Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Day 112 - June 28 - Nandprayag 2 Badrinath 2 Auli

June28 at EveryTrail

Map created by EveryTrail: GPS Community

161 KMs Trip meter 14673 KMs

Morning ride was just as scary as the previous evening ride. That is with the cliff drop off to the left and have to ride on the left lane. The roads are pretty good and that makes the opposing sumos more deadly who zip around blind corners. I generously use my roots horn. Plan is the get to Badrinath, do darshan and come back to Joshimath and make my way to Auli. Well there is no snow this time of the year but still should be a good place i thought. Roads are pretty good till Joshimath and its 45 kms to Badrinath and the roads get narrow steep and has many offroad sessions. Man i need to get confident on offroad all over again. The mountains gets more and more dramatic. The valley that i have been riding seems like a pretty steap one with mountains on either side towering till the sky. Fantastic wide roads are interlaced with horrid offroad sessions. Couple of places vehicles seemed to have been for not reason by police. But bikes are allowed to pass through. This happens a couple of times where i ride past a long line of vehicles just blocked by police barricade and i am scoot free to ride ahead did not get that! Nearing Badrinath there is a water crossing. Fair enough. Not a very deep one, but i get so tensed that by the end of it my hands are shaking i even get hickups. You gotta be kidding me and i am supposed to head to ladakh next! Its getting cold now and windy as well. The sky looks like it can open up any time. After a couple of turn and there is see the gate. I am there at Badrinath. The place i have always heard. Why am i here not being very religiously inclined? May be for my old man and my well wishers who would be happy that i been there.

Now to find a place to park the bike and dump the stuff in safe keeping so that i can go to darshan. I ask for help from a small lodge and store all my stuff in their office. Its 2pm and i am told that temple opens at 3pm. There goes my hopes of making it back quickly. But have to have food any way. Walk through the narrow lanes towards the temple. There is spot the colorful Badrinath temple. Couple of clicks and have to cross a bridge over the raging Alaknanda river. Stand in the Q and wait for the doors to open. It does at 3pm and slowly find my way in and have darshan and spend a few minutes sitting there. Couldn't control a tear in the eye imagining my mom being there with me all happy about visiting the place. I just wanted to get out of there. Any way now i have to collect my scattered all over. My shoes still there. Walk up the narrow lanes. The bike's still there, and all my stuff. Its already 3.45 pm. Its getting late. See a lot of clouds accumulating and more so towards south. May be its already raining. Get into my rain gear. Again there is a long line of vehicle to make an exit and their i simply squeeze through and cops don't stop me. Ride down a bit and its the same water crossing again. I kinda pump up myself a bit and cross it and its the same thing, my hands are shaking and i get the hiccups again!! This is ridicules!! I am supposed to be heading to ladakh next!! I bettor get back my mojo fast!! Just when i start there are lot of opposing vehicles as if in a convoy ripping from opposite direction. There are less courteous on me and many time i have to get on the gravel due to the aggressive driving from opposing vehicles. Thats when i realize that there are many narrow stretches and so the vehicles are allowed only in one direction. Bikes are allowed as it can be managed. But i guess the bigger vehicles were jealous of me or may be there were angry at me, cos who knows i might have happily rode past them when they were waiting and now i am in their way back and they finally getting to move after frustrating wait! Now i am more alert. I am not the only biker around. The entire stretch from karnaprayag i have been seeing sikh people riding two up on almost any motorcycle and riding happily with no helmets and were in casual dress with bags stuffed between the two people. One of the groups i saw was like 10 bikes all flaunting orange triangular flags. And they ride fast as well, couple of groups went past me as well!! May be i have become a very sober rider now. Gone are the days when i used to crouch at every possible opportunity!! Couldn't really see any mountains and the sky was always full. Kinda lost interest in riding to other parts of Uttaranchal and decided would head straight to Dehradun tomm.

Its like 5.30 and still some way to get to Joshimath and there is a road block. This time no excape as the the road layer machine covers the entire narrow road. I have to literally wait for the road to be made in front of me. A group of bikes some how manage to cross the tar stones with wheel spins an all. No i am waiting for the bulldozer to press them for me! Its 6pm till i get to Joshimath and i was told that road to Auli is fantastic! Man this is not the first time i am give false hopes like this. There are many bad stretches. The road climbs in a hurry. Just going up switch backs after switch backs and the ones starting from joshimath are pretty steep. Front wheel almost feels not weight some times. I confess i am knew nothing of this place and just that skiing is possible in winter and not now. Reach Auli and there's nothing. Its all boring. I see a board to a Clifftop hotel 3 KMs and a rough offroad path going further up! Guess i am going. Its scattered with loose stones and bit slippery as i guess it had rained. Now i knew its not going to be reasonable price up there but with the offroading i have done and it was getting dark, my budget increased with every meter :d When i get there its a huge ski resort. Man i did not want to ride back to the boring place below. There is no parking as well. have to park a lil away from the resort. A watch man takes responsibility of taking care of my bike if i plan to stay there. Fears realized and room is 5.5k! Told its way out of my budget and some here and there and settled for 2.2k. I took it. I know i splurged! i am really sorry, i wont do it again and i promise to make up for it in ladakh! Was a bit hungry and wanted to offset the extravagance a bit so went to the chai stall below at the vehicle parking meant for drivers and had an omelet there! The drivers were really happy to share space with and tried hard to speak in English. Politely replied in hindi easing things out. It was funny to watch the drunk shopkeeper prepare my omelet. Ohh man did not realise that when i ordered and now i cant run away also. hehe LOL. It was a good one btw. Went back to the resort and there was bonfire arranged for the guests. There was even a DJ playing some numbers. After some rounds, the host comes and gives gyan about the place to all. And also mythological stories behind badrinath. The rivers around and where all they meet. Must say it was enlightening. I was thinking char dham was like badrinath, kedarnath, haridwar and rishikesh! But got to know that its actually Badrinath, Rameshwaram, Kashi and shringeri?? Well what do you know i seemed to have visited the 'char dham' if the fourth one is shringeri.

Any way get back to my humongous room and do my daily blogging duty.

The room at Nandprayag...


The front tire has become a bit brittle... hope it can still take some punishment...


Lot of under construction streches...


Road with cliff drop off to the left. Scary at blind curves, dunno which vehicle will be ripping on to me...


some wide roads as welll...


Valley going up to Badrinath...





Old form of tranportation still alive...


Roads cut out of mountains...





Some switchbacks...





Did not realize the magnitude when i was riding on the other side...


Boy do vehicles rip here....





Vehicles blocked for passage and bikes have freedom...


Some military establisment...


Steep valley...

















Vishnu prayag project...


Strange mountain with flat surfaces...


Raging Alaknanda...








Tall mountains....


Rare glimse of snow mountain...





A peak near Badrinath...


I make it to the north Dham...


Thats a Bus stand btw...


On the other side of Badrinath towards Mana village...


The main square of Badrinath...


Going to the temple....





The Badrinath Temple....


Me there...





Alaknanda...


Temple at the height...


Q for darhan...


Just out side the temple...


Taptakund, later came to know that the water is hot there!!


The water crossing that scared me...








Vehicle canvoy ripping in opposite direction...


Literally waiting or the road to be made...


Gondala wires to Auli...


Joshimath town below....


Some offroad strech to get to Clifftop hotel...


Bonfire in the evening...





The room lobby...


My biggest room in the trip....


Dont hit me please!!





Vertical travel from Badrinath to Auli...

2 comments:

sagar karkhanis said...

hey praveen,

your blog is cool !

my parents are planning to visit clifftop, auli next month.. i'd like to knw do's & don'ts in Auli!

nd cool pics dude.. :D (Y)

Praveen said...

Thanks Sagar. Glad you liked the blog. Auli would be very different next month compared to the time i went. Dont worry Clifftop will take care of the people when they are hosting. :)