I began my yatra during the first week of the month of May. When I left Rishikesh via the NH 34, the weather condition and the climate was quite favorable. The intermittent brisk rainfall in the hills had filled the air with the smell of the wet soil. The roads were in excellent condition and my yatra took me through an awe-inspiring landscapes and picturesque vistas. I rode through the winding mountain roads, surrounded by lush green forests, gurgling rivers and snow-capped peaks, enjoying each nooks and turns. And so my adventure began.
The route I took from Rishikesh was Rishikesh->Agar->Chamba->New Tehri->Uttarkashi->Harshil->Gartang Galli->Gangotri Dham. I left Rishikesh at around 9 am and reached New Tehri town at around the time of noon. As you might know, Tehri region is famous for its Tehri Dam. This dam has an staggering height of 260metres, that makes it the tallest dam in India and the 12th tallest dam in the world. The catchment area of the Tehri Dam was huge. Some area around the dam has now been catering to tourism. With lots of option for doing water sports and ropeway Tehri is seeing a quite a lot of tourists influx. The weather there was little humid but the cold breeze was antagonizing the effect of the humidity.
After leaving Tehri I must have taken a wrong turn, and instead of reaching Lambgaon town I headed to the upper reaches of the Tehri mountain hills. I must have gone ahead some 30-40 kms when I realized that my Google map’s route is set all wrong. Instead of showing path to Lambgaon, the app had taken me to a village where the metaled roads had ended.
At first I panicked for such a mistake. Sitting on top of a huge boulder out in no where I was aimlessly looking at the huge mountain ranges before me that were draped by white clouds. A sudden realization hit me while strategizing my next move. I was ignoring the whole vistas of beauty all around me. It made me realize, It is for this I am doing this yatra. Who cared if I am lost and who cared about time. I had not to worry of any. For each turn offered me to experience breathtaking views which further made the journey mesmerizing. I would have loved to spend more hours on those rickety roads leading me to nowhere and thus making me lost. But for all the spellbound scenic beauty all around, I had to move on, on my Yatra.
I was targeting to reach Gangotri Dham by the same day. And so I enquired to few locals in the villages. They advised me to head back another 30kms to reach a road leading to Lambgaon town via the 440m long Dobra Chanti Suspension Bridge. After another hour or so I cam on a correct route, that would lead me to Lambgaon town. I must have lost some 2 hours of ride time leading to this wrong turn. But that was okey on me. I enjoyed my events after I took the wrong turn. In another 4 hours or so I reached the outer region of the Uttarkashi town. Since it was nearing to dusk time, I decided to call it a day for today. I rented a lodge and had dinner and went off to give rest to my aching back.
Next Day I woke up early and after gearing up I went downhill, to reach the Uttarkashi town. I crossed over the Bhagirathi River on the Tekhla Bridge and took the road towards Harshil. Both the sides of the roadways after the bridge was seen literally, littered my countless lodges and hotels. These hotels and lodges caters to the growing demand of tourists and yatri who are undertaking the char dham yatra. The route after Sivanand kutter has suddenly taken to become picturesque. The hustle and bustle of the Uttarkashi town was left behind and it was pleasant experience biking. I got to see the Khedi Waterfalls on my left.
After crossing over Harshil, I reached a place named as Garthang galli. I previously had no idea what it is, but seeing so many tourists around a huge iron gate, it compelled me to stop my bike. I did a quick web search to find that this was one of the most amazing place to be. Garthang galli has a 140 m long wooden staircase (Gartangali) bridge that connects the villages of Nelang, Jadung and Bhot area in the valley of Uttarkashi district, to the Gangotri. Basically it served as a trade route via which Indo-Tibetan traders and residents of villages used to travel through this route by loading trading goods on yaks, horse-mules and sheep. But, due to non-use and maintenance of Gartangali for the last 45 years, its existence was vanishing. But recently the Uttarakhand Government has renovated this bridge and has opened it as a heritage place. The entry ticket is Rs 150 per person. A mini hike of around 45 mins will reach you to the bridge. I clicked some instagrammable pic there and detoured to reach by bike for the onward journey. It took me another hours, for me reach Gangotri Dham from Garthang Galli.
In the Hindu holy scripture Gangotri Dham has a special importance. As it is in this place, river Ganga descended from heaven when Lord Shiva released the mighty river from his luscious locks. So due to its religious importance Gangotri Dham has the highest and is said to be the most important temple of river Ganga where Ganga mata is worshipped as a Goddess in India. However the aactual origin of river Ganga is little far from the Gangotri Temple. It is at the Gaumukh glacier, river Ganga has its true origin. And to reach the glaciered origin places one has to do some 18-20 kms of on way trekking. The trek is rated as medium to difficult with an stop at Bhojwasa camp. Since due to time constraints I could not undertake this trek. And so I paid my reverence to Goddess Ganga at the temple. Thereafter I spent another few hours around the temple vicinity and the local market. I left the Gangotri Temple for the Uttarkashi town at around 5.30pm in the evening. There I took a room in the yatri niwas and called it a day. Summing up my experience of my entire day, I can only say it was an exhilarating experience that combined the thrill of riding with the spiritual aura of one of the holiest destinations in India.
Next day I was on my way to Yamnotri Dham … Stay tuned for my next blog on my bullet bike yatra to Yamnotri Dham….