Hop, step, jump from the Gangotri glacier

Bhojwasa Travel Blog

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Distant view of Bhagiratha peaks
Morning, I was late waking up and the guide came for me. Yeah, yeah, I know I'm not a morning person. I got ready and went to his friend's shop for breakfast and dumped a small bagfull of stuff there.

We started walking and crossed the forest rangers' check-post at around 8:00. Guide was quite talkative, telling, asking about miscellaneous things. Atleast he knew the names and some history of most of the places and peaks around. Mt. Sudarshan was partly visible from Gangotri itself, and a bit further up we could see most of the peaks from Bhihrupanth. Guide stopped for tea first at Bhujgati where we met the 'baba' from Laal baba ashram (at Bhojwasa). After about 5 km we stopped at Chirbasa for some more tea and some breakfast for the guide.
Fall colours next to the Ganges
From here one can see the Bhagiratha peaks (1,2,3).

In no hurry, we were taking it easy, and the climb (although not too steep) was steady. Since fall had already picked up, nearer to Gangotri a lot of trees were turning yellow. Farther up, a different mix of trees, some of the jungle was flaming red and a smaller mix of yellow and deep pine greens. Pretty colours on the valley side, a soothing whitish river and a clean bright blue sky that one cannot see from the city.

Soon we reached the risky landslide area, some of the local civil department folks were just returning from remaking a section of the path after another landslide had partly obscured it. Have to be careful while walking here, keep looking out for loose rocks, especially since higher up the mountain goats keep moving.
Snow clouds, the lodge at Bhojwasa
After a while we could see Neru's peak and Sudarshan became more prominent.

Bhojwasa is some 14km upstream from Gangotri, and about 4 As we were getting very close to Bhojwasa, the wind started to pick up a bit. By the time we reached Bhojwasa, at the slight rise near the lodge and ashram, the wind was really at it. It had also started snowing slightly, so we ducked for cover into the "dhaba" (makeshift tea shop and resting place) till the wind died down. Since it was on a slight rise, I could see the glacier and almost see Gaumukh up the valley - looked so palpably close, was it really 4 km away? The lodge though, was only a few hundred meters from there. I checked in and dumped my stuff in the dorm. After having some Maggi noodles for lunch I tried to relax and go to sleep.
Snowing hard up the river.
Evening was going to be very busy, since a huge group was supposed to be staying that night. In a while a couple from Delhi checked in, and we talked a while. They had had a heck of a day going to Gaumukh and back - the wife had fallen/jumped off her mule. Thank god I'm able to walk on my own two feet - who needs a mule going crazy for food or whatever while your butt is royally saddled on it.

By late afternoon clouds had covered the upper part of the valley. It must be snowing thickly at the peaks and near Gaumukh. The evening was damn cold and pretty chaotic. The group of 144 people, some followers of what they called Karma Yoga, were on a long trip and stopping over before their visit to Gaumukh the next day. They had their own retinue of porters, mules, cooks and what not, and took up every single space they could find. That included my own bed in the dorm, as I found out after I came back from roaming outside. Fortunately, the lodge organizers shifted me to their managers bed, which was in a quiet room with the staff, and better than the dorm bed. I talked to Elias from the group, he is from Lebanon and was travelling along with the big group, who had been to a few religious places in north India.

By the time I finished dinner, it was getting bitterly cold. That night it would plunge to -4 deg C, and the temperature inside the room was supposedly at 6 deg C or so. Bloody cold for a guy like me from central India, where it never drops below 10 deg C in winter and goes to 47 deg C in the summer. As hard as it was to sleep in the cold, the yoga group were dancing and singing loudly around a bonfire outside till 10 pm. Sigh. Next day was big for me, we had planned to go to Tapovan and come back all the way, since the weather there would be pretty cold and snowy and we weren't carrying any tents or such. Needed my rest.

-- Ashish Bhambhani
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Distant view of Bhagiratha peaks
Distant view of Bhagiratha peaks
Fall colours next to the Ganges
Fall colours next to the Ganges
Snow clouds, the lodge at Bhojwasa
Snow clouds, the lodge at Bhojwasa
Snowing hard up the river.
Snowing hard up the river.
Bhojwasa
photo by: ashishrb