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


Arun said...

The trouble with reading stories on Garhwal is that it increases the longing to be there :)

Lakshmi said...

Lovely pictures..I feel inspired to get there..maybe its time to focus on fitness ..

Vamsee said...

Beautiful pictures. Hats off to you for going on this long trek in spite of the bad knee. I guess the scenery made it worth the pain.

indicaspecies said...


This is a fabulous post that made me vicariously re-live my own trekking experience to Ghangaria. And beautiful photographs!

Adding another 2 kms prior to the ascent, those 14 kms of climbing took me 8 hours but of course with 2 stops of almost an hour each for tea and snacks. What about you?

I wish you a very Happy New Year Ravi and may 2009 have many more travels in store for you. Cheers.:)

Ravi Kumar said...

Arun: I read your post on CLAY blog that you want to cover Valley of Flowers. So the longing will take shape. Best of luck :)

Ravi Kumar said...

Lakshmi; Great to know that. Fitness is definetely the key. Celine too is very fit

Ravi Kumar said...

Vamsee: Yes Vamsee. I was nursing my knee till one month after the trek.

Ravi Kumar said...

Celine: Thanks Celine. And happy new year to you as well.

Fida said...

That landscape is majestic! I grew up in the mountains, so I am always longing for them. I guess what it makes hard to trek is the height, right? Gosh, I’d love to see the Valley of the Flowers – maybe one day… one can always dream!

A wonderful and happy New Year to you!

Ravi Kumar said...

@Fida: U will I am sure. Happy new year to u too :)

Anonymous said...

Amazing, and wonderfully illustrated. The detailed set of posts will be extremely useful for a future trip.

Kalyan said...

Congrats on your domain name. The B&W picture is best of the lot. Your mentioning the name 'Hemkund' kindled old memories. I studied in roorkee for 4 years and during that period travelled quite a lot in Uttaranchal - went till Auli. Didn't explore it beyond that - pocket constraint during college you see. And now your post ignited the fire again. Damn you.

Ravi Kumar said...

Thanks kalyan for visiting here. U were in roorkee so close and u dint go. Thats bad!

Ravi Kumar said...

Shantanu: Thanks so much!

Mridula said...

And this is one place where the season is not in sync with my semester schedule.

That door picture is quite smashing!

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