Kedarnath October 2006

"All is well that ends well." This is a famous quote by William Shakespeare. Our trip to Kedarnath ended well, with all the team members retuning to Delhi in good health. But all was not well in the trip. Here is an account of my yet another memorable trip to the Himalayas.

We were introduced to trips in the Himalayas by our mentor David John. After making a few successful trips to Valley of Flowers, Gangotri and Yamunotri, the next destination was surely Kedarnath. Planning a trip was best done by David himself. So, when he mailed us about a trip to Kedarnath during diwali holidays, all of us agreed to join him. As the time of the trip came, omens started showing up. Firstly, a lot of people who had committed to the trip backed off. In the end, there were only 5 of us - David, Lani, Tony, Bhargav and myself. A tour itinerary was made which had 2 days stay at Kedarnath with an 8kms trek to Vasuki Tal. But a week before our departure we came to know about the closing of the Kedar shrine on 24th of October. Yet, we were thrilled and hoped to stay there even after that date.

Hey, that is becoming a yet another monotonous blog. Let this travelogue be different. So read it as I explained to my cousin through Yahoo Messenger.

(04:33:22) abc: ok tell me abt ur trip
(04:33:33) girish_vgl: so we started from delhi to rishikesh on 20th nov
(04:33:38) girish_vgl: thought of catching night bus
(04:33:46) girish_vgl: but culdnt get one bcoz of diwali rush. buses were filled even on the roof before they came into the bus stand.
(04:33:50) girish_vgl: then took a qualis
(04:34:05) girish_vgl: reached rishikesh early in the morning. stayed at GMVN rest house
(04:34:13) girish_vgl: GMVN stands for Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam
GMVN at Rishikesh

(04:34:25) girish_vgl: rested for the whole day and then went to RaamJhoola in the evening
(04:34:35) girish_vgl: it was diwali. people were busy bursting crackers. we spent some time walking through the streets and some time on the roof of GMVN gazing at the rockets fired up in the night sky.
(04:34:48) girish_vgl: next day early morning at 5.30 took a cab till gaurikund
(04:35:04) girish_vgl: the cab takes us along the ganga till devprayag
(04:35:15) girish_vgl: devprayag is the sangam from where ganga starts
(04:35:34) girish_vgl: there 2 main tributaries of ganga, namely alaknanda and bhagirathi, join and from there onwards it is called ganga
Devprayag

(04:35:53) girish_vgl: the whole route has lot of views of landslides and terrace farming
Landslides
Terrace Farming

(04:36:18) girish_vgl: from gaurikund the trek route starts to kedarnath
(04:36:26) girish_vgl: total distance of 14kms
(04:36:34) girish_vgl: but there is a midway point for night stay
(04:36:43) girish_vgl: so we trekked 7kms till Rambara and stayed there for night at the GMVN.
Trekking ahead
View of Kedar peak in the evening sun

(04:37:28) girish_vgl: the next day morning we started our rest of the trek to kedarnath
(04:37:35) girish_vgl: we started a little late. it was cold outside and we enjoyed the cosy rajayee for a little longer. :-)
(04:37:46) girish_vgl: we had plans to stay for the night at kedarnath and return the next day along with the paalki. so we left our luggage at rambara and took a few necessary items in one bag. trekking without the luggage was easy and i took a few shortcuts
(04:37:56) girish_vgl: on one of the shortcuts, i climbed up a hillock. when i reached the top i realised that the actual path does not ascent. it went way below. i continued on the top expecting the path to come up at some point. :-)
(04:38:15) girish_vgl: alas. it never came up and after some time i could see kedarnath settlement a few metres below me (in altitude). :-( then i climbed down onto the path and went ahead. Others were still way behind me and i had to wait for an hour

(04:38:40) girish_vgl: we had plans to stay at kedarnath and goto a lake even higher
(04:38:43) girish_vgl: 8kms trek
(04:38:55) girish_vgl: but bcoz of closing of the shrine we culdnt
(04:39:09) girish_vgl: actually the day after we visited they were closing the temple for winter
(04:39:40) girish_vgl: had we stayed there, we would have had to start our descent at early morning 4
(04:39:47) girish_vgl: so we cancelled our stay at kedarnath
(04:39:53) girish_vgl: but we were sort of lucky. we got snowfall when we were there
SnowFall

(04:40:07) girish_vgl: even on the day we were there, i was the last person to get darshan
(04:40:11) girish_vgl: we were just in time
(04:40:21) girish_vgl: the temple doors closed behind me
(04:40:30) girish_vgl: and i came out of the side door
(04:40:32) girish_vgl: :)
Kedarnath Temple

(04:40:36) girish_vgl: we trekked down to rambara on the same day and reached at around 8.00. it was tough walking in the dark even though the path was paved. the lights were out at many places creating dark patches.
Rainsheets were worn expecting bad weather :-)

(04:41:29) girish_vgl: on 24th we came down from rambara to gaurikund
Rudra Falls
Last view of Kedar peak

(04:41:57) girish_vgl: from there we took shared vehicles, jeep, sumo etc till rudraprayag
Sonprayag

(04:42:00) abc: what is mandakini
(04:42:03) girish_vgl: mandakini is the river
(04:42:07) girish_vgl: it is a tributary to ganga
(04:42:19) girish_vgl: and joins alaknanda river at rudraprayag
Rudraprayag

(04:42:50) girish_vgl: the photo of rudraprayag that u see is a view from the GMVN rest house
(04:43:03) girish_vgl: that was from the balcony of our room
(04:43:50) girish_vgl: then we thought of going to jim corbett national park
(04:43:58) girish_vgl: as we had 2 more days to spend
(04:44:10) girish_vgl: we enquired abt it and found that it is nearby
(04:44:17) girish_vgl: but night stay was not yet open
(04:44:21) girish_vgl: season has not begun
(04:44:30) girish_vgl: it will open only after nov 15th
(04:44:41) girish_vgl: but still we thought of going there
(04:44:50) girish_vgl: again took shared vehicles
(04:45:49) girish_vgl: but the best experience of the trip is yet to come
(04:46:18) girish_vgl: so as we had to reach ramnagar by night so that we have one full day at jim corbett
(04:46:32) girish_vgl: we took a jeep for our own from a place called pauri
(04:46:46) girish_vgl: and took a forest road to ramnagar
(04:46:58) girish_vgl: it was getting dark in the evening
(04:47:20) girish_vgl: as we started thru the forest we found some broken bridges
(04:47:32) girish_vgl: had to cross them by manuvering through the river bed
(04:47:41) girish_vgl: luckily there was no water
(04:47:51) girish_vgl: the whole scene was a bit eerie
(04:48:05) girish_vgl: driver had mentioned abt
(04:48:18) girish_vgl: so we were on a watch out for elephants
(04:48:25) girish_vgl: but didnt see any :(
(04:48:29) girish_vgl: saw a deer
(04:48:33) girish_vgl: and few rabbits
(04:49:01) girish_vgl: and at one such broken bridge, our driver took a wrong turn and went into the forest along the river bed
(04:49:06) girish_vgl: that was fully jerky
(04:49:12) girish_vgl: driving over boulders
(04:49:27) girish_vgl: after a few minutes he realised that he was going the wrong way
(04:49:51) girish_vgl: then we came back till the bridge
(04:49:55) girish_vgl: stopped the jeep
(04:50:10) girish_vgl: took out our torch and started searching for the way ahead
(04:50:23) girish_vgl: spent some 15 min in the jungle not knowing what to do next
(04:50:34) girish_vgl: at last we found the road and went ahead
(04:50:55) girish_vgl: after some 25kms into the forest road we found a gate of jim corbett
(04:51:01) girish_vgl: this was the gate from the other side
(04:51:05) girish_vgl: and it was closed
(04:51:14) girish_vgl: as night stay was not allowed this gate was not open
(04:51:24) girish_vgl: and the forest officials told us that we cant go any further
(04:51:38) girish_vgl: and we had to return back to the city, kotdwar
(04:51:57) girish_vgl: in the end we just saw the jim corbett national part entry gate
(04:52:23) girish_vgl: but the adventure in the forest is worth remembering
(04:52:34) abc: so u can say that u saw national park :-)
(04:52:49) abc: did u see any wild animals on the way
(04:49:32) girish_vgl: no
(04:49:39) girish_vgl: luckly we didnt
(04:52:51) girish_vgl: one part of our mind was curious to see elephants and wild animals
(04:53:01) girish_vgl: and the other part was feeling scared
(04:53:08) girish_vgl: sort of mixed reactions
(04:53:16) girish_vgl: the drive was very nice
(04:53:27) girish_vgl: all that we could see was the road ahead in the headlights
(04:53:36) girish_vgl: and dense forest on all sides
(04:53:55) girish_vgl: actually this has encouraged us to go again to that place and have a night stay at the park
(04:54:20) girish_vgl: as the jim corbett trip couldnt be completed we had another day to spend
(04:54:42) girish_vgl: so then the next day we went to a place called landsdowne
(04:54:48) girish_vgl: it is a small town on top of a hill
(04:54:59) girish_vgl: we got beautiful views of the far off peaks
View of Himalayas from Landsdowne

(04:55:28) girish_vgl: landsdowne is the base for garhwal rifles. it is a town built by the british
(04:55:56) girish_vgl: we spent the forenoon there
(04:56:24) girish_vgl: then came back to kotdwar and took a bus to delhi at 3.00pm
(04:57:02) girish_vgl: the return journey was smooth on a good highway and a light traffic
(04:57:49) girish_vgl: we reached our hostel at 10.00

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