Tag Archives: Uttaranchal

Mystic Haridwar (Uttarakhand Chronicles)

Sometimes you have to realize that the mystic nature of certain destinations have to be always something that you cherish besides the true spirituality that lies within you. It’s always a discovery that you want within yourself that you try to find in destinations all around the world. As a traveler you realize that the journey within yourself is what you make of the journeys outside.

With that thought, I realized, a journey was about to begin, it was certainly going to be a trip of our lifetime. My friends and I had embarked upon a beautiful trip that would certainly change our life for the best of the reasons!! West Himalayas, was going to be the ultimate destination for all of us to reach to finally. But before that, we had our fair share of adventure, journeys and certainly some spirituality…

On that note, we realized that what better to start upon a journey than to visit the ultimately spiritual and holy city of Haridwar…

Har Ki Pauri

Har-ki-Pauri is quite the place to be especially at the evening. The prayers and the aarti there are really enchanting, besides the brightly lit temples at the foot of the Holy Ganges. Quite a spectacle to capture indeed.

This revered place is the major landmark of the holy city of Haridwar. Literally, “Har” means “Lord Shiva”, “ki” means “of” and “paudi” means “steps”. Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu are believed to have visited the Brahmakund in Har ki Paudi in the Vedic times. There is a large footprint said to belong to Lord Vishnu on a stone wall.

It is believed that it is precise spot where the Ganges leaves the mountains and enters the plains. The ghat is on the west bank of Ganges canal through which the Ganges is diverted just to the north. Har ki pauri is also the area where thousands of pilgrims converge and the festivities commence during the Kumbha Mela, which takes place every twelve years, and the Ardh Kumbh Mela, which takes place every six.

Each evening at sunset priests perform Ganga Aarti here, when lights are set on the water to drift downstream. This is the most amazing and soul touching spectacle. A large number of people gather on both the banks of river Ganges to sing its praises. The priest hold large fire bowls in their hands, the gongs in the temples at the Ghat start ringing and the chants flowing out of lips fill the air. People float earthen diyas, with burning flickers and flowers in them as a symbol of hope and wishes .The golden hues of floral diyas reflected in the river Ganges present the most enchanting sight.

A Naga Baba, relaxing in the morning near the river….

Naga Baba

People by the Holy Ganga in the morning…                             

Ganga River in the morning

Ganga River in the morning

You can also follow my Tumblelog Travelogue @ http://srinistuff.tumblr.com

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Valley of Flowers – Yet another SriniOnTour…

Valley of Flowers - Backpacking Begins...
Valley of Flowers – Backpacking Begins…

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.

http://facebook.com/srinistuff

http://twitpic.com/photos/srinistuff

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…

From the twitterverse, my new found friends @irohan and @_vishalg would be part of this trip.

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…

Haridwar

Haridwar

1st August

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.

Maya Devi Temple

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.

Bharat Mata Mandir

Bharat Mata Mandir

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.

2nd August

Rishikesh

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.

White Water Rafting

White Water 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

Lakshman Jhula

Lakshman Jhula

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

Enroute Joshimath

Enroute Joshimath

5th August –  Orientation walk / Visit to Auli and Tapovan

6th August – Joshimath to Govindghat by Bus…

Joshimath to Govindghat by Bus

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.

Govindghat to Ghangaria Ghat

Govindghat to Ghangaria Ghat

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

Valley of Flowers

Valley of Flowers

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…

Hemkund Saheb

Hemkund Saheb

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 😛

Badrinath Temple

Badrinath Temple

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.

Vasudhara Falls

Vasudhara Falls

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

http://facebook.com/srinistuff

http://twitpic.com/photos/srinistuff

 

So stay tuned and hope you enjoy the updates.

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Valley of Flowers…

My travel bucket list – Destination 3: Valley of Flowers, West Himalayas


Of the great misty clouds.
The rainbow began to shine,
Some said it was the great white light,
While some said it was about time…

There came the foggy strokes of sunlight,
Sometimes dark and pitchy as they could get.
Beauty of horizons, across the various mountains,
Colors that shone, knew no boundaries as they fret…

The dawn shone upon the great valley,
It took us some time to realize.
What did not come upon us until now,
Till it struck us heavily as a ray of surprise…

They came back again with some hope and some prayer,
Without which they could have never made it so far.
Upon the sunlight they knew they could go higher,
Yet, we tried hard and tried fast, to breathe the air…

It is this place where I would like to seek enchantment,
Forsaken in the depth of this long lost beauty,
I pray to my soul, where you must seek reprise for thee,
Beyond these mountains,into the ‘valley of Flowers’
I seek my penance and here is where I ask ye to bury me…

I haven’t yet read @CollChris‘s book ‘Valley of Flowers…’ I hope to get my hands on it soon… For sure, before I get here, I should read it, or maybe when I’m on my way to this place I should. Whatever I do, I need to read that book for sure. Nonetheless, let me talk about why and how this beautiful destination for which I just wrote the small ode, a poem to dedicate it’s true sense of amazement…

So here I was lying on my bed thinking about just nothing… Wondering about the horizon that lay beyond my eyes and wondering what are the adventures that I would really have to undergo, when I actually start my escapades. Some, part of my ‘Master Plan’ and of course in an effort to endure it all, some of them to add to My travel bucket list.  If you seek for true beauty amidst a terrain of snow capped mountains, and yet look for hidden surpasses underneath, this is the place to be. The most important and the best treasures of life is what your senses lead you to. Sometimes without even thinking about the true value of what it brings, this is what the small joys of life have to offer you. Colour, fragrance, visual beauty and most of all,  a serenity that you hate to resist in your mind.

If that is what you are looking for, ‘Valley of  flowers’ is the perfect place to be. With nothing but the natures beauty coupled by the colors of bliss beyond the oblivion, you are certainly in for a surprise here.

Valley of Flowers National Park is an Indian national park, Nestled high in West Himalaya, is renowned for its meadows of endemic alpine flowers and outstanding natural beauty. It is located in Uttarakhand state. This richly diverse area is also home to rare and endangered animals, including the Asiatic black bear, snow leopard, brown bear and blue sheep. The gentle landscape of the Valley of Flowers National Park complements the rugged mountain wilderness of Nanda Devi National Park to the east. Together they encompass a unique transition zone between the mountain ranges of the Zanskar and Great Himalayas.

The Valley of Flowers is an outstandingly beautiful high-altitude Himalayan valley that has been acknowledged as such by renowned mountaineers and botanists in literature for over a century and in Hindu mythology for much longer. Its ‘gentle’ landscape, breathtakingly beautiful meadows of alpine flowers and ease of access complement the rugged, mountain wilderness for which the inner basin of Nanda Devi National Park is renowned. Source (Wikipedia)

The Valley was introduced to the world as the Valley of Flowers by Frank S, Smith – mountaineer, explorer, botanist who camped here for several weeks in the monsoon of 1937 and did valuable exploratory work. He authored a book called “The Valley of  Flowers” which unveiled the beauty and floral splendours of the valley and thus threw open the doors of this verdant jewel to nature-enthusiasts all over the world.

I also happened to find this amazing article, which details everything you need to be able to go to this destination. Thanks to Flowers Of India, my task is much easier now.

Why I chose this enchanting beauty as a backdrop of one of my destinations in My travel bucket list  needs no further explanation I guess… I do intend to reminsice this place not just by the visual richness of the destination but the true sense of what it stands for… A resilient location where two various forces and strong matters of nature  choose to co-exist… It’s certainly a writer’s dream to have a destination as this be part of his literature or his song… One that I will make sure is…
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