An Unplanned Trip To Gangotri..

Let me first tell all the readers that I got the motivation to write this after reading through many of the posts at ghummakar. Your stories truely inspired me to pen down this incredible journey which I went through, where one thing led to another and a simple rafting trip to Rishikesh turned into a full blown adventure at Gangotri.

You me and Tea

Me, along with three of my colleagues and friends, Nitin, Manish and Shobhit, work night shifts at an RPO in Mathura Road, New Delhi. Fortunately all of us have a zeal for adventure so we decided to go for a road trip on one of our weekends in May. The thing I like about Delhi is its proximity to the Himalayas and the fact that you have the option too choose from so many weekend getaways if you are a mountain lover which all of us are. So, for a couple of weeks during our “sutta” breaks at work, all of us banged our heads as to were we should go. Ultimately, thanks to Nitin we zeroed in on Rishikesh as me ,Manish and Shobhit had not experienced the thrill of rafting yet and Nitin’s description from his previous three visit’s was too tempting for us to resist.We planned to come packed to office on the evening of 9th (that is when our shift starts :) )hoping to leave on 10th morning(Saturday) at 2:00 am and getting back to Delhi on Monday morning. We decided to go by Manish’s car (A Maruti Swift) and Shobhit declared himself to be our driver for the trip (we din’t have a choice because he came up with nice excuses like “you know I get scared when someone else drives”). The fact is that the car steering for him is just like a toy to a kid , so we gave in coz frankly the rest of us guys preferred sitting back and chilling out.

A day before the journey, me and the other guys took Manish’s car for a quick check up to get it ready for the road…yes…the the lazy bum Manish had not even bothered to get the coolant filled or the pollution done!But the guy is funny and he played a big hand in keeping us entertained in very tough times ahead as you will come to read..he and Nitin completely keep going at each other even in office and the rest of us laugh our socks off!

On the D day (U will come to know why I call it that!), me and Nitin came to office by my car(He parked his bike in my parking) and Manish picked Shobhit up. The whole evening we were too excited to work and fortunately, it being a Friday, we were lucky not to be too loaded with work. At 1:30 Shobhit started pestering everyone to leave as he could’nt wait till 2!. At night only the four of us are in office so finally we managed to squeeze out at 1:45 am. We stopped by my house to pick up my bag and a few cans of beer :), which were absolutely chilled.

So finally, we did a high five and started from my house at around 2:30 am. We stopped by HCL BPO in Noida to grab a few chicken and paneer tikkas and also stocked up on cigerettes, chips and cold drinks. The drive through the night was pleasent with no jams and we reached Meerut quite quickly, engrossed in our banter and the beer (Of course Shobhit does not drink!). Also, we joked on the way about wanting to reach Snow mountains and feeling the snow, but we quickly dismissed the thought as a “beer aftereffect” and the fact that we had to be back by monday. We could not possibly travel to such a place and back in 2 days! Between Meerut and Roorkee we had sporadic heavy traffic in some places but after that it was all clear. We reached Rishikesh at 1:00 am( because of our longish breakfast on one of the dhabas on the way and photo session breaks!). Forunately, Nitin knew the rafting guys at our hotel so we got a 2:00 pm slot from Shivpuri.

Ganga and the invigorating water

After dumping our luggage at the hotel we left for Shivpuri on a Jeep, which carries the raft on top of it. It took us nearly 20 minutes to reach there. It was a 16 km journey we had to cover downstream from Shivpuri to Ram Jhoola in Rishikesh. There were 8 people on the raft, 4 of us and another group of 3 with the instructor. We were a little tired because we had’nt slept for nearly 24 hours but the touch of the cold water refreshed us again. The rafting was immensely enjoyable, especially when we crossed the level 4 rapids named Roller Coaster and Golf-Course. I can go on and on explaining the rafting to you and fill up the post but I will save it for another day coz this was just a small part of our adventure. (Although it was meant to be the sole object of our exercise!).

Forward forward hard forward

By the end of it all of us were very tired and hungry with our shoulders aching. We went back to the hotel, took a bath and went to a nearby restaurant and ate like wolves. I think all of us agree that it was the most any of us had ever eaten!This was Saturday evening at 7:00. Before collapsing on the bed we decided on leaving at around 4am the next morning for Chamba, which is a hill station around 60 kms from Rishikesh and be back by the evening. Then we could leave for Delhi at night so that we could be there by Monday morning as we had to report for work at 6pm.

Colorado rocky mountain high

Next morning at 3:30 I dragged Manish and Shobhit out of their peaceful slumber. As for Nitin, who shared the room with me, a mug of cold water splash from Manish did the job:).We checked out from the hotel at around 4:00, waking the poor receptionist from his sound sleep and he was obviously not very thrilled.

It was still dark and as we walked towards the car which was parked at some distance, the cool breeze from the Ganges woke us up completely. Our hotel was just near the spot where the rafting ended. It was cold, starry and dark outside with the rumble of the water very clearly audible. It felt a little ominous but it was exciting.

The Swift

On the way we stopped to have tea at one of shops which opened early. We reached the gates to the mountains at around 4:30. The policeman there told us to wait till 5 as entry into the mountains from Rishikesh is not allowed before 5:00 am. So we parked and loitered for a while and visited the nearby temple. Finally, the gates to the Himalayas opened and we entered, having no idea about what we would be going through on the next leg of our journey!

The blue spread

As the sun was rising and we were driving through the zig zag roads we could see rishikesh below and the river ganges.It was a sight to behold. Guided by the signboards we reached Chamba at around 8 am. We were running a little short on fuel and thanksfully there was a BP station just at the entry point. We got a full tank hoping it would last through on our way back to Delhi. There was a cold wind blowing and at one point on our way to Chamba when we got off for tea, we had to get inside the shop because of the chilliness in the air. Manish , who had spent five years in Dehradun, suggested that since it was just 8am we move on to Dhanaulti, roughly 30 km from Chamba. On our way to Chamba, we had come across the “Gangotri/Yamunotri-200 km” signboard a couple of times and we jokingly wished aloud how we could go there. I was the one who initiated the topic. In fact each of us wanted to go there in our hearts but we mostly kept it to ourselves except me occasionally because I had certain liberties being their supervisor:)!

We reached Dhanaulti at around 9:30am, parked near a good restaurant and gorged on piping hot Alu Paranthas, Omlettes and chai. The Gangotri topic came up again. Manish, who was the least interested in any thoughts about considering it suddenly became interested. And then, sitting right there having breakfast, with our hunger for adventure, we made our Quixotic plan!We were abundant on ideas but short on time…so we quickly asked the restaurant waiter how long it would take us to reach Gangotri. His reply was 6 hrs. Our calculations started. If we left now we could reach Gangotri by 5 in the evening, leave 2 hrs later at 7, we could reach Delhi in 15 hrs, by 10 in the morning, rest and easily go to work at 6pm. How possible it felt!We were so filled up with the urge that we were not ready to consider any obstacles and any comments to this effect were quickly squashed with rebuttals.To think that we would be getting to the source of the river on which we were rafting a day before was enough to blind us with thrill. We had no idea about the kind of roads we would come across or the fact that Gangotri road is notorious for landslides.Even Shobhit did not mind the exhaustive driving.Now you can see what I meant through the comment I made about him and the steering wheel and the toy.We had to drive back to Chamba and take a detour from there to Gangotri via Uttarakashi. It was approximately 200 km. We reached back to Chamba at 11 and took the right turn (it felt right!)to the 3rd and the most adventurous leg of our journey.So a high 5 came again and we were on our way-“Gangotri, here we come”!!!

Thats us

A little into our journey we decided to keep a tab on what was the average speed we were doing. No matter how swiftly we drove we somehow could not do more than 20km and hour on an average.The Ganges was flowing deep down and would stay with us till the rest of our journey. 2 hrs into the journey the Ganges water appeared to be very still and absolutely green. When we got a snap it seemed like a wallpaper, it was that beautiful. I would try and upload it here.

At around 3 we reached the detour from where a path turned left for Yamunotri and if we continued going straight we would reach Gangotri. We were a little biased towards Gangotri. Anyways there were a few shops there and most of them advocated Gangotri so our decision was reaffirmed. We stocked up again on cigarettes and water and continued on the way towards Gangotri, which was still around a 100 km away.We were seriously in a time crunch now and wanted to reach Gangotri before dark, since we only had a couple of hours there to enjoy the place. We crossed Uttarakashi, which is quite a big city compared to your normal hill station. When we stopped for a while at a gas station I could see in the horizon far away, there were some pretty dark clouds.

Ganges was now flowing in a thin stream parallel to us and the rishikesh rapids seemed nothing compared to the rapids it made now. The water was milky white. We were late but we had to stop.It was just too beautiful a sight.Green and white everywhere. Mountain, us, the Ganges and another mountain, from left to right and the snow mountains at the distant front. The valley was breathtaking. And I thought Shimla and Musoorie were beautiful!It started raining gently and we parked on the roadside and got another photo session done on the banks of the Ganges.

Challenging Drive

We moved on. It had started drizzling quite briskly now and we were going as fast as the roads permitted. The roads were in good condition till Uttarakashi but suddenly now they were becoming narrower and muddier. We crossed a small town of Barihari. Suddenly, looking out from my window I saw a sign saying vehicles not allowed beyond this point after 8 am and before 5 pm. This was another setback. Now we had to stay overnight at Gangotri and leave the next morning and possibly go straight to the office.

The trying terrain

But these plans were laid to rest as our true nightmare started. It had started raining quite heavily by now and the mud on the roads had turned very slippery. Also, the roads were very narrow, barely sufficient for one bus through pass though. Rock boulders from some earlier landslide and the construction work going on also hindered our way. There was a time when a bus in front of us skidded and narrowly managed falling into the Ganges below.That was the one time we got a little scared as I was literally looking down on my right through the window to check as to how much margin we had before the deep valley and the tumultuous Ganges flowing below.

Suddenly our car was stuck in a huge pond of mud. It did not move no matter how much Shobhit tried. The car filled up with the smell of burning tyres. Also, we had a hurried traffic honking from both the sides. Ultimately, we got outside into the heavy rain and the slimy mud and with the help of a few locals pushed the car around 50 meters to a small town called Gangnani. It was actulally a conglomeration of 3-4 shops which formed the town. Our luck that just after here the roads got better. When we opened the bonnet a huge pool of smoke came out as the car was overheated. We filled up water from a spring nearby in buckets which we borrowed from a shop and threw it on the engine. We had no option but to wait around 30 minuted till the car cooled down. It started to get a little darker and colder. The rain had thanksfully stopped.We all had come in our t-shirts, not in our wildest imaginations thinking of this. Before us were beautiful snow capped peaks and to our left was a mountain a couple of huts about 200 meters up. To our right just below the shops the Ganges flowed and to its right was again a mountain. So we were sort of trapped in a valley.

We passed time by sipping hot tea and smoking cigerettes waiting for the car to cool down.Finally it did and we breathed a sigh of relief! Shobit turned on the ignition but the car did’nt budge. He tried for a couple of times more but still nothing. We were in for the shock of our lives as the most probable reason for the car not starting now was that the clutch plate had burned out! It meant that we had to get a mechanic and a clutch plate from somewhere. But the trouble was that we were in the middle of nowhere! A couple of passer by’s told us to go back to Barihari, which was around 12 kms on the way back and try and get a mechanic from there. Me and Nitin decided to go, then all of us decided against it as it was too risky walking 12 kms in the dark and even if we got the mechanic he would not come so late and if he decided to come, the Barihari border would be sealed at 8pm. Also we tried getting a lift but no one stopped in that terrible weather and at that time. So we were left with no option but to guts it out through the night.

Smoking Swift

It was 6:30 and nearly completely dark. First thing we did was try to call home. That was another problem as we had no signal as only BSNL worked there and there were no pco’s in sight. We borrowed a phone from a passerby and all of us informed our respective homes. Even with BSNL we had to stand on our heels or look for specific points in air to keep the phone in order to get a signal!I called up my sister and just manged to say “didi,I was going to Gangotri and……” the call disconnected. She must have panicked!Fortunately she later told me that she had called back on the number and the man whose phone we were using told her that our car broke down and we were o.k.

Then we had to think of a place to stay at night. One of the Shop’s had a room attached to it(which the owner must have built to accommodate stranded people like us!). Anyways, the view from the room was incredible with the Ganges flowing rapidly right down the window. You have to be there to know how beautiful it was!But we also did’nt want to leave the car outside like that so we ultimately decided to spend the night in the car. We were not sure of the place we were at or the kind of people there. We then got together and decided on our course of action. We stocked up on the food (chips again, the only thing available there!). It was 7:00 pm and absolutely dark now. The shopkeepers started pulling the shutters down and left. We were all alone now. I decided that we should pull out the jack and keep it with us along with some stones inside the car , just in case we had the need to use it. Me and Manish volunteered to get out of the car first incase we had a need to fight if attacked.

It was unbearably cold outside and pitch dark so we had our last smoke and everyone got into the car. Shobhit and Manish in the front, me and Nitin at the back. Half and hour must have passed and a dog started barking outside, which we later came to know was “kaalu” ,one of the shop owners dog. There were three things which kept us awake throughout the night.
1)The dog kept barking and everytime we felt he saw somebody
2) Every 5 minutes Shobhit saw a figure in the dark he woke everybody up
3) It was damn cold, even inside the car and the roar of the river down was a little scary(we could hear it even with the car windows shut)!.

We were sure to miss the office on Monday and I was thinking of a way to inform my boss. For the fist time in my life I realized how dependent I was on the mobile phone!It was the longest night in my life.

Finally day came. At around 5 am me and Manish covered ourselves with with a blanket each and started on the 12km trek to Barihari to get a mechanic. The walk unexpectedly was not tiring as we had so much beauty surrounding us. Fans of Shimla , Nainital or Musoorie please don’t mind but this beats them hands down. When we were thirsty we drank from the streams of water falling down the mountain. We reached Barihari at 8:00 am and went straight to the only mechanics available there. To our great dissapointment, these guys were already told that there was a red broken down swift ahead but they did not have a clutch plate. So we would have to go all the way back to Uttarkashi to get the clutch plate. We quietly thanked them and took a jeep from Barihari to Uttakashi which is around 30kms . The sun was out and the roads were in better condition than the previous day so we reached Uttarkashi at around 10 am. Manish got a nice nap on the way, my shoulder being his pillow!

Fortunately we saw an auto shop right next to were we got off at Uttarakashi. Suddenly we became conscious that we were looking like refugees with the covered blanket and all. So we took it off and headed straight for the shop. We told our story to the shopkeeper who said he might have the clutch plate. For a moment there we were so relieved. But 10 minutes later he came back and told us that he has the clutch plate for every other model except SWIFT as it is a new model!!I could not believe my ears! The only option now was him calling up the Maruti showroom in Dehradun through which the clutch plate would be loaded on the 1 PM bus which would reach Uttarakashi at 7pm. Even if we could get a mechanic by then no use going back coz the Barihari border would be sealed by 8pm. So me and Manish had to stay overnight at Uttarkashi and poor Nitin and Shobhit one more night in the car!! We got a decent room to stay in a hotel just above the auto shop which was run by the shopowner himself. His name was Suleiman. We then went out in the search of a mechanic who agreed to go with us at 6am the next morning to put the new clutch plate for 1000 rs. The new clutch plate had already set us back by 3500Rs. So with nothing more to do we had a breakfast of Aloo Paranthas(yeah…again) and went to sleep. We were afraid that with us not back by the evening they (Shobhit and Nitin) would panick but fortunately they called from some one’s cell and we told them. They also conveniently lodged themselves into the Shop owners room, the one with a beautiful view. In In the night me and Manish explored Uttarakashi on foot a little bit and had a hearty meal of roti, paneer and dal which we thoroughly relished!I also called my boss and home and tried to explain our situation in the best way possible!

We woke up early morning at 5 and spent half an hour finding the shopowner who was supposed to get the clutch plate and another hour roaming twice across Uttarakashi with the shopkeeper to search for the bus which had bought it. Finally we got everything and left with the mechanic towards Gangnani at around 7:00 am. We reached at eight and the mechanic whose name was “Dhanoi” started his work. We nearly broke our backs trying to lift the heavy engine while he put the plate in place. At around 1: 00 pm he gave us another shock. He said that the new clutch plate is also not working. We were seriously getting worried about getting stuck there for a long long time. We wanted to pull our hair out. I told him to try again and after breaking our spines for 3 more hours finally we made it! The car was moving again. All of us breathed the heaviest sigh of relief in our entire life! It was 4:30 now. We had requested one of the shopkeepers to prepare Daal Chawal for us which he kindly did. Now call it foolhardy or the spirit of adventure, while eating we decided if we had come so far why not make it to Gangotri!!Anyhow, we couldn’t leave for the return journey at night so again all of us got all starry eyed. I have not seen four people so obsessed with adventure! So we left Gangnai, saying goodbye to the shokeepers and the dogs Kaalu and Sheru, who had become friends in our solitude.

The last leg of our journey was about 60 miles but absolutely worth it. I have seen photos of Manali-Leh highway but this too was absolutely beautiful!We were surrounded by snow mountains on all four sides and the Ganga now was a thin stream about 10 meters wide. We reached Gangotri afte dark at around 8:00 pm. It was freezing at -1 degree and we were still in t-shirts!As we were parking the car we had the same smell of burning tyre again and the car stopped moving. This had to be it!!We thought the clutch plate had gone again!I then decided that two of us will have to go back to Delhi tomorrow morning come what may or we might loose our jobs. So we had another night of sleeping in the car. Fortunately there was a kind soul, a driver form Delhi, who lent us some heavy blankets so we survived another night!!

As luck would have it, the car started the next morning!We did a quick Darshan of the temple and left for the return journey to Delhi at around 7am. We had a lot of fun on the way back.Manish was driving this time and Shobhit had Vodka for the first time in his life and kept talking non stop from Haridwar to Delhi and we had a lot of fun at his expense(we still do). Also we were quite relaxed, though we did’nt know if we still had our jobs or not!We reflected back on the trip and agreed that this has to be the best ever. Though we were faced with hardships we went through it with a cool head and the experience brought all of us closer!!

We finally reached Delhi at 11:00 pm on the 14th May.The next day was spent giving explanations at office and to family members. Finally everyone recognized what we had gone through and my bosses even had the patience to listen to the complete story. One of them went to Gangotri in July!!

At the end I want to thank all you guys who took the time out to read my post. This was the best trip of our life and taught us a lot about surviving in difficult situations. It made us aware of the beauty and the wrath of nature at the same time. Given a chance to go over the trip again I wouldn’t want to change anything!

…Isn’t that what Ghumakkar’s are all about??


  • shobhit says:

    No doubts…….i agree with each and every word above……fortunately i was driving that red swift…….but trust God….this had been the most adventures and amazing trip of my lifetime….but thats what you call adventure……i remember each and every thing ……brushing teeth early morning @ gangnani near waterfall…..getting into dense jungle early morning with bottle of water in hand….searching for a place to………..charging cellphones by directly connecting the charger to car battery…….buying rice @ 55 rs /kg……and Driving…..driving and driving……all together…….this travelogue can never describe what we actually felt ….but yes this had been the max you could write in words……if in case you wanna experience more……..Drive to gangnani…….there is no other way to experience it…….

  • shobhit says:

    Some More Pics—

    Gangotri Final

  • Kostubh says:

    He he he he he hi hi hi hi………bad enjoy kar rahe ho yaar……….maza aa gaya pics me….. and also nice writer you are………kabhi Corbett aao…..I m from corbett…….Bye.

  • sameersharma says:

    Well done and long live ghumakkars. I was reading your story and it reminded me of my trip to Gangotri. The place you stayed (Gangnani) has an ashram of Rishi Parashar which also contains the hot sulpher water kund.

    The best part about the temple is that when one completes the parikrama of the idol of rishi parashar, the land beneath feels very hot due to the water flowing beneath.

    Between Gangnani and Gangotri, Harsil is worth mentioning. Harsil is in a beautiful valley and the movie “Ram Teri Ganga Maili” was shot here. There is a trekking route from here to Sangla valley as per the locals (I am not sure).

    Can anyone pass on further details about Harsil?

    Await reply.

  • Patrick Jones says:

    Man, that was something! You shouldve started writing long time back.

    I was compelled to read your story in one go. You brought an element of fun to Ghumakkar. Hats off to the adventure spirit of you guys!

    Keep going.

  • Rajeev Tivari says:

    That was some trip. You make any normal, uneventful trip to Gangotri look like a cakewalk and I am already thinking of taking it knowing ‘for sure’ that my clutch plate will not fail;-)

    I have been along other tributaries (Alaknanda & Mandakini) of the great river and I know that how you compare these places with run-of-the-mill hill stations is fully justified.

    You have so well described the beauty in words. And it is a humorous account of a not so humorous a situation.

    Keep Ghuming and Ghumakkaring.

  • nandanjha says:

    Welcome Shekhar to ghumakkar.

    This reads like a fiction. I had the privilege of reading this last night and I was in two minds to whether we should publish the story till day 2 car break or day 2 night-in-car or do the whole thing. I thought that it would make a more interesting read if we break the story at night-in-car and then resume the rest in 2nd piece but that would have meant some more delays. So I chose to publish.

    I must have told this story to at least 5 people so far :)

    I have not driven that side beyond 30-40 KMs Chamba. Incidentally we were stuck as well while taking an off-road, no damage, and we finally managed to get out but had a good learning experience in taking a stuck scorpio out from losse-sand.

    Great fun and amazing ghumakkari. The best part was your decision to stil move to Ganotri after all that which happened. Wishes and be around to share more stories.

  • shekhar walter says:

    Thanks Kostubh, will definitely meet you when we ghumakkars land up in Corbett.

    Sameer, thanks for the update upon Harsil, we never knew about the the film shooting…other wise we would have done a photo session there too!:)

    Patrick and Rajeev, I am thrilled that u guys liked the story. Actually my insiration to write came after reading all the posts at ghumakkar

    …Special thanks to you Nandan for devoting so much time to go through the story, sort out the pics and publish the complete story at one go. The rest of the guys here njoyed the captions u put ,specially the “smoking swift”!

  • Shilpa Verma says:

    Wonderfully written. Where have you been all these years?

    You seem like a born writer…. Though I knew the whole trip earlier too, but it felt like I was reading something new….. something like a best-selling fiction, and I am happy to say…… Non-Chetan Bhagat types :)

    Why don’t you try writing a fiction for international readers??? It would definitely be a bestseller :) If you ever decide to give it a try, I would be anxiously waiting first in line to buy your book….

    Hope to see more of your experiences penned down here :P

    Have fun !
    Keep up the superb work !

  • sameersharma says:

    Dear Ghumakkars, another good place between chamba and dhanolti is Surkanda Devi. I had once camped there on the ridge. The view from the ridge was amazing in the middle of forest some 3 kms away from road. Me and my 2 brothers had great booz sitting along the ridge and in the middle of the night a dog (not sure wild or paaltoo) came and started hitting the tent with his claws. Since the dog was not barking, we could not make out whether it was dog or wild bear(I am sure booze was overpowering our senses). We panicked inside the tent and started beating beer cans. Finally better sense prevailed and we lit the newspaper with lighters and threw out of tent. It was one eventful night on the ridge near Surkanda Devi.
    Long live ghumakkari.

  • Nandan Jha says:

    Sameer – Why not share this as a bigger full feature story ? I am sure that people will lilke it. With adventure mood already set-in courtesy Shekhar, folks might be looking for more blood :)

  • Sudhir says:

    Shekhar- This is one hell of an adventure and I envy you guys. I have been on this route many years ago, but alas, was not so adventurous. I agree, the entire route is too too scenic.
    Very well written and kudus to you guys for braving it out.

  • Ram Dhall says:

    Welcome aboard Shekhar.

    Simply breathtaking description. I read it like an absorbing thriller. Beautiful supporting pictures too. The best thing is that despite all these obstacles, the group decided to carry on to Gangotri.

    Well done. Look forward to your next post.

  • shekhar walter says:

    Thanks so much Shilpa for the kind words…!

    Sameer your story sounds very exciting, waiting for you to pen it down!

    Ram and Sudhir, it is encouragement like this which motivated newbie writers like me to go in for more. So, thanks a lot!

  • Deepak says:

    Very well written indeed ….

    hope you brought sonme water too from the origin
    otherwizw drinking evian reminds purity of what gangotri would had
    all the best…..

  • Rahul says:

    Great absorbing account. I could totally imagine the situations for you guys and the setting around it. Reminded me a lot again of my trip to that region esp Badrinath, Kedarnath. And I’ve had the clutch plate menace near Manali, and we were looking out for bears in the dark, but thankfully didnt have to spend the whole night in the car! Phew!

  • shekhar walter says:

    thanks Deepak and Rahul. Infact we are in the infant stages of planning another trip to gangotri in Dec :)

  • manish khamesra says:

    Where should I start Shekhar. I am really at loss of words.

    Let first thing be first, your photograph of two tea cups looked superb and was inviting me to read the post for quite some time. BTW it is not clear to me that why four of you have two cups (may be half-half share karne se dosti badhti hai isliye – Andaaj – Apna Apana). Its a brillant photograph as well as a brillant idea too, but now I realize that how that idea stuck you. After spending cold nights in the car only in shirts, the one thing you think about, the next day (on your survival) is a cup of tea.

    I was thinking that its a big story and i would not be able to read it in one go, but on the contrary, once I started it was so difficult to leave it in between. No doubt the whole flow of the story is very smooth, it has all its share of adventures and at no place you lost the grip. Though you have written what you have gone through, but as a reader for me, its an excellent travelogue that had its own share of adventures.

    I agree with Shilpa that this story shows that how talented you are. Looking forward to read a lot more from you.

    Great & simply Great travelogue :)

  • shekhar walter says:

    Thanks for the encouragement manish!The photo was clicked by Nitin when they were at thr tree house and me and two of us were at Uttaranchal looking for the clutch plate…!:)

  • sumita says:

    Good writing skills, must have learnt from me :) (remember cabin no-1????) ha.ha.ha

  • It has been the first time i came on this site, as i had not heard about it before(which is my ill fate). This article is brilliantly written. but there are few things which i was searching while reading it, but i couldn’t get. like, there was no mention of hotel charges or rafting charges, the date of the journey was there, but not the month and the year. this post was published on 18th august,2008. even if we assume that the trip was taken in the month of august only, then the date and day doesnot match up, as on 09th of august, it was sunday and not saturday….actully i am not trying to find errors, but the informations which i was looking were not there. i am myself planning a trip to gangotri on my royal enfield thunderbird….and since i would be travelling for the first time, i want to get as much information as possible…..

    • shekhar walter says:

      Thanks for the comments Kshitij! Now to answer your questions:

      1) We started the trip on 10th May, 2008, Saturday at 1:30 am.

      2) I have not put rishikesh hotel or rafting details coz it was just a small part of our trip. I did not want to concentrate too much on that. Anyhow our rafting + hotel expense came to aprox. 2000 rs for 4 people.

      The main crux of my story was the adventure we experienced later, after leaving rishikesh. At gangotri, we stayed for 2 days in the car and 1 day in the tree houseso no hotel mate :)yeah me and manish stayed in a hotel while going back for the clutch plate at uttarakashi. It was a fab room at just 200 bucks!..

      u will find a lot of reasonable/cheap and good accomodation at uttarakashi.we did enquire hotel room prices at gangotrithey quote steep prices so be ready to negotiate.even the roadside foodstall/water/cigarettes are expensive there.We made STD call at 22rs/minute!!so I guess we were looted but we dint have an option

      If u need any other infopls let me know.

  • shekhar walter says:

    Thanks for the comments Kshitij! Now to answer your questions:

    1) We started the trip on 10th May, 2008, Saturday at 1:30 am.

    2) I have not put rishikesh hotel or rafting details coz it was just a small part of our trip. I did not want to concentrate too much on that. Anyhow our rafting + hotel expense came to aprox. 2000 rs for 4 people.

    The main crux of my story was the adventure we experienced later, after leaving rishikesh. At gangotri, we stayed for 2 days in the car and 1 day in the tree house…so no hotel mate :)…yeah me and manish stayed in a hotel while going back for the clutch plate at uttarakashi. It was a fab room at just 200 bucks!..

    u will find a lot of reasonable/cheap and good accomodation at uttarakashi….we did enquire hotel room prices at gangotri…they quote steep prices so be ready to negotiate….even the roadside foodstall/water/cigarettes are expensive there.We made STD call at 22rs/minute!!so I guess we were looted but we dint have an option…

    If u need any other info…pls let me know.

    • ranjancool says:

      thank u so much Shekhar for such a quick response……i wasn’t hoping to get a reply so soon, but i am plesantly surprised……..
      i would be making this trip on 14th of this month……we would start from delhi ofcourse, very early in the morning, but i am liittle worried, for being a monsoon session, we may have to face troubles on the way….anyways, thanx for the informations provided……since i read ur article, i am thrilled to take any chances……..well one thing which i would like to know, nd i would be grateful if u decide to inform me abt, that what exactly is there in gangotri? i mean what i should expect to see there? do we get a chance to really see the udgam sthal of river Ganges?
      thanx nd regards,
      kshitij ranjan

  • ram says:

    Well well… That is absolutely fantastic…

  • bari says:

    We just couldnt leave your site before saying that I genuinely enjoyed the quality details you offer to your visitors? Will be back soon to check up on new posts

  • bipul dey says:

    Hi, All, Great to have your story posted here. I am Bipul Dey (9350103687) from Delhi only and often make a time to visit Uttaranchal. My last trip like always (not so planned) ended at Uttarkashi, as there were landslide all along 1st week of August 2010, so could not able to reach Gangotri, While returning back I went to New Theri, its a beautiful small hill station,stayed 3 days there, one would surely love the place. Hope to make a trip to those places during the CWG and Durga Puja. I will post someday some good experiances of mine about this state called UTTRAKHAND. The beauty of this state is at its best.

  • Ankur Dyundi says:


    Commendable job, must say! Saw this post tagged on Nitin Dubey’s FB profile (he was once a colleague and still a friend) and really really liked it.

    Makes me believe one doesn’t actually need to be obsessed with obsolete vocabulary to write such engaging stories. And, it was really outrageous of you guys to move towards Gangotri after such fun n frolic! Just a little amazed how could you miss mentioning Harsil, another small town en-route Gangotri.

    Keep writing…

    Ankur Dyundi

  • ChatpataDun says:

    A nicely written. I really liked the content.




  • SS says:

    Hats off to you.Really such adventures can be planned only in company of friends.Enjoy till a bell is tied to your neck.

    • VISHWA GAURAV says:

      ha ha ha…….correct….but don’t let the bell ring

      • SS says:

        The BELL is very sensitive.The moment there is a movement for such a trip either in your mind or soul,it starts Ringing.
        Jokes apart,after reading this travelogue I was reminded by the fresh memory of a 7 day trip in the mountains with friends.We were a bunch of five and hired an ambassdor car at Rs.3/km from Kota.Yes the year was 1999,we went till Rohtang Pass.We visited Delhi,Chandigarh,Manali,Kullu & Manikaran.
        Memories of that journey are still afresh in then mind.Our driver didn’t had any experience of hill driving so he was driving very slow.We keep on enticing him to drive at least at 40-50 kmph.Finally he decides to overtake his first vehicle after 150 km of driving.As we overtook the truck on a curve,an army Stallion comes from opposite side.Our driver couldn’t break or overtake and here we were standing in front of an Army Stallion.They were all laughing at our Vehicle & driving skills.

        • VISHWA GAURAV says:

          Adventuring with friends are always a pleasure. Try a caravan(like SRK in swades) for next trip. i m sure u will have a blast like never before.
          Nothing but memory remains. make it as much as you can

  • ChatpataDun says:

    Very Rightly said SS..!!!

  • shekhar walter says:

    Thanks all for your comments! 4 years have passed since that epic trip and the recollection still gives me goosebumps

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