Sunday, October 09, 2005

The road to the gods

Hi folks. I just did a whole lot of driving, a sizable bit of sitting on ponies, a fair bit of hiking around & a little bit of river rafting. Great fun all in all. Thought it might be of interest for anyone else thinking of doing the same.

Car : Maruti Suzuki Alto Vx, 800cc

Persons : Three

Dates : 1st Oct to 8th Oct

Day 1 : Delhi to Rudraprayag

You are going to look at catching the NH 58 to get anywhere near the hills. This NH runs from Gaziabad to Mana, a small village about 4.5 km ahead of Badrinath. The problem is passing Gaziabad without committing suicide. The road through Gaziabad is so narrow & the traffic so crazy, that if you hope to retain any sanity, leave early. We left Delhi at 5 AM & were well past Gaziabad by 6.

If you look at the iternary of most tourist companies, they will make you spend a few hours at Rishikesh, & then stop for the night at Srinagar (Uttaranchal). You could do the same. There are enough good hotels at Srinagar. But since I intended to spend a couple of days at Rishikesh on the way back, I decided to cover as much distance as possible on the first day.
The road enters the hills after crossing Rishikesh & there you get the first taste of landslide-affected roads. The road is wide enough till Rudraprayag & you really don’t have to get off the road except for the most asinine bus driver.

At Rudraprayag, you have the confluence of the Alaknanda from Badrinath & the Mandakini from Kedarnath. The evening aarti should be seen if you are staying at Rudraprayag.

Road condition :- the NH 58 is quite horrible in patches for the first 50 odd km & only gets in any decent condition after Mujaffarnagar. Quite honestly this was one of the worst patches of my entire trip (other then the landslide–wrecked roads to come further) But after Mujaffarnagar, the road becomes nice & the signage is good with regular milestones & markings. Be wary of the huge number of cycles on the road around Roorkee. They can be a pain.

Accommodation :- We stayed at the Army officer’s mess & had a beautiful view of the prayag, but I saw a lot of decent setups around. Just 50 m up the road from the army camp was a “Binaki guest house” that seemed really nice.

Mythological trivia :
1) Rudraprayag apparently gets its name from the fact that Narad muni prayed to Lord Shiva here to master the mysteries of music. Pleased with his prayers, Shiva appeared before him in his Rudra avatar.
2) From Rudraprayag you can either go to Kedarnath or Badrinath. If you intend to go to both, it is advised that you go to Kedarnath first. This is because you’ll find Shiva at Kedarnath & Vishnu at Badrinath. & Ram (an avatar of Vishnu) has declared that no prayer to him should really begin, or no reading of the Ramayana begins, without a prayer to Shiva.

Vital Stats :
1) If you are in a taxi or you are not driving your own vehicle, you need to have a hill permit or a special hill-driving license. Without this, you cannot proceed beyond Rishikesh. You can get these papers at the RTO office at Rishikesh & by all accounts it is a simple procedure taking 3 hours.

Distance covered : 357 km


P said...

all crrect and very good , except that it is ALTO Lx ,

Vj said...

Wow I've been there too
mana village . had tea at the last cafe of india.
nice job.keep sharing your experiences