Sunday, May 17, 2009

Kauri Pass Trek and Rishikesh trip

We went on a 6 days Kauri Pass trek from 24-30th of April followed by few days spent in Rishikesh, Haridwar and Delhi.

From Kauri Pass trek


From Kauri Pass trek


From Kauri Pass trek


Kauri Pass Trek:
It was my first overnight trekking experience, the lack to time to figure out the details of what to expect there made it even more interesting. I started from Hyderabad, took a flight to Delhi and an overnight train to Haridwar. All of us were to meet at Har-ki-pauri but instead we met at the Train station itself at around 7:30 AM and took a bus to Nanda-Prayag right away.

From Kauri Pass trek


The bus journey wasn't a very good start for the trip as most people felt uneasy due to the motion sickeness of that rough drive on the winding roads. We arrive at the NandaPrayag by 4 PM, here we dropped of some of the extra luggage at the "Siddhart Lodge", taking one room for 6 days for 400 Rs. We continued to Ghat by a couple of Jeeps. We arrived there by 6:00 PM or so.

From Kauri Pass trek


From Kauri Pass trek


Now the surpises started for those of us trekking for the first time. I soon realized that it was not like those organized camping sites I saw at few national parks in the US. It was plain jungle with 4 tents belonging to us, no maps, no toiletts, nothing :). I haven't really stayed overnight in a national park either so no idea if the experience is any different.

From Kauri Pass trek


Soon there after we got our welcome drinks and then spent some time refreshing up on the fresh/running water stream. The day ended quickly after a good dinner and a tea. There isn't much to do in such an environment and all of us were tired too.

From Kauri Pass trek


The next few stays were pretty much spend in a constant manner, we walked for somewhere between 7-16 KMs per day mostly stopping near a village so we can like the villagers make use of the water stream nearby. I will try to add the itinerary here.
One thing that astonished me when visiting these villages was that almost every kid in the village went to school. One village of about 300 family actually had 2 different schools. Also unexpected thing at a village named Guni was how a single person named Mr Negi owned almost everything there, lots of farms, the only Telephone booth, a big lodge, a shop and being a school teacher earning 18 K per month. Somewhere later the potters told us how most ppl in the village were actually much more rich than someone would expect. For e.g many villagers would own up to 100 goats each costing 300o -4000 Rs. Some of them actually owned 300-400 goats, can you believe that ?

From Kauri Pass trek


From Kauri Pass trek


From Kauri Pass trek



From Kauri Pass trek


From Kauri Pass trek


From Kauri Pass trek


From Kauri Pass trek


After we finished trek at Auli we stopped over for a night at Jyotimath, the food at the Badri Kedar restaurant was a great treat to the mouth and the stomach. The next day we rented a car to Rishikesh. Yes renting for oneway wasn't that bad a idea it costed us around 500 per head. They charge 300 per seat and take 10 ppl in a 7 seater, so can pay them 3000 and rent the jeep for yourself.

From Kauri Pass trek


Rishikesh is famous for its Rafting offerings. We were able to get a rafting deal paying them mere 400 Rs per head for a 16-21 KM rafting (there were varying responses when we asked them the distance). The category would be 3+. As there are atleast 2 rapids of that category though there are others of Cat 1+ and Cat 2+ too. The surprise in the package (or atleast I didn't know) was them allowing people to dive in to water from a 20 ft high cliff in the middle of the rafting. We cudn't get to swim as we were pretty late. Do note that you should try to start from Rishikesh by 3 PM to make sure you are available to start rafting by 4 PM (starting point is about 20 KMs away from Rishikesh). We stayed overnight at a dharmsala for mere 400 Rs per room. (yep good dirt cheap accomodation is available in most ashrams, dharmsalas).

There are quite a few temples in Rishikesh. As I took a stride in the city, I did feel it was probably the calmest city I have been too. There isn't much traffic or pollution. All you hear anywhere is the bells or enchanting of prayers from the temples. The Lakshman Jhula and Ram Jhula suspension bridges in the city are also beautiful peace of civil engineering worth a visit. I didn't find the Chotiwala restaurant that people spoke so much about worth the hype.

From Kauri Pass trek


The next day we stopped over at Haridwar. The most famous spot here is the Hari Ki Pauri and the maha aarti 6:30-7:00 PM seems to be a event you can't miss. Well I didn't find it that great. The whole thing lasted for mere 10 minutes but the wait was more than 45 minutes. The donation collection at the spot reminded me of the emotional blackmailing technique used in the insurance ads. That guy would keep pursauding ppl to donate saying that since they have come all the way so they must spend money otherwise they will repent later :D