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