Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Day 9 @ Auli: Switzerland of India

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
Day 7: Meeting Rajneesh
Day 8: Valley of Flowers


(At Auli town)
It was a horrible day for me. After I climbed down the Valley of flowers, I found my wallet missing and with it all my cash. I hitch hiked from Govindghat to Auli. There was just one ATM open. To my frustration that one ATM had run out of cash. Checked in a cheap accommodation for 200 Rs a night, and promised him to pay him money soon when the ATM starts working. The man with a sorry face reluctantly agreed.
I sat in front of the ATM for what seemed like an eternity. Before that I tried to visit the ropeway at Auli. For those of you who do not know, Auli is known as Switzerland of India. And the ropeway at Auli is Asia's highest and longest ropeway. The ride to and fro costs 500 Rs. I returned back feeling sorry about not being able to witness one of man's majestic creations. Feeling sorry and sad, I was staring blankly at the ATM door, when magic happened. DUDUDUDUuuuduuuu!!!!!
I heard roaring bullets park in front of the ATM with a screech. I was amazed. These were a gang of rugged looking guys with bullets geared fully with leather jackets, kneecaps, huge rucksacks, and helmets. They too stopped for cash.
I tried breaking a conversation. But I failed to generate interest in them. There was one guy who was well built handsome guy. He was a commercial pilot at Philipines and was on his vacation. He was impressed to know that I was travelling alone in the mountains. This was the group of bikers called Himalayan Odyssey. They had been biking for one month now and covered five different states in the North and North East including Rajastan. It was their last leg of biking.
They kick started their bullets again with the engine bellowing. I felt sad to see them go. But the moment after they left, the pilot guy halted turned back, looked at me and asked, "you wanna take a ride?" Those words were like music for me in what was till now a dissapointing day. I sensed adventure. I didnt think twice before nodding eagerly.

And the next moment i was on his bike, ascending heights of Auli witnessing breathtaking view of grand snow peak mountains and the chilling winds cutting my face.

One we reached atop, I felt nauseated. But it was heavenly. The boys offered me Hash, Charas they say in Hindi. I declined politely. They said it was the secret of their energy for the biking odyssey of that magnitude.
And then I heard gun shots being fired.... contd

Coming next are the videos of the bike ride...