Day 2: Delhi – Dehradun – Haridwar 14.05.2022
Early morning flight. Luckily short duration I had to endure. Happy to leave that super-hot Delhi even at midnight. Tried to catch some glimpse of Himalayas but no such thing happened.
Totally drained without food and sleep, arrived at Dehradun airport. Too hot here too. Only option here is a taxi to reach Dehradun city and they charge Rs.1020/-! My first reaction was to walk to the main road I guessed to be less than 2kms and lumbered to a distance dragging my bag with broken belt.
Only thing I want is my bike; my bike is my freedom. I hate to keep my planning in someone’s beck and call. But how far I could go? Came back again at the prepaid taxi counter and looked for any shared option available. Got one couple heading to Dehradun city. Shared the fare.
In life we, now and then meet credulous persons. Such were the couple at the back seat of the taxi, from Chennai. Got stuck with conversation with them since I too can fairly speak Tamil. They were going for a holiday to Dehradun! The hotel they booked was online; located in a busy market place. They just browsed and booked and had no idea what they were doing, just jumped on the flight to Dehradun!!! Water rafting in Dehradun!! So gullible.
Me and the driver suggested to either head to Rishikesh or Mussorie for some pleasant weather of any hill station. The driver was kind enough to drop me at ISBT.
To cut the story short, it was a big mess before I could collect my bike. But once I saw my bike a tear in my eye. Just went and touched it in the Dehradun station.
It is very common to find this plant here but it is not elsewhere in India I suppose.
By the time I am on the bike it was 12:45. Just too exhausted; no sleep, no food for the last 24 hours. So hot, so much traffic. Managed to get a litre of petrol for Rs.150 to reach the petrol station. So happy to get out of the town. I can see the Himalayas at a distance. So refreshing but the reality is I just couldn’t ride.
I must have consumed at least 20 litrs of fluids but never had to go to washroom. One can imagine the intensity of heat. So tiring. I stopped several times to some sugarcane juice or lemon water or shikanji several times on the way. I could notice with the bag at the back, it’s becoming very difficult for me to mount the bike and make it straight to start. Too difficult in fact. Must do something about it, can’t risk this in mountains from tomorrow.
Head towards Rishikesh or Haridwar? Decided on Haridwar luckily. Anyway, Hari ka Dwaar…so its very apt. My initial plan was Neelkanth with comparatively less habitation place. But now, I was too tired. Just took right turn and headed to Harika Dwaar.. Haridwar.
Too heavy week end traffic, road work at Haridwar, plus just too hot. Stopped at a road side café and I am sure I need some rest now. The hotels are just too expensive. To hell with the hotel and food, let me have a bath first which is very much needed.
At a ghat had a long bath in Ganga, leaving the bike and the bag on the roadside; I just couldn’t care if someone steals anything. But tell you, the level of trustworthiness in Uttarakhand is very very high.
Har Har Gange.
After the bath I was feeling even more tired just want to hit the bed. I asked some pandits sitting around and chatting, if any budget stay options. They said, “oh, well we can arrange some. Just sit.” I waited, waited and waited. They struck into some conversations among themselves as if I am not existing there and even started to smoke chilam. Couldn’t contain any longer… “Baaba, you said, accommodation….” The reply was … “Listen, if you disturb us, you too will be disturbed….”. Finally one of them started on his scooty and me following him; nearly all the streets of eastern part of Gangamayya and zeroed at an ashram cum lodge. Just too happy and couldn’t care what the rent was.
Surprisingly this side of the Ganga Ghats are not that crowded and also clean too naturally.
Evening walk to the Ghat. One thing very particular to Haridwar is that nearly every small street or place also has its own devotional ambience. Some bhajan, some aarti, at least feeding a cow or some other animal, or rangoli. Happy about my decision to stay at Haridwar rather than Rishikesh which later would prove to be correct.
Dinner and hit bed for much needed rest.