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.

21 comments:

shooting star said...

read your pprevious posts leading to this one...wonderful journey..i hope to travel till valley of flowers from haridwar.....already have done the haridwar-rishikesh-devbprayag route....but theres miles to go for me

Mridula said...

I am also a big fan of BRO and I guess whoever goes to the high mountains comes back impressed with their works.

indicaspecies said...

Lovely post and beautiful pictures.

I can personally vouch that it is an extremely interesting journey, since I've been through the same travels a few months back.

Sometime back I put up a post on how I passed through a road-block due to landslide in Chamoli. I invite you and your readers (those interested) to drop by my blog at your convenience.

Have a lovely day!

ബൈജു (Baiju) said...

Good…

Waiting for more fragrant stones from the wayfarer‘s bag.

Braja said...

Fantastic blog Ravi...I'm going to take some time to go thru it all. Can I steal photos? Just kidding :))) Come on by if you're interested....

Ravi Kumar said...

@shooting star: Thanks for visiting. ofcourse valley of flowers and badrinath is awesome... :)

Ravi Kumar said...

@mridula: Yeah BRO is the lifeline. Thanks for dropping by.

Ravi Kumar said...

@indicaspecies: yeah indica..we r treading the same path thru our blogs. But my visitors r too less than yours :(

Ravi Kumar said...

@baiju: Sure I will try to fulfill your expectations :)

Ravi Kumar said...

@braja: thanks for dropping by. the photos r closest to my heart and I cant part with it. i hope its a joke :)

Cuckoo said...

I read your prev posts also. Pictures and description both are excellent.

Arun said...

I could well identify with the joy of seeing first snow-peak in life; have gone through one such moment a few years back trekking in Sikkim, and it is still vivid in memory.

Walking ahead when the bus can't move ahead - always the best thing to do in the mountains.

I am pretty much desperate to get to Garhwal coming year. Let me see if it is going to work out...

Puneet Sharma said...

well posted in joshimath and pipalkoti for around 10 months....the weather is nice and if u have gud company u'll love it here...

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