Char Dham Yatra 1. – Wonderful experience of the Himalayan terrain.
Viswettan and I just returned from the Char Dham Yatra– Visited the four Dhams- Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badarinath. Before that we went to Kashi- Varanasi as well. Enroute Chardham, visited Uttar kashi, Rudra Prayaga and Devaprayaga. At Uttar Kashi and Gangotri, we were fortunate to visit the two Tapovan kutirs –where Sri Tapovanji Maharaj- Gurudev of Swami Chinmayananda spent most of his life time inspiring generations of aspirants. All the sites and pilgrim centres were really wonderful to see and experience. We were limited only by our own ability to live by their sights, smells, touch and sounds! All these sites are in the State of Uttar Khand – really a land of gods – true deva bhoomi. The greenery is lush and vibrant; the terrain is dramatic. Each of these centers is inspirational to spiritual seekers and exciting to the adventure oriented.
The Himalayan roads are excellent when they are drivable; otherwise they can be very dangerous. We have had many occasions of delays and stoppages due to landslides, rains and instances where the road simply disappeared a few feet ahead of us. But the people there are very resourceful. Usually the repairs were done sooner than expected, within two-three hours and we were back on our way. In all such instances we had one or two ways to go ahead or get out of the harms way. In one such places where a portion of the road ahead had the continued hazard of rock falling (football size boulders falling from a two hundred ft. mountain slope), on the way to Yamunotri, we stopped and got out of the car, looking for options to pass that stretch of the road. There was a major mountain on one side and a deep valley and cliff on the other side. Suddenly a few horses and their masters showed up and offered to take us through the valley and through a couple of villages, crossing a forest, a flower valley, couple of water crossings and some farmer’s fields – It took about 3 hours to reach the other side of the danger zone and there we got a share taxi – jeep to continue the journey.
I would recommend this Yatra to anyone with an open mind– please ensure that you have ample time and a reasonably good amount of cash on you as the tour program and routes can change any time during the Yatra.
With Rawalji of Badarinath
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