Thursday, 7 December 2017

Mesmerizing Garhwal - Part II

See Part I here

The group had lots of stories about the summit climb which were shared on the way to our accommodation for 3rd night. After a short drive the bus stopped on a narrow road. We were told this is where we will be staying for the night. We started looking around and couldn’t see any building, hut or even a brick around. We disembarked the bus, carrying our bags and started following the guide to a place unknown. After walking down a trail among trees this what we saw
Camp Chalkot

A camping ground with pre-assembled tents, the camp had portable toilets, a kitchen where cooks prepared food for the guests. “No electricity, no mobile connection here” is what we were told once we were allotted tents. For once we thought how can we survive with no electricity, no mobile connection in these days. But we did…

Oh what fun it was to request for a bucket of water to clean yourself, water being fetched from the nearby river. I have stayed in a tent before but never used portable toilets or lived without electricity. It was so much fun using torches to navigate to the dining area after sunset , eating local food, karaoke around the bon-fire.

We decided to sleep early to recover from the strenuous hike of the day, to be ready for the next day. Though I must say it’s difficult to sleep when it’s so quite that you can hear people moving in next tent..ha ha .

Day 4 –We had an early start for a long drive to Joshimath, elevation 6200ft. Five hours later we were in queue for a ropeway cable car (or trolley as we call it in India) ride to Auli .Auli cable ropeway holds a record of longest in Asia with total length of 4.15 km. 
Its lower tower is at 1906 m from MSL and the upper tower is at 3016 m. The view from the ropeway captures beauty of the snow covered peaks, the alpine forest and the bracing climate.
View from the cable car
20 min ride to Auli and we were ready for a short trek to valley of Gurson Bugyal (bugyal means meadows in local language).We reached the meadows after trekking through dense oak forest with occasional spotting of Nanda Devi peak.

Our tents at Gurson Bugyal
On reaching the meadow, we selected a ground big enough to accommodate the whole group. We were trained how to assemble our tents, pack our bags and instructions on how to keep away from forest animals and use no water toilets. Boy, did I laugh and weird when it was described on how to use ecofriendly establishments.

View from our tents

Sunset at Gursan Bugyal
The temperature started dipping with the sun going down and everyone started feeling hungry.
The kitchen and dining area consisted of two taller tents and we were served instant noodles “maggi” as evening snacks. Trust me instant noodles never tasted better than on that cold evening. The whole group gathered in small tent of 10 ft by 10ft, sitting so tight, helping each other keep warm. No one wanted to move and go back to their tents to come back for dinner. We decided to stay where we were and started sharing stories from our childhood. We had such a blast laughing our hearts out at the things we did as a kid. Dinner was served and we ate whatever was served never thinking how much we were eating.

Now sleeping in these tents was another story….we started teasing each other that how a jackal can enter this tent or a strong wind will blow it.

It was decided to wake up early to see sunrise at some of the highest peaks of Himalayas. I knew that’s not my cup of tea, waking up early is one thing which I haven’t achieved my whole life.

Day 5: I woke up at 4 am to the sounds of birds chipping. I wasn't able to sleep properly as I was cold inside the sleeping bag. Hubby said why don’t you join us when you are up.I joined the early risers for a small hike for a better view of the sunrise point.

I must say the sunrise was one of the most beautiful natural phenomenon I have seen so far. It was a blessing to be present there and see the colors changing, light filtering thru clouds and sun rise behind the mountains.

The only task for the day was to walk down to the cable car boarding point which seemed easy after the last two days.
View of Nandadevi peak,the second highest mountain in India

After a few hours bus ride , we reached our cottage in Auli with overcast sky and snow covered peaks as the view from the window.
Our cottage at Auli
Everyone took nap, and evening we played cards, sang , shared jokes and had a good rest .

Day 6 – This was travel day back to Dehradun, the group members had become quite close to each other after spending such wonderful times together. The journey back was full of talks of what memories we created.

With heavy hearts we said good bye to the group and got down at Rishikesh (Translates to Hair of a Sage) . Rishikesh is a small town in the foothills of Himalayas with many Hindu temples.

Day 7 - We had our flight in the afternoon so we decided to visit Ram Jhula  which is an iron suspension bridge across the river Ganges built in 1986. We visited the nearby ashrams  to understand more about history of the town.

A late afternoon flight from Dehradun brought us to Kuwait , and an incredible journey in the Himalayas came to an end.

I hope you have enjoyed my ramblings about this trip of mine.


  1. Thank you so much for sharing all these wonderful mountain pictures in this post and in the last one. The sights are just breath-taking.

  2. The photos in this post are just stunning. Such a privilege to visit this beautiful part of the world.

  3. Oh, what wonderful photos, Mini!! I love mountains so much and these are simply breathtaking... So enjoying your travelogue :)

  4. Sounds like you had an amazing time. You definitely never know what you can do until you try!

  5. Wow! Great photos, Mini! You had quite an adventure. I am not made for camping and trekking. I have been to Rishikesh when I was in school.

  6. Thank you so much for sharing Mini! Absolutely gorgeous! I have never seen a mountain in real life. Little PEI is pretty flat and I haven't traveled far from here :) Someday maybe.

  7. I really enjoyed all the views, Bharti! The mountains look amazing!
    You did really well!
    Barbara xx

  8. Wowwww what lovely pictures...


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