Wednesday, January 21, 2009

2008, Travel- VOF (kick start)

Valley of Flowers and Hemkund!

This post is about THE HIGHLIGHT of our 2008 travel. Kind of “once in a life time” for me. Its about our Trek to Valley Of Flowers, which is a national park & a spectacular paradise of wild flowers in India (Uttaranchal). To begin with, let me mention that its going to be a rather long post, unless I suffer from lack of words to describe the experience OR I decide to split it into parts for better reading. All good things come at a price and here I am talking about some gruelling trekking but then the rewards make it all worth.

I will take one day at a time, it was between 9th Aug to 16th Aug, 08. Here is the start, the very first day.

Day 1) Delhi to Roorkee, Haridwar, Rishikesh, Devprayag, Srinagar & finally stopping at GMVN guesthouse at Rudraprayag for night stay(Here is a view from .the room we stayed in.)

It started @ around 3.30 am (*please don’t call us crazy), with me driving from our home in Naraina till that big signal at Vikas Marg. Then I gave the controls to the **driver. A stop at “Cheetal” for a misty morning walk around the deer, feeding the rabbits and having a cup of tea, then we sped on to have breakfast at roorkee. I love the bustling serenity of Haridwar, M had a vague memory of being there as a kid and A wanted to pickup some music; so we parked the car, got out for a stroll around the ghat and nearby Haridwar market area till all 3 of us were contented. After that we only stopped for photography here and there while going in reverse Ganges flow around Rishikesh. Huge mountains, thick green vegetation, terraced farming, river full of life, refreshing pure air. These were the scenes and there were also a few land slides on those sharp bends of the road. The treat to our eyes had only begun but it was already mesmerizing. The speedometer got influenced by a sign board that read “aisi bhi kya jaldi hai”. We enjoyed each moment and did not realise that we had skipped the lunch time. When hunger pangs started striking, thought of stopping at some eatery came to the minds but there was nothing in sight. To try our luck we got down to a quiet place “Jayal resort” (I didn’t know the name then, but today while writing I was being guided by the pics we took & I zoomed in this one to find it was a resort with a name too) but there was no one to attend us at the reception. After some looking around, there came a boy telling us there is nothing available, however we can pick up the mangoes fresh from the tree at the reception :).

It was raining cats n dogs in Delhi but the sun GOD was supporting our trip with a bright shine over us here, so much so that I had to put the sun shields on all the car windows to have the AC effect intact. On such trips I am the one ensuring that nobody misses the cosiness of home, you see. Anyways, the mangoes we picked up were not ripe but I still kept them inside my small home in there and we moved on, later picking up some bhajiya n samosa’s near devprayag-srinagar route and then stopped only at our destination for the day @ Rudraprayag. Prayag means confluence of rivers. We wanted to reach Rudraprayag safely before its dark and 40 km in the Garwal hills can mean anything between 2-3 hours.

We reached there at dot six pm, nice staff, not too high rentals, but wait, we thought we lost something during movement of our bags from the car to the room. was it someone’s goggles, spectacles, cell or something else, I cant recall now. Anyways, we being tired of a really long road drive (yes, inspite of the drive being so very beautiful), we took hot water bath in turns, took short naps, read the maps for the journey ahead, relaxed watching the aarti happening in the small temple at the confluence and clicking pictures and viewing those taken during the day. We unfortunately had to keep deleting the not so best ones as we were not carrying any additional data storage and had a full week ahead where we would be tempted even more to capture every view, every moment on the camera. I regretted not carrying the extra memory card but we still managed to have around 700 pics. I couldn’t even upload them all on picasa for sharing, so there were rounds of elimination and selection with the ones we clicked.

WORD OF ADVICE – keep snacks handy, sun block n shades are recommended, travel with additional storage for ur camera and book this place in advance if u wish to spend the night at Rudraprayag(which u must) and lastly, eat at the guesthouse only as outside there is no decent eating option here.

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