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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 mostly uphill journey to Karnaprayag, the place of confluence of the Alaknanda and Pindar Rivers, another important pilgrimage spot for many.
- 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.
- Journey through beautiful scenery, where quite often the mountain road showed signs of recent landslides and cleared paths right up to Joshimath.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- A final trek begun at dawn from Badrinath to the beautiful village of Mana at the borders with Tibet, and return to Badrinath.
Return journey over the next few days from Badrinath to Govindghat – Joshimath – Chamoli – Rudraprayag – Rishikesh – Haridwar – Delhi – Mumbai and to my final destination.