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Old 10th November 2015, 05:55   #1
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Default Nelong Valley, and a bit of beautiful Uttarakhand

We were listening to a man talking animatedly about a recent trip he had done, and this man was really excited when talking. He had visited a new place, and to visit that place had driven around 40 hours non-stop because there was a deadline to meet, and he said the trip was totally worth it. Now the proverbial "keeda" got us as well and asked if we could make such a trip and the necessary phone calls were made and further planning was left for the next couple of days.

The man was ADC (Anirban), the place (Nelong Valley, in Uttarakhand) and phone calls were made to Tilakji (Where Eagles Dare). In the next couple of days, everything was setup to visit Nelong in October (Durga Puja break).

The participants will be Rup (rupchatterjee), his wife, myself (novice_alto), my wife and our son (9 years). The preferred ride Rup's Fiat Punto Multijet...

And so the trip started on 16th October 2015:

Punto had been checked and prepped for the drive and it performed impeccably despite quite a torture.

October 16th: We started from Kolkata at around 8:30 in the evening with the target of reaching as close to Delhi as possible by next evening.

By around 10 o'clock, we were at Dankuni toll plaza (on the highway). Apart from a few rough patches here and there, the Kolkata-Delhi NH2 is in overall good shape. Though compared to last time I was on it, the congestion has increased manifold, but that is to be expected. We crossed Varanasi around 12 in the afternoon, Kanpur by sunset and decided to stay for the night at Shikohabad, a little short of Agra for the night and again ADC suggested a beautiful place to stay. Inexpensive, near the highway and very neat and clean.

October 18: This was a day where we were supposed to reach Uttarkashi by evening and so were supposed to start very early in the morning, which of course never happened. After having a lazy breakfast, we finally hit the Yamuna Expressway around 12 in the afternoon and further wasted some time negotiating Noida traffic. By the time we hit Haridwar it was 7 p.m. already and we were a good 7 hours away from Uttarkashi. Tilakji suggested we stay for the night somewhere and resume our journey the next morning, but among ourselves we decided to push on, so that we are able to start our real journey from the next day. So, we pushed on and reached Uttarkashi around 1:30 in the morning. The roads were a mix of good and bad. Tilakji had arranged a very nice hotel for us and we crashed for what was left of the night.

October 19: We got to meet the man at last, had our breakfast and went into town for a quick visit to Kashi Vishwanat Temple at Uttarkashi. After which, we started for Gangotri. On the way, the first stop was Gangnani (a hot water spring), then we stopped at a place called Harshil where they have a Tibetan village. These villagers were uprooted from somewhere in Nelong Valley and settled here. It was really nice to see how they have preserved a bit of Tibet here. The houses, the chortens, the lifestyle everything. We spent quite a while around this place and finally reached our hotel in Gangotri after sundown. We had quite a feast for our eyes in the parking lot. A Toyota Landcruiser totally modified into a camper with rooftop tents et al and a Mitsubishi Delica, both Australian cars, traveling the world. After ogling at these cars for a good bit, parked ourselves and got to the hotel and were done for the day. Tomorrow IS the reason we are here.

Nelong Valley, and a bit of beautiful Uttarakhand-img_2797.jpg
Punto and the occupants..

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View from the hotel in Uttarkashi.

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Roads snaking along the river towards Harshil..

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Enchanting roads..

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Punto taking a break...

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The Tibetan village Bagori...

October 20: Got up, freshened up and all of us went for a quick dekko of the Gangotri Temple and nearby attractions and then started for Nelong.

Nelong Valley, and a bit of beautiful Uttarakhand-img_2907.jpg
The Gangotri temple...

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The Ganga in all its glory...

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Another view of Ganga.

After 8 or 9 kilometers there is a place named Bhaironghati and from there this road goes towards Nelong. The required permits etc. had been obtained earlier by Tilakji and he was with us in his Bolero camper (The Support Vehicle). My photographer friend and my son had ditched me and the Punto for the Bolero, one looking for good photographs from the Bolero deck and the other (my son) wanted to ride a jeep. These two left the Punto right from Uttarkashi and got back to Punto only when back to Uttarkashi.

This road is rough. Well, it is not a road actually. It is work in progress with stones all over the place and a rock mound in the middle of the road. SUV territory totally. We were told, we were first to try a hatchback on this road. Whatever the road, the vistas are totally worth the trouble. I cannot recall such a sudden transformation on just a turn. Till Bhaironghati, it is all green and you turn to this road, the scenery changes to barren landscapes, rocks and a blue river quite a distance below. I was told it was around 23 kms. The Bolero of course was not even thinking about the road and going along merrily. I, on the other hand, was having to drive pretty slowly and carefully lest I break something. There were water crossings and big rocks on the road and what not. Must say Punto took all this in its stride. I was slowly getting worried that I will have to drive back all this distance and that will be quite a task, because it was pure off-roading for the hatchback. So, decided to park the car at the first available space and hitch a ride on the Bolero for the remaining 7-8 kms. In hindsight, that was a good decision because at least a couple of places farther to that were pretty difficult and Punto would not have crossed without some considerable damage to the underbelly.

Nelong Valley, and a bit of beautiful Uttarakhand-img_2933.jpg
The ride begins...

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The scenes here are markedly different than the rest of the state..

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Surreal....

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The whole team minus one who is behind the camera...

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Punto The warrior

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Photographs do not do justice to either the beauty or the difficulty of the terrain...

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One of many stops for pictures or sometimes just to soak in the scenery..

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One of the few water crossings...

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Another view...


Reached the place, the check post till which civilians are allowed. Beyond that only Defence personnel go and we were told there is around 40 or so more Kms of roads ahead till India-China border. We were all bowled over by the scenery and spent a good hour or so soaking in the place. The return back till where Punto was parked was easy and thereafter it was slow. We stayed at a place called Dharali for the night.

Nelong Valley, and a bit of beautiful Uttarakhand-img_3000.jpg
The road ends for civilians here..

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Triumphant Junior...


October 21: This day, we started very lazily, had a breakfast that included eggs after a long while. Uttarakhand being Devbhumi, most eateries are vegetarian and so we quite enjoyed the breakfast. Then went for a look-around of the place. Visited apple orchards and bought some for folks back home, fresh ones right off the orchard. Today the plan was simply reach Uttarkashi and our trip ends. We took our own sweet time and drove sedately enjoying the scenery.

Nelong Valley, and a bit of beautiful Uttarakhand-img_3008.jpg
That made us hungry...

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Views from Dharali...

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Applelust

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Back in Uttarkashi..

October 22: We had kept an extra day in our plan and decided to spend it here in Uttarkashi just relaxing. The ladies decided to do some shopping and they were promptly dropped near the market. Nothing much accomplished this day other than sleeping, eating and TV. Tomorrow we start back.

October 23: We were on the road early around 7:30 today (early by our standards of course). There was a slight change in route plan. We had come to Uttarkashi via Haridwar and Chamba. But on a very good suggestion, decided to take Uttarkashi, Tehri-Mussorie road, Dehradoon, Saharanpur, Meerut route to Noida where we were to take night halt. This route was another revelation. The Tehri-Mussorie road is just awesome, such nice views. We are really happy we took this suggestion from Uppi-ji.

Nelong Valley, and a bit of beautiful Uttarakhand-img_3068.jpg
A quaint little village on the Tehri-Mussorie Road.

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Amazing views.

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More views..

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This road was just amazing..

Nelong Valley, and a bit of beautiful Uttarakhand-img_3059.jpg
Shall have to visit once more for this stretch.

October 24: Nothing much, started for Kolkata at around 10:30 in the morning and reached home the next day October 25 around 4 o'clock in the afternoon.

Note to Rup: Please add your pictures. Readers need to see the beauty of this place. My point and shoot pictures do not really do justice. Good quality pics a must.

Thanks for reading.

Last edited by novice_alto : 10th November 2015 at 13:26. Reason: Deleted unnecessary sentence.
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Old 10th November 2015, 12:04   #2
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Default re: Nelong Valley, and a bit of beautiful Uttarakhand

Talk about uncharted territory. I am from this State, and the terrain brings a smile to my face.
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Old 12th November 2015, 07:49   #3
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Default re: Nelong Valley, and a bit of beautiful Uttarakhand

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Travelogues Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 12th November 2015, 10:49   #4
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Default re: Nelong Valley, and a bit of beautiful Uttarakhand

Quote:
Originally Posted by novice_alto View Post
Readers need to see the beauty of this place. My point and shoot pictures do not really do justice.
Awesome travelogue! I have a plan to visit Uttarakhand soon, and your above statement is very inviting. Can you further share more details on the stay, cost etc. It would be very helpful!
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Old 12th November 2015, 11:45   #5
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Default re: Nelong Valley, and a bit of beautiful Uttarakhand

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Originally Posted by LoneRidder View Post
Awesome travelogue! I have a plan to visit Uttarakhand soon, and your above statement is very inviting. Can you further share more details on the stay, cost etc. It would be very helpful!
Accomodation cost is around 1k per night at most places. Food is also inexpensive in Uttarakhand. Though in Yatra season, it would be a totally different story. Yatra season is May to July. Any other cost you want to know, will be happy to share.
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Old 12th November 2015, 13:35   #6
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Default re: Nelong Valley, and a bit of beautiful Uttarakhand

Thanks Jawed for sharing this. I salute him as he has definitely taken the difficult task of writing the travelogue and I will try to represent by image. I will start from October 18, the day we are supposed to leave very early and we completed our breakfast in Jai Krishna Dhaba just before hitting Yamuna expressway at 12:30 pm.

Nelong Valley, and a bit of beautiful Uttarakhand-dsc_1299_upload_fcbk.jpg

We reached pretty late around 1:30 am at Uttarkashi and had no energy to click pictures. Just shifted our head up infront of our hotel and we are greeted with pillowed sky.

Nelong Valley, and a bit of beautiful Uttarakhand-dsc_1301_upload_fcbk.jpg

Jawed confused between which mule to choose Finally he choose Punto
Nelong Valley, and a bit of beautiful Uttarakhand-dsc_1303_upload_fcbk.jpg

Jawed really dejected that he has not taken his RE 500 CC here.

Nelong Valley, and a bit of beautiful Uttarakhand-dsc_1305_upload_fcbk.jpg

Met this beautiful Mountain Lizard on Helgu Gaad during one of our enormous tea break without which Tilak Ji alway complaint of a headache(which he never had) and I got a beautiful excuse for a smoke.

Nelong Valley, and a bit of beautiful Uttarakhand-dsc_1307_upload_fcbk.jpg

Sulfer and colored formation on a hotwater spring in Gangnani
Nelong Valley, and a bit of beautiful Uttarakhand-dsc_1312_upload_fcbk.jpg

Little Amaan could not muster courage to get into water and Uppi Sajwan (Where Eagles Dare) took no time get into it. Uppi had till end of our trip could not make Amaan to get into water (either piping hot or icing cold).
[Nelong Valley, and a bit of beautiful Uttarakhand-dsc_1313_upload_fcbk.jpg Nelong Valley, and a bit of beautiful Uttarakhand-dsc_1314_upload_fcbk.jpg

Punto meandering through the curves to reach Bagori

Nelong Valley, and a bit of beautiful Uttarakhand-dsc_1319_upload_fcbk.jpg

Sky & Snow capped peaks welcome us before Bagori.

Nelong Valley, and a bit of beautiful Uttarakhand-dsc_1321_upload_fcbk.jpg

Bagori:
http://www.census2011.co.in/data/vil...tarakhand.html
Post 1962 Jadhang village in Nelang was emptied and their inhabitants the Jadh tribe was relocated to Bagori and Dunda. Jadh tribe used to trade using traditional routes with Tibet through Nelang Valley. We will see remnants of their routes next day in Nelang.

Those original inhabitants taken their life back and recreated a Jadh atmosphere in Bagori, from their traditional style of creating house without any nails or weight bearing columns to traditional foods and customs.

Most of it is now vanishing but there are still some spec of history left. Houses made using no columns but wood and stone strategically placed one upon other.

Nelong Valley, and a bit of beautiful Uttarakhand-dsc_1345_upload_fcbk.jpg

Beautiful Inscription

Nelong Valley, and a bit of beautiful Uttarakhand-dsc_1343_upload_fcbk.jpg

Monastery

Nelong Valley, and a bit of beautiful Uttarakhand-dsc_1339_upload_fcbk.jpg

Prayer Stones

Nelong Valley, and a bit of beautiful Uttarakhand-dsc_1337_upload_fcbk.jpg

A Jaad Grandmother with her Grand Daughter Geetika

Nelong Valley, and a bit of beautiful Uttarakhand-dsc_1342_upload_fcbk.jpg

Lal Madir (A local Deity)

Nelong Valley, and a bit of beautiful Uttarakhand-dsc_1336_upload_fcbk.jpg

Tilak Soni & Uppi Sajwan of Where Eagles Dare who made this possible

Nelong Valley, and a bit of beautiful Uttarakhand-dsc_1325_upload_fcbk.jpg

I am sure most of you have got bored with so many pictures. Will resume after the break .. it will be slightly long though.

Last edited by Rup_Chatterjee : 12th November 2015 at 13:38.
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Old 12th November 2015, 23:00   #7
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Default re: Nelong Valley, and a bit of beautiful Uttarakhand

Cool. We are seeing UK being explored and new territories being opened. Nelong is the still uncharted territory even though its practically next door to the busy tourist circuit. Kudos to you for driving all the way from Kolkatta to this quaint little road in the middle of no where. Amazing pictures especially the lizard. Well done.
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Old 13th November 2015, 01:17   #8
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Default re: Nelong Valley, and a bit of beautiful Uttarakhand

Simply superb travelogue.
I have done Dehradun- Gangotri route twice in the last 10 years in my Santro and its quite challenging for a hatchback.

I have fond memories of the picturesque and at the same time treacherous route.
On both occasions I have stayed at Army Guest house in Harsil (courtesy my younger brother).

I am well pleased to know that the area is now being explored and shall generate revenue for the locals.

Did you know fact : The deity from Gangotri is shifted to Harsil during the winter months when the temple is closed.
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Old 13th November 2015, 18:25   #9
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Default Re: Nelong Valley, and a bit of beautiful Uttarakhand

Killer images and a great write-up! This image in particular made by jaw drop. Truly, photographs (as good as they may be) cannot do justice to the scale, beauty or challenge of these landscapes. When I look at some of the images, it's hard to believe that this is India and how much we miss out on when holed up in the city. You've given your son a memory for life!

Any chance you got some pictures of the Landcruiser and Delica? Would have been awesome to see them in action, especially watching how the Delica dealt with that terrain.

Last edited by Tushar : 13th November 2015 at 18:28.
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Old 14th November 2015, 01:19   #10
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Default Re: Nelong Valley, and a bit of beautiful Uttarakhand

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Simply superb travelogue.

Did you know fact : The deity from Gangotri is shifted to Harsil during the winter months when the temple is closed.
This happened just a couple of days ago. The Gangotri temple was locked up and the deity shifted.

Quote:
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Any chance you got some pictures of the Landcruiser and Delica? Would have been awesome to see them in action, especially watching how the Delica dealt with that terrain.
Could not take any pictures, it was dark when we met these guys. I am sure the Delica would have dismissed the terrain like it was cakewallk. Though interestingly, when we chatted up with them, they told they are getting extremely stressed driving in India and are doing only around 200 kms a day. They had entered India via Pakistan and had taken their own sweet time in reaching Gangotri.
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Old 14th November 2015, 06:27   #11
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Everytime I see such wonderful travelogues to this part of the country I keep wondering mera number kab aayegaa.

Very nice pics and writeup. I agree to your point few things are best seen with one's own eyes and amazing pics like these should be used an as motivation to plan and visit these unparalleled beautiful locations.
Thank you very much for sharing the trip details.

Cheers,
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Old 17th November 2015, 19:32   #12
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Default Re: Nelong Valley, and a bit of beautiful Uttarakhand

I am sorry for the delayed but as usual work got precedence. Hopefully due to a season change I got affected by a flu.

Next morning (October 20, 2015) waken up to a beautiful weather got ready for the day - The reason we are here for Nelang Valley.

First we visited holy Gangotri Temple.



We also collected some holy water for our friends and family back home.


Seen the beauty of Ganges from both sides of the river.


Surajkund where holy Ganges come to earth from it's heavenly abode


After having beautiful breakfast we reached Bhairoghati, 8 KM from Gangotri on Gangotri - Uttarkashi road. You have to take right for Nelang.

The scenery changes drastically from the greenery to the utter moonscape.


Punto meandering through the moonscapes


Jaad Ganga with its deep blue water


Jawed with the beauty for a Photoop


Treacherous hanging rocks.


Old Wooded bridge use to be used the indigenous inhabitants along with their Yaks for trade with Tibet.



Meandering moonscapes


Some brave soldiers laid their life in 1994 to a avalanche while collecting water. They are still offered with bottles of water.


Reached Nelang after 23 KMs. Civilians are allowed till this point, though road goes for another 40 km. Wifey readyy for pose.


The Gang


Uppi Sajwan's (Where Eagles Dare) favorite pose.


This video was shot while we are going to Nelang. I shot it from the back of support vehicle.


Nature's Paint.





Last edited by Rup_Chatterjee : 17th November 2015 at 19:33.
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Old 17th November 2015, 19:55   #13
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Default Re: Nelong Valley, and a bit of beautiful Uttarakhand

Rup, The pics seems to have not uploaded.
Please upload them again
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Old 17th November 2015, 20:37   #14
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Sorry Laluks, 30 Mins have passed hence could not edit them, asked administrators either to give edit right or to delete the post. I will write a fresh post then.
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Old 18th November 2015, 10:51   #15
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Default Re: Nelong Valley, and a bit of beautiful Uttarakhand

great travelogue. The mountains have always been mystic and awe inspiring (compared to the sea shore) to me .
Thanks Rup and novice_alto for sharing this.
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