A month ago, almost to the day, he was counting his last moments, lying in a deep gorge surrounded by dense forest in the towering Dhauladhar ranges with fractured hip and ribs and without food and water for over 48 hours. He eventually noticed a police rescue team from Kangra police climbing down a distant hill when he had lost all hope.
A month after the incident, having recovered from his injuries and trauma, Aditya Singh, a resident of Jaipur in Rajasthan, wrote a "thank you" letter to the Kangra police as a gesture of his gratitude.
The letter, dated July 11 and received by the district police headquarters in Dharamsala 10 days later, appreciates the spirit of the police in conducting an unrelenting search operation spanning three days which ultimately saved his life.
Aditya had gone trekking to the famous Triund hill on June 20. Fascinated by the beauty of surrounding hills he proceeded further to the snowline at a height of more than 3,000 metres. On the return trip he lost his way and fell off a rock after slipping, fracturing his hip and ribs. "Fortunately my phone was working and I somehow managed to get in touch with the local authorities through my family and send my GPS coordinates and a couple of photos of the place where I was trapped," Aditya wrote in the letter.
However, finding a lone person in dense vegetation, steep mountains and hostile weather always remains a herculean task. "The threat of an encounter with wild animals proved true when a bear moving around nearby sent shivers down my spine. I promptly hid behind a bush. After spending two nights my food and water supply was exhausted. With my throat dry with thirst I crawled towards a valley to search for water. After more than 24 hours in pain and without any food or water I started counting my last moments with death staring at me and hope of being rescue fading fast. And then what we call a miracle happened. I saw a man wearing a red t-shirt coming towards me, followed by five others. They were members of a police rescue team from Kangra.
Never in my life was I so elated to see another human being - a hope I had all but lost," he said.
The rescue team had been searching for Aditya for two days, scouring the jungle and deep gorges in the area. "My family and I will remain indebted to the Himachal administration, in particular the Kangra police, and their sheer selfless and brave humanitarian work. I owe my life to my rescuers," Aditya wrote, urging the state government to honour members of the rescue team.
Meanwhile, deputy superintendent of police (headquarters) Hitesh Lakhanpal said it was a "very noble gesture" on the part of Aditya. "To save his life was our duty, but such appreciation of our efforts is a morale booster for the police that usually are at the receiving end," he added.