Khagesh

Well-Known Member
Day 11: Kun Chatti - Madhyamaheshwar 24.05.2022 (Tueseday)

All the night my toes were freezing. So cold. Yet slept like a rock. No matter what, I get up early. So did I this day too.

In the morning I realized this is the only one settlement in Kun Chatti. Thought it could be a village. In that night and chillness did not notice; only one house!

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Notice the dense jungle which I came through last night.

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Another 2.6 kms to go. But again, not to trust these boards for distance.

Started the trek quite early before Anand Vyas couple start. But soon, as usual, they overtake me and tell me come slowly we will go ahead and arrange for night stay. That’s fine with me.

I have to accept the fact that I will be the first trekker of the day and the last trekker too. Everyone overtakes me in the meantime. It doesn’t bother me though it’s a fact.

I am the solitary trekker in that morning mist, rain and thick jungle for my company.
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Looks like a fairy tale or even ghostly ambience. .. Right from the Warner Bros movie The Polar Express platform.

Kept trekking for three more hours or so. Nothing in between except few minutes break to catch my breath. It’s raining now. Can’t take my phone out for pictures.

Half dried shoe gets drenched once again in no time making my toes go numb instantly.

Trek and trek and trek. And then suddenly the cloud lifts off for a while and to my bewilderment, what I see the temple itself, so close.

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Trust me, the mixed feelings of surprise, the bliss, the hundred percent bholenath ki kripa was just overwhelming.

When I was enquiring about these couple, within no time, I hear that friendly voice once again. They have already settled had bath and hot water was waiting for me. So so cold it was. I clumsily removed all the wet clothes had a bath and went for darshan.

Hardly any pilgrims; may be twenty at the maximum. No crowds at all. The service was so good. Stood there for entire Pooja abhishekh of the mool deity without decorative ornaments. So nice it was.

In all, nearly everywhere in the north Indian temples, I observed the lack of Sanskrit knowledge and the chanting of vedic mantras in a song or bhajan format by the priests. Most of the time the vedic mantras itself are not chanted. Though it hardly matters in the places such as this, overpowering place, where just being in those surroundings itself carries such a positive energy. Imagine if they can be energized with proper Vedic chanting on a daily basis. Anyway…. Lets move on…

By nature I shy publicity or being in the limelight. I don’t like it either, somehow. I asked these Bhopal couple to ask the Pundit, if I can recite Rudram. But somehow it did not happen. Yet thoroughly enjoyed the long seva and the bhog. It lasted till late in the afternoon.

All the while, on bare foot, toes were near numb but hardly I noticed because I was blissfully enjoying the service and the devotion of the pundit too.
The rain wouldn’t stop. At the maximum it reduces to a drizzle.

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There are few places for the basic stay here. But what interested me was that they pooling system. Whatever the guests they get each day, they share. They get allotted through sort of centralized booking at the temple office. This office allots us where we stay. The lodgers wouldn’t take a guests directly. So nice an arrangement and cut those exorbitant rates. Only few months business for them and that too only too too few pilgrims what they could earn here or even at that Triyugnarayan. Yet, the local people there are cheerful and lots of hospitality they possess.

Lunch and little rest and then a stroll in the evening. Low ceiling of clouds, on and off it lifts or comes down as drizzle.

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Then some sunshine too. Everyone tries to catch that little warmth and some go for Budhamaheshwar trek just above that ridge on the far right in the picture.

Should I go? Again that cheating of oneself at play. No, it’s too cloudy, it’s no sunrise and what not. Anyway, this time lethargy wins over me.
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Your story teller.

Tea over tea.

Nearly whatever the little trekkers are there they huddle in that fading heat of the Sunlight and exchange stories and experiences. When the topic rolled on to Rudranath, I become attentive. I see another huddle a little away and the temple pundit joins them.

The stay options removed by the forest officials on the Rudranath trek, water shortage, no option to stay at Rudranath and the trekkers must reach back Panar Bugyal after the darshan is quite discouraging.

Anyway, let’s cross the bridge when it comes.

Soon a little queue forms infront the temple for evening aarti. I too join. Allowed inside after a while and to my relief the floor carpeted now and one can sit to attend the aarti. As usual in the North Indian temples, a long aarti. Enjoyed it thoroughly.

Once outside the temple, it was so so cold. The three layer semi soaked clothing, shirt, thermal, woolen pullover is just not enough. Must have quick dinner and get under those quilts in the room without any ventilator.
Just did that.
 

sayshh

Active Member
By the way, do comfort, convenience and travel, adventure go together?
It depends. They can go together given the correct mindset and circumstances. For example comfort is when you have a couple of foam mattresses under your sleeping bag in your sleeping tent after a hard, tiring day out in the cold higher altitudes.

For sure, in your journey all we can see a dash of all these.
 

Khagesh

Well-Known Member
It depends. They can go together given the correct mindset and circumstances. For example comfort is when you have a couple of foam mattresses under your sleeping bag in your sleeping tent after a hard, tiring day out in the cold higher altitudes.

For sure, in your journey all we can see a dash of all these.
Yes, very true, they can go together.

Different perspectives which make this world more lively which otherwise would be drab.

One thing I observed on my all the three solo trips is that the 'murphy's law' is strong. Is that only in my case? .. again perspectives come into play.
 

Khagesh

Well-Known Member
Day 12: Madhyamaheshwar – Ransi 25.05.2022 (Wednesday)

It was so cold night. I don’t remember if my toes got warm even under those heavy quilts. Remained frozen, painful. As usual got up early and was looking for tea. I observed that we have to eat or drink only in the shops that are allotted to us. But that shop is still closed. Somehow managed to get a tea from a kitchen of different hotel secretly. Anand Vyas couple still to get up.

Weather was clear. Only few were up and about. Should I do the trek up that ridge to reach Budhamaheshwar, if I do that I will not be able to reach Ransi before the nightfall. Those strong antibiotics were taking its toll. Anyway I was still under that profound trans of darshan and aarti the day before which was the essence of this trek; its only for views of Chaukhamba and other peaks which look at a stone throw distance. Or is it that lethargic spirits trying to convince me wrongly. Anyway, dropped the trek to Budhamaheshwar.

Started the downhill trek after the seeking blessings of Bholenath earnestly. It was somewhat still dawn. In mountains it gets dark quite late and light quite early.

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Blissful solitude. No one around, just me and that magnificent nature around to give company on my trek.

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Slolwy, the Sun is on the snow peaks.
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One can clearly observe the man made destruction; the other side of the valley is continuous dense forest whereas this side of the valley where the human interference is there so many treeless patches.

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Such a tempting valley to do the hang gliding. Look at the gradient of the slope, one false step even on a nature’s call, will see you into oblivion.

Reached Kunchatti by 07:15, Maggie for breakfast before morning dose of medicines. From here on the lodge owner’s son gives me company for some distance. Had nice chat about life in the hills, local flora and fauna with those little fruits which were tasty though not looking exotic. Downhill, could feel the increase in the temperature.

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Dense forested valleys, very tempting. These valleys must be continuing all the way to plains, on and on.

Upper Bantoli by 11:15 had the local soft drink, Buransh juice. Nice it was.
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Snow peaks receding slowly.

Gounder by 12:15. Tea and biscuits for lunch. A little bit trek down hill and my friend Anand Vyas catch me up, ever cheerful. But I could see he was tired. The trek was taking its toll on all of us. Yet cheerful. Then that water fall comes.

The Bhopal couple slowed down. Their next destination was Rudranath and mine was Tungnath. The way Anand was taking more frequent breaks and gasping, I doubted if they would really do Rudranath especially after the stories what we had heard at Madhyamaheshwar. He was gasping. Yet, I just maintained my silence.

At one point of time Anand said he will drop Rudranath, just too exhausted of the trek and straight head for Kalpeshwar instead the next day. Now, what about me? Well, I have Tungnath to do anyway before deciding Rudranath.

Once reached the end point of the trek, start of the road point; Ransi about another one to one and half km to go, saw some trekkers rejoicing the completion of the trek and they offered us pure ghee doodh peda. So yummy. The group, as usual, was from West Bengal. One more round they serve. Sheepishly I took two more and gobbled whole piece in a single go.

Reached Ransi by 4.30pm or so. Tea, gossip with locals. The lodge owner’s son is a guide I suppose who can guide trekkers to Badrinath straight from Ransi on a short cut trail. I believe him.

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Picture taken from the hotel room. That’s the road we have come from Madhyamaheshwar motorable till the trek point. Snowcapped mountains at a distance.

Soon the heat of the trek subsides and evening sets in so does the chillness. I notice the peeling of skin from my face. Not to worry, the fever anyway gone now. Just weakness.

Anand family decides to hire a cab to Kalpeshwar from Ransi itself and they would drop me at Ukhhimath hotel. That’s settled for the next day.
Had early dinner and all the three of us totally whacked out just hit the bed.
 

Khagesh

Well-Known Member
Dear Sajal,

When I see your likes of my travelogue page I feel belittled. Comparing with your travelogues, expertise, crystal clear photos, mine is just insignificant, yet you take time and show interest.

By the way, those Umlingla photos remind me of Tsaparang, could be extension of Tsaparang culture. Every bit there is so blissful so soulful, we can feel His presence in every atom of air that we breathe.

You are really blessed.
 

sajalsheth

Still Learning ©
Dear Sajal,

When I see your likes of my travelogue page I feel belittled. Comparing with your travelogues, expertise, crystal clear photos, mine is just insignificant, yet you take time and show interest.

By the way, those Umlingla photos remind me of Tsaparang, could be extension of Tsaparang culture. Every bit there is so blissful so soulful, we can feel His presence in every atom of air that we breathe.

You are really blessed.
Thank you @Khagesh ji for appreciating my travelouge & pictures :prayer:
Every Girl is beautiful in her own way ! Same way every travelogue is of significant in its own way.

Our purpose of writing travelogue is to document our journey and so that it can be helpful to others.
And some can travel virtually through our travelogues.
God is Great

Waiting for your next update
 

Khagesh

Well-Known Member
Thank you @Khagesh ji for appreciating my travelouge & pictures :prayer:
Every Girl is beautiful in her own way ! Same way every travelogue is of significant in its own way.

Our purpose of writing travelogue is to document our journey and so that it can be helpful to others.
And some can travel virtually through our travelogues.
God is Great

Waiting for your next update
Very very true. The very essence of writing a travelogue help others and at the same time we too relive and make the trip virtually once again while documenting it.

Everyone of us had derived inspirations or at least derived confidence from other travelogues, this is one way of paying back our gratitude and pass it on to other neophytes.

Solo trips are truly nostalgic. No?

Yes, I will update. Bit exams busy... being a teacher :) ..must steal some time.
 

Khagesh

Well-Known Member
Day 13: Ransi – Ukhimath 26.05.2022 (Thursday)

Though got up early, I had to wait for Anand family to get ready because they were directly heading to Kalpeshwar in the car and they would drop me at Ukimath.

I do not know how people manage to travel by car in those mountains but for me the carsickness is too much to handle, and if it’s on those curvy hill roads it’s just pathetic. Immediately I have that strong nausea. Gayatri gave me some lime or anaar daana homemade medicine but nothing worked. I felt like asking the driver just to drop me; I prefer walking back to Ukimath. At one point had to stop the car to vomit. I was feeling guilty of holding them back.

That short drive really was so exhaustive. Relieved to be dropped off at my hotel at Ukimath. Bade good bye Anand family, such a loving and caring couple.

Now, back in Ukimath: Locals tell me Kedar trek is closed due to heavy rains. Oh, so that weather forecast clip that my daughter sends was not an empty threat then. Should I feel lucky that I survived? No, it’s not that, it’s that the weather in mountains is just unpredictable.

The phone comes to life once again after four days or so. Called home.

The exhaustive trip to Madhyamaheshwar wore me out. The time was around eleven or so. Could have drove till Chopta and get ready for the next day’s Tungnath trek so that I can do Chandrashila also leisurely. But the spirits were complaining; instead decided to spend the day in washing, shaving bit of recuperating for next onslaught; Chopta and Tungnath.

A long hot water bath was rejuvenating, especially after those chilly nights, continuous drenching in the rain.
Rested well.

Day 14: Ukhimath – Chopta – Tungnath - Chopta 27.05.2022 (Friday)

I know this day’s the ride is short so decided to start late: A mistake.

Anyways, started around eight or so. Still tired after that exhaustive trek to Madhyamaheshwar.

From here on till Chopta just climb, climb, climb and climb. Uphill drive. The road is single, bad patches here and there. Sure enough cloudy, on and off drizzles. But the forested roads are so nice to boost up our complaining spirits.

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At the tea break I noticed two bicycles parked! Just any standard simple battered bicycles with just a simple luggage tied at the back. These were from Maharashtra they are cycling and up the hill, just pushing their bicycles. So simple men these were, where they would stay, what they eat in those expensive season time. They said it’s their 42nd day or so. I was truly humbled once again. What I do is just nothing in comparison with their devotion. My silent salutations to these two old white bearded skinny men.

With a tea break, reached Chopta by 10:30 am or so. What I gathered through my readings about Tungnath trek was to start early for Tungnath but by the time I looked for accommodation to leave my luggage it was nearly 12 in noon.

Drizle turned to rain now. Had to postpone my trek to Tungnath to next day.

But then, I see still I see people starting the trek. Why not me and what I would do all the day here in that tiny room? Anyway Chandrashila is ruled out in that overcast weather. So I too started the trek at 12:30 or so.

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The overcast sky with low visibility but the dense forest is so lovely.

I know the trek distance is short but gradient is bit tough. Not after that Madhyamaheshwar. So, just started the trek no matter even if I reach Chopta late.

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The crisscross shortcuts. Unless your energy levels are high, never attempt them though they are very tempting. This rule applies even for bike riding too, especially in Ladakh region.

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The trek trail is well paved and runs through tree cover, then meadows and the tree line disappears as we gain altitude.

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Noticed some ponies too, but very few. Nothing like that crazy mad rush of ponies in Kedarnath.

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What he could be explaining to her? Well, notice the gradient of the trek path.

It was getting more and more chiller with on and off drizzles as we gain altitude in each step.

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The route covered. See the distance is short and gain in altitude is more; hence that gradient.

..... to be continued....
 

Khagesh

Well-Known Member
(continued….)

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Notice the disappearance of tree line. From here onwards in any trek, one need to be cautious for oxygen levels in atmosphere starts to drop.

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Reduced visibility. Just guess the distance and keep trekking; that strenuous trek again.

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But Bhole Baaba always pays your efforts off, and in abundance. Tungnathji finally. How many days had I not waited for His darshan and now it’s a reality.

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Few devotees, not that mad rush. It was good.

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So overwhelming the moment was. I do not know how people feel. At times like this, I cry just as it happened to me at Muktinath, Nepal… not just temples, it happened after that climb of Zozilla pass too, in that fading light.

So overpowering and mesmerizing.

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Invariably we find drum players playing drums just before the temples here. The ambience is just surreal, the weather, clouds, few people, fading light, long dream come true, the mystic Himalayas… they make all this up.

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It’s always a point to ponder how Bheema found different parts of Lord Shiva in disguise of Nandi in different parts in far flung places like this remoted one. Quite a puzzle maker the Lord is.

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Jai bhole Tungnathji.

It’s so cold up here. Already so cold in Chopta but here its super chillness, with bare foot it’s even more cold. Toes never seem to be in a mood to getting warm.

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The overcast sky drizzling on and off. Just managed clumsily to get into my wet shoe. I see the sign board leading to Chandrashila.

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But what views we can get with an overcast sky like this. The weather is like this right from the morning and looks like in no mood to clear even in the near future. Best is to start the downhill trek and try to reach before the night sets in.

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Just like Madhyamaheshwar… mesmerizing with only difference is bit more people here.

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The wet trek path and the gradient.. Tree line once again.

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The evening sky of Chopta. Promising good weather tomorrow, at least in the mornings.

Finished the trek before the dark.

It was super chilly night. Had early dinner and off to bed.
 

Khagesh

Well-Known Member
Day 15: Chopta – Kalpeshwar – Helang 28.05.2022 (Saturday)

After spending that super cold and restless night in that tiny room started the ride around 08.30 from Chopta. ,

The road from here onwards as I understand is mainly downhill, if I am not wrong because from Ukimath it’s all up hill on my way and Chopta seems to be the highest point.

Someone asks me a lift till Mandal. I am not used to drive hilly regions with a pillion rider, anyway, I had my baggage tied on the rear seat. Politely refused.

Just like any other hilly road, mainly downhill. Reached Mandal around 10 am, a tea beak.

Now, soon I will be passing Sagar village where my planned Rudranath trek would begin. It’s a sacrilege to miss this trek, but I did. Excuses and self-deceptions start in mind, too tired, poor health, must leave something to come back again into mountains etc.

As I contemplate it later, doing panch Kedar in one go and brag it later…? prefer incognito and above all He had already blessed me more than I deserve. Plus I too wish to come back to this region and do Rudranath afresh.

So, with a sort of guilt, I proceeded. Gopeshwar, the busy area, comes and goes. All the while the road is near deserted hardly any traffic. Quite blissful.
11:15 Chamoli where I join the main road to Badrinath. Filled petrol, tank full, a mistake.

The regular mad rush can be seen on the roads now on, obviously towards and from Badrinath. Wanted to take a dip in Garud Ganga. Made enquiries. No one seem to know so far but I am sure I am not far away from it.

Pipalkoti crossed. Garudganga by 12:15.

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Garud Ganga or Garurganga is a small place yet cannot be missed. Some vehicles stop here, people go down for a dip in that small river with crystal clear waters.

Though this place is near insignificant compared to other popular places, a pebble from the river Garud Ganga does miracles; it will keep the snakes away. Whoever have the snake menace such as me, can pick up a small pebble from the river with the blessings of the river, keep it in a place where snakes are noticed frequently, that would ward off. Many, including me, confirm this fact of warding off the snakes. Name, Garud, itself says it all.

Helang is not far off from here. There is a left deviation just before the Helang bridge, which leads to Kalpeshwar.

I stop at the deviation, next to Inder Palace hotel. Wondering my next step. A tea shop. Had tea and lo there is one family from Bihar whom I met on Madhyamaheshwar trek also waiting to go to Kalpeshwar. They are waiting for transportation. The tea shop owner’s son has a car and he offered to drive us. We shared the fare. Lucky, no bike ride now. The family planned to stay back at Kalpeshwar nearby settlements.

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Kalpeshwar waterfall just after crossing the bridge on foot.

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More information on Kalpeshwar Mandir. The last of Panch Kedar.

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Kalpeshwar mandir from the bridge.

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Kalpeshwar Mandir.

Hardly any devotees around. Had plenty of time inside the shrine even leisurely abhishekh and Pooja; haven’t had my lunch excepting those biscuits and tea. So nice it was.

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A small stream of Ganga flows next to the temple, Lord Ganesha upasthith.

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The path that leads to the temple.

Dropped the family from Bihar on the way, once again back on to the main road with so much of traffic and people around. Back to Helang by 5:30pm.

Just little away more affordable stay options, rented a room, walk around, tea after tea, local fruits, early dinner and off to bed.
 
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