Visiting the Land of Gods- DevBhoomi Uttarakhand

12th Mar 2017

After 3-4 months of planning, research, negotiating, finalizing itinerary and advance booking the flights, hotels, ground transports and transfers finally the day came when me,my wife and my parents, all of us together boarded the late night flight to Delhi from Pune. I was excited, nervous at the same time very much eager for this much planned family trip. Actually it was first long trip to North together that i and Megha (my wife) had planned for my parents and we wanted everything to be perfect and by gods grace it turned out to be a trip to remember.

The main objective of this blog is to encourage youngsters, budding travelers to help plan and go places in India which are really a gem and should be visited at least once, such trips make us realise how lucky we are that we are born in this country and just make us a proud citizen.So this blog can be used as a guide for planning your trip to Uttarakhand to cover places like Rishikesh, Mussorie, Joshimath and Auli in Uttarakhand with details of places to visit, things to do, hotel, ground and air transfer options with their cost and contact details.

Photo of Visiting the Land of Gods- DevBhoomi Uttarakhand 1/1 by Kushal Desai

Uttarakhand- Dev Bhoomi as it is popularly called is actually a paradise on earth but when we think of Himalayas we generally think of Himachal and Kashmir but Uttarakhand is equally as impressive as both and quite unexplored to an extent.Hence the commercialisation is still less especially in places like Joshimath, Auli.

Some Must Do before you Plan your trip to Uttarakhand:

1. Carry a good camera , Warm Clothing, Strong Grip and Well Tread Shoes, Warm Socks, Battery bank to keep mobile charges

2. Book your flight, train tickets well in advance 3-5 months if possible

3. Book your hotels in 2-3 months advance as the number of rooms is relatively lesser than the commercialised hotels in other places

4. The crucial part of the journey is the Ground Transport as your life/journey mood is literally in his hands.

Day 1

Day 1: We took a late night flight from Pune to Delhi which we had got it booked around 6 months in advance, we had not zeroed on any location but had decided on the dates(Holi-Long Holiday week) hence we booked to and fro tickets to Delhi from Pune. One improvisation is that if the location of Rishikesh/Dehradun/Mussorie has been finalised one can directly book ticket to Dehradun (Jolly Grant Airport) it proves to be much cheaper and time saving. Abundant flights from Mumbai with a stop over at Delhi are available at nearly the same cost add to that the saving of time and money. However since our location was not zeroed upon we went ahead and booked flights to Delhi. We reached at around 2:00 AM and got an OLA cab from there to New Delhi railway station. The driver a very friendly guy gave us a night tour of Delhi as we had requested him to do so. Once at the station we headed straight to the IRCTC Lounge situated on platform No 16. It is recommended that you book the lounge in advance as it is generally full. a well-appointed lounge with various facilities like recliner chairs, sitting chairs, buffet breakfast, clean washrooms, Internet/wifi, charging points, security is available at a nominal charge. We charged our phones and slept there till 6:30 AM, our train Dehradun Shatabdi was scheduled to depart from platform 16 at 6:45 AM. Since chair car tickets were sold out we had booked Executive class tickets and the seats (2X2 seating) with lots of legroom, hot and yummy food, clean bogie with huge glass windows and impeccable service were really executive class, we were served welcome drink around 4 rounds of delicious and healthy breakfast from around 7 to 11 AM and reached Haridwar at around 12 PM.

At Haridwar the rickshaws and taxi tried to fleece us by offering their best services at exorbitant rates, we avoided them and went to a nearby restaurant to settle down and catch a bus/rickshaw after speaking to a local resident. We got a good deal with a rickshaw to took us till Rishikesh market from there we took another rickshaw to Tapovan at very nominal rates.

Our first checkin was in the Hotel Zostel a unique, quaint concept/boutique hotel situated in Tapovan.There were paintings, music activities in the Zostel premises, most of the guest were foreigners who had checked into Rishikesh for their spiritual quest. We also entered our rooms with the same zeal and enthusiasm thinking of what lay ahead of us, as the journey had just begun and it had already become very interesting.

We changed and decided to go and check out the Local attractions like Lakshman Jhula, Market and off course we were hungry after our long journey, Chotiwala was the go to place for satisfying the hunger pangs. It was a 5-10 mins walk to Lakshman Jhula, we realised that Chotiwala was at the Ram Jhula which was a bit far from the place had reached, we got a share taxi an Mahindra MaXX which left us at Ram Jhula for a nominal charge.

First thing we did was find Chotiwala and ate various north indian dishes consisting Chole,Bature, Paneer and what not. Once our Pet Pooja was done we could think straight of exploring Rishikesh markets.

Amazing wall art at Zostel

Photo of Zostel Rishikesh, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India by Kushal Desai

Lakshman Jhula

Photo of Lakshman Jhula, Laxman Jhula, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India by Kushal Desai

Yes you guessed it right Chotiwala!!

Photo of Chotiwala Restaurant, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India by Kushal Desai

At Zostel they had arranged for Bonfire and Dhol to celebrate Holi, we joined them and had fun having dinner and enjoying the Super Moon and the Starry sky from the terrace while warming up to the Bonfire. The plan for next day had been hatched by Ankit from Zostel, he told us to be ready by 4:45 in the morning.. we were going to some exciting place..To know what happened keep reading..

Day 2: From the Gateway of Plains-Rishikesh to Queen of Hills- Mussoorie

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The Cover picture of Mahabharata at Rishikesh

Photo of Parmarth Niketan Ashram, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India by Kushal Desai

As it was Holi there was lot of enthusiasm in the crowd, people were gathering wood and making preparations for lighting the Holi in the late evening. We went around the Ghats near the Holy Ganga and sat there for a while looking at the beautiful sunset. We attended the Ganga Aarti and returned to our hotel room blessed with the water of Ganga sprinkled on our heads and light Diyas floating across the Ganga Ghat!!