The Chaar Dham Yatra of May 2013 was perhaps the most amazing experience of my life. Before leaving for the yatra, my parents pleased me a lot to come with them. I literally had no interest with the obvious reason that its a pilgrimage. But….. my impression on this yatra totally changed after experiencing it.
Couldn’t remember the exact dates so ill tell you the places i travelled.
Started off from Visakhapatnam, our home town, reached hyderabad and then came a big BLOW ! Our tickets till delhi wasnt confirmed. Worried about this news, we waited for our tickets to confim till the next morning but all in vain. We had to see the train, go across us. So we planned an alternative to go by air. The tickets were heavily priced, but we had no option or else we had to forgo the whole tour. Any ways leaving all the tensions behind, we flew to Delhi.
Had a day with sight seeing, Qutub Minar, Bahwai Temple, Jantar Mantar and some shopping in Ambience Mall. Yepp ! that was it and we left for Rishikesh, our first stop. Our family was included in a group of 19 others in a bus. People started to introduce each other and soon we were totally merrymaking in the bus through out the journey.
Rishikesh was a great place, was able to sense a bit chill and we were warned by the guide to brace up for more cold conditions. Meanwhile , was into my photography as you can see in the pictures above. We had a sightseeing tour of Rishikesh. The attractions were the Ram Jhoola and the Lakshman Jhoola.
The next day, we set our journey to yamunotri, driving through the ghats. It was an exciting journey but there were a lot of physical strains. I, being a young guy had a lot of trouble and i gave it a thought that how the other people who were older to me were going through all this. Almost all the hotels in which we stayed had great views of the mountains. And the best part, since the group was from south India, the guide could manage to serve us all Dal, sambar, rice and papad.
Yamunotri was a hill away and i determined myself to trek along. It was around 7km of uphill and never in my life i had done such a feat. But breaking the climb after every kilometer, halting, getting up, again going, i could manage to climb up in a reasonable amount of time … around 5 hours 😀 Took a dip in the hot geysers of yamunotri and feeling was totally magical. All my pains, all my stress were vanished in a jiffy. It was really amazing to find that the hot springs water which contained sulphur acted as a healing agent to many skin diseases. Had some steaming hot Maggi, which was truly relieving, i headed for the descent. That took me again 4 hours, and after such a tiring trek of 14000 meters, i had a sound sleep.
The next stop was gangotri, where luckly there wasn’t any hill climbing involved, but yeah, it took a heavy toll of energy walking all the way to temple for about 5 km. The dip in the ganges right from the origin point, you need some real guts to do it. Water seems to be almost frozen and the moment you keep your feet in it, its like a 1000 knives stabbing you instantly. Tired and weared off completely, we returned back after a bumpy ride in the bus, travelling through the ghats.
Kedarnath !!! , The most most toughest one ! 14 km of hill climbing, started off walking from 1pm and reached at around 9pm to reach the top ! My god the cold killed me, but there was one moment which took my breath away, a moment arrived at around 7pm when the sunset was just around and there was no one except my dad who was climbing with me. And there was a snow covered mountain in front of my eyes. The mountain, and me . That was just the most magical moment of my life ever. The weather was freezing when we reached the top. Had to take bath my melting the ice and heating it. Couldn’t dare to walk on bare feet. I EXPERIENCED -2 Celsius for the first time. Went to darshan at around 3am in the morning and the same day we started for the descent. It took us a lot of time. Mom and dad took other conveyances but i was determined to walk down. I was accompanied by another family to whom we were close during the tour and it was fun being with them. We reached the hotel at around 9pm in the night, totally exhausted!!
We set sail to go to our next dhaam, Badrinath. It wasnt so laborious as Kedarnath so we had a cozy time over there.
After successful visits of all the four places, we headed back to haridwar where we had a good experience of aarti of the Ganges river, one of the most famous and sacred rivers of India. Had a lavish dinner and headed back to Delhi. All the byes and sendoffs were finished and after a small sightseeing and shopping, we returned back to Vishakhapatnam.
Now, to be frank, u you got to be really strong and determined to go to the chaar dhaam yatra. If you are willing to go 100% , you will have the best time of your life.
Next time if you are planning for a tour abroad, think about this one once.
Chaar Dhaam yatra, a journey worth a memory !!