Birthplace of the Ganges

Gangotri Travel Blog

 › entry 5 of 21 › view all entries
This was another really early morning. That too I was actually feeling cold in Rishikesh, having been in Nagpur and Agra only days ago. I got ready and checked out before 5:00. There was hardly a soul in sight on the roads, and I didn't know exactly where the bus stop was. I started walking in the general direction of the bus stand. After much walking I got one rickshaw to drop me at some intersection where I got a rickshaw to the bus stand.

There was this congested old mini-bus that was leaving for Gangotri at around 5:30, and seemed to be the only bus that day going uptil Gangotri. So I pretty much had no choice and stuffed myself in the last seat, thought I would go till Uttarkashi and see if there were any better options there. Thankfully soon at Chamba some people got off and I moved into a slightly more comfortable seat, of what was to probably be my longest bus journey in an uncomfortable bus in my entire trip. Had some yummy "allo pakori" (fried potatoes in a paste) and "chai" (Indian tea) at the stop in Chamba. There were 2 Korean guys in the same bus, they were planning to trek it out to Tapovan and had all their equipment. There was also a French lady from Nice who was going to check out Gangotri and maybe stay in some Ashram there.

After a long drive, the bus reached Uttarkashi at about 13:00 and said it would wait only 20 minutes. I rushed out, find me a roadside restaurant and had a decent lunch (prett cheap too). Asked around, and found out I wasn't going to find any other transport for Gangotri that day. So I decided to take the same bus for the next leg of the trip. After enough delay the bus left again in an hour, giving me enough time to check out more shops and have a yummy dessert of "chamcham".

I still hadn't recovered from my cough/cold yet I guess, and the first part of the journey was uncomfortable. But I was in for a worse time in the second half. The road got progressively worse and the going slower as we got higher up toward Gangotri. Lot of construction work and landslides had pretty much left no paved road. Conversation with an army guy sitting next to me provided some distraction though. It was already dark when we were some 25 kms from Gangotri, and consequently the temperature dropped rapidly. At about 19:30 is when the bus finally reached Gangotri. It was pretty dark to make out anything about the surroundings except a street lined with shops. Atleast I quickly found the way to my lodge and clambered down across the river to the GMVN lodge. Pretty nice lodge, and decently maintained. I checked in only to find that the room was also damn cold, almost as cold as outside. Must have been a few degrees about zero later. After dinner, I sat around the small bon-fire outside with the group of tourists, listening in on their conversation with the manager and some local guys.

I slept well clothed that night. The quilt and bed were cold however and not all too comfortable, especially with my cold acting up again. Fitful sleep is all I got. The next night was to be at the same place.

-- Ashish Bhambhani
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