Uttarakhand- The Journey Begins

‘I have to get out of Delhi.’

Though it was just a few days back that Karan had returned from a journey, he was still restless to move out. Not being employed and being young has its advantages. No strings attached. A search on Indiamike helped him to decide his choice of destination.

‘It has to be Uttarakhand.’

He had not been there before, apart from a trip to Haridwar to seek salvation for his father.

Not knowing about a place, not knowing what to look for, and then going for a solo journey, into wilderness. This was to be different. He realised that all his early plans to visit the Holy places- Badri, Kedar et al won’t materialise as the Gods had hibernated for the winter, and their gates would not open before summers. Since long, he was planning about an all India bike journey, that was to start on Dec 1, 2011. Today was 29th November. He had given up on plans for the Bike journey, but then, could not keep himself from travelling.

On Indiamike, people suggested some places, which included trekking. He has a back problem, and was not sure what to expect. The first place was to be Ukhimath, the winter abode of Kedarnath, and then a trek to Deoria tal. Then, he was expecting to visit Chopta, and return via Tehri- 4 days.

Getting tickets for the train journey was not difficult, and his friend helped him with warm clothes. Trekking shoes were bought, and his college bag was full till its capacity. Travel light.

The morning of Dec 1 started like any other day. A lot had to be done. He still had no camera, and was shy to ask his friend, but once he asked for it, his wish was granted. Now, with all uncertainty, but a definite excitement, he departed to New Delhi, to board Dehradoon Jan Shatabdi.

This was to be a 4 hour journey, to Haridwar, from Delhi. Haridwar was the place where the Ganges descent in the plains, a holy city, where he expected to catch a glimpse of Ganga aarti, something which he loved during his stay in Varanasi. He met two IT Guys in the train, and the journey became shorter as they conversed. On reaching Haridwar, it was already dark, and cold, though it was 7 pm. The city was waiting to sleep, and the rickshaw walla at the station thought him to be another tourist, who needed a hotel in Haridwar, expecting a commission for himself. Since that was not happening, his interest dwindles, and Karan boarded another rickshaw for ‘Har ki Pauri’- the famous ghat in Haridwar.

The ghat was empty, with stray dogs roaming around. The river was flowing, making the evening colder. He tried to meditate, but could not concentrate. Somehow, the river was not interested on him. The Ganges after sunset becomes like any other flowing stream, as in the dark, its expanse is not visualised, and there are no sun-rays to reflect from the water. In Varanasi, this river flowed from right to left, but Haridwar was on the right bank, and thus, the flow was opposite. This also was making the sub-conscious confused. Somehow, when nothing seemed to work, he got up to leave. He made a call to his ‘guru’, but had a general chat. Haridwar was to be left behind, as his destination was different. On reaching the bus stand, at 9, he could manage to board a bus for Rishikesh, ready to depart.

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