Divine Uttrakhand

I know I haven’t posted an article in a while but I believe this platform is always there whenever I need to share something with the world.

So, it was a long-awaited trip with my amigos, we’ve been doing a lot of thinking about where to head-off as I’ve been to Kasol for two consecutive years, it was supposed to be something different, someplace soothing, away from the throng, close to mother nature, and boy! The place we reached was heavenly than our wildest expectations.

This time, it was the mountain ranges of Uttrakhand, India. It was an extended journey taking us through Rishikesh, Rudraprayag, Ukhimath, Chopta to finally Tungnath and  Chandrashila, which was our main destination. I’ll cover every experience of my trip about how to reach there and what a magnificent place Uttrakhand is.


Our journey started from Preet Vihar, New Delhi. There are various options to reach but the bus seemed the most convenient one. Our first stop –

RISHIKESH

Our bus was scheduled for 11:30 PM on the 3rd of July, 2018. We were pretty psyched about the trip, so with our bags packed and high spirits we started our trip. With one stop at a dhaba (a roadside food stall) named “Alaknanda”, we reached Rishikesh by 5AM. There was a long journey ahead, we had just covered half of it by then.

From there we took another bus which couldn’t be booked online, so the next stop was –

RUDRAPRAYAG

One thing you should know about the mountains: the weather changes in seconds!

With such a smooth ride to Rishikesh, our journey to Rudraprayag definitely displaced some of my internal organs. THE ROADS WEREN’T SMOOTH AT ALL! With such “level” routes of Uttrakhand, guess who said hello to us? THUNDERSTORM. On those curvy roads with all the thunderstorm guess again who came to visit us? FALLING ROCKS. At one point the bus stopped because there was a narrow passage, with all the fallen rocks on road, thanks to the conductor who got off and put the rocks away and then driver suddenly came in his fast and furious mode and drove off like an F1 racer from that passage.

It was kinda scary but the view from the bus window definitely took out minds off the thunderstorms and bad roads. There were clouds. Actually, we were driving in the clouds, at one point visibility came to zero because of the clouds. The bus stopped for breakfast a dhaba again, you could easily get parathas, coffee from there. We reached Rudraprayag by 11 AM.

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UKHIMATH

From Rudraprayag, you can get a sharing cab to Ukhimath for around 500 bucks. It took 2 hours to reach there. By then we were tired enough and we needed to have some something to eat. So, we reached Ukhimath by 1 PM and took some rest, ordered some food and I must tell you, people in Ukhimath didn’t know how to make momos, neither veg nor non-veg. We couldn’t eat heavy as there was a risk of mountain sickness.

CHOPTA

After our short break, we moved towards our next stop – Chopta. We took a personal cab that took us through an amazing route with hardly any traffic. Surely we could see few bikers every now and then but other than that, the route to Chopta was mostly untouched. We reached Chopta by 3 PM.

As we planned of rest after 15 hours of travel, we got to know that there was nothing as such to see in Chopta. So what we did?

TUNGNATH

Instead of staying at Chopta, we started our trek to Tungnath where the world’s highest Shiv Mandir is situated. It wasn’t a long trek, just 3 Kms from Chopta but with the tiredness of traveling for 15 hours and completely slant trek, it seemed the most difficult trek of all time.

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Sure we were taking several intervals, but what kept us motivated were the views like this. We could see the mesmerizing snow range of the Himalayas. Even though it was far away from us but I saw snow in my life for the first time.

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Himalayan mountain ranges

The weather in Tungnath was so chilled that it forced us to take our jackets out. It took three and a half hours to reach Tungnath with all our luggage on our shoulders. It was a tranquil and serene place with not much crowd and only a few locals.
You couldn’t expect 5-star hotels there so rooms were pretty basic with basic amenities.

There was no direct source of electricity and the locals relied on solar panels for most of their electricity needs. We stayed in a hotel named “Prerna Kutia” (Shelter) and this was the hotel with just one socket, other hotels only offered lights but we were lucky to get charging points with all our phone’s battery drained by then. You can easily get a hotel there ranging from 500-1000 bucks. After freshening up, we sat outside for a while and watched the sunset.

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Sunset from our Tungnath hotel.

We took the quilt and had some rum to warm us a little. Bacardi’s always helpful in such situations. It was 10 PM and we started to feel hungry, there are various eateries but you’ll only get served by the hotel where you’re staying. Others won’t serve you. After such a long, tiring day, we got home-like food up there. We ordered a thali which cost us only 150 bucks including chappati, dal, boiled potato, rice, and salad. Food was hot, as we needed, and indeed appetizing.

 

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As the day in Chandrashila ended, we slept for the night to leave for Chandrashila next day.

CHANDRASHILA

Next morning I woke up to a view which actually took my breath away.

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After having breakfast, we started our trek to Chandrashila. This trek was not that long and locals told us it would take just 1 hour to reach up there, but this trek was even more slant than the trek to Tungnath.

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Tungnath temple

If you would zoom onto the peak of the mountain in picture below, you’d see where we were and where we had to reach.

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Trek to Chandrashila
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Chandrashila temple

As we trekked further, the level of oxygen decreased and we started getting tired more quickly. When we reach on top, there wasn’t a sight of mountains, as we were surrounded by clouds from all the sides. It took one and a half hour to reach up there and we stayed there for half an hour.

 

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Last picture in Tungnath.

We reached down to Tungnath in 30 minutes by 11:30 AM. We planned of staying in Tungnath but due to lack of electricity we started our trek down to Chopta.

From there we went down to Ukhimath and stayed in a hotel, it was more of a home like feel. The room was spacious, there were speakers, guitar, flute and what not.

It was the day of getting proper rest because the next morning we had to reach Rishikesh. Everyday there’s a bus running from Ukhimath to Rishikesh at 5:30 AM. Again after going through uncomfortable roads of Uttrakhand, we reached Rishikesh and stayed there for 2 days.

 

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Laxman Jhula

We spent most of our time in Cafe Royal near Laxman Jhula, We tried 2-3 cafes, Cafe Royal was the prime cafe with the best view, best crowd, best food and we easily spent around 5-6 hours there daily.

We returned home by 8th of July.

From heavy rains to dense clouds, from simple home food in Tungnath to delicious means in Rishikesh, from taking quilts in Tungnath to sleeping in AC in Rishikesh, from Tungnath temple to Cafe Royal, from roadways buses of Uttrakhand to Volvo of Delhi, from snow caps to scorching heat, this trip gave me more memories to cherish than I thought.

It was indeed one of best trips I’ve ever been to.

Until next time,

अलविदा,

Adios,

Bye.

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