One of the last legs of our Uttarakhand Chronicles was our trip to Badrinath. After a rigorous trek to the Valley of Flowers and Hemkund Saheb, we were definitely overworked and the trekking had taken a toll on our feet and totally exhausted. Amongst that exhaustion, this visit to Badrinath, by a bus was a life saver.
We were almost nearing Hanuman Chatta. Yes, the traditional and very famous temple of Lord Hanuman… This has a historical significance to it from the Mahabharta, where Lord Hanuman tested Bhim of the Pandavas fame. Yes, this the place where this story took place. Bhim was crossing the forest when he saw an old ape sleeping in the way and his tail was crossing his path.
The then arrogant Bhim asked the ape to move away the tail. To which the ape replied that he’s too weak to move it and why doesn’t he move it himself. Getting irritated, he tried to move the tail with his mace. He kept trying and trying, real hard, with all his might that he could use, but to no avail… That is when he realised that the ape was no one but Lord Hanuman! Only then did he admit his mistake and realized the importance of humility and how that is significant in a warrior’s life.
And as luck would have it… Lord Hanuman, decided to test us too. I wonder if he disguised himself as modern day Mr. Murphy?
What happened was that we encountered a landslide during our route to Badrinath and our bus was stalled for over an hour. We were waiting for the BRO (Border Roads Organization) to clear the landslide. Hence I guess it was time to pray to the Lord and make our own way towards Badrinath! For God helps them, those who help themselves… So cliched, yet so, true isn’t it?
So, being the trekkers we were, we decided to walk it up past the landslide affected area and then we could get another bus, one that was arranged by YHAI to come from the other side to take us towards Badrinath. And after a brisk walk and a shorter detour via hilly terrain and some teamwork, we managed to reach the other side of the landslide affected area. From then on it was smooth sailing.
We reached Badrinath late at night and crashed into our respective beds. The next day was going to be a relaxed one, where no more incessant walking or trekking in terrains of toughness. And what we got was one of the most comfortable night’s sleep in quite a while.
The next day was a little bit of shopping in the city and of course, visit to the Holy Temple of Badrinath. Quite a relaxed day to a relaxed weather and setting.
Joshimath in Uttarakhand was our first basecamp, in the Himalayas… This is one of the most amazing places where you can actually start getting immersed in the white clouds and snow peaked mountains that surround the Himalayas. Very close to Western Himalayas, Joshimath is a hub if you want to enter Auli of the Kumaon Himalayan region, go to Badrinath or for that matter reach towards Govindghat. (starting point to go to Ghagariya ghat, which is the village where people usually stay during their visits to Valley of Flowers or Hemkund Saheb.)
Our journey to reach Joshimath crossed about 250 kms via mini bus. Now the journey towards Joshimath if you start early in the morning from Rishikesh, is certainly one that is enchanting and of course filled with a constant gaze to the confluences of the river Ganga with other rivers. Every where you go while your bus is doing the hairpin bends, you are bound to see the confluence of River Alaknanda with Bhagirathi and you will definitely get to go through Dev Prayag and Rudra Prayag. One of the two prayags (Confluences) before you reach Joshimath.
What is most exciting is the beautiful weather and the peaceful roads will start giving you an enchanting sense of belongingness towards what you would want your Himalayan trek to start off with. Plenty of occasions where you might just drop your jaws with serene and scenic beauty of huge cliffs and mountains in the Uttarakhand region, not just one or two, but stretches of it. That’s something that made the journey all the more exciting.
After a gruelling 8-9 hours of a bus ride, full of hairpin bends, your entry in Joshimath is one that shall certainly refresh you.
Waterfalls at the entrance of Joshimath is one of the pit-stops that you have to take before you get into the buzz of the small town of Joshimath. Even as you do that, you will feel the weather change, much different from Rishikesh’s humid texture to a colder ad more fresh air of the Kumaon Himalayan region.
Jyotirmath is the uttarāmnāya matha or northern monastery, one of the four cardinal institutions established by Adi Shankara, the others being those at Shringeri, Puri and Dwaraka. Their heads are titled “Shankaracharya”. According to the tradition initiated by Adi Shankara, this matha is in charge of the Atharvaveda.
Jyotirmath Lord Narasimhar Temple
Once you reach Joshimath, besides getting acclimatized to the weather, one of the things you would want to do is to check out two things.
1. Shankracharya Math (One of the 4 maths in the world) – It also has the Rudraksha tree, which is simply enchanting.
2. Narsimha Temple (Also known as Bhavishya Badrinath Temple) Legend has it that once the Badrinath temple in the future is destroyed, it would be placed here. In fact even now, during the winter, people move the Lord Badrinath shrine here and is worshipped religiously here.
This palce is a certain pitstop if you go towards Auli, Tapovan or anywhere in the Western Himalayan regions of Uttarakhand. Something you’ll cherish deeply.
So, I’m all set with my backpack and with a lot of hopes from this trip. This journey has long been on my bucket list and I’ve been working quite hard to make it happen. Finally, this is part of my first ventures as a part time travel writer, and beginning my career into a whole new dimension. Yes, there are a lot of ifs and buts still, as far as my whole plan goes, but that’s the best part about it…
As far as this trip is concerned… I’m sure there isn’t any doubt, that this is going to be another #SriniOnTour that will rock. This time around, I may not be able to blog on the go, due to connectivity and rains, I’ve decided to avoid carrying my laptop… besides my backpack is already about 10 kgs… which we would carry all the way up to the West Himalayas. So I’ve decided, I’d upload a lot of photos on twitter and facebook and showcase my journey as a live photo-blog.
Also joining me on this trip are a some of my close friends with whom i regularly go on trips/treks.. Swapnil, his wife, Mangesh and his friend…
This journey is also inspired by my conversation time and again with Chris Collins – (http://nicolaskumar.com/) Author of (Valley of Flowers) – Chris, thanks for all your advice and help… As soon as I’m back from this trip, the first thing on the agenda is to get the book and read it… That way, I’d be able to relate to everything in it much better.
So here’s the plan (Some details might be helpful for others who plan to travel here)
Leave for Haridwar via Dehradun Express tonight…
Reach on the 31st July, just in time for the Maha Aarti.. Which is a beautiful and a spectacular sight and something that we should not miss… Hari-Ki-Pauri as it’s popularly known…
A few more locations in Haridwar, mainly…
Maya Devi Mandir , located on upper road. This temple is one of the 51 “shakti peeths” and its the presiding deity of Haridwar. It is from this temple Haridwar derives its other name Mayapur.
Bharat Mata Mandir, 5 km north of the center. Dedicated to Mother India, this is half temple, half nation building exercise, with seven floors stacked with deities, saints, and secular heroes of all Indian faiths. Some signage in English.
Bilkeshwar Mahadev Mandir , Shiva temple located on a hill.
Depending on how much time we have on our hands, we’d plan to see these places.
We take an early morning train to Rishikesh. Hemkunt Express – Leaves Haridwar at 6.50 AM and reaches Rishikesh by 8.00 AM. That’s the only train available in the morning. Else we might have to take Vikrams/Rickshaws costs (Rs.60-70) max per rick.
I checked out info for white-water rafting and most places say the season is September-November and March-April-May ideal for rafting. But we can get to know once we are there….My friend Swapnil has also got a few contacts, who say they might be able to arrange for the rafting.
Let’s see how it goes. Besides River Rafting we can visit these places on the 2nd at Rishikesh…
Lakshman Jhula, Trayambakeshwar Temple, Lakshman Jhula. is 13 stories high, with different deities throughout. edit
Triveni Ghat, This is a bathing ghat. Daily in the morning and evening there are thousands who take bath here and enjoy the Maha Aarti being performed. It very soothing to sit on the banks of the river and enjoy the cool breeze from the river.
3rd August onwards we report to YHAI Basecamp and follow their itinerary…
4th August – We take a bus from Rishikesh – Joshimath
5th August – Orientation walk / Visit to Auli and Tapovan
6th August – Joshimath to Govindghat by Bus…
6th August – Govindghat – Ghangaria Ghat (A trek of 13kms) This one’s going to be the real test as the place that we would trek would have rain, and there are some really slants that we have to overcome carrying at least 10kgs of backpack is certainly going to be a challenge. While we have trekked over 20-30 kms in a day, this 13km trek would be with full supply backpack and the altitude would be quite challenging, add to that the cold and rain… Should be fun at the same time.
7th August – Ghangaria Ghat to Valley of Flowers… Now this is the most beautiful place that we hope would really make the 13km trek the previous day, worth it’s while… It’s about 8kms to and fro. This should be easier as our backpack would be at the camp and the trek is much lighter. But the beauty of the park and the flowers in the valley… would really be amazing.. The photos will tell you for sure Stay tuned… In the meantime you can also read my poem about the Valley of Flowers here
8th August – Ghangaria Ghat to Hemkund Saheb – This is another amazing place, a worshipping shrine for Sikhs, this place is divine and much more beautiful in terms of the scenic locations and I hope to get a glimpse of some glacier / Ice as well…
9th August – We trek back to Govindghat.. The 13km trek.. This should be easier as it’s downhill…
10th August – Govindghat to Badrinath is around 25 kms and this would be a bus journey. Some rest to our ailing legs
11th August – Badrinath – Vasudhara falls around 16km trek to and fro. This is a beauty… In the cold and the rain, it’s quite a pretty sight I’ve heard.
12th August – Badrinath to Rishikesh and check out after breakfast…
Post that, since it’s a long weekend and we have a couple of days on our hand we may just chill in Rishikesh and then head back to Delhi on 13th or 14th August, from where we catch a train and reach Mumbai by 15th August and celebrate Independence Day at home
All this ordeal would be quite an experience and certainly a journey worth sharing… For now, I’d be updating pictures at
So stay tuned and hope you enjoy the updates.
Sometimes it isn’t that difficult to find what you are really looking for. Sometimes there are signs that help you along. But most of the times, more often than none, you will realize that what you are really looking for has been there right in front of your eyes. Sitting right there at the corner of your eyes, while you’re off like a whirlwind across the world looking for whatever you won’t really find…
So finally, I’ve decided, come July, my travel spree will resume! Dedicate more time towards my writing, I will take that time to search my solitude and finally write as much as I want. Working towards my travel writing career is one thing and finally moving on from experimental writing and getting to write my second and actual book. Yes, finally I know that it’s about time.. Time to get started on that seed that has been burrowed inside my head quite a while ago. It’s time to start working on growing and nurturing that tree.
In one of my meetings with @amisht I learnt that writing a book is not like making a business plan. He told me that it’ll all come to me… There is always a theme and the incidents that happen to you are all a chain or a sequence of events, which you realize are like the dots that you connect… At the end of it all there is your answer. And I think I’ve started believing in that… There has to be some effort of sorts to make this happen. And now I know it’s time to put in that effort.
So here’s what I’m going to be doing. It’s not the greatest of adventures or for that matter a total absolution from this world. But it certainly is going to be an attempt. An attempt that I’d have to be resilient about, no matter how long it takes and how much distance I have to cover. Doesn’t matter how many hours I put in or how much blood, sweat and tears that go into it… I know it has to be done and it will be done. And yes, one thing I know, It’s going to be a wild adventurous spree… Of unknown locations and paths not traveled. But I think I have a reason for all of these travels that I will take. At the back of my mind I know it because, I know it as the ‘master plan’ And as I said before, a ‘master plan’ is never a master plan if it’s revealed. So without having much to give away about this plan, I’d like to share little bits and pieces of it as something I’d like to call ‘My Travel Bucket List’
Right now, now is the time… I’d make this list and when the time is right, I’d go there… Why?? The answer I don’t know yet, but it’s there somewhere at the back of my head and it will all be found, once I finish my ‘Master Plan.’ As soon as I visit those places, I’d go ahead and chalk them off ‘My Travel Bucket List’
So here we go! The first one on my list…
Destination 1: Rudra Prayag, (Uttarakhand)
There is something more than mystical about this place. It certainly is the most important place in my scheme of things. The beauty of this place lies within its certain strategic and geographical location. Spiritual as it may be, this is the place that one has to go through if you have to go into Kedarnath and Badrinath. Another historic and spiritual location for Hindus.
Named after Lord Shiva (Rudra), Rudraprayag is a town in Rudraprayag district in Uttarakhand. It’s one of the Panch Prayag (five confluences) of Alaknanda River, the point of confluence of rivers Alaknanda and Mandakini. Alaknanda then proceeds towards Devaprayag where it joins with Bhagirathi river to form the river Ganges. Kedarnath, a Hindu holy town is located 86 km from Rudraprayag.
Till recently, Rudraprayag was a part of District Chamoli and Tehri. In 1997, the Kedarnath Valley and parts of district Tehri & Pauri were conjoined to form Rudraprayag as a new district. The entire region is blessed with immense natural beauty, places of religious importance, lakes and glaciers.
So this is the destination that would be certainly on my mind… It’s only a matter of time before I got there… As I keep saying
“Soon I’d be free… Love, Life… Walking by the desires of my dreams on the crooked roads of my destiny.”