Sunday, December 28, 2008

Day 7: 14 kms Trek to Ghangaria

This is a series of my two weeks of tryst with the Garhwal Himalayas:

Day 1&2 : Secunderabad to Delhi
Day 3: Delhi to Haridwar bus ride
Day 3: Meerut Road
Day 3: Har Ki pauri- Haridwar
Day 4: Impressions from Haridwar
Day 4: Through Rajaji national Park
Day 4: Devaprayag-Srinagar-Rudraprayag-Karnaprayag
Day 5: Pipalkoti-Joshimath-Badrinath
Day 6: Mana: The last Indian village
Day 6: Adventure in Badrinath-Govindghat Road
Day 7: The Boys from Rishikesh
Day 7: Trek to Ghangaria

(Click Pictures for better view)

6 am: After relieving myself off from my heavy backback, I heaved a sigh of relief and ascended towards Ghangaria.

There was nip in the air and my leather jacket was pretty much saving me from the chill. I met a group of pony riders on the way. They offered their service. To and fro from Hemkund Saheb would cost me 1200 Rs. I declined. I had come to trek. No ponies for me. I had no idea, what was it to do a 14 km trek, from a height of 6000 ft to 9,147 feet. I was too excited and agitated to think about it.

I kept walking. Admiring the beauty around. Bliss was here. Greenery around. Amidst the mountains. Shimmering snow peak ahead of me beckoning and asking me to keep walking.
The buzz of the flowing river on your right giving you unmitigated support all through the way. Soon, the sun was up and I divested myself off my jacket. Sweat beads formed on my forehead. And heavy breathing ensued. Let me talk a bit about the terrain.

The trek though is steep, has been maintained well. Because hundreds of pilgrims follow the same route to Hemkund Sahib. But sadly only a few amongst these hundreds of pilgrims, are nature lovers.

Only a few among them, know about the beautiful Valley of Flowers. Only a few amongst them, know its relevance. I met many pilgrims along the way. They were pleasantly surprised to see a Hindu trekking towards Hemkund. I never mentioned to them that my pilgrimage was the Valley of Flowers.

How much I had read of it and dreamt of it. My mind was full of imaginary visualization of what Valley of Flowers looked like. I had read and read a lot about it. And my mind was in ecstacy that finally I was on my way to that heavenly abode. It was this excitement, that pulled me through this torturous trek. No torturous is a wrong word.

How can such lavish natural beauty, the lush verdant greenery, the fresh atmosphere be torturous. The pain, the rigour was only too little a price for the priceless experience that I was witnessing.

Each turn on the trek, presented a matchless view, each as beautiful as before. But the strain was too much for me to bear. I have a week right knee, due to an accident 5 years back. It showed signs of weariness.

I wasnt using a stump at all. And that aggravated my right knee. The last 5 kms of walk was unbearable. I was dragging myself slowly, asking every passerby, every few minutes how far it was.

At last these smiling girls marked my destination. And my pain for a moment was lost in their smiles. I had reached Ghangaria.
Next post: Awesome Ghangaria

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Day 7: The boys from Rishikesh

This is a series of my two weeks of tryst with the Garhwal Himalayas:
Day 1&2 : Secunderabad to Delhi
Day 3: Delhi to Haridwar bus ride
Day 3: Meerut Road
Day 3: Har Ki pauri- Haridwar
Day 4: Impressions from Haridwar
Day 4: Through Rajaji national Park
Day 4: Devaprayag-Srinagar-Rudraprayag-Karnaprayag
Day 5: Pipalkoti-Joshimath-Badrinath
Day 6: Mana: The last Indian village
Day 6: Adventure in Badrinath-Govindghat Road
Day 7: The Boys from Rishikesh

After a close shave with life crossing the landslide, we began walking in the drizzle. Govindghat, which was going to be our halt for the night was still 5 kms away.

Govindghat is the foothills to Hemkund Sahib and Valley of Flowers. It is nestled beautifully at the confluence of Alaknanda and Laxman Ganga rivers and is at an altitude of 6000 ft. Its a popular halting point for hundreds of Sikh pilgrims who visit the Hemkund sahib,a pilgrimage 21 kms above Govindghat.

I had plans to spend the night at Govindghat and climb up to Ghangaria, the early next day. Night was falling fast and we boys were walking at a steady pace to reach Govindghat.

And as if like divine intervention, an open jeep crossed us. We cried for help and the vehicle screeched to a halt. The next moment we were enjoying the ride standing on the jeep's rear. It was exhilarating again. I was getting my quota of adventure more than what I expected. We got down at Govindghat, which was teeming with activity.

Busy shops at Govindghat selling paraphernalia of Sikh rituals

Next we hogged and crashed in a hotel room. But...

Before I proceed, I cant miss describing this bunch of boys who have been sharing my company since morning today. They hailed from Rishikesh, one of the holiest places in India. But the boys who were 16-ish in age had nothing holy about themselves.
Every utterance from them were punctuated with the choicest expletives that would throb an unprepared mind to madness. I have stayed in Delhi and the MCs and BCs are not new to me, but these teenagers from Rishikesh had standards of their own. I couldn't have a good sleep that nite, because of them, as we shared the same room together.
They were at peace when I clicked the picture

[The best thing meeting them was this. They promised me a comfortable yet cheap stay at Rishikesh and provide me river rafting at the Ganges for 200 bucks. They bragged about their contacts. I fell for it.]

The next morning I hugged them bye, since they were going back to Rishikesh. I proceeded on take my courageous trek up to Ghangaria.

Will remember them!

Ghangaria is a beautiful small hamlet 14kms up from Govindghat and falls on the way to Valley of Flowers and Hemkund sahib. Situated at an altitude of 3049 meters, this place is also called Govindham.

I had a heavy back pack and i couldn't bear its weight beyond 3 kms up. I returned back, parked it at a security base and climbed back again with just one polybag.

Caution: Be sure you are fit enough to climb up the tortuous trek 14kms up. Other than the trek, its the lack of oxygen that tires you. You may hire ponies if you find it difficult. If you are walking pick stumps as it would lessen pressure on your knees.

Laxmanganga at Govindghat

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Beautiful Bhubaneswar

Ah! I am so proud to belong to this city. A city that sweeps your feet off in its simplicity and unassuming self. A city though is coming of age embracing swift development, yet proudly clinging onto its rich heritage and flaunts it with equal elan. And it is this proud display of its cultural heritage, that makes it stand out. The pictures below were photographs taken by me on my last visit to my hometown. I was thrilled to see this happen to my city. The whole city is painted meticoulously with paintings that reflect the rich culture and tradition of the state. Each painting speaks a story which is known so little of outside the state. If you visit the city, spare some time to marvel at the paintings. It is hard to miss them.
Enjoy the pics.

Boundary of a bank staff colony

Painting below a flyover, which otherwise is usually neglected

This is a road facing side of a government quarter. Look at the creative makeover. Even the sewage tank as you can see has been made up. Awesome! isnt it?

Bonda adivasi/ tribals of Orissa

The fly over again

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Day 6: Adventure in Badrinath-Govindghat road

This is a series of my two weeks of tryst with the Garhwal Himalayas:
Day 1&2 : Secunderabad to Delhi
Day 3: Delhi to Haridwar bus ride
Day 3: Meerut Road
Day 3: Har Ki pauri- Haridwar
Day 4: Impressions from Haridwar
Day 4: Through Rajaji national Park
Day 4: Devaprayag-Srinagar-Rudraprayag-Karnaprayag
Day 5: Pipalkoti-Joshimath-Badrinath
Day 6: Mana: The last Indian village

Before I move on to Govindghat, let me narrate you the adventures of the previous evening while on my way back from Mana village. I was looking for a conveyance to reach Govindghat from Badrinath. It was raining steadily and no vehicles were willing to oblige. And then I found a Sumo who agreed to carry passengers on a premium. After futile attempts to bargain, we gave up and got in. As suspected just 5 kms down Badrinath, roads were blocked because of landslide. I wanted to reach Govindghat badly before dusk since it would save me a day to trek up to the Valley of Flowers.

Where's the road? Landslide ahead....

The boys in the jeep decided to cross the landslide walking. I was aghast. Since, it was still raining, I could literally see the rocks tumbling down. The younger boys from my vehicle were hell bent to cross it. I was tentative, shaking in my boots. What if a big chunk of land mass washes down taking us along to the deep gorge below into the mighty Alaknanda.

My mind was doing somersaults. I saw the boys move ahead. The next instant I gave them a shout and joined them, my heart pounding nevertheless.

Look at the tension in the man's face. They were all running.

Warning: Never ever cross a landslide when its raining. Flirting with nature can be fatal.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Interview: Arun Bhat, travel writer/photographer

Arun Bhat is one of the most popular freelance travel writer based in Bangalore,India. A software engineer by profession, he found his calling in travel and photography. He has many accolades to his name in his brief stint as a travel writer. His works have been published in Mumbai Mirror, Landscape Magazine and many others. He also is a regular contributor to OkTataByeBye and His pictures have featured in UNICEF calendar too.

I had the honor to interview him and here is the interview verbatim. These are not made up questions just for the sake of asking. There was a genuine urge to know a few things deep inside and thus the questions. To someone who skims through his background in life, it would appear very glamorous and adventurous, but I am sure its more
than what meets the eye. I just wanted to scrape a little what lies beneath a travel writer's life. I am thankful that he obliged to share his experience with me. So here we begin:

1 I just wanted to know, why and how did you leave your cushy software
job and decide to become a full time traveller

I am not very sure if i can call myself a full time traveller. Only, now I spend more time travelling and have given up my full time job. I do a lot other things than just travelling. Photography, either when travelling or when city, for instance. I also do some freelance work in software as and when the time permits. I quit my job, so that I have more free time in my hands to do things that I would like to do. Travel scores high in the list of things to do, but that's not all.

2. How long have you been a travel writer?

I don't think the time has come to call myself a travel writer. I am only trying to be one, and it's not the only thing that contributes to my income. But if I can take my first published story in print as a reference, it is roughly two years now, since that has happened.

3. How does a travel writer make his ends meet? What are the avenues for a travel writer to earn money?

Again, I don't manage to make ends meet with travel writing. And from what I hear from people, it is not easy. The way to go, as I hear from others, is to work hard, write often and be professional and well managed. What is working for me well is a good online presence, a few continuous revenue streams combined with some revenues from publishing articles and photographs.

4.What are the cons/dangers of a travel writer? How does one manage family, because a travel writer is always on the move ?

Another question I really do not have an answer for, since I can't call myself a travel writer. I do not have much of family commitments.

5. Can you narrate one Aha! moment in your travel stint, that is memorable and close to you?

There are many good moments, though, if I am asked to quickly say of one, I can't think of one. It is easy to have many memorable moments when you are travelling. Like the moment I saw, after a long and tiring journey, a small blue strip of Pangong Lake lurking through the arid mountains of Ladakh. Like standing atop sykes point in Dandeli and watching the sun's last rays lighting up the valley of Kali River. Chasing a Cutia with its brilliantly colored wings and nearly falling off a cliff in Arunachal. Walking along the rocky shoreline of Gokarna and suddenly stumbling into a thick mass of purple flowers. Watching small children slip into devotional ecstasy as the aarti lamps swayed on the bank of Ganga in Rishikesh. There are simply too many.

6.Who are our favourite travel writers?

Stephen Alter and Pico Iyer, to name just two out of many.

7.Any plans to publish a book?

Yes and No. I do have a few book idea that I have in mind. But its a long process and a long journey. Non Fiction writing is an intensive activity and only way to go about it is to find a publisher first, manage to get an advance, spend time on research and eventually build a manuscript. It's a long journey before I can get on to do all that. I am not on a hunt to look for a publisher today, but if I find someone willing this moment, I don't see why I would not jump in.

8. What advice would you give to a budding travel writer?

Again, it would only be a rookie advising another rookie. I have nothing to say.

9. What next? Your future plans? Projects?

It is going to be a year or two more while I continue freelancing in the area of travel writing, hoping to establish myself in the industry. In the meanwhile, I hope to build a few more book ideas than what I already have, zero in on the best possible project and try to find ways to work on one.

Thanks Arun :)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Day 6: Mana, the last Indian village

This is a series of my two weeks of tryst with the Garhwal Himalayas:
Day 1&2 : Secunderabad to Delhi
Day 3: Delhi to Haridwar bus ride
Day 3: Meerut Road
Day 3: Har Ki pauri- Haridwar
Day 4: Impressions from Haridwar
Day 4: Through Rajaji national Park
Day 4: Devaprayag-Srinagar-Rudraprayag-Karnaprayag
Day 5: Pipalkoti-Joshimath-Badrinath

First let me state this very clearly. I travelled the whole of Garhwal, saw many snow peaks, travelled Valley of Flowers. But nothing was like Mana. Words fail to describe it. As I write this post, my heart is pining for it. To travel again to Mana and stay there to my heart's content.

Mana is the last village in the Indian territory beyond which lies Tibet.

Road to Mana from Badrinath

The view of the valley on the stretch between Badrinath and Mana is spell binding. Vast open space surrounded by iced cap mountains. Its a stretch of 3 kms. I decided to walk the stretch. I walked around half a km when I spotted a BRO truck. I waved and it stopped. The open truck had some workers in the back. I gleefully handed them my backpack and hopped onto the back of the truck. The feeling of travelling on an open truck amidst the mountains is second to none.

This pic is taken on the BRO ruck. You can see the winding road leading to Mana

Mana Village

Mana village holds a lot of mythological relevance and you can actually see traces of Mahabharata scattered across this tiny village. Here are some of them:

  • Veda Vyas Gufa: This is where Veda Vyas resided and composed the whole of Mahabharat to Ganesha.
  • Ganesha Gufa: This is where Lord Ganesha wrote the Mahabharata as dictated by Ved Vyas
  • Bhim Pul: This is a massive rock that forms a bridge near the fountain of Saraswati river. Legend has it that when Pandavas were crossing the river, Draupadi found it difficult to follow. Bhim lifted a huge rock and placed it over to form a natural bridge.

    Entrance to Mana Village: Isnt it lovely?

    The inhabitants of Mana are the last generations of Mongol tribes and look very cute, esp the kids. They stay for a period of six months at Mana and then in winters move down to Joshimath.

    A Mana kid. He was too shy for a pose. Came out so good

A sadhu near Bhim Pul

Bhim Pul: As I mentioned the rock is suspended and clearly looks as if it has been fixed deliberately.

Ganesh Gufa

Veda Vyas cave: As it is wriiten, it is 5111 years old cave

There is a Vasundhara waterfalls around 11 kms from Mana towards the mountains. I trekked along with a couple of other boys to the falls. You should attempt it if you want to witness some breathtaking scenery. Legend has it that the Pandavas took the same path while on their way to heavens. You would meet many sadhus taking the same path.

I met a group of Naga sadhus on the way. They did not allow me to take pictures, but I managed to talk to them. When I asked them how they survived such extreme cold clothless, they said they smeared 'Bhasmi', which has godly powers. The icy peaks do not provide wood or food. They survive by taking flour mixed with water and crushed raw potatoes. According to them, the idea of food is only to survive. Anything in excess is considered sin. They believed in frugal existence. I was amazed to see a small boy(around 7 yrs) among them.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Chausath Yogini Temple: Hirapur

Frontal view of the temple

I redeemed myself off from the ignominy of having been an unworthy ignorant Odiya all these years. Being born and bred in a diverse and culturally vibrant state, I possessed little knowledge of what my state had to offer. I meandered all through my growing up years blankly. But today, after all these years, the subdued spirit has ignited and wants to learn more about its rich homestate Orissa. And thus started my journey . Because its never too late. And I started with 64 Yogini Temple, Hirapur.
The archedway displaying the 64 yogini statuettes

The 64 yogini temple at Hirapur, which is just 15 kms from Bhubaneswar, hides within itself deep mysteries and untold legends. Its uniqueness can be gauged by the fact that it is only second of its kind in Orissa and one of four such temples in the world. The temple is hypaethral, that means it is roofless. And the circular archway dons 64 statuettes of yoginis.
One such Yogini statuette
Legend has it that a demon king Raktabija had a boon that for each drop of his blood spilled on the ground, he would multiply his form. When his existence became intolerable, Goddess Durga waged a war against him. Durga took the help of the yoginis and directed them to drink all the drops of blood before it could touch the ground. Thus the demon was killed.

The village Hirapur though being so close to the city has its rustic charm surrounded by open swathes of paddy fields and a small pond in front of the temple.
You have to cross this Kuakhai river bridge to reach Hirapur.

For more information on 64 yogini temple, read the, HINDU article which featured a story on this little known temple.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Day 5: Pipal Koti- Joshimath- Badrinath

This is a series of my two weeks of tryst with the Garhwal Himalayas:

3 am: My eyes opened at 3 in the morning. I found myself coiled up inside the blanket shivering. It was chilling. I couldn't make out if it was cold or I had a fever. I confirmed and was glad to find was the former. For the next two hours, I lay in bed staring blankly contemplating the next course of action.

6 am: I check out of my room feeling fresh and ready for the day ahead. And what do I see outside? I am surrounded by green peaks around. I am amidst the mountains. There is no feeling more enthralling than this. I take tea from the dhaba and go for a morning stroll. I have no clue of the land slide is cleared on the road ahead. But its lovely. I can also hear the gushing sounds of river Alakananda far below.
I ask the conducter to pick me on the way once the blockade gets cleared. I leave the place and walk along the road.

I took a lot of pictures of the morning scenery.

I then reached the spot of land slide. The BRO official was busy maneuvering the roller to clear off the road. I saluted him for his duty that took more than 2 hours.

I kept walking ahead and met some local kids. The kids showed me around and posed for a lot of pictures.
I kept walking ahead. Each new turn on the road, presented a new panorama, a new landscape as beautiful as the other. I would have walked for an hour now, but wasn't feeling tired at all. nature's effect may be.
And then I took another turn...
My eyes met something. I shouted at the spot. I howled, I shrieked at the top of my voice till it ached. I saw the first snow cliffed mountain in my life.

I looked around to share my excitement. There was no one. Only the valley and me and the barren road. I kept shouting and jumping. Frantically tried my cell, but of no avail.
The view looked heavenly. Also a little scary. I do not know why. It was so high touching the sky and actually looked like God's abode. The morning walk was worth taking. I experienced a special moment of my life.
Meanwhile a volley of vehicle's crossed me. I think the road blockade was removed. I looked for my bus amongst them. Then it came. And it crossed by me without stopping. My backpack was in there. The driver couldn't recognize me. I gave a shout and waved frantically. A moment later it screeched to a halt. I had my heart in my mouth a moment before.

9:20: We reached Joshimath. The driver was in a hurry to cross the town early for some reason. Alas!, he couldnt. The checkpost in Joshimath was closed at 9:30 am. And would open only at 11:30.

Joshimath to Badrinath

Joshimath to Badrinath road remains open for 6 months (April to October) and closed the other 6 months. During active months, the traffic is managed with gate systems that allow traffic only one way in phases. The gates open at 6:30, 9:30, 11:30, 14:00 and 16:30.

Tip: If you are travelling through Joshimath, remember the gate timings.

We missed the gate by a whisker and were to be stranded for 2 hours. I was in no mood to wait doing nothing. I got down, had some aloo parathas and got to my business of walking. I walked and walked and walked for the next 2 hours amidst breathtaking views again.

Met a gorkha on the way who chatted and walked along with me for a while. Crossed an army cantonment. I walked around 10 kms in 2 hours. And then my bus came and picked me up.

The first 15 kms of the 50 kms stretch is uneventful and amidst peaceful valley. What comes after that will make you shudder. Words fail to describe the roads and the ghats that come next. Atleast I dont have the ability to describe. The roads are so narrow that a faintest lapse of concentration or a lack of sense of measure would land you into the Alakananda below.

The ghats stood in ominous pose on either side of the Alakananda. This was the first time in 2 days of travelling amidst mountains, I was petrified. The older travellers in the bus were chanting prayers to calm themselves down. With numerous blind curves that crossed many water streams, we kept gaining altitude. We reached Badrinath at 1 pm.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Day 4: Devaprayag--Srinagar--Rudraprayag--Karnaprayag

On the way to Badrinath
(click all pictures for better view)

Soon after crossing Rishikesh, starts the upward ascend to the mountains. Rishikesh nestles in the foothills of the Himalayas. I give Rishikesh a miss now as I intend to visit it on my way back from Badrinath.

Tip: If you are travelling for the first time beyond Rishikesh to Badrinath and want to view the scenery all thorugh the 8 hour journey, sit on the right hand side of the vehicle. This side will open you picturesque view of the Ganges and mountains.

10:10 am: Reach Vyasi, a little Hamlet

At Vyasi from a distance, I saw many small tents (click pic for better view) which served as resting points for many adventure sport agencies, who mostly deal with river rafting and trekking.

10:20: Reached Kaudilya

10:30 am I am so high above in the mountains. I do not know what height, but we have covered a lot of height. The interesting thiing is all through the route, the Ganges gives you company flowing mightily along. You wont be away from its view even for 5 minutes.

11:25 am Reached Devaprayag

Devaprayag is considered one of the most holiest places on earth, because the sacred Ganges is formed here. River Alakananda and river Bhagirathi meet here to form Ganges. Thats why this place holds a huge significance for millions of Indians. This is exactly where the two rivers: Bhagirathi and Alakananda meet. See the change in their color. Left one is Bhagirathi that originates from Gangotri and right side is the Alakanda that originates from Badrinath.

The bus stopped for snacks and I used the time for some pics.

12:55pm Reachged Srinagar.

Disclaimer: No this is not the Kashmir waala Srinagar, but nevertheless beautiful and a busy tourist place.

Srinagar looks like a very developed and busy town. Scanning the map, I learn that Srinagar is the hub to all important toruist attractions around. Its connected to Pauri , Rudraprayag, Tehri, and Deveparayag

I can see a lot of young crowd. And the girls here are so pretty.

The fellow traveller tells me that Srinagar boasts of having the Garhwal university.

1:45 pm: I am 12 kms from Rudraprayag and it starts drizzling. It looks awesome. Mausam yeh awesome bada...

2:15 pm: Got down at Rudraprayag.
This again looks a very busy place. I am starving. I see a non veg hotel offering fresh fish. I get attracted and hog.

I then try to get my next conveyance to Joshimath, where I have to stay overnight and then move for Badrinath early next day.

3:00 pm Its almost an hour now and I am still at Rudraprayag doing nothing but waiting for a commute to Joshimath. No one is willing to take me to Joshimath. I finally latch on to a Sumo that would take me till Karnaprayag. I have to catch something else once I reach there. In all probability it seems that I wont be able to make it Joshimath before dark.

Tip : If you want a direct commute till Joshimath from Rudraprayag, reach Rudraprayag before 2 pm. Thats what the locals said.

4 pm: Crossed Gaudhar. Another small town.

4:25 pm: Reached Karnaprayag. And I am dumbstruck with its beauty. In hindsight, I feel happy that I am taking these break journeys. Because I am able to spend some time to see each of these places.

Each of these places are jewels in themselves.

I am tempted to stay overnight at Karnaprayag. But I cant.

For the next half hour I run helter skelter and capture as many shots as I can.

This tunnel was amazing. The iron bridge that you see below lead to this tunnel, which in turn led you to this beautiful town. I ran across the tunnel to catch view from the other side.Can you see the bridge I am talking about? (click the pic for better view)

As the pic shows, Pindar river joins Alakananda here. Thus the place Karnaprayag.

4:45 pm: Got a mini bus to Chamoli. Its getting dark fast and I am still 85 kms from Joshimath.

6:30 pm: Reached Chamoli. The driver said I would get a commute from here to Joshimath which was still 50 kms away. But everyone I asked said its too late to get a vehicle. Few suggested not to go ahead as the stretch was dangerous and unsafe at night. Though I was tired and famished, I wanted to reach Joshimath anyhow tonite. I was hoping against hope to catch something, atleast hitchhike.
And then came a minibus. I frantically waved and the driver obliged. Climbed in. The bus reeked of womit. I felt bilious too. The stains at the window confirmed it. The bus was mostly carrying piligrims, elderly and middle aged alike. I darted out my deo and got myself a spray before my nostrils adapted to the stench.

The conducter said, it would take 2 hours to cover the next 50 kms to Joshimath. And I stand all through. My eyes were on the widshield. I could see nothing on either side of the road besides what its headlight bared. But I was aware that the left hand side of the muddy road was steep gorge and the might Alakananda flowing beneath.

7: 30 pm

We were welcomed with a queue of other vehicles ahead of us. The BRO police had blocked the road as the road ahead was blocked by a land slide. I got excited. Landslide was new for me. I smelt adventure. We couldnt move till morning, till the time the BRO cleared them off.
The place where we were blocked was Pipal Koti, again a small town with few hotels and shops. i checked into a cozy little double bed room for 100 bucks.

Had my dinner at a dhaba and went into a deep slumber cozily inside the room blanket.