Bhojbasa 1/15 by Tripoto
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Bhojbasa is a picturesque spot on the rough terrains, arranged at a height of 3,775 mts above ocean level. Bhojbasa can be reached by a 14 kms trek that begins from Gangotri. The trek experiences tough territories alongside the Bhagirathi River.Bhojwasa is the last and the only point of accommodation on the trek to the sacred Gaumukh Glacier. It is arranged 5 kms before Gaumukh Glacier, the source or origin of the Ganges. This lovely place offers captivating perspectives of the Bhagirathi crests (6,856 mts). The Bhagirathi sisters hold the Gangotri ice sheet. Transports to Uttarkashi and Gangotri are very easily available from Dehradun Haridwar and Rishikesh. Bhojwasa can also be reached by a 14 km simple trek on rough territory. Lal Baba Ashram and GMVN Bhojbasa Tourist Rest House provide accomodation and food in Bhojwasa. Do visit the consecrated Gangotri Temple while venturing out to Bhojbasa. There are various moderate and strenuous trekking alternatives in this district.
Day04:- Excitement hardly allowed me to sleep last night.So,I got up early to capture the enchanting natural beauty of Gangotri. There is a small temple of Goddess Ganga,a sacred hindu pilgrimage, reminiscent of her arrival into mortal world from heaven to free the souls of the forefathers of King Bhagirath who turned into ashes by a curse of Sage Kapil (Mythological story).Without going into debate about the truth of the story one thing for sure if she had descended anywhere it had to be here.After offering morning prayers at the temple we started our journey towards 'Eternity' around 9 am.Our destination is Bhojwasa approximately 14km from the temple town of Gangotri.Within 2km there comes a entry point where you have to show your permit(permit can be made either from uttarkashi/gangotri)and enter through the gates of heaven i.e.'Gangotri National Park'.There is a small ashram adjacent to the entry gate.We enjoyed the delicious 'Prasad' served by the inmates.After completing the documentation we marched ahead in the bhagirathi valley.Within every kilometer we had to stop 2-3 times for capturing the enticing beauty of the valley,as if Goddess ganga coming down from the heavenly adobe with its full might having Bhagrathi peaks in the backdrops.The path is surrounded by lot of trees with a mild slope or even,not very difficult.Around 1pm we reached 'Chirbasa',9km ahead of Gangotri,adobe of Chir trees.After completing our lunch we headed towards Bhojwasa-5km ahead, the final lap of the day's journey. The road becomes slightly challenging as in one or two case road practically was non-existent ,totally land slided down.We had to navigate our path through the alternative way made up by the locals crossing the river by means of a bamboo made bridge.The road from chirwasa to bhojwasa is little steep and less populated with trees.Finally reached 'Bhojwasa'-adobe of 'bhoj' tree,whose leaves used to write in ancient days.In a distance that 'Holy Gomukh Snout' is visible against the backdrop of 'Mighty Bhagirathi Peaks'.It's 4'0 clock in the watch..Sun is just setting down,the top of the peaks is glistening in afternoon sun rays creating an ethereal exuberance.After watching this 'out of the world' experience we descended down to 'Bhojwasa'-a small hamlet nestled in the lap of himalayas. We checked in GMVN,Bhojwasa tourist lodge(there is a lal baba ashram also) to spent our first night in 'Heaven'.In the evening when the outside temperature hitting sub-zero we started our evening chit-chatting with fellow trekkers-50 yrs old women from Hoogly ,a couple from kolkata...Their stories,challenges,experience was so consuming that we didn't realise that 3 hrs had already gone by..We were served hot 'khichdi' which was like 'Amrit' in freezing cold.As everyone was tired we went to deep sleep immediately after hitting the bed.
Sukanya Ghosh
From Chirbasa to Bhojbasa (bhoj tree forest) it is 5km trek but it is strewn with landslides and steeper climbs….vegetation starts thinning out….our limited stock of water was exhausted and were completely depended upon the glacial water which was coming down from the streams. It will be unjustified to say that we were not exhausted…we were definitely exhausted but the sights of beautiful Himalayan peaks, the beautiful landscapes and the thirst to reach Gaumukh keeps the spirit alive….and finally after walking through the glacial moraines we reached Bhojbasa…at 4:30pm.The last rays of sun were still flickering in the glacial valley. Bhagirathi and its sister peaks stood majestically against the azure blue sky and welcome us in its kingdom.We went to Ram baba ashram and were shown to our tent…..quickly we took as many snaps as possible before the darkness sets in the valley. At 7:30 pm we were served the hot khichdi as dinner which we finished in no time.Darkness slowly engulfs everything in its veil…the valley become as silent as dead….except for the monotonous sound of river Bhagirathi….A word of advice: Start early. If you are physically fit and not carrying too much luggage, then guide is optional. The road is straight and well-marked and it is very unlikely to lose your way. There are absolutely no refreshments available on the way, so carry some with you. Gaumukh can only be seen from a 500m barrier. It is for your own safety.{Day6}: 31st May 2009 From: Bhojwasa to Gaumukh to Gangotri and back to Uttarkashi By: Trek and by road Distance: 18km by trek and 6hr by roadSleep allures us from a distance only so there was no question of waking up. At 5:00am in the morning we decided to start our trek for Gaumukh. The morning sun brought some warmth in the otherwise chilling valley and when the first rays of sun kisses the peaks of Bhagirathi, the God’s beautiful creation came into full life. For the next few minutes we marveled at this beauty.After Bhojwasa there was no definite trail that will lead to Gaumukh, instead one has to find his way through the glacial moraines and rocky boulders.When we reached there, a rocky boulder claims “the altitude of Gaumukh is 4000mt above m.s.l.” (That was written in Hindi off course!!) There is a barrier of 500m beyond which it is not permissible to enter. We took a comfortable place from where we can see the glacier which feeds the river Ganga-the lifeline of India.Earth-watch: The world is witnessing global warming and it is very much clear here as in the retreat of the glacier. But we never realized it and still ignore it. While route to Gaumukh is pollution free , I would advice the traveler to see that they too take proper measure to not pollute it. On this trip I have saw some of the most dreaded pollution. Huge non-biodegradable plastic waste was simply lying in the slopes of valleys and along the streams.On our way back to Bhojwasa and then to chirbasa I thought in retrospect that this is the trail which witness the man’s quest for unknown through the centuries, and today I am also leaving behind my footprints here. I turned back to see Bhagirathi beaming in the morning sun and I promise to return back for more. We reached Gangotri at 3:00pm in the afternoon, had our lunch and then started off to Uttarkashi and reached there at 9:00pm.
Nachikethas MJ
After 9 kms, we reached a check post. After lunch there, we resumed our journey. Soon after, we passed through some areas where there was a high chance of landslides to occur. Jayveer told us to walk fast. As we went a little bit further we saw a few fellow natives but they weren’t people. They were goats which live in those mountains. Some of them just looked relaxed and was monitoring our journey from the top of a rock! The change of geography was very clear as we walked further. The vegetation that we saw in the banks of Ganga earlier was becoming less and less and it was rubbles everywhere. After 14 km we finally reached the place called Bojwasa - our pit stop for the day. Bojwasa is the base camp for the trekkers en route to Gaumukh. At Bhojbasa there is an Ashram called ‘Lal Baba Ashram’ for travellers to stay, and also a government lodge and a police station. Jayveer arranged a room for us in the Ashram. There were a lot of foreigners staying there. We got into our room to put all our things there and went to the cafeteria to have tea. The rate at the ashram is Rs 300 per person for a day which includes food. We had lunch (again) there (rice and dal curry). Just after finishing lunch we immediately went back to the room to take rest. We were so exhausted and I had a severe head ache also. Around 6 clock we woke up and went outside. It was getting dark as the sun was already behind the tall mountains. At the ashram dinner was served at 6.30pm. All of us who stayed in the ashram assembled there and had dinner. Some of the foreigners were struggling to have food without spoon and knife. But the most difficult part was to wash hands in the ice cold water after dinner. We met two Malayalees there, in their mid-thirties. We talked to them for some time and then went outside.We looked up at the sky, this time the view was much more spectacular. Millions of stars were shining in the dark sky in different colours. But the most astonishing thing was not the normal stars but the arrangement of stars that were grouped in a certain pattern as a thick line which split the entire sky, known as the 'Milky Way'. Milky Way is the galaxy (group of stars) in which our solar system is included. We could clearly see the bright white light of the Milky Way in the sky. I always wonder how our ancestors wrote and studied about Milky Way when there weren’t any telescope in the ancient times. Now I know the answer. The light pollution back home is clearly hiding the sight of this spectacular natural phenomenon. We lay down there for a few more minutes for a little space exploration. I remembered how long ago on my 8th birthday my dad gave me a book about the space exploration and stars named “Manathunokkumbol” . That day we lay down in the farm at night as he told me about the ‘Orion belt’ and a few other star groups. I tried to find the Orion belt but it was in vain. Those three stars which shine so bright and easily identifiable back home are now along with the other countless shining stars in the sky! But we managed to observe a few satellites orbiting around the earth.Before starting our trip we had gone through the weather forecast of Gangotri and found there was a chance of rain for one day. As we prepared to sleep I asked Jayveer about it and he said at Bhojbasa there wouldn’t be any rain. We lay down thinking about the next day’s adventure. The sound of Bhagirathi flowing nearby was the only sound that we could hear at that time.Day 4I hadn’t recovered from the shoulder pain completely even the next day when we woke up. Sudhin was also feeling ill, he had breathing trouble because of the cold. Yesterday on the way to Gaumukh we had decided to go to Tapovan (which is 5 kms far from Gaumukh) if possible. The route to Tapovan is very tough compared to Gaumukh. You have to walk over the ice glacier for some distance and a guide is a must. At Tapovan there lives a Baba named 'Mauni Baba' who hasn’t talked for 7 years. I have seen a few documentaries about him in Discovery and National Geographic channels. When the winter season starts all the people in Gangotri and Bojwasa leave the place, come down from the mountains and live in the outskirts because of the deadly cold weather but the baba lives in Tapovan throughout the year. I told Sudhin about this guy and even though Tapovan trekking wasn’t in our plan he agreed to go there. After a brief discussion about it inside the room we finally went outside to have tea. We stood still for a few seconds witnessing the sight in front of us. The weather had changed completely .It was dark clouds everywhere, and we felt that a big storm was on the way.'I told you there won’t be rain here in Bhojbasa but I didn’t say there won’t be a snowfall' Jayveer said .Oh yah very clever! He said we had to start trekking as early as we could if we wanted to go to Tapovan and Gaumukh, so we wasted no time. It was around 7 o clock when we headed for Gaumukh just after having a cup of tea. The route to Gaumukh from Bojwasa which is 4 kms far is quite easy comparatively. There was no vegetation at all on our way, it was just rocks and pebbles. We saw the huge ice glacier from the distance. Finally we reached Gaumukh around 9 o clock. To our disappointment the Bhagirathi and Siva Ling peaks weren’t visible at all due to the cloudy sky. But the view of Gaumukh ice glacier was breathtaking.There it was…..‘Ganga’ the holiest river in India which flows through thousands of miles, serving half a billion of people and countless number of animals, originates from that huge ice glacier. One wonders how this small stream could make such a huge impact on India’s history. Here the water is in its purest form and the goddess is the river itself! It melts from the pure ice glacier untouched by humans or animals.Here I am. After countless nights of dreaming and preparations I have finally made it. I remembered a story from Mahabharata in which Arjuna had gone for a one year journey throughout India, he had started his journey from here! Even if it was just a story the man who wrote that had to visit this place for sure. It could be here that our ancestors wrote the Upanishad thousands of years before, which meant the name 'Nachikethas' had evolved in some one’s brain here millenniums before!There was a small Siva temple near the Gaumukh, its top decorated with beautifully coloured prayer flags. The Gaumukh ice glacier was hardly 250 meters from where we stood. We were so eager to go closer to it. But suddenly a small breeze started and there we witnessed the first snowfall in our life! It started so slowly that we were eager to catch the tiny snow in our hands.The sky became cloudier even than the morning which made the Bhagirathi and Siva ling mountains totally invisible. We were thinking of capturing closer shots of those mountains yesterday, which by that time was next to impossible. To add more disappointment to that, Jayveer said that it could be really difficult for Tapovan trekking since the snowfall could be heavier in those areas , so we might as well skip that. He even prohibited us from going closer to the glacier since it was really dangerous. He also wanted us to return to Bhojbasa if we were to return to Gangotri that day. In this weather staying at Bhojbasa for one more day would be of no use if we could not do the Tapovan trekking. The cold weather was bearable for me at that time since it had only started so I intended to stay there a little more time. We captured a few more snaps there and took a bottle of Ganga’s water. My fingers were almost snow bitten by the cold water of Ganga. The temperature of the water could be closer to its melting point for sure! At that time a few travellers that we had met at our ashram last day reached Gaumukh and said they were heading for Tapovan. When we said we were skipping it because of the weather, one guy said they were continuing with the Tapovan trekking because 'Zindagi na milegi dubara'! (You Only Live Once). I didn’t want to leave that magnificent place so soon but we had to. It took another 1 and a half hour to return to Bhojbasa.We had breakfast just after reaching Bhojbasa from the GNVM tourist home and also packed our lunch. I thought the snowfall would be over soon but when we went outside it was still falling. By 11 o’ clock we started our 14 kms return trip to Gangotri. On the way we met a lot of trekkers coming to Bhojbasa. Jayveer told us to walk fast because there might be chances of landslides in some areas due to the snowfall.We spent only two days there but had the chance to experience two extreme weather conditions! The disappointment about not going to Tapovan and the cloudy skies which prevented us from enjoying the magnificent view of Siva Ling Mountain was getting lesser as I walked through the snowfall. I always wanted to experience a snowfall and now my dream was being fulfilled….. I cannot describe how we felt when we walked across that beautiful valley. The sight of Ganges flowing through the mountains which were covered in white thick snow was absolutely breathtaking.The sky became cloudier even than the morning which made the Bhagirathi and Siva ling mountains totally invisible. We were thinking of capturing closer shots of those mountains yesterday, which by that time was next to impossible. To add more disappointment to that, Jayveer said that it could be really difficult for Tapovan trekking since the snowfall could be heavier in those areas , so we might as well skip that. He even prohibited us from going closer to the glacier since it was really dangerous. He also wanted us to return to Bhojbasa if we were to return to Gangotri that day. In this weather staying at Bhojbasa for one more day would be of no use if we could not do the Tapovan trekking. The cold weather was bearable for me at that time since it had only started so I intended to stay there a little more time. We captured a few more snaps there and took a bottle of Ganga’s water. My fingers were almost snow bitten by the cold water of Ganga. The temperature of the water could be closer to its melting point for sure! At that time a few travellers that we had met at our ashram last day reached Gaumukh and said they were heading for Tapovan. When we said we were skipping it because of the weather, one guy said they were continuing with the Tapovan trekking because 'Zindagi na milegi dubara'! (You Only Live Once). I didn’t want to leave that magnificent place so soon but we had to. It took another 1 and a half hour to return to Bhojbasa.We had breakfast just after reaching Bhojbasa from the GNVM tourist home and also packed our lunch. I thought the snowfall would be over soon but when we went outside it was still falling. By 11 o’ clock we started our 14 kms return trip to Gangotri. On the way we met a lot of trekkers coming to Bhojbasa. Jayveer told us to walk fast because there might be chances of landslides in some areas due to the snowfall.We spent only two days there but had the chance to experience two extreme weather conditions! The disappointment about not going to Tapovan and the cloudy skies which prevented us from enjoying the magnificent view of Siva Ling Mountain was getting lesser as I walked through the snowfall. I always wanted to experience a snowfall and now my dream was being fulfilled….. I cannot describe how we felt when we walked across that beautiful valley. The sight of Ganges flowing through the mountains which were covered in white thick snow was absolutely breathtaking.At that time the colorful vegetation that we saw yesterday was fully covered with thick snow. Slowly we started to feel the real difficulties of that cold weather. Since we were climbing down we didn’t need as much energy as we needed for yesterday’s trekking but still we by force had to take a few minutes of rest at regular intervals. But the moment we stopped, our body temperature would drop very much. Even though I was wearing gloves my hands were aching very badly. Initially we took a lot of videos and walked slowly admiring the beauty of the mighty Himalayas but as time passed our only thought was about getting back to Gangotri as fast as we could. On the way we saw a few guys coming from Bhojbasa, carried by donkeys .They were none other than the guys we met at Gangotri who were going to Tapovan.What happened was that they went half way up to Tapovan but their legs got snow bitten because of the heavy snowfall which made three feet height of snow.So they decided to end their journey.'Zindagi na milega dubara' right!At one point we stopped to have lunch but I couldn’t stay there even for a few minutes, so skipped it and started walking again. Sudhin accompanied me but Jayveer said he would catch up. That man had walked countless times through this way in different weather climates, this was nothing new for him. I walked as fast as I could but it seemed we weren’t getting any nearer! To be honest I was close to tears at the end of it.Finally we reached the check post that we had crossed yesterday. Soon after we passed it, I saw the Gangotri town in the distance. I felt as if I had seen an oasis after days of travel through the snow desert! When we finally reached there I laughed like a marathon runner who had just reached the end point.At Gangotri it wasn’t snowing but raining. Up in the sky we could see the snow falling but by the time it reached the ground it melted. Jayveer told us to change our wet dress so that we would feel better. But I couldn’t even bend my fingers to unbutton my shirt- they were snow bitten! I somehow managed to change but there was absolutely no energy left in us to go outside and have some tea. Out of sympathy Jayveer bought us soups. We had the soup and took some rest, it was 5 pm in the clock. We could tolerate the hot weather but there was no way to escape this cold weather, I thought while lying down. At night we went outside to have dinner, it took us 10 minutes to walk 1oo meters. The power was gone in the whole town, it was so dark out there and the mesmerizing view of the starry sky was missing. It took me hours to go into deep sleep.Rest of the days Next morning we woke up and went outside. It was really sunny as if yesterday hadn’t happened at all! How mysterious are the ways of the Nature!!!!. I thought about the power of our technologies which correctly predicts the weather 2 weeks prior. The power hadn’t yet come. We had breakfast and said goodbye to Jayveer.We travelled to Delhi and Agra on the following days.On 18th we boarded the train to Cochin. At the station we bought two novels - one of them was the ‘The Alchemist’. I had heard so much about the book and finally had a chance to read it. It was really a good coincidence….. reading a book which inspires us to travel a lot while traveling. The hero in the book is made to travel for a treasure which is actually buried in his native place only. But he later realizes how traveling around the world has changed his life for good. Most of the incidents in the story could relate to our life very easily. There is one moment where a merchant dreams all his life about going to Mecca. When the hero asks the merchant about it he says if he achieves that dream he will not have anything left in his life to live for. I had dreamed about this trip for many months. After I finally achieved it, I thought ‘now what?’ I think in our life we need many dreams to keep us alive, not just one. On 20th Oct 2014 we reached back in Kochi after an adventurous and memorable trip .I need to find another dream as soon as possible, I thought, as we left the railway station.
Arkapal Bandyopadhyay
Since our plan was to head on to Bhojbasa we didn’t waste too much time and moved on. The terrain was ever changing with gain in altitude and greenery was getting converted to rocky moraines, steep cliffs. By 4 pm the shadows gradually engulfed us and we still had three more kilometers to cover.Taking repeated breaks was not helping us. Finally a glimpse of Bhojbasa was enough to boost us.We reached at around 6.30 pm in the evening.With temperatures dipping we had supper and dozed off in comfortable tents at Ram baba's ashram.
Vipin Negi
After doing my bath i left gaumukh and went ahead to Gangotri, where i had to spent the night. Me and my Guide did lunch at Laal Baba Ashram and started our trek to Gangotri around 2.00 pm.
Vipin Negi
At Bhojbhasa there is a Lal Baba Ashram & GMVN guest house.But mostly people stay at Lal Baba Ashram. So i stay at Ashram.Its was so divine experience for me to stay like this. The day was so hectic. At the end of the day i was feeling so tired . So, a complete rest is necessary. But how can i sleep. This beautiful night was not allowing me to sleep. So. i went outside from the Ashram. Star, Galaxy, Moon was luking so near to me. They were saying sumthing to me. sumthing which can only be hear by heart. The moment was so divine. At the front of Ashram Bhagirathi Peak was lukng so magnetic. It was so beautiful experience for me. i can't forget that night.
Arkapal Bandyopadhyay