August 16, 2008

Journey to Garhwal

Highlights of the Journey

July - August, 2008


  • While on the way from the airport to the residential parts of Delhi early morning, an interesting sight of the water-carrying, orange-clad kanwarias carrying decorated paraphernalia on their shoulders.

Kanwarias of Haridwar

  • Alighting from the Mussorie Express early morning, a walk on the streets of Haridwar towards the banks of the river Ganga amongst more Kanwarias, and many pilgrims, young and old, and when compared to those, a few tourists. Surprise at the sight of the huge number of pilgrims at the Hari-Ki-Pauri, most of whom seeking absolution early morning with a dip in the sacred river, The Ganges.

Pilgrims at Hari-Ki-Pauri at 7:20 am

  • After a walk up to the great Shiva statue, onwards to Rishikesh, the Yoga capital of the world, for a leisure walk to Ram Jhula, the ghats and beyond to discover the charm of the place to end up with a hearty breakfast at Chotiwal.

Ram Jhula, the bridge over River Ganges

  • A journey through the foothills of the Himalayas passing through scenic Devprayag, where lies one of the five sacred confluences when the Bhagirathi River joins the Alaknanda River to form The Ganges.

On the way to Devprayag shot from a moving bus

  • The journey for the day to continue right up to Rudraprayag, another confluence where the Mandakini River originating from Kedarnath joins the Alaknanda that originates from Badrinath.


The confluence as seen from the balcony of the GMVN

  • The mostly uphill journey to Karnaprayag, the place of confluence of the Alaknanda and Pindar Rivers, another important pilgrimage spot for many.

From moving cab, on the way to Karnaprayag

  • Roadblock lasting hours due to landslide between Nandaprayag and Chamoli and an unexpected mini-trek with the backpack to the base of valley, and then to cross a mountain stream - with gushing waters with fairly strong currents - with the help of locals and other travellers who ventured to undertake the difficult route through the wilderness. This was followed by a steep climb in the noon sun to emerge panting at the other end of the road for onward journey to Chamoli and was undertaken to avoid a long wait for hours for the roadblock to be cleared.

Unusual traffic on the road to Chamoli

  • Journey through beautiful scenery, where quite often the mountain road showed signs of recent landslides and cleared paths right up to Joshimath.
View of a road in Joshimath from cable car

  • A cable car ride to enjoy majestic and serene Auli and the joy of watching the change in hue of the mountain peaks at dawn for hours together till it was time to move on after an open air breakfast at sunrise.

A peek at Nanda Devi peak from Auli at dawn

  • The ropeway ride again to enjoy the morning vista up to Joshimath for onward journey to pass through more awesome mountain scenery till Govindghat.

A pause before the long trek from Govindghat

  • The thrill of setting out on the first planned long trek from Govindghat, passing through Bhyundhar village to end up hours later at the small mountain village of Ghangaria (also referred as Govind Dham).

Ghangaria

  • Rested and reinvigorated next morning, setting out on the much anticipated trek to the Valley of Flowers.

A small section of the almost 90 sq km of Valley of Flowers

  • Setting out on another trek - unplanned but certainly worth it - to Hemkund, a holy place for Sikhs, the valley having the most exotic mountain flora including the Brahm Kamal and the Blue Himalayan Poppy.

A glacier on a misty day on the way to Hemkund

  • Yet another trek returning from Ghangharia to Govindghat and then the beautiful scenery of the Himalayan landscape during the journey from Govindghat to Badrinath via Pandukeshwar and Hanuman Chatti.


Badrinath Temple

  • A final trek begun at dawn from Badrinath to the beautiful village of Mana at the borders with Tibet, and return to Badrinath.

On the way to Mana village


Return journey over the next few days from Badrinath to Govindghat – Joshimath – Chamoli – Rudraprayag – Rishikesh – Haridwar – Delhi – Mumbai and to my final destination.

~~~

46 comments:

*~*{Sameera}*~* said...

What a beautiful trail that was!Needless to say,awesome shots :)

Final_Transit said...

oooo! Smokin' hot :P It's all right to give in to temptations of writing about this trip before finishing MP one.

Saibal Barman said...

The season was pretty ideal for VOF and other high hills in the Himalayas so much one is interested in wild flowers and bird-watching...
I love Auli in pre/winter season for it offers magical beauty of great Himalayan range set against clear blue sky...
Some short treks to Basudhara, Charan Paduka and Dumkal are entertaining even when it rains..
Your post has enough ignition for my coming trek. There has been havoc raining these days in Garhwal, still I cannot postpone my plan surely.....
Here I come Himalayas..
Best wishes

indicaspecies said...

Sameera,

Thank you. It has been indeed beautiful and it delights me that my amateurish pictures gave you that feeling.:)

indicaspecies said...

Priyank,

Cool dude, you speak of temptations?
Oh, of writing..haha!
I'll succumb to that.;)
Whether to continue on MP or Uttarakhand or not..
Thanks for your blessings..haha!

indicaspecies said...

Saibal,

The season for VoF was ideal and is pretty much still on - at least for another month or so. Auli is magical, and I've made up my mind to go there once in winter to enjoy a white Auli, and probably try out a bit of skiing as well.

Now, where have you set off to, I wonder?
Garhwal is romantic also in the rains, and I wish you a lovely trip to yet another corner of the Himalayas.:)

Santosh said...

Awesome pal. I consider myself as a traveller but when I saw your blog I cringed with shame. Great going friend.

I may move to wordpress in a different name. Still experimenting. Will you visit http://toddyshop.wordpress.com

AJEYA RAO said...

Wow! this has been one superb journey i believe...and how do you rate it? or may be the question is which trekk have you enjoyed the most so far? i know thats a difficult question, but say, you have ot rate them between 9 to 10 :-) whihc would be 10, 9.9, 9.8...?

Alok said...

I have heard so many times about these places. You have captured them so beautifully, awesome !!!

Keep rocking :)

bendtherulz said...

whow -some amazing shots ( I feel so nostalgic its been almost a year since I have trekked). I have to say -I have done these trips...but I cant string a post encompassing all sights and just put it the way you have done it. loved it. And the adventure about "landslide" and trek into wilderness - oh my god - i was thinking what coincidence ( only difference I was downhill and you faced this uphill journey)

Hope to see more pics...( how many you took...1000 :)
tk care ~

ps - I will be out of action for sometime on blog...too much work after US trip...yikes :(

Indrani said...

I trekked too along with you, through this beautiful post and pictures. :)

Cuckoo said...

Oh oh Kanwariyas ! They always fascinate me for their determination to go on. And Ram joola scares me off.
AND I ENVY YOU. Simple.

Note-I always read all the posts on the first day of their appearance. Don't blame me if I am late in commenting (or no commenting). But when I come, I write a loooong one.

Aha !! Can see we have many common readers. :)

Looking forward to your series on Garhwal. And you know why. ;)

Cuckoo said...

Oh forgot to tell you !
That serpentine road photo was the best.

Mridula said...

Lovely pictures! Could we have more flower pictures maybe in a future post? :D

Lakshmi said...

what a trail..and amazing pictures..celine, the next set of posts will be quite a treat :) looking forward to them

JDB said...

Beautiful pics. I have been to Haridwar and Rishikesh while I visited IITR few years back. It's a beautiful place.

PS: You were in Mumbai?

freethinker said...

Awesome! :)

Nandan Jha said...

Good that you have taken the train, the road was simply blocked for vehicular traffic because of Kanwarias (Delhi - Haridwar road), you can imagine that this would cause lot of people to not like them. Also there is this spirited lot who sometimes go overboard and can be a nuisance.

When possible, insert a google map of this trip, would help users to place the place.

Great ride I guess. And you must have now enough of items to write :) best wishes.

San said...

Celine, these photographs are stunning. No wonder you were out of breath--the sheer beauty would take the breath away.

It is not hard to understand why those confluences would be considered sacred. All of that water meeting in the middle of so much green--it feels blessed.

And those colorful dwellings of the mountain village seem so fancifully strewn. I know my perception is just an illusion. It is home to people, not a fanciful ornament.

Clearly, you are in your element when you travel, Celine. Thank you for sharing this lush journey.

Anil P said...

Nature must speak here, so beautiful.

Alok said...

:)

Must have been a chromatic and varied experience, right?

I absolutely love the photo before Govindghat, and that makes me imagine (partially) your experience (through my childhood experience at Pachmarhi), and I so want to explore all of this, but alas, that will have to wait...

Until then, I will have to do with visiting these places through posts like yours... though I must say I had a good time through your post. :P

Crazy Me said...

That bridge looks absolutely terrifying. Yikes!

Shantanu said...

I lived for a year in Dehradun and did visit Hardwar, Rishikesh quite a few times, but never made it higher up. The river is so much better up here.

indicaspecies said...

Santosh,

Welcome, and thank you for your visit and nice words. You write your thoughts well. I hope you drop in sometimes, like I intend to at your interesting blog.:)

indicaspecies said...

Ajeya,

It's hard to rate it, but let me try. I have rated less for ascents, since I personally prefer descents. So my ratings are as follows:

Trek from Govindghat to Ghangaria: 6/10
(moderate, mostly ascent)
Trek from Ghangaria to Govindghat: 7/10
(easy, as mostly descent)

Trek from Ghangaria to Valley of Flowers and return: 8/10
(3-4 kms ascent, 4-5 kms of comfortable walk within the valley, easy and fabulous in every way)

Trek from Ghangaria to Hemkund: 7/10
(tough if not rested enough like in my case and challenging to ascent, horses can be used)
Trek from Hemkund to Ghangaria: 8/10
(my descent was interesting with sightings of exotic Himalayan flora as the mist cleared up then)

Trek from Badrinath to Mana village and return: 7/10
(easy, mostly motorable road, lovely scenery).

Hope that helps!

indicaspecies said...

Alok,

Thank you for your encouraging words.:)

indicaspecies said...

BTR,

Thank you. Your words warm my heart, and nice to know that you have been through all these experiences, landslides et al.:)

Haha..you are right, got close to a 1000 shots!!

indicaspecies said...

Indrani,

Thank you.:)
I am glad you felt so.;)

indicaspecies said...

Cuckoo,

Haha..you are always welcome here, with or without your comments. Delighted that you like the picture of Joshimath.

Thank you for your regular visits and your encouragement Cuckoo.:)

indicaspecies said...

Mridula,

Thank you very much.:)

I'll put up a post on flowers of Valley of Flowers and am quite aware that you like pictures of flowers.:D

indicaspecies said...

Lakshmi,

Thank you very much. Your words are encouraging and it will be my pleasure to share my experiences.:)

indicaspecies said...

JDB:

Thank you Jeevan.:)

I prefer Rishikesh as it was less crowded and there was a certain charm about the place that I will always remember. I found Haridwar pretty interesting in the night during the return journey.

Yes, I was in Mumbai.:D

indicaspecies said...

Freethinker:

Thanks!:)

indicaspecies said...

Nandan,

Thank you for your advice on a previous occasion about the mode of transport. That did help!

Kanwarias was an intriguing new experience for me, and I was amazed to watch their devotion and I do understand what you mean by the 'spirited lot.'

Google map is a good idea but I may need some help with that. Anyway, I'll try to add one and thanks for your suggestion.;)

indicaspecies said...

San,

It's a pleasure to have you visit my space and a greater pleasure when you leave such charming comments. Thank you for the delightfully encouraging words.:)

Element. That's such a beautiful description, and guess I couldn't have described my feeling better.:D

indicaspecies said...

Anil,

Thank you. Nature has been beautifully whispering to me all along there!

indicaspecies said...

Alok,

Yes, it has been so.:)

Childhood in Pachmarhi? Wow!! I was there last year but I've lost all my pictures of that gorgeous place (because of a memory stick that gave trouble). However, there are of course wonderful memories that will be forever cherished. I will never forget the journey through the Satpura forests, the panoramic view from the Pandav Caves, the magnificent Rajat Prapat Falls, the Sunset Point and my experiences at the Bee Falls.

That picture of view from Auli is one of my favourite too. I loved the feeling up there.:D

I'm delighted hear that my post enabled you to have a good time. That's a great compliment, thank you Alok. Do keep dropping by.;)

indicaspecies said...

Crazy me:

That's a suspension bridge, and on it were people walking, and some cows and also some two-wheelers! It was crazy..haha!!

indicaspecies said...

Shantanu,

You must make a trip up there sometime. The confluences of rivers in each location is a sight worth it and the mountain scenery is gorgeous!

Goli said...

Hemkund is one of the most beautiful places that I have ever seen, I just went there in the second week of August. I could relive all the photographs :)

indicaspecies said...

Goli,

Welcome, and thank you for your comment.

I was in Hemkund approx ten days before you reached there. It was a nice trip the only regret being it was very misty and did not have a good view of the mountains around. I shall be putting up some pictures in due course and delighted you liked what you see so far. Please do drop by sometimes.:)

Rups said...

Hi,
This refers your comment on my blog seven-sisters.blogspot.com . Unfortunately I could not publish the comment as you have posted it with an URL. As you have the same content as mine -- extensive travelling in India -- we can go for mutual link exchange.

You have a nice blog and If you are interested in link exchange, pl link my blog and let me know so that I can reciprocate.

rups33-blog@yahoo.co.in

indicaspecies said...

Rups,

Thank you very much for your visit here, and your kind words. Unfortunately, I do not link exchange, but will be pleased to be in touch. I will also add you to my yahoo contact list. Have a lovely day, and keep travelling.:)

Your EG Tour Guide said...

What an incredible journey! How smart of you to document it with photos. ;-) The rugged countryside is stunning.

Puneet said...

beautiful....truly no words.........guess what m goin to badrinath & kedarnath tomorrow ;)

Anonymous said...

Hi Celine, Wow your blog is impressive. I really enjoy seeing your beautiful pictures. Travel on and post post post... to share your wonderful experiences... Jing and Alex