Chardham Yatra - Yamunotri - Journey ahead of final destination
Chardham Yatra - Yamunotri
Day 1 of journey -
The first stage of my Chardham yatra took me to Yamunotri and it took three days to complete this part of the Yatra. We started early in the morning from Delhi on 3rd June, 2007 in personal Vehicle and traversed the distance upto Rishikesh which is approximately 257 Kms. from Delhi. Enroute we stopped for b'fast at Cheetal Grand at Khatauli which has become a landmark in itself but the ambiance & food is worth appreciating and speaks out for itself.
Golden Pheasant in an enclosure at Cheetal Grand, Khatauli
We reached Rishikesh late in the afternoonas wewere caught in a very unpleasant traffic jam due to some procession coupled with heavy yatra traffic and railway crossings. The journey from Haridwar to Rishikesh which is usually completed in half an hour took us two & half hours to complete. Exhausted and famished we checked into the Gharwal Mandal Vikas Nigam (GMVN for short) managed hotel, booking for which had been done by me almost three months in advance. Room rents in GMVN managed hotels/rest house/tourist bunglows range from Rs.150/- per day for dormitory upto Rs.800/- depending upon the type of accommodation booked, the details are available at www.gmvnl.com. Having rested and refreshed ourselves we moved to the Laxman Jhula to enjoy the evening aarti at the banks of river Ganga.
Ganga Aarti at Triveni Ghat, Rishikesh
Having watched the Aarti and made some local purchases we moved back to the Hotel to have our dinner early as the next day involved one of the longest driving streches (One can read my travelouge in respect of Rishikesh & Haridwar posted in this very site). I have uploaded pictures & videos related to the visit have been posted by me at the sitecommunity.webshots.com/user/srb810. To watch the video one can also click on the link - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=48Av2e2wt2s.
Day 2 of the Journey -
Early next morning i.e. on 4th June, 2007 we started at 5.30 A.M. from Rishikeshfor our next destination Hanumanchatti which is at a distance of 209 Kms. from Rishikesh. There are very rough stretches of roads enroute as one nears Hanumanchatti and therefore the average spped finally comes to around 25 Kms. per hour only. Persons with Veritigo & hill sickness are best advised to take up this stretch at two steps, with first step culminating at either Chinyalisaur or Dharasu. The road makes a steep climb from Rishikesh and as you move away and get at a higher elevation, Rishikesh appears distant and mythical.
Rishikesh view from road above
Gradually as we move upwards meadering through the hills, the first township that one passes is Narendranagar, which is a quaint old place that has become very over crowded over the years. Having passed Narendranagar, we had started feeling pangs of hunger and breakfast was due. We stopped at a small motel at Kantal just short of Chamba.
Kantal near Chamba - View of back side of the resturant
Having had our breakfast we proceeded ahead and after having passed many small hamlets and a heritage hotel on the way, we reached Chamba.
Chamba township as seen from a distance
The township is now bristling with building activity all around and has become a very very congested area. Having crossed Chamba as we made our progress downhill we found a lot of children selling fresh ripe apricots and the orcards bearing peaches as well as walnuts were visible all around.
Apricots, fresh ripe apricots all around
Having gorged ourselves with delightful appricots & plums we continued our journey and the next pictorally visible sight was that of the Tehri dam reservoir.
View of Tehri dam reservoir - having blocked mighty Bhagirathi
Going past delightful green fileds with breathtaking step-cultivation we reached Chinyalisaurjust before Dharasu bend. Chinyalisaur is right below in the Valley and altitude is about only 700 meters odd. It is a very small township or best a big hamlet but boasts of a filling station which is a rare commodity in the hills.
River flowing by at Chilyanisaur
Having got past Chinyalisaur we reached Dharasu bend which is the cross road for travelling towards Barkot or Uttarkashi. In case one wants to travel towards Yamunotri he will have to take the road leaving for Barkot or else road towards Uttarkashi to proceed towards Gangotri. This is a very small hamlet with a few shops doing bristling business placed strategically on the road side. Having refreshed ourselves with cold drinks and ladies with paan, we proceeded towards the Barkot road to reach our destination.
Just passing by Barkot
Just after crossing Barkot the road becomes rough and unstable in many areas with miles long streches of unprepared roads with roads signs warning of impending land/stone slides. The journey had become tortorous by now as the kids & ladies had got hill sick both because of the long journey and with this kind of road at the fag end of the day and every passing minute was becoming unbearable. Finally we reached Syanachatti almost in the vicinity of our destination.
View of river Yamuna at Syanachati
At Syanachatti some entries were made by the Police officials and thereafter we started for the final run for the day and reached Hanumanchatti at around 5.00 P.M a tortorous 11 hours run. We were famished and having checked into the GMVN run rest house we immediately launched into the food orderd.
Yamuna at Hanumanchatti as viewed from GMVN rest house at Hanumanchatti
After taking early dinner and retired for the day under cover of the quilt for a quiet nights sleep as next day was to be another adventure in wating.