Monday, March 14, 2011

The journey finally begins... Haridwar to Uttarkashi

Day I - Haridwar-Uttarkashi

We caught the Shatabdi train from Delhi at 6 am and reached Haridwar by 11 am. At the Haridwar station, our driver Vishwanath was waiting for us and we started our journey to Rishikesh (and then to Uttarkashi), 25 km from Haridwar, which is one of the starting points for the Char Dham pilgrimage.

Haridwar railway station
Haridwar railway station shaped like a temple

During the drive we sighted the Har Ki Pauri, the holy river Ganga, Mansa Devi temple and the Laxman Jhula which refreshed some of my earlier memories of the place. At Rishikesh, we stopped briefly for lunch at the Laxmi Dhun Restaurant.

We had our lunch here in Rishikesh - Enroute to Uttarkashi
Restaurant at Rishikesh

After filling our stomach tanks, contemplating what lay ahead in store during the coming days, with a growing sense of anticipation, I stepped into my car, the time had come… to finally leave the populated cities, the buzz, the clamor and embark on a trail to discover the intriguing tradition of the Himalayas

After driving for about an hour, the landscape started changing dramatically. A maelstrom of colors – the visions of the blazing sun, the clear blue skies, the floating clouds, curtains of forests parting only to reveal the undulating hilly terrain, the winding roads set my heart aflutter – it was love at first sight! All of this was looking like a dream, to prove myself it wasn't, my camera was happily clicking away!! I spent the rest of the day soaking in these ever changing sights unraveling themselves as they rushed past my window

Magnificient views on the way to Uttarkashi from Rishikesh
On the way to Uttarkashi from Rishikesh
Scenic views on the way to Uttarkashi from Rishikesh
Magnificient views on the way to Uttarkashi from RishikeshMagnificient views on the way to Uttarkashi from Rishikesh
Scenic sunset on the way to Uttarkashi from Rishikesh

6.00 pm – We were still some 15 km away from our first night halt, Uttarkashi, enroute to Gangotri. Complete darkness had befallen and all I could sense was deep valleys on one side and hills on the other. With bumpy roads, sharp hair-pin turns and only shadows to stare into; suddenly the ride had turned a bit scary…

On the way to Uttarkashi from Rishikesh

In spite of the extremely hostile terrain, I must add this, our driver Vishwanath, with his good maneuvering skills and a calm head had put us completely at ease. Over the next few days, we realized that he had extremely good planning proficiency too.

7.00 pm - About an hour later, we reached Uttarkashi (more on the place in a later post).

Where to Stay in Uttarkashi

As I have stated in my earlier post our stay during the Yatra was to be at the tourist rest house (TRH) of GMVN. Our 4 bedded room at Uttarkashi was very clean, spacious and the location of the rest house was peaceful too. The bathrooms were also very well maintained. The meals were just ok and not very good.

Gmvnl Hotel at Uttarkashi where I stayed
The Tourist Rest House (TRH) of GMVN, Uttarkashi

My room at the Garhwal mandal vikas nigam Ltd in Uttarkashi
Our Deluxe Room at TRH, Uttarkashi

View from my hotel room balcony - Uttarkashi
View from the balcony before leaving the next morning

For more details, you can visit their website -

Our Travel Route Map for the Day
Rishikesh - Uttarkashi Road Map, our route in Brown

Tips –

In these regions, it is not allowed to drive before 5 am and after 7 pm and there are very strict actions taken for the implementation of this rule. Barriers are put up at various points and it is best to leave early and reach early and safely too.

Previous posts from this trip -
2. Planning the Char Dham Trip
3. Introduction to Uttarakhand and Char Dhams

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  1. Enjoyed reading .Just a few months back I visited all these places.

  2. This part frightened me too - Complete darkness had befallen and all I could sense was deep valleys on one side and hills on the other. With bumpy roads, sharp hair-pin turns and only shadows to stare into; suddenly the ride had turned a bit scary…

    I'm a fan of your writings...and your photos too.

  3. wow ! beginning is so wonderful .

  4. The place seems so blissful:) Nice photographs that complement the narrative.

  5. Reportage très intéressant.

  6. Beautiful pictures.. Very good post.
    I appreciate your thoughtfulness on providing all useful travelling info. I would love to visit this place one day.!

  7. Wonderful report. I seem to be there.

  8. Arti, I am back after a long break,I must go through your earlier posts also as Himalayan sojourns are my fav.

  9. Beautiful photos and very interesting that you can't drive before 5:00 am or after 7:00 pm. Is that because the roads are so dangerous?

  10. What a beautiful place and what great information for people traveling there! Terrific post for the day as always, Arti! Love your photos! Hope you have a great week!


  11. Beautiful Pics and description too :)

  12. Interesting diary, and lots of great pictures you share with us!
    And thanks for the nice comment on my blog:)

  13. Oh the colour of that sky and how white are those buildings. Looking forward to hearing more after such a wonderful start.

  14. beautiful place,and thanks for sharing it with us arti...have a wonderful day..

  15. The tourist house you stayed at looks very nice, and I love the mountain scenery you passed! Why no driving during those hours? Is it because it would be too dark for such treacherous driving? I think that trip would have scared me to death!!

  16. yes virtual journey started
    nice pics
    it is not allowed to drive before 5 am and after 7 pm
    for virtual journey no limits

  17. A wonderful literary start to your journey and I look forward to reading more. Also wishing I could have partaken in the restaurant dining.

  18. Seems like I am travelling with you...beautiful post , pictures n full of informations! Thanks for sharing Arti..

    US Masala

  19. wonderful photos and great narrative.

  20. You have a nice blog. Love your post. I enjoyed reading them.

    Thank you for the visit.

  21. Lovely post as usual with plenty of information and tips besides the amazing pics ofcourse that makes me want to visit soon!

  22. All pictures are so beautifully clicked, lovely post as well:)

  23. @ Ginny
    Yes no driving during those hours because if there is any accident then nobody will be able to find any trace of you... The roads are treacherous as you rightly guessed!! Also there is a constant fear of landslides, mudslides and roads giving in!!

  24. @ sm
    Yes virtual journey has no time limit, you all can enjoy it here anytime:)

  25. What a magical place! Those photos of the mountains are just stunning1

  26. Awesome pictures - what a great start to this trip Arti! Am a bit jealous when i see this ... Have a wonderful time!

  27. wow, wow, wow! the pictures are just awesome... the valleys, the mountains, the river and the trees... its just wonderful to see them... and the way u r describing makes me wait for the next one!!!

  28. Great! Very interesting trip. Nice photos

  29. hi arti,

    every post of yours are so colorfull and informative ... it is indeed your yatra diary...eagerly waiting for your next post

    Super Yummy Recipes

  30. How beautiful....I love the photographs of the changed, peaceful landscape.

  31. Wonderful pictures Arti! I think this is one of the places that our grandson and his wife visited as some of the places and the description of that road seem familiar. Beautiful. That modern looking station shaped like a temple is quite interesting.

  32. Beautiful place, true scenic beauty.

  33. beautiful arti ...pic with lots of information ...:)

  34. excellent post!!..... i dont think i can visit these places in the near future but this article creates interest in the minds of the ppl who virtually go through the journey by reading this post!!

  35. This is the place Arti, i have been planning for long.Before starting i would visit again on your site for more info.

  36. The countenance of the mountains is completely different when we are in the world gazing off at the mountains than when we are in the mountains meeting the mountains.

    Go further from Uttarkashi towards Gangotri and live in places like Harsil & Dharali, beside the flowing Bhagirathi. Discover & realize your spiritual needs, in a Himalayan retreat! :)

  37. Hey..Good start. I am all set to read about your entire 5 days trip and also complete my e-darshan to this beautiful place through your blog.


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