Jumping out of bed at the cold, unearthly hour of 4:30 am I stepped out into the freezing night only to have my breath taken away by the galactic arm of the Milky Way stretching over me. But I hadn’t much time to lose, as I had to get to the peak of Chandrashila above Tunganath by 6 am or miss the fabled sunrise. So I ran in the lightening darkness, my lungs heaving with the effort in the rarefied air and my head spinning with the cold and the exertion. Behind me the Chaukhamba and Kedar peaks brightened in the fast-approaching dawn. Ahead of me, on the ridge-line the silhouettes of other sunrise-spotters intent on their goal, trudging up. One by one I overtook them. Below and behind, I could see a torchlight in the darkness- Debo and Biru coming up behind me.
A loud yell of exhilaration escaped my throat as I rounded the last hump and came up in front of the temple of the moon atop Chandrashila. The sky had cleared behind me, though Chaukhamba and the other giants had yet to catch fire. I made my way through the gaggle of people on the peak to the farthest point on the ridge. This is what I saw, over a half hour that lasted forever. Night below me and daybreak at 3,800 m. My ancient camera had stopped working in the cold the previous day, so I had to borrow a friend’s cell phone, cursing my luck. But I forgot all that once the sun came out slowly, with impeccable timing, behind the beautiful spire of Nanda Devi.