Last weekend, when there was no planned flight at the airport, I got an opportunity to relax in the Himalayan Hills. So, in the evening I took a bus to Dehradun. I reached there by 1.30 AM in the night and stayed at my friend’s room in Subhash Nagar near Bus Terminus. Dehradun is just like another home for me, where I always want to live. I asked some of my friends to join me on the trip to Gangotri or Badrinath, but everyone was busy with their schedule. So, I left Dehradun alone on early morning at 4.30 AM to Rishikesh. I took a bus to Haridwar from ISBT, but on the way I have come to know, besides going to Rishikesh via Haridwar, I can reach there directly from Dehradun via Jolly Grant Airport. So, I left my bus in between and took another bus to Rishikesh. It saved another 40 kms journey. The bus reached at Rishikesh bus stand around 6.00 AM. The people over there informed me that Gangotri, Yamunotri, Badrinath, Kedarnath; all temples are closed now a days. So, they suggest me not to go there these days. They suggested me to go Auli via Joshimath.
But then I dropped the idea to go any of char dhams and decided to roam nearby in Rishikesh and Haridwar. So first I went a nearby Ghat in Rishikesh. It is a hardly 1 km walk from bus stand. I don’t know the exact name of the ghat, but I think its name is Triveni Ghat. It was the early morning, so there were very few people walking on the ghat along the river, some old people were doing yoga, and some sanyasis are just roaming from here to there.
Besides Yoga and Meditation, Rishikesh is also famous for the adventure sports, especially river-rafting. I didn’t have the time, but if you have, enjoy the rafting. There are some rafting courses also.
One the way to Chamba, the bus passed through Narendra Nagar. It’s a beautiful town and 16 kms away from Rishikesh. The main market is just look like a white corridor. It can remind you the rural version of Connaught Place.
I reached Chamba at 1.00 PM. Four roads converge at the town center of Chamba. One from Rishikesh, second goes to Mussoories via Dhanaulti, third goes to Uttarkashi and further Gangotri and fourth goes to Tehri Dam. So Chamba is a merging point between these routes. An uphill road also goes to New Tehri, which is 11 kms away. Chamba is a decent town and you can find some good hotels, if you want to stay there.
There is no bus service from Chamba to Tehri Dam these days except one at 11.00 AM in the morning. So, I was stuck in Chamba upto one and half hour. Usually jeep service ( Sumo, Marshal) is available, but in my case, the driver wanted to load around 20 passengers in a single Sumo, so he kept us waiting. The fare for this 20 km stretch is Rs.20. We were around 14 passengers inside the vehicle, but the driver was not ready to move. Finally, annoyed passengers left that jeep and then one jeep came suddenly and loaded around 4-5 passengers. The driver was in hurry as this loading might cause him problem with the union of local jeeps there. It was something like in the case of blue line buses and call center cabs loading passengers. So we started moving towards Old Tehri. Actually, there is no place like Old Tehri. Whole the city has been submerged under water. So you have to go upto Koti Colony, which is situated along the Tehri Lake. The road was very bad. But you can see a lot of natural beauties around you. If you haven’t seen the step-like fields on the hills ever, you can enjoy that along Chamba-Tehri Dam Road. It is look-like a decorated hill from the top to bottom. Just imagine how much hard work they have done to make these hills suitable for farming!
So, finally at 3.00 PM, I reached Koti Colony. In the jeep, I met a local guy; age was approx 14-15 years. He showed me the dam site, the lake and told me about the old town of Tehri. A young boy, who was not mature enough to understand the history, glory, protest, politics and everything over this project, was very enthusiastic to pass all the information, whatever he knows. He showed me the road connected to Old Tehri, the venue of Old Tehri Bus Stand, the helipad and also the dam site. The scraps of bulldozers, the concrete mixers, the trucks – everything down below were scattered all around the site. He was passing the information and I was only thinking that few years ago, there was a big town and now, there is only water all around in this valley. You can get the idea how a city will look like after global warming or how Venice will look like, when it will be submerged under water. Located at an altitude of 755 meters, the old Tehri town was more than two hundred years old. Maharajah Sudarshan Shah established the town as the capital of Tehri-Garhwal in 1803. Sadly, now it is only in history and photographs.
After spending one hour at the site, I returned back to Chamba by a empty bus, carrying only me as a passenger. By 6.00 pm I reached to Chamba again and got a cab to Rishikesh and from there I took a bus to Dehradun. Reached at my friend’s room around 10.00 PM. So, in this way I spent wonderful Saturday in the Shivalik Hills again.