So it’s the festival season in India, with Dussehra and Diwali coming back to back we decided to plan trips bag to bag.
The first one was to Gujarat – which I have already bragged about, the next one was to Garhwal, Himalayas which was a very spontaneous trip as we booked all tickets on the go…. during this trip we used all possible modes of transportation – flights, trains, local buses, luxury buses, three wheeler autos, rickshaws, ponies and our legs.
First stop Delhi, the capital – there is lot going on in the capital but the only thing that caught my attention was the sad plight of the birds as a result of the urbanization and deforestation.
Delhi was just a stop over for change of trains after which we headed to Haridwar from where our actual journey begins to the magnificent Himalayas. We started from Haridwar to reach Sonprayag by evening, the whole 250 kms stretch is through the ghat roads – winding roads, meandering rivers, green hills and beautiful landscapes.
We will be going towards the source of the many rivers which fertilize the farmlands downstream.
Shiva protecting the town of Haridwar
Devprayag– where the river Bhagirathi and Alaknanda meet to become Ganga
This is the famous Dhari Devi temple in the middle of Alaknanda river – the local lore is that it houses the upper half of the body of the goddess Dhari which changes its appearance during the day from a girl, to a woman and by evening to an old lady. We didn’t stay to witness the transformation but enjoyed the beauty of the nature and took some amazing shots and pushed off.
OK, before I go any further I feel the need to mention one thing, this was more of a pilgrimage cum tourism tour for us, the whole area which is also known as Devbhoomi(place where gods live – and the locals do believe that they still live here in the mountains) is filled with so many temples and significant sites full of legends and folk lore that it was hard not to stop at each of these spots to admire its beauty and listen to the stories. I’ll be sharing a few of them with you too 🙂
Rudraprayag – confluence of rive Alaknanda and Mandakini
I couldn’t get a better shot here as there was a group performing final rituals for somebody who had passed away, so we just went to the temple near by and moved on from there. Story related to this place – Narada meditated and learnt music from Shiva.
We end the day with some sumptuous meal and went to sleep early.
One tip that I can give your here is: eat less while driving on ghat roads, the continuous movement of the car along the curve roads can be nauseating.
Today we will start from Sonprayag to reach Kedarnath, fabled to be the abode of Lord Shiva. , this is a 18 kms trek. We were getting ready to trek but due to the cold climate and snow in the mountains opted for a pony ride.
The 4 hour long pony ride … Ouccchhhhh……..it still hurts my back when I think of it.
This is what we- I mean the pony and me 🙂 had accomplished after 2 hrs.
Looking down upon the rocky slope, I could hear the sound of the flowing and emerging waters which filled me with a peace I hadn’t felt in a long time.
The final destination is somewhere there …. !!!
Luxury in the lap of wild nature
As pleased as I was, my pony was also pleased to have flat ground and turf before them. For us the journey is not yet over, we still have to cover over a kilometer to reach the temple.
The dry river bed which emerges from the mountains.
Kedarnath Dham – situated at the started point of River Mandakini
Lone Ranger – the ranger is carrying parts with which they build houses up in these mountains. There was a better route along the river bank which got washed of in 2013 flash floods, so now until some other alternative is found these rangers carry the heavy wooden parts up the terrain.
The descent down was another task in itself, it took us 6 hours by foot to finally reach base and God was I happy to see my comfy and warm bed.
OM Namah Shivaya