Contd from previous post “Trip to Auli – Day 1”
Neither of us realized the alarm go off at 4:00 AM and when we finally did get up, it was 8:30 AM..!! :-O
The only other option to reach Joshimath was to travel the 8 hours/300 kms by taxi. We knew it was going to be Rs. 3000 (as per our homework) two-way, as in we have to pay for the return journey as well. But it turned out to be Rs. 4000. We tried our bargaining skills with the taxi federation or whatever there, but to no avail and so we were put on an Ambassador car, our driver being a Akram. He later introduced himself to us as Vikram.
The views on the outskirts of Dehradun were good. It was very foggy as well. Even at 10:30 AM, the visibility remained hampered.
Foggy @ 10 !!
There are a lot of camping sites on the way. There are lots of shops the locals have set up that offer camping, trekking and rafting. The camps looked inviting with tents and gazebo kind of things set up on the river side. The river itself was blue-green in color with white sands on the shores. With all that in India, who wants New Zealand n such ? 🙂
Camps along river Ganga
After crossing Rishikesh (about 50 kms from Dehradun city) the views get a little monotonous and boring, surrounded by humongous mountains on all sides. The river and mountains followed us the entire stretch.
River takes a U-turn
The road was pathetic, very close to the Bangalore Mangalore Highway, you need to search for the road amidst the potholes. Our driver was good and used to such roads and hence the drive did not get uncomfortable. We stopped for lunch at Srinagar (not Kashmir’s Srinagar, this is halfway to Joshimath). The food wasn’t too good, or maybe we did not order the right things 😛 Anyway, after lunch we got the first glimpse of snow-capped mountains, a first for Ashwin, very far off in the horizon.
Snow capped mountain in the horizon
The camera that came out then did not go back in until it was too dark for photography. I still cannot believe that he spent two hours when I dozed off doing nothing but clicking those monotonous mountains.
The drive through the mountains is unlike the ghats we had traveled earlier (i.e, ascending the mountain one way, descending the other). Instead we traversed the perimeter of mountain after mountain after mountain. Seven hours of the same thing.
The mountains make way for the river… or did the river split them?
We reached Joshimath at about 8:00 PM. We had our booking done at Hotel Dronagiri and the person in charge, Surendar Kumar was already waiting for us.
Surendar @ Hotel Dronagiri’s Reception
Looking through all the available options online we had settled for this one. We preferred to stay at GMVN Resort, the log cabins looked so inviting. But on inquiring we found that the cabins are not rented during this time of the year. So the next option was Hotel Dronagiri. The room was spacious and the bathroom, clean. There was a heater but one needs to be within 30 cm radius to feel the heat. But I’d recommend Hotel Dronagiri for anyone going to Auli. The food is good, the room rent reasonable and the people friendly.
Our room @ Hotel Dronagiri, Joshimath
It was hard getting used to the temperature. Whatever we touched felt like ice – the walls, the door knob, the keys, the bed even. It was hard using the washroom – one has to touch water 😛
Going through the torture, we went down to have dinner and surprisingly the food was better than we expected. It was too cold to venture out for a stroll. With no streetlights it was too dark as well and so we decided to go back to our room.
The bed and blankets all felt like pieces of ice. Once you have slept in one place, be there. That is the only place that will be warm. Outside your perimeter, its all cold as ice 😛 With this knowledge and two thick quilts over us, we crashed.
End of Day 2.
To be continued…