Riding solo in Uttarakhand in 4500

Tripoto
18th Oct 2015

I have always been used to being alone. “Being used to” in the sense that I didn’t necessarily love it. Recently, when loneliness became an escape, it developed into something more beautiful, "Solitude". I have visited Uttarakhand before with my family and mi amigos. It had always been constrictes to Kumaon and mostly the famous hillstations, Nainital, Bhimtal, Almora, Naukuchiatal etc. The Garhwal territory was relatively unexplored and the desire to stir my inner substance was on an all time high. This culminated into the plan of an unplanned solo trip. Some friends had done the Tungnath trek and it had been highly recommended so, it was on the list. Tungnath came with the package of Chandrashila peak as well. Deoria was another such recommendation and the photos looked spectacular.

Photo of Uttarakhand, India by Harshita
Photo of Uttarakhand, India by Harshita
Photo of Uttarakhand, India by Harshita
Photo of Uttarakhand, India by Harshita
Photo of Uttarakhand, India by Harshita
Photo of Uttarakhand, India by Harshita
Photo of Uttarakhand, India by Harshita
Photo of Uttarakhand, India by Harshita
Photo of Uttarakhand, India by Harshita
Photo of Uttarakhand, India by Harshita
Photo of Uttarakhand, India by Harshita
Photo of Uttarakhand, India by Harshita
Photo of Uttarakhand, India by Harshita
Photo of Uttarakhand, India by Harshita

Starting with this plan, I boarded the general compartment of Ranikhet express with my walkman full charged. The night was the usual, cramped up people who like to talk. There was a young married couple next to me who were an enthusiastic bunch, kissing each other on the cheek in a freaking General compartment of an Indian train. It was sweet and very daring, they bought me chai too. We got off at Haldwani and they went their way, I didn’t even remember to ask for their name.

Day 1
Photo of Kausani, Uttarakhand, India by Harshita

From the still sleeping town of Haldwani at 5, I boarded a direct bus for Kausani. The sun was starting to rise, so the journey to Kausani was amazing apart from the fact that I hadn’t slept at all and kept banging my head on the window and still managed to sleep. Kausani was beautiful with its step farms. I went to Yogi Restaurant where they make food order by order, a foreign looking gentleman was seated right across my table, I am not very good with talking to strangers but my stomach wanted food. So I went ahead and asked him if I could know his order and order the same since that would be prepared faster. He agreed and then asked me if I wanted to share a table. I complied and we started talking. It was an amazing feat for me, I suck at socializing. After that, I explored the town a bit and then went off to sleep.

Day 2
Photo of Gopeshwar, Uttarakhand, India by Harshita

I caught the early morning bus to Gopeshwar, the road was awful and the bus kept stopping because of ongoing construction. Finally by 4, with the Pindar valley now left behind, I reached Gopeshawar. It was too late though, I couldn’t find any public transport to Chopta, taxis were too expensive. I started walking towards Mandal, which was 26 km before Chopta. After 4-5 km, I found a guy who was willing to take me to chopta for 1000 bucks, mentally calculating the opportunity cost of staying in Mandal and then leaving the next day, I decided on reaching Chopta that night only. I reached Chopta by 8 with a few deer sightings and retired for the night after having dinner.

Day 3
Photo of Tungnath, Rudraprayag, Uttarakhand, India by Harshita

I woke up at 5.30, packed my bag with the essentials and was off for the trek, I reached Tungnath in two hours leisurely trekking while taking photos of the dog that accompanied me. The initial trek was awful, since the voice of my panting was awfully discouraging, but once I had music on, I trekked without needing much breaks. The view of the Himalayas getting more golden as I reached the temple was inspiring enough. The temple was breathtaking, with its vibrant colors. 

But I had to reach Chandrashila peak too. I left the temple in all its glory and started towards the peak, and then I lost my way. There was no one there to direct me, apart from the dog who was not really heeding me. So, I found a place that could be climbed from and I started climbing with my hands and all. I finally found the actual stone path to the peak and reached there, it was a bit late and the peak was surrounded by fog. Felt like heaven though. 

After coming back to Chopta by noon, I took a bath in the extremely cold water because I am crazy like that. And then shivered my way through lunch. I caught the afternoon bus to Sari village. On the way something white started falling, I was super excited thinking I was experiencing snow fall for the first time in my life, but they were just hailstones. The dismay.

Day 4
Photo of Deoria Tal, Uttarakhand by Harshita

It was 5 and I was on my way to Deoria tal in the dark, the stars were still bright in the sky and all I had was a reading light, it was quite scary. Nobody on the way up, not even a dog, apart from my fear of wild animals, I was truly alone. So much for solitude, eh?

After I had ascended what I thought was 2 km, I saw a board saying 900 m ahead, the sun was about to rise and I was not missing the sunrise again. (Missed the Tungnath sunrise) I almost ran my way up to the top and then it was all worth it. The mighty Himalayas shining white, no golden had yet touched them. I sat down on a stone, with shivering hands putting Namkeen biscuit in my mouth. The view from Deoria tal is one of the most amazing I have seen nature at. The trip couldn’t have gone better than this and I knew nothing could one up this. Moreover, I had spent 3000 already thanks to the expensive taxi and I didn’t plan to go beyond 4K.

After coming back by 11, the whole day was spent in changing public transports, from Ukhimath-Rudraprayag-Srinagar-Paudi-Gumkhal. I had planned to go to Landsdwone, but my budget didn’t allow for the expensive hotels there, Dussehra holidays had also led to crowding and that was not the motto of thetrip, I spent my night in Gumkhal in sweet silence and tasty Kumaoni food.

Day 5
Photo of Kotdwara, Uttarakhand, India by Harshita

I travelled to Kotdwar after roaming in Gumkhal, there was a bus at 11.45 for Haldwani and I boarded it, the journey was on plains and hence not too hard on the body. I reached Nainital after taking another bus by 8. And then on finding no empty affordable hotels, I finally decided to take a resort from solitude and called up a friend, stayed with her, ate her food. And slept in her bed. Because, that is what friends are for.

Day 6
Photo of Nainital, Uttarakhand, India by Harshita

We woke up late and then went strolling on the mall road and planned to climb China peak, the plan changed to camel’s back. The climb to camel’s back was slightly exhausting but the panorama at the top was more than its worth.

In the evening, we went to Hanuman Garhi for the exquisite sunset she talked about. And it was truly exquisite, like the sky was reflecting a beach. By 8, I boarded a bus back to Delhi. And finished the trip with 4.5K, including the treat I gave to the so called generous friends.

Photo of Riding solo in Uttarakhand in 4500 by Harshita
Photo of Chandrashila, Chandrashila, Tungnath, Uttarakhand 246401 by Harshita
Photo of Chopta, Chopta, Uttarakhand 246495, India by Harshita
Photo of Deoria Taal, Deoria Taal, Uttarakhand 246469 by Harshita
Photo of Gopeshwar, Gopeshwar, Uttarakhand 246401, India by Harshita
Photo of Gumkhal, Gumkhal, Uttarakhand 246128, India by Harshita
Photo of Hanuman Garhi, Nainital, Uttarakhand 263002, India by Harshita
Photo of Kausani, Kausani, Uttarakhand 263639, India by Harshita
Photo of Kausani, Kausani, Uttarakhand 263639, India by Harshita
Photo of Nainital, Nainital, Uttarakhand, India by Harshita
Photo of Sari, Sari, Uttarakhand, India by Harshita
Photo of Sari, Sari, Uttarakhand, India by Harshita
Photo of Tungnath, Rudraprayag, Uttarakhand, India by Harshita
Photo of Tungnath, Rudraprayag, Uttarakhand, India by Harshita
Photo of Uttarakhand, Uttarakhand, India by Harshita
2 Comment(s)
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Hello Harshita, I am travelling solo to Uttarakhand this May end. I am covering Roopkund trek for 8 days & then would like to explore wildlife. Please suggest some of the wildlife places where I can spend 2-3 days.
Sun 03 19 17, 12:17 · Reply · Report
I always want to travel solo even being a boy i am not brave enough till yet to try. #respectforyou
Wed 07 06 16, 18:13 · Reply · Report
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