Enroute to Rishikesh (Joshimath to Srinagar)

Day 5 : Neelkanth Peak - Hanuman Chatti Temple - Exploring Joshimath - ENROUTE TO RISHIKESH (JOSHIMATH  - SRINAGAR) - Rishikesh Dayanand Ashram - Haridwar - Char Dham Trip Concludes Finally....

After exploring Joshimath, we set off towards our next destination Srinagar. Roads beyond Joshimath were quite smooth.

The Joshimath - Srinagar Highway on the Badrinath route

We kept clocking miles in good time whilst at the same time also savoring the beauty of the same fields and meadows, the gorgeous Himalayan mountains and the towering green trees that we had encountered on our way up to Badrinath.

Savor some of the Himalayan Beauty

After driving for about an hour, we made a brief halt once again; this time in the middle of the highway itself to take the blessings of, quoting the words of our driver, ‘some highly venerated local temples’.

It was quiet all around and the place was completely devoid of any tourist population. A fleet of stairs down from the highway take you to the Garud Temple.
It was the first and the only temple that I remember visiting till now where the chief deity was not Lord Vishnu but His vehicle - The Bird Garud. According to the local belief, it was at this place that he performed rigourous penance to please Lord Vishnu and acquired from Him the boon of becoming His mascot.

The Garud Temple

Just besides the Garud Temple is the Laxmi Narayan Temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu and His consort Goddess Laxmi.

The Laxmi Narayan Temple just besides the Garud Temple

These temples face the Bhagirathi River which flows swiftly with the polished river stones making for a picturesque setting.

Listen to Her soft murmers…

Any amount of time spent in Her company is just never enough for me…

After a few quiet moments, we made our way back up once again. On the way up, we came across a local villager selling some sticks calling them as ‘Narsinghji (half-lion-half-man God Narsingh) ki Lakdi (stick)’ and asked us to take one back home.

A villager stacking up 'Narsinghji ki lakdi(s)' (Lord Narsingh's sticks) for sale

He said wrapping the stick up with a red cloth and tying it at the entrance will bring us good luck and well being for the family. We weren’t very sure of buying it but he persuaded and we eventually gave in.

After having a quick lunch in a nearby dhaba (shack), we got into the car and proceeded towards Srinagar. We were pretty much on track with time till we passed RudraPrayag (more on Prayags later) from where our luck with smooth roads was about to change.

Changing our route after RudraPrayag

News of a massive landslide ahead forced us to take a different route and we encountered the first of the many hairpin turns that lay ahead.

Dusty narrow tracks

On one side, were majestic crags towering up a thousand feet or more while on the other side, was a wild chaos of debris, boulders, big rocks and loosely cemented track-ends which could ditch you any moment for the dark gloomy ravines below.

Debris piled up on the sides of the pathway

The route was so narrow that it made 2 lane vehicular advances almost impossible. It took us over 3 hrs to navigate the 40 kms, so the state of the entire stretch is apparent.

The only beauty enroute this rough and rocky terrain was the magical canvas of the caramael colored horizon at the extreme end – a long chain of mountain peaks with their rugged summits glowing in the light tint shades of orangish strokes by the receding sun - that more than made up for the rattling at the end of the day… The strokes also reminded me that this trip was finally inching towards an end... This was to be our last night in the Garhwal Himalayas...

Nature art: The sun takes cover behind the Himalayan Mountains...
A Beautiful Sunset in the Himalayas

Srinagar – An Introduction, Where to stay

A dusty 2 hr drive later, we found ourselves at the GMVN Guest house at Srinagar.

An Introduction

Situated in a sprawling valley about 8 km long, it is here that the Alaknanda spreads out as if preparing its course in the plains as Ganga. Though it is not associated with a major shrine or a confluence, still it is one of the most prominent towns in Garhwal as it is a major economic, cultural, and educational center in the region and also home to some sacred ancient temples like Kilkileshwar Mahadeo and Kamleshwar Mahadeo dedicated to Lord Shiva. Since we left early for our downward journey the next day, we couldn’t explore the town or any of these temples this time around.

Where to Stay in Srinagar

The GMVN Guest house at Srinagar

It was only 9 PM but the tiring journey had completely sapped my energy leaving me craving for some much needed sleep. I ate something in a hotel opposite our rest house, the quality of which was nothing to write home about and just packed off for a good night’s sleep.

Previous posts from this trip -

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  1. सुंदरतम फ़ोटो,
    लेकिन कुछ में धुंधलापन भी नजर आ रहा है।
    शाम होने को थी,
    क्या यही कारण तो नहीं है या फ़िर कुछ और?

  2. gorgeous!.. i am sure you were tired from that journey!......looks like some tense driving....but what a day it was!

  3. Wow , nice place to visit . thanks for the virtual tour

  4. The water is very clean and I can hear the sound.:)
    The temple and nature things matches well.

  5. Looks like your marathon travel left you tired in the end or was it the disinterest in heading back home?
    Kudos for keeping everyone interested till the last leg of your tour... keep it going :)

  6. Another fascinating tour you've taken us on, Arti! And such wonderful captures! I always feel as if I have actually visited your world as a result of your pics and the detailed information you include! Thanks as always!! Hope your week is going well!


  7. The running waters are very comforting, thank you for your beautiful pictures! Much appreciated.

  8. Aha! really delighted.

    What a nice presentation with
    excellent pictures.

    Many many thanks to you.

  9. Incredible India! You must have had a wonderful experience. :) Even I have never heard of the Garud Temple. Loved the pics. Would love to visit the place. :)

  10. Fascinating tour indeed..! I love the Wonderful pictures that go with the story ..

  11. Lovely write and beautiful pictures Arti..good information as well ...just loved this post..hope you have a lovely weekend:)

  12. Thanks for sharing, felt really peaceful after reading your post...

  13. always enjoy beautiful pics
    and nice info you share

  14. Simply beautifully captured shots...lovely!

  15. That's interesting and nice.


  16. Such clear and luminous skies! Looks lovely.

  17. Hi,Arti.
    The highway on the Badrinath route is very wide and spacious. What are the small buildings on the leftside? They catch my eyes.

    The view of Himalaya is really majestic!

    I can listen to the murmers from the beautiful rocky river,Arti.

  18. @ Redrose
    The small shacks on the left are actually roadside shops... Some are non operational as you can see.

  19. srinagar is a beautiful place...u travel a lot...makes me jelous :P

  20. Rishikesh i had visited in 1977 i suppose a trip is overdue, i hope the infrastructure has improved.

  21. how beautiful those mountains are. worth going through those bad roads, i'm sure. :)

    have a great weekend, arti.

  22. Beautiful narration and photographs. the sun behind hill-excellent..

  23. Nice! I am most enamoured by the small temples we spot on the mountains. To me there's some enigma in them. Seeing them gives me an overpowering sense of the supernatural. Do you feel so too Arti, or is it just me :))

  24. Loving those trees and all that running water, poetry in picture form.

  25. Thanks for another beautiful post Arti .Excellent .
    Have a fabulous weekend :)

  26. Hi Aarti

    It is amazing you are able to see the beauty in every moment without getting effected by the negative aspects of the journey.

    You definitely need a good rest when you journey so much...

    Look forward to more

    Super Yummy Recipes

  27. well that experience with the landslide on the road must have made this feel like an even greater adventure than it would have been! I was looking at the first photo, thinking that the roads always seem so deserted with no cars/travel, and now I see why. your photos of the grand Himalayas are magnificent. I'm so happy to have this opportunity to tag along on this journey with you Arti. I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

  28. Arti, I love this blog. I'll probably never get to India, but your virtual tour is about as good as it gets without actually visiting. Your photos are lovely and really evocative.

    Thanks for stopping by the Farm, too. Keep on travelling!

  29. I've certainly enjoyed your trip through the Himalayas, Arti! (Especially since I didn't have to navigate those hairpin turns myself!) I liked seeing the small village temples - so different from the ornate ones you previously showed us. Safe travels to you.

  30. What a beautiful landscape. Very rugged in places. Amazing photography Arti. :)

  31. Hi, Arti.
    The sun rise in Himalayan mountains was marvelous and the sun set is beautiful too. It's exactly the territory of God.
    Thank you for showing your blog about the first sermon of Buddha. I read at once.There is a casket containing his tooth relic. I was surprised the real thing is preserved for long years. And Indian emblem was from ancient times like King Asoka and it's four back-to-back lions.
    So origin of India is so old,I realized it again.
    Thank you for sharing your two blogs.
    Have a fabulous weekend!

  32. Wishing someday that I get to see personally the very mighty Himalayan mountains. Thanks a lot for bringing those areas to us through your photos and story. :)

  33. Great tour Arti! When you said that when the driver said to stop to say a prayer, you had to stop, I understood! He was in charge at that point -- you just have to do what the driver says! The roads made this a scary journey -- but obviously it was worth it! I loved your river shots and can see that she is a holy place.

  34. Those hairpin bends and lovely mountain scenes make the journey unforgettable.

  35. Great pics Arti! Mine of the same places look so ordinary:(
    A fabulous post as always:)

  36. Your yatra diary is indeed great and looks like quite reliable...

  37. next time you go , take me with you pleaseeeeeee

    the pics are so beautiful and you have described all so very nicely


  38. Wow such great pictures and description:)

  39. Wonderful. One day I will also undertake this.

  40. I wish i was you Arti. You must be having a great time in the beautiful nature. Your pictures say it all. Have fun.

  41. Beautiful images. These places do look 'heavenly.'

  42. A common thread that runs through all your posts is serenity! Loved this one :)!!

  43. Seems like a wonderful trip. Reminds me of my own car trip to Uttranchal 2 years back.


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