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 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.
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…
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…
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.
The Tourist Rest House (TRH) of GMVN, Uttarkashi
Our Deluxe Room at TRH, Uttarkashi
View from the balcony before leaving the next morning
For more details, you can visit their website - http://www.gmvnl.com
Rishikesh - Uttarkashi Road Map, our route in Brown
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