Thursday, September 27, 2012

Himalayan Adventure #2 - Day 1 : Ghangaria

It was our second trip to the Himalayan region, so this time we were more experienced and matured. Instead of leaving thread hanging, we thought to plan the trip minutely and smartly. As compared to our previous trip, this time we had a plenty of time to cover nearby areas. Along with covering nearby areas, time was sufficient to cover, rest, and enjoy the planned places. Experience and mistakes of the last trip were also considered while planning.

This time we started late in the evening i.e. 11 PM. We didn't want to spend a night in Rishikesh. So we planned to reach Rishikesh early in the morning, and continue our journey. As most buses, operating at these routes, are pushback, so we planned to use the fare well.

There were some glitches in our plan like any other perfect plan. In our plan we didn't consider Kawariyan Season. Due to the festival season, Bus stands were overcrowded with pilgrims, and buses were nowhere to be seen. Every bus, entering the stand, was chased and filled within seconds. In such a chaos, a bus conductor persuaded us to take the Dehradoon route. He assured us to reach Dehradoon within 6 hours. But we promise, to break it. So this bus conductor was no exception.

Our bus started at 12AM in the night, and reached Dehradoon at 8AM in the morning. Our fight with time had started. We rushed to catch a bus to Rishikesh, which took one hour to reach Rishikesh. All buses going to Badrinath were already left. So instead of wasting time, and losing other favourable options, we planned to split the journey into two parts. We planned to reach Rudraprayag first, and take another bus or shared taxi to Joshimath. So We boarded the bus going to Rudraprayag. We reached Rudraprayag at 3PM. Our fight with time was not over yet; we faced a lot of difficulties to find any vehicle to Joshimath. In normal days, it was possible to find shared taxis, but any taxi wasn't available at Taxi stand today. Anyway we got a bus to Joshimath after waiting for half an hour. We reached Joshimath around 8PM, so considering the risk involved in journey at this time, so we planned to rest at Joshimath.

Joshimath is a big town, which has a good number of options for night stay. Houses in town are scattered all across the mountains. Highest visible house is approximately 500 ft higher than the market. This town remains inhabited in winters also, though it receives a heavy snow fall during the peak winters. Town's market is decent, and it is equipped with everything required for day to day living. Due to transportation cost, daily household things are also costly in the town, but people have to suffer those additional costs due to their territorial position.

After spending the night in Joshimath, we started to Govindghat early in the morning. We reached Govindghat 10 AM. In general Sikhs travelling to Hemkund Sahib spend their night at Govindghat Gurudwara, which is situated next to Alaknanda river. Govindghat Gurudwara does not offer much to see around so we did not take any substantial break at Gurudwara.
The Bridge after Govindghat Gurudwara, which is built to Cross Alaknanda River.

UK government has laid out a nice concrete road for pilgrims visiting to Hemkund Sahib, and it made our task little less challenging. Distance between Govindghat and Ghangaria Gurudwara is approximately 13-14 KMs, which is accountable distance to even walk in a single day. However nothing could change our mind. We were carrying our luggage with us, so we had to climb with these bulky bags.

Start of the Trek is littered by horse dung. So this small stretch does not only smell heavily, but also it causes lot of problems in rainy season. After crossing this stretch, road is pleasant, and covered with trees. Valley is musical with the sound of rushing water. At the time of our visit, weather predictions were favourable to us.
Lakshman Ganga River
We walked first KM easily without any pain, but we already knew the long run. Soon every additional 100 meters were posing new challenges. Path was filled with green and huge trees. Lot of flowers were also enhancing the beauty of the place.

We were moving slowly, but time was never a constraint to us. Even if we would take 7 hours to reach to top, then also we would reach at 7 o'clock in the evening which was acceptable to us. We took multiple breaks at regular intervals to manage our breath and body well. In spite of tiredness, we enjoyed the beauty of the nature. Every step was unfolding breathtaking views behind the mountains.
River@this place was flowing like a river, not like a fall. So we were able to spend some quality time here.
Kunal, lost in the world of water. Must be thinking of words.
River Bank, cluttered with indisputable owner river bank: pebbles
View of the valley from the River bank.
We stayed at place, above in the pictures, for half an hour. Though, it would have been awesome to spend the night under the stars, but we did not have enough resources to settle down in open. This place was 7 kilometers far from the starting point, so other 7 kilometers were still remaining. Though this trek had already demonstrated our health strength, stamina, and capabilities, but against all other odds, we were determined to win.

After walking little further, a bridge declared completion of 7 kilometers, and in addition, it announced new challenges on the way. It announced the start of another climb on another mountain. It was little steeper than the one we completed.

Hemkund Sahib is one among many pilgrimages for Sikh community, so lot of Sikhs were trekking with us. People, of different ages, were rushing to finish their climb/day. Every person, returning from Hemkund Sahib, was encouraging tired people. Additionally most of them were carrying glucose pack, toffees, and water bottles, to help people in need. Helpful nature of each individual toward another was worth a praise, and it was second most satisfying aspect of this trip.

Sun was moving faster than our climb. Our trip was nowhere to end. We kept walking, resting and walking. Though our shoulders were aching due to weight, though we were sweating due to climb, but our goal was not achieved yet and we were still 3 kilometers away from Gurudwara.

Though we were tired to the death, but we could not ignore the beauty of the mountains. They were changing colors with the Sun. These mountains were covered with ice at some places, with long trees at few, and with everything or nothing at rest other places. All these gigantic mountains were telling us, that nothing, even human, can be larger than these.
Fall on the way. I am not sure which angle was used to take this picture, but it is a nice capture.

Water demonstrating it's destructive powers.

Green valley with silver coating.

Nange Pahars
Yeh kisi shayar ki mohtaj nahi,
Ise kisi ashik se ashiki ki pyas nahi.
Ise kisi chayakar ke chitran se pyar nahi...
Yeh  ek  fiza mein ghula aisa nasha hai, jise jindagi ke rukne ka intjar nahi.
We kept moving, and on the way we crossed helipad, temples, and river streams and after 7 hours of suffering, and trekking we reached to Ghangaria. We were there in the town. Town is not big. It has few shops, few hotels and restaurants. We headed to the Gurudwara because If we were allowed to stay in Gurudwara, then our stay and dinner was free of any charge.

Way in which Sikh community is serving the humanity is worth appreciating. Any human is always welcome to their premise, irrespective of his cast, religion, cult, colour, region, and reason. He can eat, sleep, and mingle with them without any resistance. I went to clerk's window to ask for beds, and I got 2 beds without any question other than my name for their records.

After putting burden off from our shoulders, we enjoyed the awesome tea. We treated ourselves with 2 glasses of tea. Later dinner i.e. Prasada was splendid, and extremely tasty. After dinner, we retired in our beds without any further delay. Though we were tired, but our sleep eluded us. As the person sleeping next to our bed was producing excellent sounds while snorting.

The day must be summed as a tiring, but scenic, and soothing, with a nice healing end.

1 comment:

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