After the Himachal trip in March and Kashmir Trip in April , I was again ready for a trip. This time I wanted to go to a far off place away from the mad rush of Delhi. The state decided was Uttarakhand. But I was really wishing for a solitary place. After searching on the net for few days , I zeroed it to Pitthoragarh. I finalized this place because this is an unexplored area of Uttarakhand, away form the hustle and bustle of tourists. As I was going alone in this trip, I booked my ticket on Ranikhet Express for 22nd June. I boarded the train on 22nd June from Old Delhi Railway Station. The train departed at 10:40 Pm and was supposed to reach Kathgodam at 5:15 Am. I slept after the train started form Delhi. Early morning at around 4am I observed the train was not moving. I got up and enquired. The people told that the engine had broken down and the train was standing at the Lal Kuan station.After an hour some other train reached Lal Kuan station at 5am. I just took my bag and rushed to the other train. Bought another ticket, and finally the journey resumed after a long pause. Reached Kathgodam at 6:15 am. The distance from Kathgodam to Pithoragarh is about 220 Km which is long ride on the totally curvy mountaneous road. Total distance from Delhi to Pithoragarh is about 510 Km.
Greenery all around
The first time I heard about Pithoragarh was in 2010 when I saw in the news that a cloudburst followed by heavy landslides had occurred in Pithoragarh. That is how I came to know about this place. In the news video, few hundred meteres of land was totally washed away and the town was completely seperated into two parts. Pithoragarh is located at an average altitude of 1700 m above the sea level. It is basically a district which is the miniature model of the Kashmir valley.Pithoragarh, is known as the gateway to the Himalayas from the north as this road leads to the Kailash Mansarovar. It is the eastern most district of Kumaon, and is bordered by Tibet on the north and Nepal on the east.Pithoragarh lies on the old trade route to Tibet.
Road to Kailash Mansarovar
I moved out from the Kathgodam station in search of share taxi. Mainly all the share taxis from Kathgodam were going till Almora. I heard only 1 taxi driver who was calling for Pithoragarh. One person was already sitting inside the Alto. I was the second. The driver waited for more passengers.I asked the driver that how much time it would take to reach Pitthoragarh. He told that it would take around 10 hours to reach there depending about the road conditions because this route is a heavily landslide prone area. When there were total 5 passengers the driver started the car. At about 8:15 am we crossed Bhimtaal. Just after crossing Bhimtaal, there was a landslide.
Road clearance work after a Landslide
So we had to wait for half an hour as the BRO people were clearing the road. We were cruising on the NH-87 and in another couple of hours we reached Almora. The road was good and greenery all around on thee hills. Kathgodam to Almora was around 82 Kms.
The turn for Ranikhet
At Almora, one passenger got down. Then our driver sahab again got down in search of a passenger and brought one after 20 minutes.Almora is located at an altitude of 1700 m above the sea level. In the meantime , I bought the famous Kumaon Sweets- The Bal Mithai from a shop. We again resumed our journey.
KMVN Sign Boards
View from Amora
After one and a half hours we reached the point from where Jageshwar temple was just 3Km. This temple comprises a cluster of 124 large and small stone temples . Jageshwar is located at an altitude of 1870 mts. Jageshwar is believed to be the site of first of the twelve Jyotirlingas, The Nageshwar Jyotirlinga. Jageshwar is the 8th Jyotirling among the Twelve. The time was about 12:45 Pm. One thing which I noticed on this track was the hills of this side are different from the Garhwal side. The mountains of the distant Kumaon have very loosely bounded soil which is the main cause of the landslides there. According to the local people in the rainy days sometimes whole of the hill gets washed away which affects the National Highway badly.
Way to KMVN Jageshwar
Loose dusty rock surface
After another couple of hours we turned on NH-9. The roads were practically good till now because it was not the monsoon season.After half an hour we reached the Gurna Devi Temple. The driver stopped the car, I went into the temple and did the Darshan.The time was 3:30 pm and Pitthoragarh was still 18 Km left. Started the last leg of the journey. Finally at 4 Pm, I reached Pitthoragarh. From the taxi stand went straight to the hotel. The driver charger Rs 550 from Kathgodam to Pithoragarh. It took me total 19 hours to reach Pithoragarh form Delhi.
Way To Patal Bhubneshwar (About which Nandan Ji had written few days back)
My favourites – The green sign Boards
It was a long tiring journey of over 500 Kms. As I went into the room, I was having a headache. Took some rest. But after some time my body also started aching. I was down with fever. I really did not want this as the next day I had reserved for Dharchula and Tawaghat. Finally took the medicine and slept that night hoping that everything would be fine tommorrow.
Next morning I got up at 7. But still had fever. Again took the medicine and waited for some time. But my body was not allowing me to get up. As health comes first than travelling, with a very heavy heart, I cancelled all of my plans for that day and took some rest beacuse I knew that the next day I had to do the return journey again of 520 Km and again it would be a long day of travelling. So in the afternoon just visited the local market. Pithoragarh is a very small place. Its main beauty is the greenery all around. There are lush green meadows all around which is a treat to watch. It lies in the centre of the western half of the Soar Valley meaning the Cool valley. It lies in the centre of four hills Chandak, Dhwaj, Kumdar and Thal Kedar. Pithoragarh is adjoined by river Kali at its boundry. The views from here are really very fascinating.
Greenery all around
BRO Sign Boards – All along the route
BRO Creates , Connects and Cares
The next day got up early and went to the taxi stand. I found the same driver. He told that he would go till Almora. Again got seated and the return journey started at 6:15 Am. At 12 pm we reached Almora where the driver made us seated in another taxi. From Almora to Kathgodam the journey was again comfartable and reached Kathgodam station at 2:30 Pm. I had already booked my train ticket. The train timing was 4 Pm. Boarded the train and reached back home at 12 Am.
Some Different trees
After reaching back I wondered was this a trip.After deep thoughts I thought Yes it was a trip but a little different one. Here I explored almost nothing about the place, but felt happy that covered most of the distance on a far and distant road. This was also a different and a unique experience of travelling and only travelling at its best.