A simple drive from Delhi to Dehradun in favourable weather conditions lasted for five and half hours. We were out to explore one of the most difficult trekking routes this time, known for its breath taking beauty.
We went via Dehradun because I had a professional commitment, after which we had planned to go up till Yamunotri temple through Asnol Gaadh. The journey to Asnol Gaadh seemed way easier after my previous driving experience in Uttarakhand (Check: Tripoto - Valley of Flowers), in which I drove in heavy rains amidst landslides and huge potholes! It felt like I’d won a battle after I returned to Delhi alive!
We stayed overnight at the well-known GMVN Asnol Gaadh Resort which costed us Rs 750 INR. The food was simple, sumptuous and pretty much upto the mark. The rooms were nice and cozy and the staff was extremely helpful and warm. The hotel can be reached by the following link :
We left for Janki Chatti at 6:30 am after a nice breakfast and reach by 8 am. Janki Chatti is situated 2,650 m above the sea level and is famous for its hot springs. Nestling the last village of this region, Janki Chatti offers a mind blowing splendid view of the breath taking mountain range of the Himalayas. Falling en route Yamunotri Pilgrimage, this place bustles with pilgrims who stop by to bathe in the hot water springs, which have religious connotations to their pilgrimage rituals.
We started our 5 Km long trek at 8 am from Janki Chatti to Yamunotri. Since we were headed to Yamunotri we decided to pay a visit to the famous Yamunotri Temple too.
Situated at an altitude of 3292 meters above the sea level, Yamunotri falls in the district of Northern state of Uttarakhand. Just a few kilometres away from the Indo-China border, it is surrounded by the majestic Himalayan range from all the sides. The trek to Yamunotri Temple was exhausting, tiring, nonetheless exciting since we weren’t alone. We happened to come across many pilgrims. Some of them walked with us, while some chose the palanquins. Talking throughout the trek, made it easy for us to cover the long distance.
The temple is situated at 3291 meters in the Uttarkashi district. Dedicated to Goddess Yamuna, it is one of the four holy sites of pilgrimage, collectively known as the “Chaar Dhams” of the Garhwal Himalayas. In the course of the trekking route, you are bound to come across beautiful streams of rivers, lakes, canals, meadows and villages. It is amazing to see the livelihood in this area. The sight of happy children playing around, getting to grow in pollution free environment will want you to ditch your city life and come and settle here. Who doesn’t want a stream flowing by, just a stone’s throw away from their home?
Yamunotri is the point of origination for the perennial river Yamuna. It is the longest and the second largest tributary of the Ganges. Goddess Yamuna is of significance importance to the Hindus. Regarded as the daughter of Lord Surya (God of Sun) and sister of Lord Yama (God of Death), this river is also fondly called Yami. Bathing in this pious river is said to set people free from the torments of death. Technically speaking its actual originating point is one km above, from the Yamunotri Glacier, from where it flows through the tough mountains round the year as an elixir for life. The temple can be reached by the following link:
It is interesting to see how the Prasad of Yamunotri Temple is prepared. Since the region boasts to have one of the best hot water springs, they make use of the same for Prasad preparations. The water is pure and hot. Surya Kund is one of the hot water ponds which is said to be adequately hot to prepare rice and boiled potatoes for Prasad. The wonders of nature here bound to leave you awestruck. From the picturesque landscape to hot water springs and the surreal silence in lush green surroundings on the lap of the majestic Himalayas, can serve as an inspiration for artists and writers. Having travelled through these difficult terrains, away from the reach of the destructive mankind, I strongly recommend you come here at least once to get a glimpse of what you have been losing in the everyday city humdrum.
Our next destination was Raithal from where we intended to go to Gangotri. Later that day, we drove from Janki Chatti to Raithal which took us around 6-7 hours. We stayed overnight in a pre booked room in GMVN Raithal :
Next morning we woke up late, strolled around in the nearby areas and drove till Gangotri. The drive lasted for about 4 hours. We checked into yet another GVMN room for a comfortable sleep.
The good thing about the GMVN chains of hotels and resorts is that they have affordable rooms with amazing facilities at the price you pay. In our entire trip we had an incredibly satisfying experience with the GMVN hotels.
Next morning we visited the Gangotri Temple which was a 10 minute walk from the hotel.
One of the Chaar Dhams, the Gangotri Temple is built at the height of 3048 m above the sea level along the banks of Bhagirathi River in the district of Uttarkashi. Gangotri is a small city sprouted around the Gangotri Temple, which is the temple of Goddess Ganga. The river Ganga (named after the Goddess) is the holiest of all, since it is said to carry the nectar which nullified the poison in Lord Shiva’s throat. This perennial river originates from 18 Km above the Gangotri temple from the Gaumukh glacier, which is the second largest glacier after the Siachen glacier.
We set out for a fourteen hour long drive back to delhi the same day.
Even though I am not too religious, my visit to these pious places gave me a sense of peace and tranquillity. All of a sudden, whatsapp and social media didn’t matter so much, neither the urge to upload pictures and check in from different locations. You may call it a “soul cleansing” or a “technology detox”, the feeling was indescribable.