Rendezvous with Lord Kedarnath

This article is about an adventurous road trip with family to picturesque state of Uttaranchal going up to Shri Kedarnath. This include details of basic preparation one needs to do for the trek and how the scenic beauty of the route mesmerizes a nature lover.

Phewwww!!! Four days after returning back home , having extraordinarily sound sleep for long hours in the night, not climbing the office staircase and a few foot massages by dear husband, finally I have started feeling better to start writing about it all. Yes dear readers, I have been on an 8 days trip to Kedarnath-Badrinath in the beautiful state of Uttaranchal. And guess what, we trekked on foot to the Shrine and hence those foot massages.
So, it happened to be the general election period, when both me and my sister were watching how our respected PM was enjoying his share of peace in those caves of Kedarnath. We were motivated sitting in our respective houses and then to add to it they telecasted the movie and our super charged Sushant Singh Rajput in those valleys. My sister made a regular call to me and we sensed the sisterly connect and started discussing the possibilities of a road trip. O yes, not to forget tvf tripling inspired us to go by road. We are quite filmy siblings, no??

So, it was decided that the first leg of the journey would be taken by me alone by train from Jaipur to gurugram as dear husband was busy with work and will not be able to accompany us. So, some me time. Had a fun-filled day at my sister's place after long. Next day i.e; 9th june 2019, all 3 of us woke up early as we planned to leave by 6:30 to avoid the rush hour and we were definitely excited. All set, bags packed, woolens and rain coats taken, we boarded our taxi. Our first destination was Landsdowne and it was meticulously planned so as to cover maximum distance to Sonprayag on day 1. But but but, it can never be so easy when it involves me!!! Once we took our bypass to Landsdowne, we came to know that some green pass is a must for any taxi to go to that area. And for that, you need to get a slip/form from Roorkee and get it signed in RTO, Hrishikesh. This is such an important piece missing from the whole internet world!!! The next day we had to come down all the way to Hrishikesh and while our driver was getting all these works done, we spent our time by the banks of river Ganga. In the meanwhile we had to reschedule the whole trip as it was now obvious that our 1 full day was wasted here. And here we meet a bunch of most cooperative government officials we ever met. In order to arrange for that day's accommodation and to try all our bookings shifted, we went to the GMVN hotel, Bharat bhoomi and to our surprise were attended very cordially. We put our problem Indonesia of them and asked if all our hotel bookings of Sonprayag and Kedarnath be postponed by 1 day each. They really took this very seriously, called every one up, adjusted all the payments and gave us confirmed bookings of our rescheduled plan. I would really suggest anyone who plans to visit to book hotels or dormitories of GMVN.
On 11th june 2019 we set to our journey to Sonprayag at 5:30am so as to avoid traffic conjessions as much as possible. It was a long but wonderful drive. So many wide and beautiful rivers, so many green valleys and so many rivers converged that were so easy to make out. After many tea and snack breaks we finally reached Sonprayag at around 4pm, but there was a big traffic jam just after Sitapur and outskirts of Sonprayag. After a while sensing the wastage of time, we got down from the taxi and went walking straight to the registration office. Luckily got all the passes for the trek next day, within 15 minutes. In the meantime it started raining and we ran towards our hotel. The way to the hotel seemed like a mini practice for next day. We then enjoyed the rain from our dorm, had dinner, prepared our bag packs for the trek and slept early. Next day, i.e; 12th June we set out for our trek at morning 5. And guess what, it was raining again. And to add to it, our doordarshi full of negativity driver saab announced "sir, mushkil h aaj to jaane denge". Grrrrr mr. Anyways, stood in the end of a never ending, confused serpentine line by the side of river Mandakini, who was going to be our best companion for next 2 days. We had a long introduction for about 2.5 hours and then finally with grace of god we boarded our taxi to Gaurikund at around 8:30 am. The trek starts from here. So, tighten up your laces and pick up your sticks. One important thing is never miss to purchase a walking stick and some camphor. These 2 and some glucose plus "Prabhu ka naam" would be your only friends for next 10 hours. With these we started our ambitious trek. So many beautiful green valley, so many glaciers, so many falls of purest cool water along with people supplying food and beverage helped us complete the trek in around 10 hours. It was dark because of no power supply but moon helped us. . Finally at around 10 pm we reached our dormitories , did not have the energy to dine so just went to sleep. It was very cold that night.
Woke up at 5:30 but could not gather the courage to take bath in cold water so just changed into fresh clothes, washed faces somehow and left for darshan at 6:30. 6:45 we were on the stairs, facing river Mandakini. We sprinkled some fresh water on ourselves and added to the line for darshan. The whole process took 3 hours but the beauty of nature and awesome Himalayas made it simple. There is a Bhairav temple around 1.5 kms above Kedarnath temple. If you are left with stamina (remember you still need to climb down 28 kms) definitely visit.
We started to trek down at approx 2:00 pm, which we later realized was quite late. On the way back, in order to save some time, we made a mistake. We took a steeper way thinking what could be worse than what we climbed. But, we were wrong. The path is too sloppy. My suggestion, avoid it. It became dark soon and in dark, it's too difficult to move hence slowing us down even further. Also, the same route is being used by the Pony Wallahs and it becomes difficult further to concentrate on the stony route and also keep a check on them as they simply come on you carelessly. If one is brave enough to look at the surroundings, they are picturesque along with the marvelous sound of river Mandakini flowing down the valley (though, I must admit, in the night it was scary too). The growing darkness, discharged mobiles, ticking clocks and rumors like - you do not get taxis from Gauri Kund to Sonprayad after 9:30 pm were all adding to our anxiousness to reach back Gaurikund ASAP (though we could now hardly walk due to variety of pains). At one point I felt like throwing away my shoes, thanks to my sister, she saved them making me realize how the hell are you going to walk on these stones otherwise? All said and done, with 0 energy left, just 2 minutes after our last break, my brother-in-law suddenly pointed out "Hey!!! See the shed of Gauri Kund. We are about to reach and the destination is actually visible". I swear, I thought all of us are hallucinating together. How can this happen!!! We finally came down, really? After reaching the shed, we quickly saw the time and it was 12:00 am. We all thanked the almighty for bringing us safely to our destination. Another 0.5 kms through Gauri Kund and we could see the taxis to take us to Sonprayag… Hurraayyyyy, it was actually a rumor.
We somehow got into a taxi , called up our driver sahib to reach the registration office as by now we almost forgot how to walk without that stick. :D. And there we were, into our dorm, on our 3 beds, sleeping away to get up early next day to start next part of our journey which was visiting Shri Badri Vishal.

Few things to take care of –

1. Check on your taxi to get the green pass. We wasted our 1 day.
2. Carry warm clothes and raincoats for the climb, but do not overdo. Depends on general season but also depends on how much cold you feel. A sweater, a warm stole, gloves and cap is usually enough while climbing both ways. Keep the bag light.
3. Definitely carry glucose, camphor and a walking stick.
4. After you come down, your skin will be tanned (might reach to extent of peeling).
5. Try to book hotels through GMVN.

Have faith and have a great journey.

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