Dev Bhoomi - Uttarakhand
I am always excited when I am traveling to Himalayas. For a change, It wasn’t a bike trip :( . Even all the bookings were done through travel agency. Okayyyy... What's Big Deal? Right? Well, It was a Big Deal. Especially, for freak like me, who loves to plan entire trip's Itinerary, do all the Bookings and then explore those places on my Bumble-Bee. Anyways, On the brighter side, This time I was traveling with my school friends. Means lot of Masti and Fights!
The Journey began as soon as the flights from Mumbai & Bangalore had arrived at Dehradun airport.
Btw It was a Final Call ;)
Day I - All about Roads than the Destination.
It was 250 kms long journey. Throughout the day, We travelled on the bank of River Ganga and than River Alakhnanda. On the way we crossed Dev Prayag, Rudra Prayag, Karn Prayag and Nand Prayag.
Few important info - These were Four of the Five prayags on the route and collectively called Panch-Prayag. Panch-Prayag are having huge religious values for Hindus. Those who don't know, Prayag means a place where two rivers merges into one. But These route is mostly used for "Char Dham Yatra" during the month of May to October. No Hindu temple in India has higher religious value than Char Dham, Which are Gangotri, Yamunotri, Kedarnath ( not the movie :P) and Badrinath.
Ok So, about that road trip, I was a bit scared about the car journey, not for the safety reasons but I found it really boring. See, I am a rider so I love to hold the handle bar of my Bumble-Bee rather than phone in the Car. But this one turned out to be amazing journey. Ofcourse, because of the idiots with whom I was traveling. On the way we stopped to some insanely beautiful places to have tea and enjoy the beauty of Himalayas. “Yaaro ke sath time kitna jaldi nikal jaata hai!” It was dark and we reached to our OYO room @ Pipalkoti
Journey in Himalayas are generally about Roads than the destinations.
This one was at the Bank of Alakhnanda River #MirrorPhotography
Day II - Search Of Snow Began
We decided to visit Badrinath. Not because it was one of the Char Dham but our driver told us that 2 days back he travelled to Badrinath and it was snowing. Showed us few pics around the Badrinath. It was completely covered in snow. And all of a sudden, Badrinath became the integral part of our trip. You might be think we were stupid... But trust me, When you stayed throughout your life to bunch of worm places, experiencing snow would become one of the check list of your Bucket. And, you would do anything to check that one!
Post Breakfast, We left for Badrinath, and hoped we could get some Snow. The route was insanely beautiful with a bit of scary roads. On top of that, Our driver was telling us various land sliding stories to make it scarier. Meanwhile, We took refreshment break and stopped by a tea Dhaba. There is one important thing about Himalayas - A bad place in Himalayas are way better than the good places of any other part of the world
So, When ever u take a break, Click as many pictures as you can and create as many memories as you can :)
Nahi, lekin usase 100 times better quality ka paani hai :)
Around 12 noon, We reached to Badrinath. As It was the closing time of the Temple, We ran for the darshan. We literally begged for the Entry. And you know what, We were really good in begging ;) That Guard let us entered from Exit Gate! I am not atheist, just Idle. So, Darshan made me really happy. And why shouldn't I? It was Badrinath. Anyways, Why we visited the Badrinath, for SNOWWWWWW. But It wasn't there. It got melted due to worm weather. That was indeed a huge disapointment. Anyways let’s move to another Legendary Place, MANE. It was India's Last Village!
This village was really beautiful and looking like Heaven or probably It was a Heaven. If you belive in Mythological stories, Pandavas walked towards Heaven from here. Lord Ganesh wrote Bhagwad Geeta from here. And many more such interesting stories...
While site seeing around the village, We reached at a place from where River Sarsavati began to flow. In front of it, There was a small Dhaba named "India's Last Tea Stall". It was famous for it's tasty Tea. So we ordered Maggi and Tea. Oh My Godddd... It was one of the tastiest Maggi I ever had. Well, After spending good amount of Time in Mane, We headed towards the AULI, our trip's major site seeing place.
We were really excited about AULI because It was still hidden from the irresponsible Indian Tourists. Because of that, It might be quiet, clean and beautiful. And Indeed! It was :). We reached to our hotel in evening and like any other part of the Himalayas, Here too, Temperature was dropping drastically. Even before getting keys from our rooms, We ordered Chai-Pakodi :P. "Amazing Nanda Devi Parvat, Chai ki chuski & yaaro ki baatein... Evening to Good honi hi thi!”
Day III - Test your fitness by trekking in AULI
We were hoping to do skiing in AULI but we came to know that skiing was closed and It will open in late December. That was disappointing :(. In that moment, only thing that could cheer us up was SNOW! So, We inquired about any trek where we could see snow and play in It. So our hotel arranged a guide for us for a day’s trek. It was 3 KMs one way trek. We started our journey by taking Chair Lift. That was the way of commute in AULI. In the air via Ropeway or Chair Lift :P. This Journey via Chair Lift was a new experience for me!
So we reached to Station 8 and from there, trek began. Horses were available but we were on an adventure. So, decided to trek from 2800 Meters to 3400 Meters. The route was really scenic. We were walking through lushed green pine forest. After an hour of walk, We saw a snow patch and ran! It was good enough for us to play & do snow fights! Finally we were happy…. We got our snow :)
Well, After spending ample amount of time, we moved on. We crossed the Forest and now entered into plain yellow grass meadow. In half an hour we reached at the Top. Mountains were looking clearer from here than from our Hotel. The 360 degree view from the place was one of the best I had ever seen, even in Photographs. Place was reminding me to the old Windows XP Wallpaper.
Everybody have their own way to enjoy such a view. Some do photography, some just stay quiet and enjoy their inner Peace. As we had the company of “Yoga girl Chaitali”, we did Yoga! She was the one who started doing head stand… Seeing that all of us started trying various Aasans of Yoga or any stunts we knew! We should have tried Shavasan ;). It was the best place to set up the tent and do camping at night!”
We could see few peaks from the current place and we decided to trek to one of them or at least reach as high as we could. After an hour of trek we reached to a place from where rest of the path was mostly covered in snow. As we weren’t wearing any gears to trek in the snow, we stopped. We enjoyed the view at the height of 3650 Meters before returning back to the base station.
Respect for all those Trekkers :)
I was. Because we weren't climbing up anymore!
We were damn tired and hungry after the trek. As I reached earlier than the rest, I ordered Maggi, Pakodis & Chai for all. We ate like hungry Animals :) Maggi taste so yummy in the mountains than at the plains, right? Anyways, A day which we thought would be really boring without skiing turned out to be most exciting one!
Day IV - Return Back to Rishikesh
Another day where we simply relaxed in our Innova and enjoyed the road trip and the beauty of Uttarakhand.
There was a time, we used to have it Daily :P #MomosLovers
Day V - One for the Adventure lovers
So here it begun. Time to challenge your Luck as well as test your WILL and GUTs. I was really quiet since I woke up because I was scared… I had fear of height but that was the challenge “Face your FEAR and defeat Them!”. So post breakfast, We left for Jumping Heights for Bungee Jumping. This was the Adventure for which I planned this Trip. Throughout the journey, I was nervous and silently telling myself - “You will do it!”. We reached at the Vanue and after a small briefing about the Bungee Jumping, We walked towards the platform from where we would be jumping. That 400 Meters walk was exciting and nervous at the same time.
The Jump - Everyone up there at the platform were extremely positive human beings. They motivated me a lot for the Jump. They tied harness around my body. Then Jump master explained me how should I Jump, what should be the posture and where to look at the time of jump. Everything was done and I was sitting on the chair in front of the jumping platform and waiting for the JUMP. They tied rope to my legs and removed other rope from the harness. The moment of truth had arrived, I started taking baby steps towards the end of the platform. With every fucking steps, my HEART was beating faster than ever. I wasn’t sure about the jump. Whether I could able to jump or not. These type of moments in life need extreme positivity. I realised, “It’s now or never!”. So I decided to jump ASAP. Count down had begun 3… 2… 1…. GO!!!! Shhhhhh!!!! My mind became blank! I was not able to understand what the hell was going on! Fuck! I JUMPED!!! It was crazy, I could not describe the feeling during the FREE FALL. I was scared initially but then I was enjoying It!!! I started shouting crazily. I had decided to say these words during the JUMP - “Ye Dil Mange More! Of course I am a huge fan of Major Vikram Batra! And these were his words”. So, During the second Free FALL, I shouted loudly “YE DIL MAANGE MOREEEE!!!”. After 4-5 Free falls, jump got over and I was taken to the ground where they removed my harness, ropes and hell yeah I did something which I never dreamt of doing in my life. “Bungee Jumping”!
when they gave us a badge of “You have got GUTs” post completion of the JUMP, I felt like I earned it. These 15 seconds will stay with me forever. These kind of moments give joy and meaning to my life.
Next on the list was River Rafting. River Rafting in Rishikesh is considered to be one of the most thrilling one because of the EIGHT speedy and dangerous ripples. We reached Shivpuri from where Rafting began. Our Raftman briefed us about the basics of rafting and explained us the actions we need to take for each Command like FORWARD, BACKWARD, STOP etc! With in few minutes of the start, We hit the first ripple and with that we realised what’s gonna happen through out the 12km long Rafting. Every time Raft was hitting the Ripples, It was going into the AIR. Feeling during that time was insane. I remembered, the third ripple was really speedy and dangerous. While crossing It, TWO RAFTs which started with us, turned upside down and everyone fell into the River. It was crazy. Even we barely survived It due to the expertise of our Raftman. After few ripples, a stretch came which was steady. So our Raftmen asked us if we wanted to swim in the river Ganga. We were kind of waiting for his question and as soon as he gave us the permissions, we jumped in to the river and swam for almost an hour. Pulling everyone up from the river on to the Raft was a task of real strength and as I climbed up first, I had to help most of my friends to climb up the Raft.
Maggi is really popular in India. During the raft we stopped by a Maggi point to have Maggi and Coffee. There was a Cliff at Maggi Point and Height of it must be around 25-30 Ft. So We thought of jumping from It. Looked easy but It wasn’t. Especially when I was in the AIR, I felt like my heart literally stopped for a second and later when I landed into the river It hurt. On top of that, I forgot to remove my GoPro so during the jump when I landed into the river, my goPro hit my chin and I injured my Chin! I watched many videos in which people were jumping from the cliff into the river or ocean and I too, wanted to do it and finally, I DID IT.. After rafting for 2 hours, We were tired and hungry and thank god we found Maggi and coffee. We resumed our journey and reached to the last Ripple whose name I still remember, “Thank God” ripple. With that, we completed river rafting. Switched from MASTI to BHAKTI.
It was evening so we changed and went to attend Ganga Aarti at Triveni Sangam Ghat. Aarti started at 6 PM. It was surreal experience. I got lost completely in that nostalgic atmosphere. Didn’t notice who was standing beside me or who was doing what. Definitely, I will attend it more than once in future that too, at the same place. After Aarti people were dancing and singing Bhajans! It was really beautiful and one of the purest dance I witnessed.
A busy day got over and I was sleeping happily knowing I don’t need to jump next day.
Photo Credits - Rajan Patel
Day VI - Alvida
I woke up early and walked streight to the bank of River Ganga. I settled down on bench and quietly listened to the sound of river Ganga. It was like a Therapy! As I had flight to catch in the evening, I got just half a day for site Seeing. We quickly finished Breakfast and went to NeelKanth Temple. It was an hour drive from RISHIKESH. There was a belief that, the SHIVLINGA of that temple was placed by Lord NEELKANTH himself. If anyone visit Rishikesh, they had to visit RAM JHULA or LAKSHMAN JHULA hence We too, went to LAKSHMAN JHULA. Few decades back It used to swing a lot but now even Bikes were passing from It. AUR KITNE ACHE DIN CHAHIYE BEY :P!!!
ALVIDA was the toughest thing I did on this Trip because of the HIMALAYS and my Chaddi buddies :(. Guys, Nexttime We'll meet in North East India and It will be a Bike Trip ;). On my way back to airport, I did what I always do, shopped for handicrafts and Fridge magnet. Finally I found the Fridge magnet which I was looking for throughout the trip.