The difference between HEAVEN & HELL is not of altitude but of attitude and I am lucky enough to have anku (ankita) who was born in the lap of SHIVALIK MOUNTAINS,another name for heaven. After being continuously tanned by the cruel heat of delhi and victim of 2nd year exams. We somehow decided to go on a trip to anku’s home town, joshimath. We are a group of 6 people ankita, mayank, anuj, abhimanyu (all maths honours), akanksha (chemistry honours) and me, sonakshi (economics honours student) in delhi university. Everyone’s exam ended by 7th june and accordingly we had 5 reserved seats in Jan shatabadi dehradun that was to departure by 3:15 p.m. On 8th june from new delhi railway station. Akanksha) was in ddn(dehradun) already. She has her home in dehradun. Abhimanyu also is a denradun resident.
Around 9:30 p.m. We placed our feet on the floor of ddn railway station. Abhimanyu’s uncle came to receive us in his Chevrolet and akanksha on her activa. I m airy drive lover, so me and akanksha burned the costly petrol on activa and rest came as sophisticated ones in the car, doing the same thing. Meeting akanksha’s mom was pleasant but for me, Indian idol on the t.v. Screen was ofcourse an addition others reached later and me, ankita stayed at k’sha’s home while anuj, mayank at abhimanyu’s home. Next day we all had lunch at abhimanyu’s place and decided to reach the max cab stand in the morning at 6:00 but before that it was time for me, anku and akanksha 2 measure the roads of ddn on activa and atul’s (akanksha’s ddn frnd) aviator we went the boring Mc D and returned home safely I speeded up aviator first time in ddn and the dim road lights, low traffic and the chilled air all were extremely soothing..
Next day on 10th
We 5 people abhimanyu didn’t join us, reason was a reason:- ( around 7:30 a.m. We headed towards joshimath. We were 11 humans in the jeep. Me and manku sat on the seat next to the driver while k’sha, anuj nd anku on the middle one. With a lot of excitement we started the snapshooting. We were really amazed at some views the mountains got closer nd closer and the river, ALAKNANDA got deeper nd deeper. It was a yummy one! We cracked the jokes enough to stretch the jaws of everybody there. It was about 10 a.m. That the driver stopped the roughly moving car and instructed us to have a nashta, if interested and get back to the car within 20 minutes or so it was teen dhara, I guess!!
We had tea there along with the aaloo puris that k’sha’s mom prepared for us in the morning. The fooding there was comparatively expensive than the plains. We again got packed in the jeep and started our journey. Crossing Srinagar and other places was intensely forcing me to believe that I was nowhere else but in U.P. same crowd, same dust on roads the temperature was more or less same 42 degree. We reached Chamoli, the district of joshimath at 3:00 p.m. And then boarded another jeep finally for joshimath, this route made us feel that we are truly in between the valleys and some glaciers. We finally reached joshimath around 6:30 p.m. Gliding the luggages on much manually made way, we stepped in anku’s home in next 10 minutes. After namastey!!!! We semi filled our starving stomachs with super tasty paneer pakodas that aunty had prepared for us on the normality, we had dinner and appreciated the beauty of HATHI PAHAD and SLEEPING BEAUTY, the 2 mountains that the locals have named the air got chilled as the clock walked slowly.
Next day bought us the real fun. It was 11th june in a car, we people reached Auli, 13 kms (if m not wrong) from joshimath auli was fun, about 2500 mts above sea level. We took chair lift for 1km and everybody enjoyed except me a little of trekking over the mountains of auli and the awkward flow of air was helping us to do more masti, more pagalpan. We all shouted ‘champa’, ‘kalicharan’ in one voice in order to enjoy the echoing the ice on the mountains made us feel that we are in the middle ranges of Himalayas. It was getting difficult to walk for more, but time came when many wild oxes or what, were seen clearer, me and anuj ran so fast that we could not explain to the third one first thrill:- J The second one was when we took shortcut crossing the wild jungle we planned to walk 13 kms while returning back to joshimath, it was exciting going through the jungle that we only got to see on Discovery or in movies but the excitement soon faded when we realized that the jungle was really dense.
We started guessing the animals there soon our hearts started beating fast because after walking enough to get a way to road, we were unable to find any, it was decided to move back and drop the idea of shortcut believe it or not it got very difficult to move 4 us and manku told us to walk continuously, quietly there was only the movement of our feet and the sound produced by our breathe, these were enough to increase our fear extreme tiredness of the shaking legs were making us fall many times but the love for life and togetherness of friends made us reach the road.
Ofcourse!! Manku was the one who holded the hands of the about to faint ones. The heart throb of everybody was attentive. We were definitely on the road but anku told us that we were not at all safe there too, because many cases were being discussed by the natives on a daily basis about wild animals attacking the people in the market area. It was still too scary. We approached for lift to many tourist vehicles but none bothered to stop. Thankfully a local jeep was marked by us with a stiffed feeling to convince the driver to drop us to some place where some humans can be seen, we stood in a line in a way vertically crossing the horizontal road. The best part was, the thing happened. We were now 9kms from joshimath. Our legs pained enough while walking on the hills but with the genetic masti nature of friends, doing harkatein like ramp walk on road, plucking flowers and adjusting them on our head, giving toffees to the kids, singing songs, guessing the type of the tree and the most important one “taunting me, laughing at me and cutely waiting for me, bcz I was the last in the race. ”sometimes it was manku, sometimes anuj, k’sha or anku who walked with me, far behind the other three.
We headed towards Badrinath the only reason my papa allowed me for the trip, I think at 7 in the morning we were 7 people in the car ( we 5, anku’s mummy and younger bhai, akki) Badrinath is 50 kms from joshimath and 3100 mts above sea level, before going in the main temple for Darshan, people take bath in the ‘Snan kund’ and believe me, the natural water in the kund is boiling hot, to step in anyhow k’sha and anku gathered guts and went inside the kund for sometime I just put my legs into the extremely hot water and they threw water on the rest of my body thank god it was done and we walked towards the entry of main temple with “puja thaal” in our hands we completed the ‘darshan ceremony’ then we had lunch, some shopping and for photo shoot we went a little into ALAKNANDA RIVER I swear, the water was enough cold to fix the legs on the stone if not moved in 5 or so seconds contrast to the ‘snan kund’.
We hired a car to drop us to the ‘MANA VILLAGE’, 3 kms from badrinath then it was a walking distance of 1km to reach for ‘Vyas gufa’ where it is believed that ‘Vyas ji’ wrote ‘Mahabharata’. Walking more, made us reach a hill in the shape of a book, VYAS POTHI where ved vyas ji worked on the 17 ‘adhyaya’ and finding himself not so satisfied, created the 18th one there walking more, took us to the ‘Bheempul’ where Bheem kept a large stone on the ‘Saraswati nadi’ to help Draupadi cross the river. Saraswati river is really scary the sound of the flowing water was a roar with the help of some snacks, chilled water, our stomachs were not starving.
We returned home around 6 in the evening and were quite tired watching t.v. Together was fun had dinner and masti, much to make us board the ninnu train (good sleep)next morning was somewhat relaxing. We didn’t wake up hastily easy start of a bright day in breakfast some plates were carrying ‘jalebis, some ‘samosas, bread butter was there in the hot case and oh! How can I 4get the maggi noodles (none of my taste 4 the breakfast) but with friends, all tastes great that day aunty had fixed our visit to a nearby JAYPEE’s HEP( hydro electro plant) we reached the officer’s place, where they live at 3p.m. And from there we were supposed to be escorted by a man meant to take us to the HEP in the car and the twist came over when my name was mistakenly missing from the visitor’s list. It was decided by some of us that if m nt allowed to go,they will also nt go (the dosti type emotions of course) anyhow, by the negotiation of some powerful people there and the ringing of cannot be avoided phone calls had made it possible that everybody of us got a visiting identity card, when we entered the HEP, we deposited our cameras ,phones, as per the rules an engineer took us inside the plant and he whole heartedly explained us then working of the different parts of the different machines there, it was awesome to watch such work inside the big mountain, the most attracting feature of the plant for us, we asked many things and got to know too many, after returning from, we went in the local temples of Joshimath like ‘bhavishaya ka badrinath’ and many-many secrets of the sadhus and trees made us excited.
It was our last night at anku’s home so we decided not to sleep and play some games, the whole night after dinner we had our usual masti, played the games and slept for an hour woke up and got ready for Dehradun, our bus started its engine near 5:30a.m. On 14th june. We were four people now (me, manku. k’sha, anuj) the journey was nearly boring this time, the reason is expected by all and cherry on the cake, I got a superb headache with a feeling of vomiting yak! I know how difficult it was to cover 260kms with that feeling thankfully we reached ddn ISBT around 5:30p.m to keep his promise, Abhimanyu came on his bike and allowed me as the pillion the speedometer clicked 88km/hr and more on the highway to satisfy me we both reached k’sha’s place near 6:15p.m had some snacks that k’sha mom had prepared, took bath and after dinner k’sha dropped three (me, anuj, manku) of us to the railway station on her Activa she is a good driver, no doubt:-)J
Our train mussoorie express was about to depart when a good friend of mine and best friend of k’sha came to say me goodbye. Atul is really a great guy. The whoot of the train at 9:20p.m. Made the passengers sure that the train was about to leave the platform after some discussion, we three spread our very tired bodies on the reserved births. Obviously I cannot miss to mention that manku and anuj hold their minds busy with the comics that they bought from a book stall trin trin comics!!!!! Anyways, When we woke up, we were about to reach the old Delhi Railway Station, we asked an auto rickshaw to drop us to our flats in South Delhi, all of us had different experiences to share may the good god bless our friendship and give positivity.