Resplendent with natural beauty and quaint pilgrim centres, the northern region stuns you with its bewitching charm. Sri Charan Kovvali and his troupe charted an unforgettable trip through the hilly terrains of Uttarakhand.
The plans for the Uttarakhand trip had begun to take shape from mid-June when an all 30s gang- consisting Sri Charan Kovvali (from Vizag), Sriram Brundavanam, Jyoti Kumar, Prashanth Shettigar, and Suprith Shetty, chose to tour the Garwhal Himalayan Range in North India for their annual vacation.
With a route map covering popular tourist spots in the region, the group kick-started their memorable journey from Delhi. The first major destination on the itinerary was Kedarnath. Taking an SUV from Haridwar to the holy town, the members had their task cut after hitting the road.
While the region is renowned for the touristy pleasures in store, travelling can get challenging if the weather doesn’t assist. Constant rains and daunting landslides marred the route, making travel extremely risky. Slippery roads and boulders pushed the tourists’ vehicles to the edge, creating nervy moments.
Beginning early on the next day, the members embarked on a challenging 18 km uphill trek to the holy shrine of Kedarnath. The rigours of a laborious hike soon vanished when the men caught sight of the breathtaking sight atop the hill. With notable changes post the 2013 catastrophe, the historic temple, nestled mesmerisingly amid scenic hills offered a spectacle to behold. Vibrant temple premises, fervent devotees from different corners of the world, rousing chants of ‘Har Har Mahadev’, and quintessential Aghoris in a stoned state, made for a thrilling experience.
With the chopper services being suspended due to bad weather, the group was forced to take ponies on a tough road downhill. Bad light and rain spells rubbed salt to injury, as they were once again put to a stern test by harsh weather before returning to rooms.
The journey to Badrinath on the following day was hindered by a massive landslide en route, causing an unasked delay in the schedule. Once the boulders got cleared, the unit soon reached the Char Dham site and lodged at a serene ashram near the temple.
A visit to the picturesque temple of Lord Vishnu followed next. With countless devotees thronging the holy site, showcasing physical competence was the only way to steer clear into the temple. Located adjacent to the temple were the continuous hot springs of Tapt Kund. Believed to possess medicinal properties, the steaming springs offered a refreshing dip to the tired devotees.
The evening marked a visit to Mana-the last Indian village on the border. It is believed that Pandavas passed through this village before making their final journey to heaven. A visit to the ancient Vyas caves, Bhim Pul and India’s last tea shop made for a memorable outing.
While the day offered plenty to cherish about, the night stay at the ashram was all about resonating with nature. After gorging over a hearty meal, the group, tucked in heavy blankets and laying by the gushing sound of the nearby waterfalls, retired into the freezing cold of the peaceful temple town.
The penultimate phase of the trip saw the troupe appreciate the local sightseeing at Mussoorie. Shopping at the local markets and gaining knowledge about the regional culture, the two-day stay offered a breather from the hectic city life.
The relief though was short-lived as the five individuals soon returned to Delhi. Making the best use of their brief stay in the capital city, the travellers relished some local delicacies such as paneer kulche with chole, rajma chawal, and momos among others. Concluding their Uttarakhand trip with a visit to the India Gate, the members, before boarding their respective flights, vowed to catch up next year for a trip to Nepal.
Tips for other travellers
1. Mobile signals are hard to find.
2. The villages and towns are feebly equipped to facilitate electronic cash transactions. It is advised to carry sufficient cash as the ATMs too run dry pretty often.