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10th-18th Nov'2001. Trip: 9 days, 8 nights. Distance: 1500 Kms on road,74 Kms on foot. Itinerary: Never thought about it, just kept as many woolens as possible.... Drivers: Anshuman(shahi) / Shachindra (panduzo) CJ(car jockey): Rajarshi Dasgupta (bongs)The Laziest Bum:Offcourse, Shalini (gudiya)!!! PS- Kindly ignore the dates on the photographs, as all of us were amateurs in photography, and we did not know how to change the date in our camera. Believe US....or waste your time guessing...
This is the best route to Yamnotri, guys !(gals, please don't make an effort, you won't get it...)From Delhi, we took the Chandigarh highway, reached Karnal then Yamunanagar, took a left from there to Ponta Saheb (a beautiful suburb). From there went to Dak Pathar and then to Yamuna Bridge. Then Naogao and then Barkot !
Spent the night at Tara Yatri Niwas,at Barkot,cheap and best.(When i mention cheap, i really mean it as the rental was Rs 100/- for 4 people for a night that too without Shalini having to use her bargaining skills...he he he )Then early next morning, left for Hanuman chatti(25 km) and furthur 3 Kms was Janaki chatti, where we left our car,had lunch and proceed to Yamnotri at about 11 a.m.
Note: Its completely safe to leave your car here.(unless it gets towed away,by locals)In case you reach Janki chatti later than 12 in the noon then stay the night there itself as you might not be able to make it to the top.(why say 'might'i would rather say you 'WONT' be able to make it to the top) At yamnotri you can stay at the GMVN guest house, but since it was already closed down due to the winters,we had to spend the night at the only alternative place, that was Swamiji's Ashram.
After bathing in the hot water kund (60 Degrees approx. guys please take 'XTREME caution of your clothings... caz remember its still sub zero temp. outside), at Yamunotri and offering prayers,we took a trek next morning, behind the guest house and up the hill to Saptrishi Kund. It is extremely beautiful.(remember to pack some lunch and also take lots of chocolates for this high altitude climb) You will be trekking above 13000 ft from here onwards. There is no place to stay there so we had to come back to Yamnotri before night fall !(i.e. 6 ish max.) At Janki chetti you must cross the bridge and see Khasauli village, on your way down preferably.
As the GMVN was closed down, we could not stay at the ashram again, so we thought of going back to Barkot, but on our descent, we were totally exhausted, so we stayed at Hanuman Chatti, had dinner there and took some rest. Next morning, we were all set for our next destination, that was GANGOTRI !!
We took the same route from Barkot, then to Yamuna bridge, where the route diverts towards Gangotri. It is about 250 Kms. We thought, we would reach there by evening itself.
The entire route was so amazingly beautiful, that one had to take halt every now and then to admire the scenic beauty.We kept going on and on as the road was well maintained, and with hardly any traffic at that time of the month, we had a hell of a drive.It was almost dark (6 ish) by the time we reached Gangotri.
Just bout 10 Kms before Gangotri was a small place called BHAIRON GHATI. Its an army area and all vehicles are checked before they proceed to Gangotri.We could not visit the temple as it had been closed after the aarti,also could not find a descent place at Gangotri to spend the night so we went back to Bhairon Ghati, to spend the night at the Officers guest house. The best part was it was little off the track in the middle of thick forests. Moreover, all had seen the beautiful guest house and everyone wanted to stay there itself.
We had asked for a bonfire & had taken the sofa and chairs outside, sat there for a while till the bonfire was alive. This place was so quiet that we could actually here our echo coming from the pitch dark thick forest we were surrounded with.
Next morning, we woke up pretty late,bout 9ish, no thanks to Shalini, but to our good lad, who brought tea and snacks AND not to forget, HOT WATER which was THE MOST important thing in the morning. We quickly changed and proceeded to Gangotri. As we were behind schedule, we decided to visit the temple on our way back and straight away proceed for GOMUKH !!
Once again, we thanked the lad who had also arranged for a porter cum guide, whom we took along with ourselves from Bhairon Ghati.We left our car at Gangotri, and proceeded to Gomukh. Our porter was very impressed with us with the kind of pace we maintained, but not for long ! The first halt was Cheer Basa, where we had maggi and tea. This was about 9 Kms from Gangotri. Next stop was Bhoj Basa, another 8 Kms from there.
The trek from gangotri to gomukh, approx. 23Kms keeps changing, because of the land slides. At times its just 20 Kms but at times you need to cover additional few kms due to the change in course.
The trek was not very difficult, in terms of altitude, i.e. we were slowly ascending but since after Cheer Basa, there was hardly any plantation, there was lack of oxygen which made it all the more difficult. One had to halt every 10-15 mins to get his/her breath back.
By the time we reached Bhoj basa, all of us were completely drained out. Once again, the GMVN was closed down because of the winters, but we were lucky enough to get a guest house maintained by a person from Lucknow. The Swamijis ashram was also available, but we preferred to be at ease.
Ok! Forgot to mention one thing.... today was Dipawali 14th Nov'01. Trust me, this was one hell of a festival for US, which we would never forget for the rest of our lives.
Just about 3-4 people at the Swamijis ashram and 6 of us at the guest house, we had bought few fuljharis and anars... and celebrated it amongst ourselves ..... hundreds of Kms away from home, no electricity, no mode of communication, not a sound to here except for ours ... it was simply an amazing experience that can't be put in words...
Without exaggeration, this night was one of the coldest nights we had ever experienced. With almost all our clothes on and covered with two blankets each, we were still shivering. Our inexperience did lead us to trouble but we were too pepped-up to give up, so early next morning, after having a light breakfast, proceeded towards Gomukh.
As per our calculations, we had to start our trek back from Gomukh by 1 p.m. as we wanted to get back to Bhairon Ghati before night fall, also we had to visit the temple at Gangotri.
Writing anything about GOMUKH would be an understatement, so lets not make an attempt to describe it and get the feeling you haven't written it all. Would just like to say, you have to see it to believe it !
Anyways, we reached Bhairon Ghati around 7 ish. Had dinner, dont get surprised, as because this was the common time in these places when people have dinner and go off to sleep by 8 ish max.What can one possibly do without electricity, sub freezing temperatures and no where to go but just sit back and wait for morning......obviously SLEEP !
While having dinner, we enquired and got to know that the Kedarnath & Badrinath temple would be closed down the following day.They usually close down after Dipawali. As it was about 380 Kms away, there was no way, we could have made it, so instead we decided to return BACK TO CIVILIZATION.
Hence, the nearest place we could figure out was Shimla.By now we had had enough of trekking, and our humble friends Shalini & Rajarshi had had enough of it. They had put their foot down ( actually they could hardly move it up, I meant the foot ), and were bent upon relaxing a bit.
The remaining part of the trip was more of sheer pleasure than adventure.Won't write much,just that we had a gala time in Shimla and nearby places like Kufri, etc. As it is, i don't want you guys out there to bang your head against the monitor in frustration and get the feeing - WHAT THE HELL AM I DOING HERE READING AN ARTICLE WHEN I SHOULD HAVE BEEN PLANNING A SIMILAR TRIP !!!
So, that's the story about 4 guys.....oops 3 guys and a gal.
article published 1/24/2002