A brave and courageous trekker who lives on her own terms, Dr Nahida Nabi Bhathas gone overboard with the idea by ascending peaks after peaks. She has trekked 60 unknown and less explored alpine lakes in Kashmir.
Hailing from Pampore in south Kashmir, she did her MBBS in SKIMS Medical College Srinagar and later completed her MD in dermatology in the Govt. medical college, Srinagar.
As she was confined to her studies, she would hardly get time for outings or relaxation. Once she completed her studies, Nahida wanted to spend some time to relax and she started exploring unknown places and lakes.
She said once she dreamed of a lake and she wanted to turn the dream into reality and recreate that scene. First, she went on trekking to Sheeshnag and witnessed many ups and downs in it,but it did’nt deter her from pursing her dream and passion for trekking.
“Fear was the first emotion I felt on the first day of my trek. I worried if I would be able to get along with the other trekkers. I was afraid of the hilly terrains, walking along the ridges, crossing the mountain passes. It was the fear of unknown and the fear of unpredictable that kept me on my toes. But after I started, all my worries gradually eased,” she said.
Nahida, who currently works as Registrar at SKIMS Medical College and Hospital Srinagar, said once she went for trekking with a group. To her surprise, she crossed 30 km in a day. She was the only female in the group for which she was appreciated by other members.
For the past three years, Nahida spends one day in a week in trekking. What is unique about her treks is that she completes the trek in a day only. She has gained momentous feat in trekking and is popularly known by the name Spiritual Trekker on social media.
Two years ago, she trekked from Gurez-Sonmarg via Raman Nallah and crossed 50 kilometres in a day which was an amazing opportunity for her to explore such a long distance.
She was the first female to trek to Sheenmyin Peak, Mahadev Peak, Sunder Top, Hoenheng, Neil Top (all places in Kashmir) during day time. She has also trekked to unknown lakes or less explored lakes like Chammarsar, Dodhsar lakes, which are very difficult to trek even in summer months.
“I was tired. But I did not stop. When I was on the top of Sunder Top and I could see the mountain ranges in front of me, I was totally overwhelmed. The whole surrounding was mesmerizing and I felt beautiful. While all the trekkers congratulated each other on completing the trek, I stood there happily. The trek made me realise certain things about life that I would not have known otherwise,” she said.
So far, Nahida has trekked a total of 60 alpine lakes in different areas of Kashmir and she wants to complete 100 alpine/high altitude lakes in the coming year.
During winter months, when the valley is draped in snowfall, she treks to peaks and she does not stop. She has also trekked to many peaks and mountains during winter season.
While talking about the role and support of family, she said her family are more towards Sufism and spirituality which gives an additional perspective to look life into deeper dimension and they often go to places to explore nature.
“When I trekked, I realised that the treks brought a lot of change in me towards the importance of nature and its all aspects. When going to nature, we switch over to a complete natural world leaving apart all virtual things. It also connected me with the spirituality associated with nature,” she said.
“Many people including my near and dear ones force me to go for private practice on Sunday but I avoided doing that,” she said, adding “Money fills your pocket but memories even don’t leave you on your dead bed.”
Nahida is part of a trekker group named PathFinders. They make vlogs and upload the same on YouTube and social media platforms which gets a very good response from people across the world. She keeps on traveling to places and brings these places to the people.
Nahida has a social media account named Spiritualtrekker aimed to reflect how nature itself taught her spirituality and the oneness of this universe.
“Trekking helped me to look into self, to know self, because in knowing self lies the treasures of next life. Going into nature brought uniformity in me about how important everything is, from a blade of grass to mighty mountains all I could see the face of my creator,” she said.
Her social media account is just to inspire people to have self-realisation which comes from broad and liberal persecution towards everything and reflects her deeper thoughts with respect to nature.
Notably, Nahida is working on her maiden book which has similar name as Spiritual Trekker and which she said will discuss spiritual aspects of life linked with the nature.
Her favourite lakes in Kashmir are Sheeshnag Lake, Tulyan Lake, Chammar Sar Lake, Sukhnai lake etc.
“During trekking, I observe the oneness of Mighty creator, from every stone, from every pine, from every stream. The nomads tribes from Gujjar Bakerwal community has taught me even if they are less literate but they are well educated and from them I learnt what compassion means; even to the stranger they often offer tea, lassi and other genuine logistics,” she said.
Nahida not only takes pictures and videos of the places she treks, but she has documented all the places she has trekked so far.
“Trekking and travelling change the life perspective of a person and opens new chapters. People are confined to the virtual world and face depression, anxiety and stress. Trekking is an opportunity to get it away from all the issues,” she said.
Nahida said when she treks she gets disconnected from the virtual world and loves to spend more and more time in nature. “We can learn everything from it,” she said.
She also takes her family to travelling to different places and encourages them to explore the untapped or unexplored places. Recently, she went to Ladakh and went to six different lakes including two in Zanskar besides travelling to many places in the region.