Hari-Sila or Harsil : A Secret Treasure of Garhwal

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#1 Jul 17th, 2012, 17:16
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#1
Since the age of Veda, people and pilgrims are crossing the path marked by the frequent movement through the dense forest full of animals to Gangotri . According to Mahabharata, Pandavas performed the hard meditation at “Pandav Gufa” (near Gangotri) before their way to Kailash.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to talk about the same old Gangotri. HARSIL, just 22km before Gangotri, laid neglected and ignored by passersby towards Gangotri & Gaumukh since the hundreds of centuries.





One of the strong reasons to be in Harsil








Harsil: Top-East side vew





Mythological History



Harsil is just not a name. Its christened from Hindu mythology. If we split the name, it looks like: Har+Sil


Har = Hari = Vishnu (God)
Sil = Sila = Stone




The king of Asura (demon), Jallandhar, was the ruler of this area. Gods were trying hard through the ages to defeat him, but all in vain. Jallandhar could only be defeated and killed if his beautiful and loyal wife get violated and cuckolded. Tulsi, the wife, was extremely devoted and vowed to her husband Jallandhar. Lord Vishnu was sent by the Gods as he was the most handsome and good looking.


Vishnu tried his best to fall Tulsi in the trap of his love. But Tulsi got angry and cursed him that he must turn into stone and scattered everywhere in the territory of king Jallandhar. That’s how the place got its name HARSIL.










Another folklore says, there were two rivers, Jallandhari & Bhagirathi, and they always fought with each other on the on a issue: who is great and powerful. The fighting caused frequent spate, concuss and flashflood. People prayed to Lord Vishnu to solve the crisis. Vishnu formed himself as “Sila” (stones) and placed in the conflict (read as confluence) of those rivers Jallandhari & Bhagirathi. And later the place got the name Harsil (God Vishnu in the form of stones).







Coincidentally, one can easily notice the calmness of the river afterwards Harsil to Jhala and so on and lots of small round shape Hari (Vishnu) as stone on riverbed.



Okay okay okay . I’m climbing down to the reality from myth and superstitions. People like me dumb atheist may not scroll their mouse more to down and read the remaining page.




Harsil is a very small place. Small number of hotels (I found 4) and shops (mainly for army men commodities). And small number of people. The place is on the right hand side of river Bhagirathi Ganga. There are two more rivers, Kakora and you already met the other one Jallandhari, containing crystal clear light-blue water to Bahgirathi. Both the confluences add extra attraction of Harsil.



I found many travelers intermingle and underestimate Harsil with Jangla, Dharali or with Mukhba. But with due respect of those places & its admirers (obviously they are good), I must say Harsil is just best.

Generally tourist place become famous for particular reason. Scenic beauty, picturesque surroundings, wonderful riverbed, temple, sunrise, dense forest of pine-oak-deodar-chinar, uncountable numbers of apple orchards, solitude, tranquility, towering Himalayan peaks, valleys, bugyal s, meadows, rhododendrons. I found all in Harsil.



May you would like to know, Kakora & Jallandhari both originated from Baspa Bamak glacier, same glacier produces the river Baspa, the famous one from Sangla-Chitkul (Himachal Pradesh). There is a good route for hardcore trekker : Harsil – Lamkhaga Pass – Chitkul.




How Harsil Get Familiar to World




Well! After a short study (there may be more reason), I think it happens due to two reasons:

First One:
It was 1857. India was under British rule. British realized first time even Indian can oppose. Yes! I’m talking about Sepoy Mutiny (Sepoy = group of soldiers formed with native Indians).
Many British had to run away to a safe place from the heat of mutiny. Frederic E Wilson was one of them. He asked shelter to the king of Tehri (in Garhwal) but the Raja refused.

But Wilson fell in lovewith Himalaya and set off his journey into mountains. Finally he settled at Harsil or one can say todays Harsil started to settle in a civilized form since then.

Wilson married a local girl. He introduced first apple sapling (imported from England) here and later the business of log for British Indian Railway. Its said that the annual income of the Raja of Tehri grew 10 folds by the revenue given by Wilson. Naturally one can guess how rich Wilson became. Even he introduced his own coins in the area.
The business of apple spread the name of Harsil to world and rest of Indian in 19th century and still nowadays.

Second One:




courtesy: http://www.bollywoodvinyl.com/ram-te...ack-5380-p.asp



It’s the most effective reason I think. The superhit Bollywood block blaster movie “Ram Teri Ganga Maili” (1985) directed & edited by Raj Kapoor. The movie visualized first time Harsil to common people in India. Many parts of this film were shoot here.




Few Important Information






Transport:

Car can be hired from Haridwar/Rishikesh. Small car Rs 1500-1800 and Jeep starts Rs 2000. Both rates mentioned for minimum 5 days hire. Journey time approx 8hrs.

Early morning direct buses (to Gangotri) from Haridwar and Hrishikesh (since 4:30am) available. Journey time approx 10hrs.

Share jeep & bus (7:00am) play from Uttarkashi. Journey time approx 3hrs.


Hotels:

I'm mentioning two recommendable and on great location hotels -

GMVN: Contact No. 013773-232210
Tariff: start Rs 1050

Hotel Skylark: Contact No. 01377-232203
Tariff: Start Rs 700


Altitude:

9,005 ft

Best Time:

For Snow - February to March

Flowers - April to June

Apple - September (end) to October (early)

Clear View/Charming Weather - September to December (early)

Festival:

Traditional & devotional dance by the tribal at Mukhba Village on Astami & Navami of Durgapuja

Cloth:

very cold at night. Windy at day light. Heavy woolen recommended.

Food:

its not a problem. Hotels have their restaurant. On mall (yes! they have one 200/250 sqft ) area you'll get plenty of options. Actually those shops are for army men who get bored having canteen menu

Well! some good news for non-vegers. People who get bored having veg food in Garhwal region, Harsil may a relief. Chicken, Mutton, egg are available. Now! Bengali dont ask about fish never found it. Though fishing in Bhagirathi may be an amusement part of traveling Harsil.

Shopping:

Nice place from handicrafts collection. Handmade woolen items from Bhutia/Tibetan villages or even on "mall"-shops may be a good purchase

_______________________
Those who use slow bandwidth, this page may be overwighted for them. So, in next part, other details of Harsil and around Harsil will be posted along with few snaps.




Reference Books:


1. দেবতাত্মা হিমালয়: প্রবোধ কুমার সান্যাল (in Bengali)

2. গঙ্গা-যমুনা-মন্দাকিনীর পথে পথে: মধুসূদন বসু (in Bengali)

3. হিমারন্য: রামানন্দ ভারতী (in Bengali)

4. Travails of Border Trade: Bhawan Singh Rawat




for Pictures in good quality visit:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/photo-s...3284/lightbox/
.


Totaly confused how to explore the beautiful earth when one life is too short to complete my great India


Photo-Story: HARI-SILA or HARSIL Deoriatal-Chopta,
Last edited by PKanti; Jul 19th, 2012 at 11:58.. Reason: typo
#2 Jul 17th, 2012, 17:56
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#2
Excellent write-up PK. Keep going.

Btw, in some of your threads like for example this one, the write-up far exceeds the page-width, making it a little inconvenient for readers. Please check this aspect in your future posts.
#3 Jul 17th, 2012, 23:26
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#3
yes! you are right, its too wide.......think its due to pictures

May admin do something or suggest something to solve it
#4 Jul 18th, 2012, 00:09
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#4
too good .. please continue ...
Cheers,

Sasanka
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#5 Jul 18th, 2012, 10:05
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#5
Quote:
Originally Posted by PKanti View Post yes! you are right, its too wide.......think its due to pictures

May admin do something or suggest something to solve it

Hope you have taken up the matter with admin or else reported the problem to one or the other moderators. Anyway, please continue. Its way too good to bother readers
#6 Jul 18th, 2012, 12:22
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#6
PKanti,

Only you can change the size of your uploaded photographs.

To the others who requested that admin intervene - if you have a suggestion, kindly use the "Reported" function, which is a red triangle in the bottom left hand corner of each post.

Moderators cannot be omnipresent and omniscient, though we try hard.
#7 Jul 18th, 2012, 13:00
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#7
@ Pkanti,
Good pictures and writeup.. waiting for next episode..
Now Harshil will be part of my stay during Yamunotri and Gangotri yatra paln in first week of October.

thanks..
#8 Jul 18th, 2012, 13:07
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#8
thats an wonderfully drafted information on Harshil and its history... good job done PKanti...
hope to see simillar details on other ancient hamlets of Himalayas...
#9 Jul 18th, 2012, 18:12
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#9
Good stuff.

Not a lot of people know that the correct name of the place is Harshil. 'Harsil' has even crept into official spellings in Devnagari. F.E. Wilson used to spell it as Hursil.


Wilson married whom, PK?
#10 Jul 18th, 2012, 18:14
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#10
Quote:
Originally Posted by sasanka View Post too good .. please continue ...
thanks buddy
#11 Jul 18th, 2012, 18:36
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#11
Great effort P.Kanti - enlightened me about the mythology of the place.

Regards,

S. Roy Biswas
#12 Jul 18th, 2012, 18:42
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#12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dilliwala View Post Good stuff.

Not a lot of people know that the correct name of the place is Harshil. 'Harsil' has even crept into official spellings in Devnagari. F.E. Wilson used to spell it as Hursil.


Wilson married whom, PK?
When I posting, if I knew you are going to scrutinize my writing I must wrote the name of F. Wilson's wife, Gulabi


Quote:
Wilson used to spell it as Hursil
its a brand new info for me.....thanks

PS: you know sir, not too many IMs interested to read instead of writing ........thats why I intentionally compressed/shortened my writing as much as possible
#13 Jul 18th, 2012, 18:47
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#13
He made a huge fortune in killing wildlife and selling the products, and felling innumerable deodar trees
If you find my posts confrontationist, please bear, I am an old frustrated guy who has nothing better to do than sit on rocking chair and curse the world whole day
#14 Jul 18th, 2012, 18:56
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#14
Quote:
Originally Posted by PKanti View Post When I posting, if I knew you are going to scrutinize my writing I must wrote the name of F. Wilson's wife, Gulabi
I wasn't asking for the name - check what you wrote again under 'First One'.



Quote:
Originally Posted by jituyadav View Post He made a huge fortune in killing wildlife and selling the products, and felling innumerable deodar trees
That's right, floated them down the river to be sold to his compatriots for building the railways.
#15 Jul 18th, 2012, 19:10
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#15
Is there a dynasty of Anglo-Indian Wilson loggers and apple-growers still in the area? Or what happened?
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