My Third Solo Trip to the Himalayas

Khagesh

Well-Known Member
Day 3: Haridwar – Devprayag – Srinagar 15.05.2022 (Sunday)

As usual got up early. Initial plan was to bathe in Ganga Ghat, but then, anyway my plan was to have bath at the sangam of Devprayag. So, had morning ablutions and bath at the hotel itself.

Being a weekend, heavy traffic on the road. I can’t even guess how long a car would take to do Haridwar Rishikesh. Two wheelers can always squeeze their way to the front yet it was so tiring to maneuver that bonnet to bonnet traffic.

Suddenly I saw a carpenter working on the roadside with some plywood. Stopped and asked him if he could make this small contraption for me. Three small plywood pieces glued together and a hole drilled for my side stand parking.
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Trust me, it was so useful and a life saver. When parked on the side stand the bike was leaning at a disastrous angle and just impossible to make it straight to start. With the center stand, with my short built, it’s just impossible to mount the bike with one leg on the ground when a bag is strapped at the rear. So happy that I made this.

The carpenter must have worked for nearly half an hour or so on that piece and he did not want any money! He said “you are coming from such a long distance to our place, please accept our hospitality” so moving. I pushed some money in his pocket and thanked him. He even broke his drill bit while drilling the hole. Mera Bhaarat Mahaan. More to come about the hospitable people of Uttarakhand.

What we learn in these solo trips is still existing humanity which we otherwise forget to notice in our useless busy schedules. Otherwise what else is there, the same places, the same drive, nearly everything is same excepting the change of names, little surroundings.

Had tea and biscuit on that bypass road. Wanted to finish the traffic part of the road as soon as possible. Rishikesh arrives soon with such a heavy traffic. I could see the familiar names Lakshman Jhula diversion etc pass by. Just concentrated on the traffic.

Rishikesh doesn’t appeal anymore, to me atleast. It has become a weekend tourist spot for Dehites especially. Sure it would become Thamel soon. A total transformation, may be from from the advent of Eagles, hippy culture. Its very common sight to see girls with mini shorts a king size cigarette tucked between fingers and some drink in the other hand (no issues till here..but….) and quarreling with an autorickshaw driver over Rs.20.!! come-on… where are we going.

People use to come here to worship Gangamayya and now its water rafting. No issues either though.

At one place, I stop due to traffic jam and a car fellow squeezes his car with his front wheel just two inches away from my left foot. With little irritation, I turn to him lifting my visor of the helmet. He too downs his window glass, smiles and asks me if I am a follower of Sadhguru! I too smiled and that irritation vanishes. The Mystique Mountains started showing their effect.

As I was nearing Shivpuri, slowly those aggressive pickup trucks with rafting boats tied on their roofs disappear. Stopped for a tea break. Happy I am done with that chaotic pandemonium.

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A typical tea shop. Shivaliks, mountain air refreshing. Nearing Shivpuri. The pickup with a rafting boat tied on its roof.

It is still hot. The climb to Shivaliks starts. My impeccable bike enjoying the ride too. Instantly we can tell if the bike is enjoying or complaining. Some might consider the idea to be romantic foolish but didn’t you ever feel so, the bike, to that matter anything, is not just tubes and bolts?

Climb, climb and climb.. never ending to Devprayag. Another pit stop. The road is ok with some bad patches here and there.

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Finally Devprayag at sight:


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That is the place I wish to go down and have sangam snaan.

At Devprayag they say I can drive almost down to the sangam. But it was scarily steep. After half the way I stopped the bike. It was so steep. Left it there to rest and walked down to the sangam point.

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The rapid waters of Alaknanda and Bhagirathi are scary but when we see others taking a dip we too are tempted. One wrong step would be disastrous here.

Took many dips and did tarpan. So refreshing.

On the way back to the bike, had some homely Choley bature for lunch for they had that only for lunch.
Now, how to start the bike; it was so steep to manage the bike alone. Waited for someone to come along, tensed moments till I put the bike in motion. Uff. Never to take such risks.

Several pit stops and tea stops.

Tea stop around five pm or so. Just enquired the room rent.. its Rs.1,000 and he said if I go to Srinagar it would be around Rs.6,000 per night. I prefer to sleep on my bike if that happens. Already uncertainty hanging over my head about the permit, bike permit, registration and so on. I have least idea when I would be stopped and sent back. My job is to keep moving. So did I.

After a particular bend, the expanse of Srinagar valley opens up.

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The sun set, the broad river, the town, the hills quite refreshing to tired spirits.

By 5.15 I find a place, a basic hotel room for Rs.500 called it a day.

The young chap the reception counter said he did Kedar three days ago. The stories make me tensed, registration, vehicle registration, the rush, the rains and what not.

A stroll to the market, just like any other market in India, sumptuous meal and hit bed.
 

Tilak Francis

Well-Known Member
Day 3: Haridwar – Devprayag – Srinagar 15.05.2022 (Sunday)

As usual got up early. Initial plan was to bathe in Ganga Ghat, but then, anyway my plan was to have bath at the sangam of Devprayag. So, had morning ablutions and bath at the hotel itself.

Being a weekend, heavy traffic on the road. I can’t even guess how long a car would take to do Haridwar Rishikesh. Two wheelers can always squeeze their way to the front yet it was so tiring to maneuver that bonnet to bonnet traffic.

Suddenly I saw a carpenter working on the roadside with some plywood. Stopped and asked him if he could make this small contraption for me. Three small plywood pieces glued together and a hole drilled for my side stand parking.
View attachment 799035

Trust me, it was so useful and a life saver. When parked on the side stand the bike was leaning at a disastrous angle and just impossible to make it straight to start. With the center stand, with my short built, it’s just impossible to mount the bike with one leg on the ground when a bag is strapped at the rear. So happy that I made this.

The carpenter must have worked for nearly half an hour or so on that piece and he did not want any money! He said “you are coming from such a long distance to our place, please accept our hospitality” so moving. I pushed some money in his pocket and thanked him. He even broke his drill bit while drilling the hole. Mera Bhaarat Mahaan. More to come about the hospitable people of Uttarakhand.

What we learn in these solo trips is still existing humanity which we otherwise forget to notice in our useless busy schedules. Otherwise what else is there, the same places, the same drive, nearly everything is same excepting the change of names, little surroundings.

Had tea and biscuit on that bypass road. Wanted to finish the traffic part of the road as soon as possible. Rishikesh arrives soon with such a heavy traffic. I could see the familiar names Lakshman Jhula diversion etc pass by. Just concentrated on the traffic.

Rishikesh doesn’t appeal anymore, to me atleast. It has become a weekend tourist spot for Dehites especially. Sure it would become Thamel soon. A total transformation, may be from from the advent of Eagles, hippy culture. Its very common sight to see girls with mini shorts a king size cigarette tucked between fingers and some drink in the other hand (no issues till here..but….) and quarreling with an autorickshaw driver over Rs.20.!! come-on… where are we going.

People use to come here to worship Gangamayya and now its water rafting. No issues either though.

At one place, I stop due to traffic jam and a car fellow squeezes his car with his front wheel just two inches away from my left foot. With little irritation, I turn to him lifting my visor of the helmet. He too downs his window glass, smiles and asks me if I am a follower of Sadhguru! I too smiled and that irritation vanishes. The Mystique Mountains started showing their effect.

As I was nearing Shivpuri, slowly those aggressive pickup trucks with rafting boats tied on their roofs disappear. Stopped for a tea break. Happy I am done with that chaotic pandemonium.

View attachment 799036

A typical tea shop. Shivaliks, mountain air refreshing. Nearing Shivpuri. The pickup with a rafting boat tied on its roof.

It is still hot. The climb to Shivaliks starts. My impeccable bike enjoying the ride too. Instantly we can tell if the bike is enjoying or complaining. Some might consider the idea to be romantic foolish but didn’t you ever feel so, the bike, to that matter anything, is not just tubes and bolts?

Climb, climb and climb.. never ending to Devprayag. Another pit stop. The road is ok with some bad patches here and there.

View attachment 799037


Finally Devprayag at sight:


View attachment 799039

That is the place I wish to go down and have sangam snaan.

At Devprayag they say I can drive almost down to the sangam. But it was scarily steep. After half the way I stopped the bike. It was so steep. Left it there to rest and walked down to the sangam point.

View attachment 799040


The rapid waters of Alaknanda and Bhagirathi are scary but when we see others taking a dip we too are tempted. One wrong step would be disastrous here.

Took many dips and did tarpan. So refreshing.

On the way back to the bike, had some homely Choley bature for lunch for they had that only for lunch.
Now, how to start the bike; it was so steep to manage the bike alone. Waited for someone to come along, tensed moments till I put the bike in motion. Uff. Never to take such risks.

Several pit stops and tea stops.

Tea stop around five pm or so. Just enquired the room rent.. its Rs.1,000 and he said if I go to Srinagar it would be around Rs.6,000 per night. I prefer to sleep on my bike if that happens. Already uncertainty hanging over my head about the permit, bike permit, registration and so on. I have least idea when I would be stopped and sent back. My job is to keep moving. So did I.

After a particular bend, the expanse of Srinagar valley opens up.

View attachment 799041


The sun set, the broad river, the town, the hills quite refreshing to tired spirits.

By 5.15 I find a place, a basic hotel room for Rs.500 called it a day.

The young chap the reception counter said he did Kedar three days ago. The stories make me tensed, registration, vehicle registration, the rush, the rains and what not.

A stroll to the market, just like any other market in India, sumptuous meal and hit bed.
Looking for an ideal pitstop for food and ending up starving ....... budget friendly night stays.... encounters with humanity of strangers... I could very much relate to my rides....Thoroughly enjoying your journey!!!
I got confused with Kashmir Srinagar:)
 
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Khagesh

Well-Known Member
Looking for an ideal pitstop for food and ending up starving ....... budget friendly night stays.... encounters with humanity of strangers... I could very much relate to my rides....Thoroughly enjoying your journey!!!
I got confused with Kashmir Srinagar:)
Yes Tilak. The Murphy's law is stronger in my case :).

As I mentioned earlier in this travelogue, the places we visit hardly matters what we learn does. Almost the same.

I too got confused with Srinagar on my first visit. The tourist bus fellow said Srinagar lunch. You can imagine my predicament!
 

sayshh

Active Member
What a relief to see you get back on the saddle of the bike. Also the liberal sprinkling of philosophical musings from your experiences, to provoke thoughts is nice!
 

Khagesh

Well-Known Member
What a relief to see you get back on the saddle of the bike. Also the liberal sprinkling of philosophical musings from your experiences, to provoke thoughts is nice!
To be honest, I myself feel if I am truly writing a travelogue and how far I am justifying it. Cant be helped. Life itself is an admixture.
Thought provoking? I am honored indeed.
 

Khagesh

Well-Known Member
Day 4: Srinagar – Dhaaridevi – Rudraprayag – Tripa village…. 16.05.2022 (Monday)

For some reason I started late; at 7:30.

Yesterday my daughter suggested that I visit Dharidevi. Asked the locals, it’s visible right from the road and I can’t miss it, a temple on the left in the river Alaknanda which flows all the way to your left.

Wherever any developmental work such as power house, construction of dam, the road is damaged for a couple of kilometers on either side. Some dam work and we can see stagnant waters of Alaknanda.

By 8:30 Dharidevi. Very nice view. Parked the vehicle on the road side and climbed down.

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Normally, people who know the importance of Dharidevi; they visit this temple to take the blessings for safe yaatra. Another important feature here is that the face of Devi changes; morning as a child, afternoon youth and in the evening as old matured maata. One can google this information. Lucky, my daughter insisted me on this visit.

That little bridge over the river Alaknanda has interesting quotes from different Indian Scriptures.

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I casually took the picture. When I was going through the pics of the day, I have come across one board with saying “Those who toil tirelessly alone shall attain happiness.”(Rigveda 1.71.3). Was maa Dhaaridevi saying this to this solo traveler? We impute things expertly, no?

The visit was nevertheless overpowering. Interestingly photography is allowed inside the temple. Took a picture of the deity but can’t post it here for obeisance reasons. The reference to this temple would repeat later in the travelogue.

By 10:30 Rudraprayag. The heat still bothers. Parked in a little shade just after that little tunnel. No more taking the risk of taking the bike in that narrowest lane after that horrified moments at Devprayag. Walked down.
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The path to the Sangam is nearly deserted. Saw one elderly man struggling to go down. I offered him my help. He said “thank you, but no, you proceed. We can go down but what about coming up?” How stupid I might have felt. So true. Just walked down.

Only one or two persons were there at the sangam point. It was deserted

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The gushing waters of confluence of Alaknanda and Mandakini was scary. No one in the water. Really scary. Hesitated for a while looking at the gushing waters. The more you look at the swirling water, the more tensed that you are and look for some excuses not to get into the water.

What if I lose my foothold? Even if someone wants to help, one step by them, the rapids would have dragged me several meters. Nothing to worry though. Swimming alone would not help here. Maintaining calm is the key point which I learnt from my flying days and even from such many monkey adventures in life. Just follow the flow and try to reach whichever the bank you are drifted. But too risky. I don’t think the water isn’t that cold to fear hypothermia anyway.

With those contemplatations, went into the waters for dip. As usual the cold water was so refreshing. Did tarpan.

I might have taken around 15 to 20 minutes to finish my rituals. Then only I realize, by that time a handful of crowd had gathered up on the steps. Those people on the steps were waiting for me to climb out of the water in a sort of reverence. I do not know what impression I would have given them with only a towel wrapped around my waist. I just did a namaskar as my answer when they asked me if I am through.

This is the only problem, (if at all) I face on solo trips. Taking bath in rivers or in any public places. Just a towel around the waist, and leave everything on the banks! If someone steals or something like that happens? You must have read in my Nepal travelogue also, taking bath under those 108 spouts a Muktinath, Nepal. Whatever the belongings on the bank is completely out of sight. Even at sight also, how possibly I could safeguard it.

But no such thing ever happened to me. What happened was to start trusting people more and more. A nice feeling.

I realized the crowd consisted of two groups. One of bikers and the second of gang on a four wheeler coming from Badrinath side. They were narrating their experiences with the police, registration, vehicle to be registered and police sending them back! I asked them what about me who did not have a permit for the vehicle. Even the bikers got the permit from Rishikesh for their bikes. That’s what they said atleast. Now, what to do then? Certainly can’t go to Rishikesh. Anyway, I apply my ‘let’s see’ logic moved forward after a tea.

12:45 the town of Agasthyamuni comes and passes. A pit stop after the town. It’s still hot. Looks like I haven’t gained much altitude to feel the mountain chillness in the air as yet.

At Kund, I see some blockade and the police on the road. Ah finally the check point, I was certain that I would be sent back from here. But no such thing happened again. Later I came to know that the Kund Chopta road was blocked due to landslide; they are just not allowing traffic on that route. Uff, what a relief!

At 1:20 small roadside tea shop, just off handedly asked them if they had lunch they said yes. While having lunch in that small hut like hotel, I noticed a young lady probably in her late twenties, sitting with a mask covering her face. No one ever wears a face mask, not even me after seeing them. On enquiry, the owner said she was returning from Kedar and she lost her belongings at Gaurikund!!

The lady was from Shirdi, Maharashtra he said. I don’t know what to do. But certainly I want to help her in whatever the little manner I could. I asked her if she had her lunch. She said no. I certainly can afford her lunch. I offered. She refused. Ok, fine. Can’t do anything. Finished mine and went outside. The weather completely changed by now.
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Ominous looking thunderstorm cumulonimbus clouds with lightning and loud thunder could be seen on Kedar side. I know my phone could not do justice here; couldn’t capture the ominous clouds. So, what to do? From here on the road seems to be single, double, bad, worse and everything.
Knowingly getting stuck in the storm on those roads is just foolish. But stopping my ride at 1.30 pm or so is just a sacrilege. Never had I done that on my any trips. My plan was to reach Sonprayag or if possible Triyugnarayan.

Lucky I did not continue my ride. Later, the next day at Triyugnarayan they said it rained continuously cats and dogs all the afternoon till late in the night that day.

Sometimes just listen to your sixth sense however stupid it might sound.

I was looking for stay options. There are. 1,000 rupees per night!!! They said if I go up they would charge 8000 in Guptkashi etc which I too believed because I had seen several videos about the rush at Kedar. The traffic indeed was so so heavy in in the late that night in that heavy down pour too. Ok, room is settled.

A pickup jeep stopped and in flash that lady from Shirdi with mask jumped onto the jeep and nearly fled!!! All planned? Even the owner of the hotel was taken aback. A decoy? Who knows. The hotel owner offered her free lunch and she did not even thank him. Such things do happen. But if we want to help the real needy, how to differentiate is just follow your senses.
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Then I notice tents too were there. 5,000 per night!!! Trust me, by night every possible stay is occupied. Continuous flow of tourists even in the midnight when it was raining heavily. The incessant rain and traffic.

Spent time chatting with locals, many rounds of tea. Dinner and hit bed. All night I could hear the sound of heavy rainfall, bustle of guests. Who are they, from where they come, where do they go, why so much of excitement, why they speak in such a loud voice, what if everyone didn’t get a place to sleep, …. Uff.. Just try to sleep…
 

Khagesh

Well-Known Member
Day 5: Tripa Village – Sonprayag – Triyugnarayan 17.05.2022 (Tueseday)

Never ending traffic on the road all the night and continued to the morning. The cold shower helped me lift my tensed spirits.

About 3kms or so into drive Guptakashi! How am I to know I was so close to a town? Yesterday I could have stopped for lunch and stay here itself and at a cheaper rate. Anyway, it’s not to be so as usual.
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The broken roads, roads under repair roads, steep roads: Mountain riding skills on high alert.

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A pit stop. First glimpse of snow clad mountains… Kedarnath!

Soon at Phata by 9:30 or so. A tea break. Roads too crowded, too many four wheelers parked either side of the road. It was actually because Sonprayag parking full (or is it that they want save the parking fees?) it extended till Phata. One can imagine the crowd.

Before I could realize I am already at Sonprayag with bonet to bonet four wheeler traffic jams. I could recognize with that multi storey parking. I know I must head a bit more straight for the Triyug Narayan road deviating to the left. The traffic police stopped me and I told him, I am not going towards Gaurikund but Triyug Narayan.

The policeman advised me, stay at Triyugnarayan itself for the night, early morning to come here, park my vehicle and head towards Kedarnath. Night stay at Sonprayag is just too exorbitant. I thanked him and turned to that steep climb with heavy traffic moving up and moving down. With that bag at the back and with those not fully awaken mountain ride skills and prowess it was difficult to maneuver the bike.

For nearly five to six kms up that road, the cars were parked! Just mad mad rush.

The road is broken at several parts. But slowly now it’s deserted nearly. At one particular place it was so steep probably a 60 degree slope up, with all the stones, boulders and pits. Here, a big mistake, I was in a wrong gear; second. The momentum nearly stopped and that brief application of clutch may be for a fraction of a second to change into first gear, the momentum of the bike stopped and started sliding backward! Lost control and the bike, like in a slow motion, stumbled and I slowly moved away.

That is the first ever fall (if it’s called a fall at all) during my entire three trips to Himalayas. But there we go, whatever we call it. No way I can lift the bike with the baggage tied up at the back. Waited perhaps for three to five minutes. Checked if petrol is leaking. Luckily nothing like that. Then a car came from the opposite direction. He stopped. It was followed by a bike. Quickly the pillion rider from the bike rushed to help me. We both lifted the bike and pushed forward. He told me that they too fell exactly on the same spot while going towards Triyugnarayan. I must remember this place on my return. I thanked them and we both continued our journeys in opposite directions.

The chillness can be felt on the ride. I must pull out my pullover for the next ride.

By 10:30 Triyugnarayan. Such a quiet place. Uff, what a relief to be away from those crowds. I was looking for stay options first because I already decided to follow the advice of that policeman. One pundit of the temple took me to a place which is just close to the temple. Took a room, unpacked, parked the bike in a safe place. Darshan, Pooja.

For those who do not know this place: Triyugnarayan is the place where Lord Vishnu performed the marriage ceremony of Lord Shiva. Why Lord Vishnu performs the marriage ceremony of Lord Shiva itself is very interesting; improper place to discuss in a travelogue. Here, the Agni Kund of that marriage ceremony is still live nonstop. Hence the name Triyug… Naaraayan.
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A small stream flows out of Triyugnarayan temple which is called Vishnu teertha. A small kund or pool which is called Vishnukund is present in the courtyard of the temple. This, as per the puranas, is the start of the invisible river Saraswathi. So cold is the water. Taking a dip. Few were doing it.
From the main gate road goes further down and we can see other mountains. Climb down to the valley where the river Trivikrama and the river Mandakini confluence. Here a small Shiva temple must be there - Kaaleshwara temple. Having time in hand wanted to trek down. Made enquiries. Locals say I cannot go alone for wild forest is one, plus I may be lost is the second reason. So I need a guide. Asked for one but no one was ready because it’s already late that we cannot trek back by the night fall. A pity.

And then there are Pandas as one can find in Haridwar, Rishikesh, Kedarnath etc. My daughter referred to one. Located him but he was busy selling his ware because a group of tourists have arrived. Otherwise this place is so quiet, so peaceful, so tranquil.

Lots of rest in this trip. I rushed both my previous trips which I do not want this time. So, had lunch, a short siesta, catching up with log entries, chatting with locals, tea over tea mainly their living during winters and food they manage and how they manage with boredom with hardly anything to do during winters. Its quite interesting how people manage their lives effortlessly without much ado.

In the meantime, the weather turned to be violent just like the previous day. The locals said this is the same every evening! The day before it rained so heavily. Thank god I stayed put yesterday.

Evening darshan, long aarti, happy to be inside warm, next to that Agni Kund. Nice experience. Outside it was so cold. Had dinner and slept.

Some pictures of the Triyugnarayan and around.
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