Walking along the emerald Mandakini: A journey to the land of Gods – Garhwal.

Reply
#1 Feb 20th, 2012, 22:48
Join Date:
May 2008
Location:
New Delhi
Posts:
3,799
  • sagarneel is offline
#1
The Garhwal division of Uttarakhand has been associated with spirituality since ages. The remote mountains of this region had been extensively travelled and documented by holy men and sages since thousands of years. The earliest references regarding Garhwal are cited in Skanda Purana and the Van Parva of the epic Mahabharata. Since then, this part of the state has legendarily been associated with the Gods.

Even if we discount the aspect of spirituality, a visit to Garhwal is a must for all those who love mountains and nature. Lush green valleys, vibrant streams, towering mountains and heavenly bliss all around….Garhwal has it all to leave one wonderstruck amidst the bounty of nature. A beautiful landscape and a strong yearn to see it always end up meeting in a common corner of action – travel.

It was pretty cold in Delhi, and the news of snowfall in the hills was coming from all corners. It didn’t take long to re-kindle an old wish – travelling to Garhwal in the winters. As the gap between planning and action always produce fruitless results, we decided to chalk the ‘gap’ out of the equation and head for the hills in a short notice. Getting a train ticket was out of question, as the waiting lists were frightening, so we decided to do it the harder way – by bus, all the way from Delhi to a little known Syalsaur, on the bank of the emerald Mandakini river.

The bags were packed in a flash and we set off for a quick weekend trip to the land of Gods, with the plan of setting base at Syalsaur and travelling as far as possible towards the beautiful Chopta valley.

Our plan for the trip was:

Day 1: Leave Delhi by the Delhi-Guptkashi UTC bus (leaves Del at 21:30 hours).
Day 2: Arrive Syalsaur by 9 a.m. Rest for the day at GMVN Syalsaur.
Day 3: Move as far as possible on the Chopta road, and trek to Deoria Tal (if possible).
Day 4: Return.

Courtesy some beautiful weather we could follow our plan ditto, and had a very satisfying tour.

(to be continued) (the photos are currently under some post-processing, and I'll upload them shortly).
Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid – Albert Einstein


Trip reports:

Syalsaur/ Deoria taal/ Chopta trip report, West and South Sikkim trip report , Puri/ Konark trip report
Last edited by sagarneel; Feb 21st, 2012 at 12:14..
#2 Feb 20th, 2012, 22:53
Join Date:
Sep 2005
Location:
styx
Posts:
21,278
  • capt_mahajan is offline
#2
waiting...
.
This is computer generated drivel. No signature is required.
#3 Feb 20th, 2012, 22:58
It's all Greek to me, but Benglish will do
Join Date:
Dec 2005
Location:
over a 'wine-dark sea'
Posts:
15,783
  • theyyamdancer is offline
#3
Great start, Sagarneel !
Kindness is like snow - it beautifies everything it covers
(Kahlil Gibran)
#4 Feb 20th, 2012, 23:02
Join Date:
May 2009
Location:
delhi
Posts:
3,048
  • cityMONK is offline
#4
Quote:
Originally Posted by sagarneel View Post Getting a train ticket was out of question, as the waiting lists were frightening, so we decided to do it the harder way – in a bus, all the way from Delhi to a little known Syalsaur, on the bank of the emerald Mandakini river.

The bags were packed in a flash and we set off for a quick weekend trip to the land of Gods, ).
Where are Dates, dear sagar ?
Papaya is a Vegetable and Tomato is a Fruit
#5 Feb 21st, 2012, 09:41
Join Date:
May 2008
Location:
New Delhi
Posts:
3,799
  • sagarneel is offline
#5
Quote:
Originally Posted by capt_mahajan View Post waiting...
Thanks for your patience, Captain!

Quote:
Originally Posted by theyyamdancer View Post Great start, Sagarneel !
Thanks TD.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cityMONK View Post Where are Dates, dear sagar ?
Sorry to miss the dates. We left Delhi on 10th Feb (Friday). The plan to travel was transient....just a few days before the actual journey.
#6 Feb 21st, 2012, 10:30
Join Date:
Sep 2005
Location:
styx
Posts:
21,278
  • capt_mahajan is offline
#6
Where is the report (And pics!)
#7 Feb 21st, 2012, 11:13
Join Date:
May 2008
Location:
New Delhi
Posts:
3,799
  • sagarneel is offline
#7
Quote:
Originally Posted by capt_mahajan View Post Where is the report (And pics!)
The next part of the report will be up by today. Promise

As far as the pics are concerned, I'm sure you'll ask me to stop once I start sharing them....there are so many!! I am almost done with the post-processing, should be ready by tomorrow .
#8 Feb 21st, 2012, 11:18
Join Date:
Apr 2011
Location:
Bangalore
Posts:
937
  • mithun123 is offline
#8
Sagar ,

Once again magic started. Morning could not had started in a better way than this.
#9 Feb 21st, 2012, 12:18
Join Date:
Aug 2010
Location:
Pune, Maharashtra, India
Posts:
1,522
  • saugata41 is offline
#9
Hi Sagar

Starters before the main course!! Great teaser dude.

We are waiting for the 'as-usual-mindblwoing' pictures and 'free-flowing' narratives.

Regards
Wanderlust - My Travel Journals
Leave your footprint as a tiny but precious comment
#10 Feb 21st, 2012, 12:30
Join Date:
Mar 2010
Location:
Kolkata
Posts:
384
  • ghosh.ruchira is offline
#10
Greate start Sagarneel. Waiting for the next installments.
#11 Feb 21st, 2012, 12:47
Join Date:
May 2008
Location:
New Delhi
Posts:
3,799
  • sagarneel is offline
#11
Quote:
Originally Posted by saugata41 View Post Hi Sagar

Starters before the main course!! Great teaser dude.
Thanks Saugata. I doubt the amount of main course I'll be able to serve with this TR...as it was a short 3 day trip. I'll try my best though! I have quite a few photos though...will share them by tomorrow.
#12 Feb 21st, 2012, 12:48
Join Date:
May 2008
Location:
New Delhi
Posts:
3,799
  • sagarneel is offline
#12
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghosh.ruchira View Post Greate start Sagarneel. Waiting for the next installments.
Thanks Ruchira.
#13 Feb 21st, 2012, 12:52
Join Date:
Oct 2011
Location:
Want to live enerywhere
Posts:
3,561
  • Duronto Jajabar is offline
#13
As all Imers said - GOOD START.

We have patience for a delicious course ahead......
aamar payer tolai sorshe...(I have wheels under my feet)
#14 Feb 21st, 2012, 14:17
Join Date:
Sep 2010
Location:
kolkata
Posts:
216
  • abhik1980 is offline
#14
Yesterday I was thinking about Garhwal/Kumauon in Puja Holidays ..and today this post appears ..WOW ..must have something special caught in your camera sagar,,, waiting.. waiting & waiting for pics & description
#15 Feb 21st, 2012, 18:23
Join Date:
May 2008
Location:
New Delhi
Posts:
3,799
  • sagarneel is offline
#15

Day 1 and 2: The journey begins: Leaving Delhi and reaching Syalsaur.

Since the plan for the trip was sudden, I had to take care of quite a few tasks at office before leaving the city. We were supposed to leave on Friday, and needed to ensure the most vital aspect of travelling – peace of mind while I travelled. Thursday was a long day at office (14 hours at a stretch ) and Friday, although shorter, was a very busy day. However, this extra effort ensured a vital point – I would not be troubled by phone calls while I travelled .

We left home at 7 in the evening to board the 9 p.m bus from Anand Vihar ISBT, anticipating traffic jam en route. However, courtesy a Formula 1 auto driver we reached the terminus within 45 minutes, and had quite some time to relish our boredom. The Auto driver was quite a character…I can’t comment what ran faster – his auto or his mouth !! As he talked all the way while maneuvering and negotiating the roads in an act to imitate ‘The fast and the furious’, we shivered as the cold Delhi wind pierced us like arrows.

The Delhi-Guptkashi UTC bus looked too unimpressive for a journey that was potentially 14 hours long . Just like other ordinary UTC buses, it was cramped of leg space, which even my small frame found tough to fit into. However, I couldn’t complaint, it was an educated decision to travel by this bus (I could have boarded a Hridwar/Rishikesh bound bus from Delhi and changed further from Rudraprayag, however, was not very comfortable about the idea of boarding off at Haridwar at 3.30 a.m in the morning), and had to bear the responsibility of the consequences.

The bus left ISBT at 9.30, and soon started buzzing with snores from all corners. My co-passenger, a young man, led the team of the sound demons and almost ripped my tympanic membrane. I haven’t been to a remote African forest, but I guess I know by now, how it feels to be amidst a bunch of roaring lions. Even a dinner break at Khatauli couldn’t wake them up…and why would they? they had had their share of dust and flies through their wide open mouth.

We reached Rishikesh by 4 a.m and hit the meandering mountain roads in no time. As the bus ripped through the darkness, a faint hint of the flowing Bhagirathi appeared to the right of the road. I oscillated between periods of semi consciousness only to come back to awakened state, courtesy my co-passenger (my wife would later go on to declare that I almost looked like an animated pendulum while I slept!). It was still dark as we crossed Devprayag, the confluence of the rivers Alakananda and Bhagirathi, however, it was all sunshine by the time we reached Srinagar, the district board of Pauri Garhwal and the largest town in the Garhwal division. The morning tea here tasted heavenly, and the brisk stop helped us restructure our skeletons.

We moved ahead and gradually crossed Rudraprayag (where the rivers Aalakananda and Mandakini meet. This is also the place from where the roads to Kedarnath and Badrinath bifurcate), and started our journey along the road towards Kedarnath, with a beautiful emerald Mandakini being our constant companion. Post Tilwara, there’e an abrupt change in the landscape as the snow peaks begin to appear. The journey brought back fond memeories of my solo trip to Tungnath and Chandrashila in October’08. I have grown older in these 3 and a half years and life has changed quite a bit, however, the mountains that have stood for ages still stood as erect, the brook went on for ever, even if men came and went! As we crossed Agastyamuni, the road took a turn and suddenly the giant Chaukhamba became visible. The huge four pillars dazzled in the morning sun and to its left lay a long stretch of peaks with Mt. Kedarnath at the extreme right. I was somewhat lost in such a beautiful view of mountains, till I saw a board with the sign ‘GMVN Chandrapuri’ written on it. We had almost made it….the tedious 11 hours journey had almost ended, and we were just a mile short of Syalsaur.

By the time we gathered our luggage, we had reached Syalsaur, and the beautiful GMVN cottages were ready to welcome us. I had contacted the Mr. Pathak, the manager of property and he had assured us about availability of rooms on the said dates. We walked on a beautiful green carpet of trimmed green grass, topped with pearly dew drops. The soft morning sun flooded the area with its warm golden hue and the playful Mandakini tripped on scores of boulders as it made its way downhill. The gentle buzz of the river compounded with the chirp of innumerable birds. The lush green valley and the snow capped peaks at a distance made Syalsaur look like a small piece cut straight out of paradise.

A blissful environment has a profound effect on the human mind and body, and it showed why. The magic of the mountains blotted all exhaustion of the long journey and sleepless night. We felt as fresh as the early morning dew on a flower petal. Every minute in this charming place was worth relishing; hence we freshened up quickly and enjoyed a wonderful breakfast of aloo parantha and pickles, as we sat in the lawn facing the peaks. Syalsaur is home to a lot of avian species, and we lazily watched the busy oriental white eyes feeding upside down, a lone white capped water redstart and flocks of bulbuls looking for food and listeted to some russet sparrows twittering.

We had an early lunch, and went for a brief stroll. The blissful solitude was evident in every speck of dust of the holy land…and every footstep coincided with the footsteps of holy men who travelled extensively through these mountains. The fatigue of the journey had started to catch up my wife by this time, and she decided to rest for a while. I, however, decided to go for a quick trip to Kakragad, which is yet another paradise for birders. I boarded a bus bound to Guptkashi, and reached Kakragad in half an hour. The road was fascinating with wonderful views of the Kedarnath and Kedardome peks near Bhiri. A lazy walk around Kakragad produced some good results considering the limited time I had at my disposal. I spotted a beautiful female scarlet minivet, a rock bunting, a couple of parakeets and a pied kinfisher seemingly meditating on a rock by the Mandakini.

I realized that I was getting late, and could face a problem returning to Syalsaur and hence started walking. Although walking back to Syalsaur which was 7 k.m away from Kakragad was out of question, I thought I could hop in to any passing vehicle or grab a car from Bhiri at the worst scenario. I had almost walked for a mile without a glimpse of a single vehicle. Although it was far from getting dark, the light had started to fade. Suddenly, a biker gentleman on his way to Chandrapuri stopped and offered me a lift…yes voluntarily. Gestures like these are unimaginable in the plains, and I was more than happy to accept his offer. We reached Syalsaur in 15 minutes, and the setting sun had started to paint the white snow in scarlet tones by then. No amount of thanks was enough to appreciate the help of the gentleman, and all he did was to nod, smile and ride away.

Watching sunset on the mountains is almost like seeing God - the experience is so divine. The entire valley was wrapped in a golden packet of soft light….the peaks changed color from scarlet to crimson which gradually turned into a fade pink before darkness engulfed the surroundings. It started to get cold as soon as it got dark, apart from the two of us, the only thing that reminded of the terrestrial existence was the sound of the flowing Mandakini.


We had ordered for a quick dinner and didn’t take long to float into dreamland with the prospect of an exciting day ahead.

....(to be continued)
Reply

Similar Threads

Title, Username, & Date Last Post Replies Views Forum
Garhwal – Land of Heavenly Bliss Dec 7th, 2011 17:23 31 7029 Uttarakhand
China to Bangladesh by land — a railfan’s journey in India May 13th, 2011 19:13 18 8434 Indian Railways
Shimla - the concrete blotch on the land of the Gods Aug 13th, 2009 02:27 14 1966 Himachal Pradesh
Mandakini Grand ? Aug 27th, 2008 10:40 0 1011 Delhi


Posting Rules

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
Forum Rules»
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.3.2
© IndiaMike.com 2018
Page Load Success