During our midterm break, my father and I had embarked on a long desired trip – to yamunotri and gangotri. I had tried to vies this more as a trek rather than a pilgrimage, but at the end of the day, the mood of the places got the better of me and i must admit that there is much more to these places than the sheer thrill of trekking in the himalayas.

We reached haridwar on the 12th from kanpur and stayed there for a day. That evening we watched the ganga arati – it is amazing that despite having seen this arati quite a times, i never seem to tire of it and each time it has the same magical, mystical effect that it did have the previous time on me. After the arati, much of the crowd disperses and then my father and I sat down by the river and watched it as it flowed by. the mountains formed a lovely backdrop as did the descending darkness. There was a chill in the air and I was so thankful, that i could be a part of this larger, intangible framework and experience those few moments in life when you are at complete peace with yourself and your surroundings. I have often wondered why I have been so unsuccessful in translating these experiences to my day-to-day life.

The next morning, we took a bus to Darasur and from there another bus to Barkot. From Barkot we got into a shared jeep and proceeded to Janakichatti, which is 5km away from Yamunotri. The drive from Darasur to Barkot was lovely. It was through the mountains and the entire trip was through the pine forest. The smell of the pines was heady as was the clean breeze. Somewhere, along the way, the driver very kindly stopped near a stream and I had never tasted water so sweet earlier. By the time, we had reached Janakichatti, it was late in the evening, by which time it had become dark and it was also very cold. There was this thrill of being in the mountains, but beyond that it was too dark to make out anything else. So, we had dinner and went to bed early in eager anticipation of the morrow. During the course of the evening, a number of people did come and ask us if we required ponies for the journey. I looked at them, I hope without disdain (though, I would doubt this) , and declared emphatically that we most certainly did not. After all this was just a 5km trek and quite a few people had assured me that it would be a piece of cake. The next morning, we set out at 6:00 just as dawn broke. The sight greeting us was awesome. We could make out the sapt rishi range from where we stood and could see that our destination lay in that direction. So, appa and I set out with a couple of other people in a most determined manner. We had hardly taken a couple of steps before my father had a twist in his knee and we had to call for the pony. I am not quite sure if a pony is a less strenuous way of reaching a destination, but it is certainly easy on the legs, but brutal on the back and hips. All along the way, we could see the river yamuna flowing gracefully in stretches and wildly in parts and my heart was in a highly excited state to be a part of these magnificent surroundings. The forests, the rivers, the mountains and finally the clean mountain air give you such surges of pleasure and completeness. I have rarely felt as benevolent towards the world at large as I do when I am in such settings.

We went on our journey, my father on the pony and me, on foot stopping just once for an impossibly sweet chai. At times, the legs did complain and that is when the destination seemed so unattainable and at these junctures, I would remind myself that I had trekked to hemkund sahib and that this should be peaceful. At other times, I would berate myself for not having paid enough attention to physical fitness. But, the destination, we did reach and what an awesome place it was. There is a hot water spring beneath the temple. As we were shivering, we proceeded with eager anticipation of a soothing hot water bath. The bath there was refreshing and we went on to the temple. The specialty of this temple, is that the “prasad” is rice cooked in the hot water from the springs. It gets cooked instantly. The temple location is perfect. As a backdrop one can see the Sapt Rishi Mountains looming and by the side of the temple, the river yamuna gushing and flowing in gay abandon. The cold was piercing, but we were at peace with the ourselves and the world.




  1. Shencottah said,

    October 26, 2007 at 5:31 am

    Nice post.

    Mountains, Streams, Rivers, Flowers, Children, Kind acts, are few of the many things that would unearth the forgotten things of lives.

    Keep posting more.

  2. Sukhvarsh said,

    October 29, 2007 at 7:34 pm

    Very nice, keep posting more of these for those unlucky ones who can’t go to these awsome places themselves. May be invite others to join next time. What was the height above mean sea level and what were the temperatures during the trip?

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