My adventurous pilgrimage in Devbhoomi

sayshh

Active Member
Badrinath (part 2)

26-Sept-2018: Gauchar - Badrinath - Pipalkoti

The journey beyond Joshimath continued and we crossed Vishnu Prayag in some time. The final few kilometers of road to Badrinath is maintained by BRO, and is in very good condition. H-u-g-e respect to them for doing their duty in a fragile and challenging environment. :prayer:

Impressive waterfalls
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By around 1:30 PM we reached Hanuman Chatti. Took a quick halt to pray at the temple.

View from near Hanuman ji temple
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A little after 2:00 PM we were closing in on Badrinath, but since the temple was closed we proceeded directly to Mana village. The time allotted to us for sight-seeing was "strictly" 45 minutes. Only 45 minutes for a stunning place like Mana is brutally unfair! :shock: But that's what we got, and we had to rush.

Customary photo in front of the famous signage

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Asymmetric but spectacular peaks
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The raging Saraswati river at Bheem Pul - note the rainbow created by spray of water
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There has to be a last Indian tea shop at the last Indian village right? Of course there was one at Bheem Pul. Sadly we did not have time for a cup of tea at this place.

One of the commonly pictured photos of Mana

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We returned as per the strict time and headed to GMVN hotel Devlok in Badrinath. The time was just about enough to freshen up before going to the temple.

As we walked towards the temple, the ringing of bells and blowing of conch indicated that the temple was (re)opening. Soon we reached the temple complex. Water in the tapt kund here was boiling hot, steam and strong odour of minerals was emanating from it. Taking bath in it was out of question, so again we contented with sprinkling little of it on our heads. Crowd was relatively less and we could spend time to our heart's content inside the temple.

Me with my cousin in front of the temple

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If you noticed that the word lunch has not been mentioned so far, now was the time. At around 5:00 PM we had few snacks and tea at a restaurant facing the temple. Then we roamed around the town a little before heading back to the hotel to board the bus.

View of Mt. Neelkanth from GMVN hotel
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View of some more peaks
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It was getting darker as the Sun was setting behind the mountains. We started from Badrinath under dwindling light. The success of visiting all 4
dham was lingering in the mind as the bus made its way towards the night halt. There was a massive traffic jam causing almost 1 hour delay at Joshimath. We reached the GMVN TRH close to 9:00 PM. After dumping the luggage in the allotted room, we went out to the same hotel as morning for dinner. Then we retired to our room satisfied with positive and pleasant experiences throughout the eventful day.

Final leg coming up next...
 

sayshh

Active Member
Return to Haridwar

27-Sept-2018: Pipalkoti - Kaudiyala - Haridwar

The final day of the tour began in a leisurely mood. As we prepared to leave by scheduled time, a tyre puncture was noticed by our helper. We were a little pressed for time, but glad that the puncture didn't happen in any of the desolate places that we travelled on previous days. Owing to the delay we helped ourselves with some sandwiches (complimentary) for breakfast. Most of the co-yatris had booked their return from Haridwar for tonight. Me and my cousin had planned 1 extra day as buffer. So we were quite relaxed.

There was nothing much noteworthy with the return journey, they (usually) are anyway spent in anticipation of returning back home. We spent time planning for the buffer day and it was decided to do local sight seeing in Haridwar and Rishikesh. Though the flight was booked from Delhi, there was no booking (or plan) to reach there from Haridwar. Anyway we postponed that plan to next day.

A little before lunch time our attention was drawn towards the confluence of Mandakini and Alaknanda at Rudraprayag. A short break for photography was taken here.

Confluence of Alaknanda and Mandakini at Rudraprayag
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Short while later we stopped for lunch, then the downhill journey continued. Everyone contributed some money to be given as tips. By early evening we were stopped for a photography break at Devprayag.

Confluence of Alaknanda and Bhagirathi forming river Ganga at Devprayag

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In the gradually dimming sunlight and decrease in altitude, the low lying mountains were surrounded by a typical haze. In short while we reached Kaudiyala. GMVN has a very attractive resort here by the riverside. We stopped for tea here.

View of the hazy hills and river Ganga in the backdrop at Kaudiyala

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While waiting for tea, we took directions from our guide to buy some items to celebrate the completion of the trip tonight. \\:D/ After tea, we distributed the tips to our guide, driver, and helper.

With hardly few hours left for the yatra to end, we settled into our seats with some amazing memories, aware that we will all part ways soon. It became dark and in some time we started seeing the lights of Rishikesh town. Our guide and helper got down here and parted ways with some warm embraces and promises to revisit and keep in touch, goodbyes, etc. and of course with one final jai-jaikar for Yamuna maiya, Ganga maiya, Kedarnath bhagwan ji, and Badri Narayan ji. The most apt way to bring the safe and memorable trip to an end.

We were dropped back at Haridwar finally concluding the trip.

The hunt for hotel to stay and the buffer day sight seeing is a story in itself, but for another day... thank you all for reading!
 

sridhar1953

Active Member
Excellent narration in a simple style with great pics.
I heard that GMVN makes excellent arrangements for such trips.
By the by what was your experience/opinion on
  • The GMVN bus and seating arrangements. How are the seats allotted ?
  • What about food? Is it included in the tariff or should we take care of ourselves?
  • How were the eateries?
  • How was the stay arrangements? Was it dormitory or all the way or could you get separate rooms?
  • Was the ticket price inclusive of all other entry tickets?
  • How was the service of the Tour Guide?
Thank You once again for the post.
 

sayshh

Active Member
Excellent narration in a simple style with great pics.
I heard that GMVN makes excellent arrangements for such trips.
By the by what was your experience/opinion on
  • The GMVN bus and seating arrangements. How are the seats allotted ?
  • What about food? Is it included in the tariff or should we take care of ourselves?
  • How were the eateries?
  • How was the stay arrangements? Was it dormitory or all the way or could you get separate rooms?
  • Was the ticket price inclusive of all other entry tickets?
  • How was the service of the Tour Guide?
Thank You once again for the post.
Yes indeed, GMVN being the local authority for tourism in Uttarakhand has very good coverage. Most of their hotels/motels/resorts are located at excellent locations. Schedules are handled professionally and maximum attempt is made to be punctual. Despite having to revise the itinerary due to landslides they made sure we were comfortable and most of the credit goes to the guide for such quick plan changes.

The only thing that I would change if I do this yatra with GMVN again would be to choose a smaller vehicle. May be a Tempo Traveler, or even better - an Innova. This is more due to the bad and narrow roads in most of the places. It is the same principle like less luggage more comfort - Chhoti gaadi zyada aaram...

For reference this was our bus
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Below are the answers by points:
  • Seats were allotted to us based on the booking date/time. Persons with the earliest booking date got the front seats. Some adjustments can be requested depending on if a family/group wants to sit together.
  • Breakfast is supposed to be complimentary, but due to early start times (6:30 - 7:00 AM) we couldn't avail it on most of the days. We got complimentary tea/coffee at least before departure. Package does not cover other meals/snacks/beverages.
  • As per tour itinerary, lunch is planned in GMVN's restaurants as much as possible. But on many days due to delays or passengers demands (because of hunger) we stopped by some roadside eateries. They were similar to the eateries one finds on trekking routes to Yamunotri, Kedarnath, etc. On some days we stopped at well known restaurants of that route.
  • Stay arrangements were all made in separate rooms with double occupancy. We were two of us so it was perfect for us. The only exception was the dormitory (at Kedarnath) and shared tent accommodation (at Lincholi).
  • The cost for package only included travel (and complimentary breakfast). All other entry tickets and other expenses were borne by individuals.
  • Our tour guide was very knowledgeable and professional at all times. His service was very good and by the end of tour he became close to all of us we and are in touch on WhatsApp. In fact the driver and the helper were also very professional and helpful. The driver in particular with very religious, and used to start chanting mantra with a rudraksh mala during traffic jams. [-o<
 

adsatinder

Plz Help Himabuj (Amit Tyagi) in Corona Fighting
Great Char Dham Trip !
Great Coverage !
Great Package !
Great Cousins !
Great Views !
Great Pics !
 
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