Tuesday, January 27, 2009

2008, Travel- VOF (Day2)

on the way to Valley of Flowers and Hemkund!...

Day 2) Rudraprayag – Joshimath: (110 km)

This GMVN rest house in Rudraprayag has the best location, with most of the rooms facing the confluence of river Alaknanda and Mandakini. The two rivers coming here have different colour, speed & maybe depth but when they get into each other its such a source of energy and revival that I could have spent all the next 8 days here simply looking at the gushing water.

A relaxed morning in and a around the guesthouse with nature walk, yoga and sinful aaloo paranthas, and we were ready for a drive from Rudrapayag to Joshimath. While collecting some chips and cold drinks to avoid ydays mistake, we spotted beautiful ghasiyarans (ladies with bundle of grass-fodder for their domestic animals, on their backs)on the way who smiled sweetly at me and also posed for me to click them.

We must have reached half way through when at the sight of a small fall I asked Amit to stop and we all came out to chk it. It was a natural source of water called “BHEEMDHARA” at chamoli-gopeshwar and looked rather cool and refreshing in otherwise hot sunny afternoon. Walking around this place for a while was enough to set in the mood and these two guys jumped into the water that was chilling cold. M didn’t know swimming but still did not shy away from diving and pulling up some stunts in the water with the help of A. And I enjoyed talking their photos thoroughly.

After that the driver saw a signboard with “DON’T NAG HIM LET HIM DRIVE” written on it and came back on reverse gear to make sure each one of us had seen it too, so we had no choice but to quietly admire the striking beauty of Garwal hills which to me looked like covered with a smooth velvet sheet of green. Next stop was VRIDH BADRI. It comes under PanchBadri, 5 shrines of lord Vishnu (Vishal Badri –Badrinath being the main and biggest of all, Yogdhyan Badri, Bhavishya Badri, Vridha Badri, Adi Badri). The priest and care taker of that place narrated the significance of Vridh Badri to us, its the oldest of all and there is a small village setup around it where I played with a calf on our way back to the road which was 50 mtrs uphill.

The drive today was eventful I must admit. The next in line was a fully loaded truck whose driver for the lack of luck had lost its control and that caused a traffic jam on this narrow route. Every time he would accelerate, it would only move to slip back instead of moving up ahead. I guess the breaks were not working and after several trials he was now positioned in such a way that if he tried once more & failed, the truck would fall off the road straight down the hill. That indeed was scary and we prayed for safety of all at that point. The truck was being controlled/stopped by means of a brick behind the back tyres. Some fellow travellers got down, gave ideas and offered help to at least move the truck thus unblocking the way and easing the traffic. We moved on and it started drizzling then changing our frame of mind into something better.

We had planned that if we reach Joshimath before 6 pm, we will drive further to Govindghat which is 20 km ahead, the same day & save time. We were told that one cant travel between Joshimath and Govindghat throughout the day for safety and control related reasons. There are set timings when vehicles are allowed to go and we got to know that the latest in a day is 4.30pm. So we had to spend that night at Joshimath.

With no prior bookings, the evening was spent in looking around for a decent place to stay (GMVN was all booked.) and we did get a nice acco with geyser and parking for a very low cost. One takes these amenities for granted in the planes but as you go higher(at least in this part of the world), every bucket of hot water comes with a price tag. Tales of that and of charging your mobiles or camera later as you read on... Today before we slept, we had a sumptuous dinner at one of the two competing restaurants on the main road @ Joshimath, had a long walk back home- holding hand and umbrella simultaneously in rain, sat inside the warm cosy razai and chatted for long over our lives back home plus office, people we love and hate etc.

Here is a view from our room @ joshimath..

I will not spoil the attractiveness(if at all I could make it so, in words, for you) of this journey so far by mentioning that before sleeping I also had to buy a medicine to fight my irksome stomach that refuses to be healthy whenever I don’t get my luxurious home loo :( so I have to take special care while travelling. When we couldn’t keep our eyes open anymore, we went to sleep with an alarm for 5.30am. Next day was going to be tiresome with the long trek to do.

WORD OF ADVICE – Just tell yourself that you are on vacation and relax.. Keep clicking and indulge in everything that u miss doing otherwise. If your objective is to reach the destination, you can travel by any mode but the best way to enjoy the journey is when u travel by private vehicle and if you want to drive on your own, please drive carefully!! Doing some stretching exercises in between is also recommended.

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