Saturday, March 3, 2018

Syalsaur – the non-existent village

Syalsaur – the non-existent village
(A photo blog)
As the morning sun lights up the Kedarnath peaks - view from Syalsaur
After spending some quality time at Devprayag we headed toward the final destination of the day i.e. Syalsaur.  From Devprayag, the road runs along the right bank of the river Alaknanda for a distance of 29 km up to a small township Kirtinagar, which was founded by one of the former Maharajas of Tehri Garhwal named Kirti Shah. Here Alaknanda is crossed over on a bridge to its left bank and then after traversing a further distance of 6 km comes the town of Srinagar. The road from Devprayag to Srinagar is all level driving without much of climbs or downhill runs.  The road traverses through some small villages namely Bagwan, Maletha and Kirti Nagar.  After crossing Srinagar, which is also a significant and historically important seat of modern learning, associated with the Garhwal University established here by the British in late 1920’s, is still known to be a seat of learning, where NIIT and other modern teaching establishments flourish.  The township of Srinagar is also known for the holy temple dedicated to Goddess Dhari Devi.  The statue inside the temple is said to change its colour in the reflection during various phases of the day.  Despite protest by locals for not disturbing the temple, which was to be relocated from original position due to construction of dam downstream, the relocation was undertaken on 10th June, 2013 and within three days the devastation in form of unprecedented floods shook the entire region on 13th June, 2013 wherein thousands of human lives and livestock perished and caused irreparable loss to property.  The devastation that took place is still attributed by the local people to the wrath of Goddess Dhari Devi. 
As River Alaknanda meanders beyond Devprayag

Green terraced fields on the road side
Approaching Srinagar town
The River Alaknanda widens as we near Srinagar town
Traversing a further distance of 33 Kms. alongside the Alaknanda River, we reached Rudra prayag, which is another confluence on the holy Ganga River.  This confluence is that of Alaknanda River with Mandakini River flowing in from Kedarnath.  I will provide you all with a brief detail about this destination in one of my ensuing blogs, as due to paucity of time, we did not have a stop over here during our journey, so as to reach Syalsaur in time i.e. before the evening set in.  From Rudraprayag, the road again bifurcates, the road that runs along Alaknanda River heads towards Badrinath and the other one that crosses the Alaknanda River heads towards Kedarnath and this road runs along the mesmerizing Mandakini River.   Having gone past small, but well known townships of Tilwara and Agast Muni and after having traversed a distance of 28 Kms. from Rudraprayag we finally reached Syalsaur, which is actually a non-existent village, with only wilderness and a single house and a silk breeding center, parked in between the villages of Chandrapuri and Banswara of Rudraprayag district of the Uttarakhand State.  Having covered a distance of 165 odd kilometres during the entire day, that included a small stop over after Dev Prayag in a small home run café of sorts, where we had some really nice noodles & Coffee, we reached Syalsaur late in the afternoon and as the lunch hour was over, we ordered some pakodas etc. being famished and tired.  Being the only occupants of the TRH, the entire staff was ready to receive and provide for us and we enjoyed our grand stay.
The gate leading upto Dhari Devi temple near Srinagar
Distant view of Dhari Devi temple 
Headed towards Rudraprayag
Going past Tilwara
Going past Agast Muni
Reached Syalsaur finally
This nondescript little destination i.e. Syalsaur, which houses the Tourist Rest House run by the Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam Ltd. (GMVN) is perched at an altitude of about 870 meters above mean sea lever (MSL) and provides for accommodation in bamboo cottages that are speckled alongside the pristine Mandakini River, with its turquoise water spluttering on the rocks and the distant Kedarnath peaks looming over the valley.  It is a very beautiful location, calmness and serenity personified and for the tormented souls, to spend a few days in bliss, away from the hustle and bustle of city life. Pilgrims to Kedarnath can stay here, the holy place is about 55 km from Syalsaur.  Being a virgin destination, Syalsaur itself was home to about thirteen odd hotels, constructed in a row facing the serene Mandakini River.   All of them, including the GMVN run one, were destroyed during the ravaging floods of 2013 and I have garnered some photographs from the internet showing the location of the GMVN run TRH then and you can compare the same with my present video.  The only hotel that withstood the ravage and remained standing was built away from the river. 
The Kedarnath peaks - early morning view from Syalsaur
Photo sourced from internet to show the pre-2013 position of TRH at Syalsaur
Photo (2) sourced from internet to show the pre-2013 position of TRH at Syalsaur
Here is the link to the video for the destination


  1. mr biswas i would like to communicate with you,could you please provide your contact information

    1. My email id is - please feel free to contact me there