Asked to some of my close pals, and Saurabh agreed though it wasn't long back that he had travelled to Spiti Valley. This just explains what kind of addiction it is to bike in Himalayas.
Anyways we settled for a trip to Gangotri the point of origin of river Ganges and then trek to Gaumukh from Gangotri and a whimsical thought of stretching the trek to Tapovan if possible.
We had set up the starting point to be Anand Vihar railway station. I live pretty close to it in Mayur Vihar in new delhi. Saurabh was supposed to come from Gurgaon (a 40 km drive in itself :P). So We started from Anand Vihar somewhere around 6:30 AM in the morning.
Cool stuff about this trip was that none of us had chalked out the plan about routes that we would be taking. At one of those rest points in some dhaba , while having a tea, we guys were discussing the routes and settled on for Going through Mussoorie via Dehradun.
Most of the day passed on the highways. Taking small breaks after 50 odd kms. Reached Dehradun by 1:30 pm. Took a little longer break in Dehradun.
Reaching places like Dehradoon or Shimla is always pleasant. As one could start seeing the blinding, tortuous path of the mighty himalayan ranges and is an escape from boring straight highways.
Next target was Mussoorie. Crossing Mussoorie in a haste is difficult as so many memories are associated with place. So yes I did take a halt at maggie point and shared all the old cherished stories I had about Vodka and Maggie point with co biker. The maggie was awesome too.
Mussoorie that way was in its own melodies. The entire hill station was covered with magical fog. Its not wrong that People call Mussoorie the Queen of Hill Stations.
Our target for the day was reaching Barkot. But with the setting sun it seemed tough to reach there. In our way we passed famous Kempty falls and many beautiful valleys of Uttarakhand. And we ended the day some 20 kms before Barkot , where we found a nice cozy place to stay.
Its not tough to get caught in sound sleep after long day of driving. But our dilemma was whether to continue to Gangotri or cut short the trip to Yamunotri. Yamunotri was barely 50-70 km from
our place now. After bit of discussions it was finalized that the destination would be Gangotri only. Lets bunk office 2 more days if needed were the final vows. :P
Woke up by 6 next day. And had hit the roads by 6:30. The roads were rugged now. Entire terrain looked beautiful. With the sun's fresh rays hitting the hills, illuminating them one one by one with mild redness, the aura was worth witnessing. Lower hills terrace farmed by the locals of the area gave another dimension to the landscape. If one raises one's neck from bottom to top one could see so many different shades of nature's true majesty.
We were awed by the scintillating experience. The halts become too frequent with these majestic sceneries coming our way. And so we continued biking our way through the majestic mountains.
Soon we reached the district of Uttarkashi. Uttarkashi is supposed to be the Kashi(Varanasi) of North. Just before entering into the district one gets to see one of the most beautiful views of valleys. River bhagirathi spans over the basin with beautiful sand pieces distributed throughout it surface.
Taking a bit of longer break in Uttarkashi, we moved ahead. Now the smaller fountains flowing here and there started appearing. And the fun moved onto its next step. Distance left to Gangotri from Uttarkashi was some 95 kms.
Passing through beautiful valley of Harsil, district of Gangnani, Bhairon Ghati we reached Gangotri somewhere around 2:30 pm. Before I start my tales of Gangotri, let me tell Gangnani is famous for the Hot Kund and the temple of Sage Parashar (father of Ved Vyasa author of epic Mahabharata).
Anyone visiting Gangotri for the first time would be enthralled by the ferocious flow of river Bhagirathi (Ganga) through the rocks.
Since we were running on time crunch. We thought that it would be better to start off with the Gaumukh trek and do the site visiting in Gangotri the next day after coming back. On doing certain enquiries from the locals we came to know that one needed to take permission from border forces to start this trek and otherwise also they don't let anyone go after 1PM and preferred time of starting the trek is early morning.
So we did not have much options left with us. Though we made sure we got the passes ready for trekking the next day. There are lot of sites near gangotri as well. The most important of all of them being The Ganga Mata temple. Others being Surya Kund, Pandav Gufa, Gauri Kund and some more.
We started with Pandav gufa. It is one of the caves where Pandavas of Mahabharata were supposed to live. Pandav Gufa was distance of some 3 kms. So the first site took some time.
After returning from the pandav gufa we visited Gauri kund and surya kund. These are located in the vicinity of the temple itself. Sat on the ghats of Gangotri for half an hour. The sheer tranquility that prevailed in the valley had divine nature.
After that we went to worship the Ganga Mata in the Ganga Mata temple. Did not have courage to visit any distant site any more . Also we were aware of the challenge next day. Gangotri Gaumukh is 22 kms trek. And our software profiles have made our bodies too used to residing in that tiny chair these 22 kms were looking like a mammoth.
Also with the dropping temperature in the evening I realised my cloths are not good enough for the trek next day. We did some winter wear shopping in Gangotri market. And bought some dry fruits and chocolates for the trek next day.
So stories worth telling for day 2 probably end over here.