adventure sports center The peak is only seven kilometers from Narkanda and one can get there in a two hour uphill trek and be back for dinner. A motorable road open in the summer and autumn leads to the mountain and should be taken by only experienced hill motorists with powerful but small vehicles as there are many hair pin bends on the way.
Trekkers and campers will certainly enjoy the trail. All necessary equipment, provisions, porters and guides can be engaged at Narkanda. Should the urge for spending the night on the mountain top rise on the impulse tented accommodation is available at two scenic spots.
Despite the proximity few set out to explore its height. Walkers will love the alpine greens. Oaks, walnuts, yews, cedars, fir, spruce and rhododendrons are some of the trees one encounters in its forests. Wild flowers, ferns and medicinal herbs abound in the area and can be identified by experts.
The peaks commanding presence has even influenced the history of the region. In feudal days it was a boundary for three different rajas. In the early Nineteenth Century gurkhas westward expansion overran the area and established a fort on the peak. Nothing remains of the fort today, but like most mountain tops in the area there is a devi temple where a priest comes to reside in the summer months. Nearby is a small hut offering a commanding view of the valleys and the snow peaks across. From the temple a jungle track leads to the meadow —- Jauh Bagh, a very scenic turf, ideal for setting up camp.
The spur branching out from Hatu with Narkanda on it is the converging point of the catchment areas of the great river systems of northern India. Water on the north side drains into the Sutlej basin and flows into the Arabian Sea and water on the south side begins its journey to meet the river tons which merges with Yamuna – Ganga and meets the ocean at bay of Bengal.
Man always tends to make himself the centre of universe, but at Hatu peak he is astounded at the luxuriance of the Himalayan peaks which seem to belong to the sky rather than to earth. He inevitably here is an intruder, a mere accident.