Monday, 23 May 2016

My Ideal Char Dham Yatra

My fascination towards the snow capped mountains and the mesmerizing beauty of the sizzling Ganga river emerging through the glacier transformed me to a person who I never knew for 20 years. So vacation and traveling to different places is just not fun for me but much more of self realization!!!
Mighty Himalayas
When does one really get to know ourselves better? At times I thought the tough times have made me realize how strong and capable I am. But I got to know myself in one of the unplanned vacation that I went. I never knew trekking through the mountains could be so much fun, thrilling and peaceful. I have traveled to most of the famous hill stations and cities for various thrill rides so far. The trekking through the sacred places of char dham was one of happy ride so far. Since then i want to trek, trek and trek more. The lonely times with the cool breeze made me free of my stress, worries, wrong misconceptions and hatred. I understood that nature has everything we seek for!!!

About my Char Dham Yatra, it is considered to be one of the most sacred pilgrimages of Hindu religion and it is an thrilling and a risky place for explorers and trekkers too. I wanted the spiritual and thrilling experience so decided to Char Dham Yatra while planning for Sri Lanka. 
On way- you can see the rivers joining by different colours

My journey to the trek begins. We are a group of 10 friends. We started from Chennai to New Delhi through Airlines. From New Delhi, the arranged cab came through which we are going to travel in the entire trip. They are very experienced through the valley drive and they take care of the permit. 

Distance from Uttarkashi
We traveled from New Delhi to Rishikesh ( 230KM ) after the flight without staying in Delhi and halted in Rishikesh Swami Dayananda Ashram. It was a such a beautiful and calm place in the side of Ganga River. The food, rooms and meditation hall was very neat and clean. Morning we could take bath in the Ganga river flowing aside. The bath rejuvenated our tried minds and body. The sounds of the river and the shine of the moon rays falling upon the little pebbles on the river sides are unforgettable. Visited few temples in Rishikesh and saw the Ganga Aarti in the evening after a holy dip in the river. 
Holy Ganga River View from Ashram
Swami Dayananda Saraswati Ashram
On the way uphill, there was sudden landslides and then we had to wait till the roads are cleared. Next day early morning we started towards Kedarnath - located in the Himalayas above 11,755ft above sea level. The way to Kedarnath goes through Devaprayag, Rudraprayag and ends in Gaurikund. We can go till Gaurikund only after which there is only trek route to reach Kedarnath. We arranged stay in a local guest house where they provide you blankets and hot water but you need to carry in your own thermal wears, rain coats, fleece, jerkin, water bottle, torch and medical kit. 
Landslide being cleared
Kedarnath trek route

Falls on way of Kedarnath Trek

Next morning started the trek to the great KEDARNATH. The trek distance is 14 Kms takes around 5-6 hours. It is one of the most difficult trek of the four places in char dham. As you climb the high altitude the oxygen levels will be high. Horses can be taken if you don't prefer to trek. But trekking lets you explore the beautiful Himalayas. I couldn't really walk, thought of hiring a horse but no one comes in the middle. After having small rest breaks and taking different routes through the rocks with my friends I could manage to reach Kedarnath. Visited the temple and took photos around. Loved the snow capped mountains in my sight and then we started back to Gaurikund. 

Many such small water falls we will cross and we get to taste the fresh ganga water
The return trek was quite easy but we started late and the sun sets fast there so we had to rush back down. In some places the path is very narrow and even horses will be going in the same route so we had to be very careful. We had to cross the river in two places and without light the river sound was so thrilling and adventurous. On reaching down, we were so hungry and decided to have some great food but no big choice for a South Indian. But I loved to have Maggi which is available in every shop. ( Thank God, its not banned then and now)
Tent stay
Next day morning started towards the enchanting beautiful Badrinath , this was quite an easy journey but the distance through the valley up and down was beautiful but long 50Km. The place we stayed is walk-able to the holy Badrinath temple. We went for an evening darshan and saw the night pooja. There are many small places to shop and small eat outs. Early morning had an stunning view of the golden peak. The sun rays light up the Neelkanth peak and its a blessing one must experience in life. 
Badrinath Temple
Started towards Gangotri- the source of Ganga river which is around 420Km via NH 58. We reached in the late evening and went to the banks of Ganga river where the Gangotri Temple was situated. The water was ice cold and we enjoyed dipping our feet inside and outside. Night stay was very thrilling as we stayed very close by the river and the sounds of water rippling down never let me sleep. Morning we started the trek to Gaumukh which is quite easy though its 18KM and I loved climbing the rocks part very much. We clicked many photos during the trek and when reached Gaumuhk the view was stunning and breath taking. It is the place high in Garhwal Himalayas and considered to be the origin of  holy river Ganga. The glacier looked like the mouth of a cow and hence the name " Gaumukh". We had a bath in the ice water and then started back as there was no staying option there. 
On way to Gaumuhk

Gaumuhk- origin of river ganga

Closer view of Gaumuhk Glacier

Next day we started early to Yamunotri. It is the source of Yamuna river which is around 130Km from Gangotri. Close to the temple there are many hot water springs. We had a relaxing day around and the started back to Rishikesh. We roamed around the shopping streets and brought many dresses. Started back to New Delhi and the Flight Schedule was late so roamed around New Delhi and then flew back to Chennai. 

The more and more you travel, the more and more you explore yourselves as each bends and curves of the road clear each and every misconceptions you had been holding on to in your life. 

Don't ask me how?? You just have to experience it like I did.

This beautiful travel experience is still fresh and frozen back in my mind. All the pictures are taken by me during my trip, I have many more pictures of the beautiful Himalayan valley and it was difficult to select just few shots out of it. 

Want to travel? Book your travel through Yatra for an amazing Yatra!

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