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.
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)
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.