Joshimath

Ok this one time, when keeda kata toh hum chal diye Joshimath. Translation : my trip to Joshimath.

Friday night, Bercos gardens, RahulV, fosters and a map. Where and how is being decided at the beer table. Some homework has been done, but we still have to choose a place, based on pros and cons or some quirk of whoever can sway the group. Himachal was ruled out because Rohtang pass was still under snow. Dodital, Hemkund sahib, Yamunotri, Kuari pass…all in Uttaranchal. Election time in UP, we don’t want to get held up by police patrols in the night who would be making sure the goons’ movement before the election day is minimal or only favorites are given a pass. Packing AFTER the eleventh hour(theka band) and collecting everybody from their places makes sure we leave around 1 AM. This has been our standard-operating-procedure for last 34500(approx) trips. Now you should be getting the feeling of reading a very veteran traveller’s blog. Good. Stay in the feeling. Don’t let it go even when I tell you the number might be feet above sea level counted over cumulative trips.

Guide Map of Garhwal Hills


So the plan was to go to Hemkund and valley of flowers. Somehow we forgot Dodital and while we were coming back from Joshimath, we read in the local newspapers cloud burst/flash floods killed 6 in Tehri and Uttarkashi, which is the Dodital area. Travellers love rains and we weren’t very happy that we missed the rains. But a cloud burst is a different thing, and the kind of tent Nandan sends us with wouldn’t survive such winds.Alert readers will note that we were not supposed to take the Meerut-Mujafarpur road, so we took Javed’s favorite road which goes from Delhi-Karnal – Kurukshetra- Yamuna Naga- Paonta Sahib-Dehradun-Rishikesh and then the normal road to Joshimath. This being a really long drive, we couldn’t catch the early morning mountain sighting at Rishikesh- which is a sight for the eyes, but Yamuna Nagar to Paonta Sahib is equally beautiful , minus the mountains. Parallel to the road runs the Kalesar forest reserve which gives a feeling of chasing a mirage- the end of the tunnel of trees, and trust me on this, you need to take this drive. Depending on your vehicle you can go to any speeds, because the road is straight and you can see a very long distance ahead (and pray no stray fox or cat crosses the road). The highs and lows of the road make it runway like. After speeding on the troughs, the crests feel like you have taken off. May be I am an eccentric driver.

Rishikesh came around 9 am. We stopped at Byasi for the customary alloo paratha (Byasi is 30kms from Rishikesh and very conveniently located for breakfast/ lunch. This is strictly my opinion about the place. Being a pahadi, I have a lot of frequent bus-er miles on these roads and I have seen buses in Garhwal stopping only at Byasi and Srinagar for any major meal of the day). This stretch of the road is also famous for its various prayags, starting with Deoprayag, Rudraprayag, Karanprayag and then NandPrayag.

The Confluence

Drive after Chamoli is beautiful, the river flows right next to the road, and the expanse gave me an eerie deja-vu, Alaknanda felt like Tons around Tiuni-. It rained a little here. I made an excuse for a leak and took a lovely walk on the empty road, trying to get wet in the chilly rains. The tiredness got washed away. The road to Joshimath goes round and round and some more and you can see a beautiful display of road bends down hill, it’s a steep climb. The road looks kind of funny, and obviously it wasn’t built that way, it got displaced by landslides underneath the tar. ahem.

You wouldn’t believe a place like Joshimath could be so blessed with the weather. It is a big town but it has all the trappings of a wonderful hill station. The weather changes within minutes here, it snows during winter. Auli, Tapovan, Badrinath, hemkund are places close by. The area towards badrinath abounds in waterfalls. Tapovan has hot water springs. Since I’ve been there twice, I well deservedly have my very secret hot water fountain for which you trek 1 km (and still don’t find it) and its so inside the jungle that you can have a private bath without prying eyes.

Enroute Badrinath, you see Alaknanda in its playful infant state.


This video is rated under-parental-guidance(fear/violence) and is only for the tough souls.

Alloo Parathas at Tapovan


…TO BE CONTINUED…

6 Comments

  • Nandan Jha says:

    good one Ajeet. Raw and subtle, first hand account. enough to motivate folks i guess ( to write and to travel, not necessarily in that order).

    been to rishikesh few times, and also on that yamuna-nagar road (on the way to chakrata).

    enjoy
    jha

  • Megha says:

    Ajeet you never fail to amuse me. That was a very…umm…vivid account of your journey. Lol @ keeda kata.

    Looking forward to your next crazy post!

    Megha

  • ajay joshi says:

    hio ajeet.. i am in bangalore and planning a trip to badrinath in may. can i get your email id please… would like to get more info on a few things from you.

    my email id is ajajyjo@gmail.com

    thanks

    ajay

  • ajeet says:

    Hi ajay,

    The question you asked in the site admin mail was for sighting snow covered peaks. I am sure you must be aware of Mukteshwar, Binsar, Gwaldom. There are a lot of such vantage points.Since you are already going to Joshimath-badrinath, go to Auli which is 20 kms from Joshimath. There is a huge expanse of snow capped mountains in front of you.At badrinath you will see Neelkanth right above the temple. If you want to get a close feel, the best thing to do is to go to Kedarnath and go behind the temple, be careful though, the glacier tends to be loose just above the water flow, take a guide preferably, keep going up the glacier for 2-3 kms, you will see snow covered mountains all around you, a frozen lake with a frozen waterfall is what I remember distinctly.
    the email id is ajeet.dyondi@gmail.com

  • nandanjha says:

    Thanks Ajit. For the benefit of fellow readers, I would suggest that we ask questions right here (instead of using e-mail) so that more people can benefit from it :)

    Its more fun just reading about snow-peaks, even if one is not able to make it so dont take that opportunity away.

  • Vibha says:

    Hi Ajeet,

    Came across this post by you during the post curation process. We’ve done a bit of proof-reading, added tags, and also added photo captions to the post.

    I love the way you’ve written this post. It is very engaging and yes the video is indeed scary. :P. I was wondering whether you completed this later since you say “To be continued” at the end. If yes, please send me the link to that post and I’ll create a series so that everyone can read the whole story.

    Also, please get yourself a profile picture by following the steps at http://life-inspires.blogspot.com/2010/04/displaying-your-picture-along-with-your.html. Let me know if you face any issues.

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