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Old 28th May 2016, 19:59   #1
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Post Malari Tales: Footloose in the Garhwal Himalayas

// This travelogue was written by me last year around April 1, i.e. year 2015. 'Prophet' is no more with me after being stolen on August 2015 since when I had been riding the Royal Enfield Thunderbird. Also, I had misplaced the high res versions of the edited pictures. So please excuse me inserting the low res edited pictures from my Facebook account. Readers, please read the below narrative in the perspective of the previous year.


Before advancing with my tale, a little bit about myself. I am a young lawyer hailing from the capital city of Delhi. The biking bug had bitten me in my school days, after reading the first travelogue in BCMTouring.com. But having a strict dad meant that I was kept away from the joys of riding a bike till my college days. Back in 2012, I bought my first bike – a 2012 black TVS Apache 180, whom I christened ‘Prophet’ (as I consider him a harbinger of good news for me). Till date (April 2015), I have ridden about 60,000 kms with Prophet on rides ranging from Spiti, Lansdowne-Tarakeshwar, Jaipur-Pushkar, Chamba-Sach Pass, Chopta-Tungnath, Delhi-Assam, Changlang (Arunachal), Triund trek, Badrinath-Mana, Kedarnath trek, and the like. I love my nickname “Sufi Traveler” (which my online friends would be familiar to) and prefer riding solo. Solo riding has given me everything: from handling all problems by myself to relishing a challenge after conquering it; the flexibility of altering the itinerary to making up for lost time, riding hard without anything to fret about, all fits in perfectly while riding solo.


It had nearly been a year since my last trip which was the Chamba-Sach Pass trip back in August 2014 and the mind was reeling with stagnation and pent up frustration for the next big ride. The April big weekend was approaching; April 2nd being Mahavir Jayanti followed by Good Friday, and subsequently the weekend. So it was a minimum 4 day getaway. I knew it would be Uttarakhand – as I had begun loving the unexplored Uttarakhand more than the commercialised Himachal. But where exactly in UK was the million dollar question? Lansdowne was done, likewise for Chopta. Badrinath-Mana was done just before Sach Pass trip. Munsyari region I had not explored much, but I was looking for something more challenging. Valley of Flowers and Hemkund Sahib trek interested me, but VoF was out of season and Hemkund was buried knee deep in snow. Somebody suggested the Dodital trek in the HVK Forum, I mentally bookmarked it. And then Ankit Verma from Dehradun Motorheads posted some pics from his Malari ride...........and I was mesmerized by the pics!! The snow capped peaks of the Nanda Devi biosphere had me spellbound. The landscape looked serene, without a single soul in sight. The tough roads and the seeming proximity of Malari to the Indo-Tibet border instilled that sense of challenge which I had been longing for.

Malari and the higher region of Niti Pass had always mystified me, chiefly because of lack of knowledge in circulation about it. While gazing at the local map of Uttarakhand in my previous trips to Chopta and Badrinath/ Mana, I had always gazed at the marking of a road leading higher away from Joshimath (adjacent to the Joshimath-Badrinath road), marked as “To Malari”. No more information was available nor provided. I researched online, not much information was available other than a Wiki article and an old t-log in the Uttaranchal govt. website which though well-written didn’t divulge much logistical information. I came to know that an inner line permit (ILP) was required from SDM Joshimath to travel upto Niti village which was at a distance of about 12 kms from Malari; the later din’t require a permit. I didn’t fret much about the permit as Mr. Nautiyal, the standing SDM of Joshimath was familiar and was a very approachable person. Locals informed me that permit beyond Malari upto Niti shouldn’t be that big an issue, depending upon conditions. So, that was that and this was how Malari was zeroed upon as my getaway for the big April weekend.

April 1:

The day passed by in a haze, and I skipped Court early to prepare for the trip. The plan was to leave that night from Delhi, arrive at Haridwar by 4 in the morning, have a dip in the Ganges and an hour of sleep before the final push for Joshimath. Prophet was gleaming after being duly serviced, the side basket consisting of all the tubes and spares was fastened with L-clamps, bags were packed with warm clothes and dinner for the first day including roasted grams (a diet I stick to in all my trips), Glucon-D, chocolates, biscuits, namkeens (salty snacks) along with a few packs of real fruit juice and water. The first aid box was re-packed as it was a long time after which I was resuming touring and all toiletry stuff were checked. The laptop and camera bag went in along with my trip diary for maintaining all the expense entries and trip logs. Finally, everything was ready but I was getting late. From my scheduled departure of 9:30pm, it was already 10 and I had only 1 hour of sleep instead of the 3 hour long siesta that I had initially planned on before embarking upon the night-ride. Had an ultra-light meal to avoid feeling sleepy, checked my rucksack, tied 3 covered blankets with bungee to the back-seat, secured the walking stick to the side of the bike, synced my playlist, plugged in the earphones, popped in a chewing gum and bade goodbye to my family and left Indirapuram exactly at 11:30PM.

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Day 1:

Crossing the Modinagar-Muradnagar stretch cannot be termed as uneventful any day, and particularly at night, it has the power of either making or breaking your trip. Other than a few erratic drivers & the perpetual potholes, nothing out of the ordinary occured. On crossing a particularly large pothole, I sensed a bungee snap somewhere & gradually stopped the bike to inspect the problem. Yes, a bungee securing the blankets on the backseat had snapped due to its long use it was immediately replaced with a spare nylo-fibre rope. The new nylo-fibre rope served its purpose so well that until I was back to Delhi, the back-pack didn’t budge from its fixed position. Mental note: avoid use of old bungee cords as they wear out on use.

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At about 1:30 in the night, it started raining intermittently and I felt as if Haridwar was jinxed for me. Every time I am about to arrive at Haridwar, it starts to rain just before reaching Haridwar. But again, nothing serious happened that was worthy of taking note of. Taking short breaks onway, I reached Haridwar at 4:30 in the morning. I especially feel care-free during these solo trips, since there was no one to worry about and no tantrums to hear when the going gets a bit tough. The philosophy was to remain positive and enjoy the ride to the maximum.

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It was pitch dark still, but people coming from all over India were starting to mobilise to perform the surya-pranaam after the morning bath in the Ganges. I entered Har ki Pauri from the last entry gate and after parking the bike in the central parking in front of the dhabas, took a short nap at one of the dhabas. I was awakened by the then-familiar owner at 6am for morning tea. I told him to prepare tea and warm samosas,
had a quick dip in the Ganges, clicked a few pics and started packing the bike.

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A Sadhu gazing at me curiously while clicking photos.

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Yours truly


The weather wasn’t boding well for the onwards trip as it was cloudy all over and the dhaba boy confirmed that the previous night rains were the first of this season. Not wanting to risk it any further, I beat a hasty retreat from Haridwar at 6:30am.

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The roads seemed as though they would lead straight to heaven

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Started riding towards Rishikesh which was about 15 kms. from Haridwar. Crossed the Tirupati Balaji Mandir while exiting Haridwar. It was a serene environment for riding; the weather was cloudy, the mountainous roads were just starting and yours truly was fully rested for the ride ahead. Could hardly contain the excitement while clicking the pictures.

Maybe the riding Gods were in a good mood, and the weather began to lift. First view of the town of Rishikesh:

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The feeling of freedom of riding all alone on those freshly turmaced roads is indescribable in words. Solitude, be blessed !!

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Of course, these hairy little fellows were there to give give me company throughout the route of Rishikesh & Shivpuri & Byasi. They din’t seem to mind me taking a few snaps of them; maybe a common occurrence for them with tourists.

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Finally, I reached the Shivpuri bridge overlooking the camping site at 8:05am, the odometer reading 280 kms. (Haridwar - 241 kms, Rishikesh - 258 kms.)

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And occasionally, I would catch Prophet gazing at the landscape before him in proud silence as if challenging it

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And we call it the marine drive of Rishikesh.

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The higher you ride up, the better the view gets....crossed Byasi at 8:35 am (303kms). This rockface mountain road welcomes you into the Devprayag area perimeter.

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The mountains were lighting up with the fresh morning fog and light. “Musaafir” was playing on the headphones and I couldn’t help murmuring a few lyrics:

Ek Raah Ruk Gayi To Aur Jud Gayi
Main Muda To Saath Saath Raah Mud Gayi
Hawa Ke Paron Par Mera Aashiyaana
Musafir Hoon Yaaron Na Ghar Hai Na Thikaana
Mujhe Chalte Jaana Hai Bas Chalte Jaana……​

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Vistas we could only dream of in our chaotic city lives.

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The clouds ambled past, whispering beautiful lines in my ears and mind.

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The Shiv statue just 5 kms. before reaching Devprayag; time: 9:30am. Bowed my head in reverence, seeking blessings for the venture ahead and resumed riding.

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The picturesque hamlet of Devprayag with the River Alaknanda flowing through to meet the River Bhagirathi and confluence into the Ganges.

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Meanwhile, I was feeling drowsy and thought it best to take a short nap. Just after crossing Kirtinagar, I halted at this deserted shanty and spreading my mattress on the concrete floor, took rest till 1:30pm whereby after having some refreshment, I resumed riding.

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Crossed Srinagar, the erstwhile capital of the Garhwal kingdom at 1:45 pm (373 kms). Got an opportunity to capture River Alaknanda in its full beauty and colour.

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The terraced cultivation of Garhwal – scenic, pristine and like a whiff of fresh air.

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There are two kinds of riders: one who fantasize riding on straight roads and other who literally lives to ride on curvy roads. I definitely belonged to the second category. On highways, I barely touch 95 kmph but give me mountain roads whether straight curves like these or full curves like one in the next pic, and I touch north of 60kmph constantly.

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After riding continuously from 1:30 pm, I crossed Srinagar at 1:45 pm (373 kms), Narkota at 2:25pm (402kms), Rudraprayag at 2:45 pm (410 kms) and Gaucher at 3:45 pm (433 kms.). As usual, the entry and exit points of Gaucher were in shambles and the sand pits were everywhere. It was either sandy in dry season or slushy in rainy season but the administration never cared to take care of the slip points at Gaucher entry-exit. Karnprayag, at a further distance of 10 kms was reached by 4pm and Nandprayag by 4:35 pm (465 kms).

I was beginning to get apprehensive of the rains so once I reached Chamoli at 5pm (476 kms.), I immediately bought a pair of barsatis which were nothing but light polythene raincoats that covers you safely if you get caught in rains on the mountains. Anyways, I reached Pipalkoti by 5:20 pm(492kms) and the old peepal tree stood in its same place as if welcoming me to Joshimath.

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Got the first view of the snow capped peaks after crossing Helang at 5:40 pm (500 kms) and I was filled with excitement. I have this child-like fantasy of gazing at snow bound peaks which always had egged me on to ride to high mountain areas; I guess my heart belongs up in those mountains.

Though I never endeavoured climbing snow covered peaks, riding long distances to watch them in serenity gave me everything I desired. A sense of adventure coupled with a feeling of amazement on viewing mother nature’s breathtaking creations is something that engulfs ones mind when one is in the proximity of peaks, especially the snow covered ones

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Joshimath Nagar Palika gate welcoming you to Joshimath, just before Jogi falls.

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It was getting darker by the minute and it was 6:15pm by the time I reached Jogi falls, which is situated at the very entry of Joshimath, just before the detour towards Auli which is further 16 kms. away from Joshimath. Some fellow travelers from Delhi were enjoying the pleasant evening, beneath the falls.
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Old 28th May 2016, 20:02   #2
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Post re: Malari Tales: Footloose in the Garhwal Himalayas

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The snow covered peaks were appearing nearer and nearer and I seemed to forget all the exhaustion of riding throughout the day. The only goal was to reach as much closer to those peaks as possible.

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Imagine living in that small cottage, hanging by the mountain side.....awakening every morning to that amazing view of those snow capped peaks right outside your window. I would happily give away anything I have to be living up there, in the midst of those mountains, in that cosy cottage.........in the laps of mother nature.

Nevertheless, after an intense day of tough riding, I reached Joshimath by 6:30 pm. Whenever, I am in Joshimath, I stay at Hotel Neelkanth. Not only I get a single cosy room for 150/- bucks at Neelkanth but I also enjoy the company of Umed - the interim-manager cum hotel-boy of Neelkanth. He is a lively lad belonging to the village of Gamshali and about to give his board exams, but when he gets time he comes to Joshimath and works in the hotel to earn some extra money to support his family. Life in the mountains isn’t exactly easy for needy people like them but their nature sets them apart. I had struck up a friendship with Umed on my previous trip to Joshimath when I visited Badrinath and trekked the nearby Mana village with him for company. He had only one wish then - to ride my bike

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Me, along with Umed back in June 2014, in my maiden trip to Badrinath.

Unfortunately this time around, Hotel Neelkanth was closed and neither the owner Chandramohan ji nor Umed was in sight. The owner of a nearby hotel - New Kamal, Mr. Ravinder ji met me and offered me night stay at his hotel. On inquiry about accommodation charges, I was informed that it shall cost Rs. 200/- per night. The rooms were clean with attached bathroom in well maintained condition along with television and warm blankets in the rooms, so I didn’t mind paying the 200 bucks and settled in my room for the night after completing all the entry formalities. The plan was to go to sleep by 10 pm till 7 in the morning and leave by 8 for Malari and back to Joshimath by evening.

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A narrow view of my room for the night.


Petrol: Rs.900/- (14.8 L)
First-aid Kit: Rs.150/-
Barsati: Rs.80/- x 2
Room charges: Rs.200/-

-------------------- END OF DAY 1 --------------------
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Old 30th May 2016, 21:18   #3
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Post re: Malari Tales: Footloose in the Garhwal Himalayas

DAY 2:

Sleepy me couldn’t wake up at 6am as planned; by the time I fully woke up, it was well past 7. It was not for nothing that I couldn’t wake up; the weather was chilly and on sauntering lazily into the balcony, I was greeted by this stunning sight.

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It was raining outside and the whole town of Joshimath was covered by clouds. The cloud and fog could be seen obscuring the peaks near us. Another view from the rooftop of my hotel:

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It was 8 in the morning and the constant rain had demolished my plans of an early departure from Joshimath for Malari. I went inside to reconsider my plans. Soon it was 11 am and again did a quick study of the weather outside. The rain had become a drizzle and thereby, the view outside had become more breathtaking with the clouds clearing. The winding road towards Badrinath was clearly visible, but my plan was to take just the opposite road for this trip

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The sleepy little town of Joshimath.

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A view of the town from the hotel front balcony – Hotel New Kamal.

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This is the peak that one can see adjacent to Joshimath – the local name of the peak is Kag Bhusandi. I was informed that the locals climb all these nearby mountain peaks without any equipments, in search of medicinal herbs (read 'keedajadi') that can be found in the upper regions of the mountain.

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Different views of the Kag Bhusandi peak as seen from my hotel balcony.

Posted a few pics online and updated the weather condition of Joshimath for the crowd back in Delhi. Having nothing worthwhile to do, I decided to hit the bed after a light breakfast. Don’t know what exactly woke me up suddenly……maybe it was the light streaming through the window into the room. On checking the clock, discovered that it was already 2 pm. Could sense from the inside itself that it was sunny outside. On venturing out, I perceived that there was no hint of rain and the sun was shining as though it had been a clear day since morning. I was overjoyed Immediately a plan propped into my mind; if I depart now for Malari which is at a distance of about 65 kms from Joshimath, I had a very good chance of reaching before darkness falls. Taking into consideration the rainy condition, if I ride at the slowest of speed, I could still reach Malari in three hours, i.e. by 5 - 5:30pm which shall be well before dark. I could take a conscious decision to stay the night there or come back to Joshimath the same evening depending upon the road condition.

With this plan in mind, I assembled a few essential supplies. Decided to leave the rucksack behind as I won’t be requiring all the things in it; so no use lugging dead weight. Placed a bottle of water inside my jacket, followed by a small bag containing the real juice packs, biscuits, roasted grams, snacks and a pack of glucose. The walking stick and blankets were already on the bike so bidding goodbye to Ravinder ji, I sat out for Malari by 2:15 pm. Ravinder ji warned me that roads near Saraithota was closed due to a fatal accident involving some labourers happening 3 days ago. I assured him that I would inquire from the taxi drivers going towards Malari about the road ahead and proceed accordingly.

The taxi stand had only a few drivers as the weather was clearing. They informed me that the road ahead was moderately good. I immediately took the high road leading away from the Joshimath taxi stand. The road was in good condition, only bit slippery at places due to recent rains. No issues as long as they weren’t completely blocked. 3G connectivity was lost henceforward but the view emboldened me to advance further.

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My state of mind was completely the opposite of what was in the morning when I had woke up. The rain had set the mood off and I had resigned to lethargically spent the day at the hotel room of Joshimath. But the colorful vista that had sprung up on me now had catapulted my spirits to the highest realm. Definitely, it was no time for slow music……it was time to savor the beautiful scenery with some fast paced alternative rock music tracks.

I came across the first village settlement enroute - Tapovan. Don’t know exactly how many ‘Tapovans’ were there in Uttarakhand but I had already come across four- first one at Rishikesh, second in the Gangotri region, third near the Vishnuprayag Power Plant and the fourth was this. ‘Tapovan’ was clearly the most common place name in Uttarakhand just like ‘Ramnagar’ was for the whole of India.

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The view of the winding road passing through Tapovan was enough to make a traveler or rider go crazy.

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And I enter Tapovan.

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My goal was only 48 kms. away, enough to set a new adrenaline rush into motion. The village of Niti is about 12-15kms forward of Malari; so the ‘Niti’ indicated in the signboard should be the Niti Pass as it was 22 kms further from Malari.

According to my information, civilians with permit is allowed only upto the Niti village. The Pass was out of bounds even if you possess an ILP from SDM Joshimath. The geographical representation of the village Sumna was a contradictory one. Though the locals & authorities maintain that Sumna is the last village on the Indian side (out of bounds for civilians, only forward post of Army/ ITBP), Google map had shown Sumna across the border.

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This is the exit of Tapovan, leading to Saraithota. As evident from the pictures, this was the worst stretch on the entire ‘motorable’ road whereby in some stretches, the bike simply refused to budge due to the puddle slush from the recent rains coupled with the sharp incline.

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More such roads…

However, some of the worst stretches could not be captured on camera as I was busy pulling the bike and there was no window of opportunity of operating the camera. Clearly one of the few disadvantages of being a solo rider.

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Ray of light at the end of the dark tunnel The view kept me going!

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It was nearing 4 pm. The radiant sun was on its final round of the day and was taking some time off behind the veil of some very beautifully sculpted clouds. The Dhauli Ganga River flowed by peacefully beneath me.

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And finally I hit ‘Saraithota’ (hindi meaning - beak of a bird) at 3:50 pm, nearly 1.5 hours after departing from Joshimath. Saraithota is at a distance of 16 kms from Tapovan which is at a distance of 18 kms from Joshimath. So, it took me 1.5 hours to negotiate these 35 odd kms.

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The Saraithota bridge.

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And Prophet kept insisting me for a shot

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The ‘A class’ metalled road that starts from Saraithota and ends about 5 kms. prior to reaching the village of Jhellum. The road was so well maintained and curvy yet straight at same time that I was averaging 75 kmph on the stretch and managed to top 92 kmph at some points. To say the least, this stretch was a BREEZE. Hardly 10 minutes to cross this stretch of 20 odd kms. Saraithota bridge photo taken at 4:00 pm and next pic of Jhellum taken at 4:08 pm.

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Distant peaks were much near now. The powdery snow covering the peaks was clearly visible.

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Entry point of village of Jhellum. Didn’t see any inhabitants. All the houses were locked and only a few GREF men were seen in the entry-exit points where road maintenance work was in progress. They eyed me as if I was an alien from outer space. I must actually have been quiet an alien site in my full riding gear to these mountain folks.

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I reach the ‘Dronagiri Parvat’ view point. It has a special mention in the Ramayana. When Laxmana was struck by a highly poisonous arrow of Inderjeet - son of Ravana, Rama sent Hanuman - his most trusted lieutenant on an errand of fetching sanjeevani (a medicinal herb that has the power of granting life to a person in fatal condition) from the Dronagiri mountain. Now Hanuman, as it would be, was unable to locate the small herb on the peak. So what does the king of monkeys do in the absence of modern telecommunication devices like cell phones nowadays? He uproots the entire peak and carries it across the ocean to Rama in Lanka so that his Lord could find the much-needed medicine by himself This is the folk lore behind the Dronagiri Parvat and the tale behind the lines written on that board.

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Had heard about the ‘Valley of Flowers’ but was the first time, I hear about ‘Valley of Perfume’.

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Small but high mountainous springs ensured that there was no lack of photography subjects.

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The mountains were fast changing texture as I rode on.

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Old 30th May 2016, 21:39   #4
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Post re: Malari Tales: Footloose in the Garhwal Himalayas

DAY 2 (contd):

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Meanwhile, the sun was bidding adieu. No way, I was going to miss capturing such a breathtakingly memorable moment !!

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The Dhauli Ganga kept flowing by through nooks, crannies, glaciers and silt deposits in the ravine beneath me.

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But alas, the joy was short-lived !! I encounter my first road block of the trip.

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Though small in size, it was big enough to restrain me from riding any further. I was in a fix……what to do at that moment that shall not jeopardize my safety while also ensuring that that the time and resources invested while riding from Joshimath upto this point don’t go in vain. The time was exactly 5 pm and I had ridden about 58 kms. from Joshimath.

The mountains towering above me seemed to be leering at my predicament; maybe they were testing my temperament & challenging me with a few hurdles before revealing the ultimate goal.

I click a few pics and sat for a short while contemplating the situation I found myself in. Took the tough decision of abandoning Prophet at a safe place nearby and start trekking towards Malari as I remembered crossing a milestone about a kilometer back indicating that Malari was just 8 kms. away.

It was 5 o’ clock in the evening. The sun light shall be there till 6:30 - 7pm max. If I started trekking immediately, I had a good chance of making it to Malari by 8 pm which shall mean about an hour of trekking in the dark. I was comfortable with that since I had a torch handy and there weren’t much clouds in the sky forecasting a clear moony night.

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Accordingly, I dislodged my walking stick, packed the refreshments and water bottle inside my jacket and trouser pockets and started trekking at 5:15 pm. I wore the gloves to be on the safer side as they night might get colder due to the gaining altitude and the helmet as it would be more convenient wearing the helmet uphill rather than lugging it; plus god forbid, it shall also afford some protection from falling debris of the mountain-side. For some strange reason, I didn’t want to leave the helmet behind; maybe because a helmet is a lot easier to be stolen by miscreants then a bike, high up in those mountains.

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Just about half a kilometer of trekking, and I was presented with this view. Readers, please fill in the adjectives for this beauty.

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I was finally in the laps of those snow capped mountains I had long dreamt off. I sat there for some 15 odd mins. till 6 pm relishing the scenery before me all alone in the wilderness. Clicked a few pics of the clouds playing hide-and-seek with the peaks. The dying lights of the setting sun provided a picturesque silhouette to the whole frame adding more charm to the white beauty before me.

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I encounter the second roadblock. It was a lot bigger than the first and the large rocks which had cascaded down the mountain side were completely encroaching the road. I had to carefully climb the boulders and slowly negotiate to the clear road lying ahead.

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Looking back at the challenges thrown across my path. Slowly and steadily I was overcoming them all, one at a time.

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First encounter with snow in the form of a melting snow wall.

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A biker’s attempt at building a snowmen. Symbolic, ain’t it?

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Trudging further uphill, I see a bend on the road at a distance. It must mean that I was nearing Malari. But the uphill climb was taking its full toll on me. The gaining altitude and my being out of shape resulted into me frequently grasping for breath like a fish fresh out of water. I was taking breaks every 200 meters of uphill trekking to recover my breath.

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But the mountains were silently encouraging me to keep trekking onwards.

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Frequently, I would take breaks although darkness was fast approaching. There was an abundant presence of snow on the route as it was still early April and the thawing process advances well into the summer months of May-June at times.

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Glancing back at the route I traversed.

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I lie down on a large rock to rest my aching back and this is the view above me...

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It was 6:50 pm already and true to my calculations, darkness had well settled by now. I encounter the third roadblock which was considerably bigger than the second. The size may not appear big in the picture due to the angle and the fact that I myself was standing on a rock while taking the picture. It was so pitch black by then that the camera flash was needed to illuminate the frame.

I reach the final hurdle: a glacial snow block encroaching the road from side to side entirely. I could barely make out the structure under the faint moon light. Taking a photo completely skipped my mind mainly because of the darkness and me pondering on how to cross the icefield. It was not as if the icefield would melt by night, I could surely take a pic while returning the next day.

Negotiating through all that snow was a lot trickier and riskier than crossing the roadblocks mainly because one slips much easily on ice then on rocks since rock surface provides firmer grip. To top it all, there was not much natural light. No point of carrying the torch in one hand as I had to keep one hand free since the other was clutching the walking stick. Finally after having everything stable on me and with a prayer on my lips, I start crawling across the snow wall on all fours - the way a mountaineer climbs a road face sideways. One step at a time….strengthen the grip….balance….a foot forward….repeat….slow and steady, and I was across. Dunno what might have done in case of an emergency situation as not a single soul was in sight.

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Saw a few lights shining at a distance. From their formation, I assumed them to be coming from a military establishment. So the camp should be before Malari as there was no sign of the village between me and those lights. It was a welcome sight for me as it signified that there was no need to trek any further in the dark; I just needed to ask shelter for the night from the Army guys and shall set out for Malari in the morning.

Honestly, it was becoming a little eerie trekking all alone in that darkness on those high mountains. I was yearning for light and company of fellow humans.

I reach the Indian Army camp at exactly 7:15 pm and gave out a warning shout to the sentry posted near the locked enclosure gate. He was immediately upon me with two of his guard dogs inquiring in the same breath – who I was, where I was coming from, where I was going to, what was my purpose, why I was wearing an army camouflage corduroy, why anyone would like to travel to such remote places and high mountains, surely I had some other motives, etc. etc. I was amused and answered each question sincerely; at the end of the day, there is no bigger a convincing power than sincerity.

It took me a good 10 odd mins. to answer all his pertinent questions. I produced my Delhi Voter and Lawyer ID to put across my points. Finally convinced, he left with my IDs asking me to sit by the gate till he was back from inquiring with the Camp Commander about what can be done.

He kept me waiting for a good half an hour and on return, he immediately apologized to me and informed that they will not be able to provide shelter for the night due to ‘security reasons’ and the proximity of the camp to the border. He advised me to trek further for about 1 km. where I can get night shelter at the Malari village or the ITBP camp.

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Took this picture at 8:05 pm in the night with the camera shutter wide open at 2 seconds, ISO speed at 25,600. Needless to say, there was so much light that the distant peak as seen in the picture was shining crystal clear in the night.

Saw a few lights glimmering at the mountain base and assumed them to be coming from the ITBP camp as the village structure was vaguely visible at the right hand side of the frame. The lack of lights from the village was slightly worrying me but considering the fact that the mountain folks sleep early in the evening and it was already 8 pm eased the tension a bit.

The camp seemed to be at some considerable distance away and I was in no mood to trek all that distance in the dead of night, in unknown territory. Given the option, I shall prefer spending the night at the village and thus started briskly trekking downhill towards the village.

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I resumed trekking at 7:45 pm, cursing the Army guys silently for wasting a precious half an hour on an useless errand that could have been done in 10 mins. The half and hour was wasted because it did not serve the main purpose.

But the almighty seemed to be sympathizing with me. Suddenly, the night was filled with moon light as the moon withdrew from behind the veil of the clouds to illuminate the path before me making it crystal clear. The sense of eeriness disappeared in the presence of the moonlight.


I reach the village at 8:15 pm and true to my suspicions, it was deserted!! All the doors were locked and I could gather that the villagers hadn’t yet returned to their village from their winter retreat/ getaway of Joshimath and Chamoli.

The thought of spending a night at a deserted village high up in the mountains was a spine chilling thought but it was a decision I needed to take at that moment. I was in no state of mind to trek any further to the next settlement of the ITBP camp which was at some distance and after the debacle with the Army guys, I wasn’t any more sure of asking for shelter from the uniformed guys guarding our borders. If anything, they seemed to be more fearful than us civilians.

Accordingly, I scouted the village all alone for suitable accommodation for the night. But the principal obstacle in my path was the big iron locks hanging on the doors of every house. Don’t know what exactly they were protecting in so remote a location but going by their size, one can only imagine about the riches they must be guarding so high up in the mountains J I remembered reading somewhere about arctic villages in Greenland where the villagers leave their doors unlocked and the fireplace ready with woods when they leave their villages when it snows in the winter, so that any stranger venturing into their village in the cold can save his skin. Clearly, I wasn’t so lucky.

Each house had at least three doors and all were guarded with the monster locks. It took me a good 20 mins. to find a house with a single door on the lower side of the village which had a weak lock-link. Immediately, I put a foot across the lock hinges and after three mighty shoves, the lock come off. I know it was ‘breaking and entering’ but the need of the hour dictated my actions and I planned to compensate the owner for the broken lock-link.

As my luck would have it, it was a barn house where straw and poultry baskets were stored but beggars can’t be choosers. There was a makeshift bed with quite a few warm blankets for the night. I dusted and made the bed, deposited my things on it and exited the room for the dust to settle.

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Reclined on the balcony for some 15 mins. studying the ambience of the surrounding, and checking if the ruckus I created while entering the house had alerted/ disturbed any living being. Clicked a picture from the balcony of the road via which I had arrived at the village.

Once convinced that everything was in order and it was reasonably safe, I had some refreshments at 8:45 pm and retired for the night at 9:00 pm after barricading the door from inside.

------------------------ END OF DAY 2 ------------------------

Last edited by Aditya : 2nd June 2016 at 07:47. Reason: As requested
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Old 30th May 2016, 22:06   #5
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Post re: Malari Tales: Footloose in the Garhwal Himalayas

DAY 3-5:

It was not an easy night……………….. I had retired for the night as early as 9pm after reaching Malari at 8 in the previous evening. Other then dozing off early, there was nothing much I could do in the deserted village. The angel of sleep had always been kind with me and within five minutes of wrapping myself in the blanket that I found in the barn, I fell into deep sleep.

It was 10:30 in the night, when I woke up suddenly. With all my senses awake, I sensed what had disturbed me. It was a rustling sound that was coming somewhere from somewhere near. The sound was either coming from the outer walls of the barn or from somewhere near my bed. It resembled as though something was dragging itself on the ground around me. My first reaction was to freeze with my heart pounding like a deer trying to escape a tiger. I was not particularly the type that believed in ghosts and stuff but I bet, strange sounds in an environment where you are all alone has the potential of striking terror in the hearts of the bravest among us. Taking care not to even let out a single breath, I froze at full alert and tried to pinpoint what it was. The source of the sound was peculiar; it never came from the same point from where it was last heard. It kept coming from different directions all around me and was never continuous. There was always a pregnant silence between the occurrings. My first guess was that it should be a snake, and as I was in a barn it would not be uncommon. Snakes come to barns often to prey on birds and rats taking shelter in the barn. But soon, I realized that the fast rustling movement can only be made by a far smaller animal and a snake would hardly venture all around the place. So in all probability, it should be a bird inside the barn….but again, I was proved wrong because on pinpointing the sound, I discovered that it came only from the floor which was heavily covered with straw. A bird generally perches on the rafters or bars of the barn wall and has no business on the ground. Finally after about an hour of following the sound and waiting patiently, I heard the rustling sound from beneath my makeshift bed when the animal tried to get on my bed. And then it hit me; ah ha…..it was a barn rat that was attracted towards me because of the smell of the food that I had unpacked, eaten and repacked the remaining. Immediately, it seemed as if someone shifted a dead weight from my heart and set it free

I shooed off the damned rat away, pulled the covers back on my legs and tried to doze off into an uneasy sleep. But the possessed animal dint want me to sleep peacefully, it repeatedly tried approaching my bed and everytime it was too near, I was forced to create a small ruckus to drive it away. As the night flew by, its attempt began to be punctured by longer breaks but I remember waking up at 12, 12:30, 1:45, and 3 to frighten it away. Every time I woke up, I would feel the mountain cold creeping in through my legs which would get exposed often from the cover of the blanket. The cold made me shiver throughout the night and I was forced to wear my boots on the bed to prevent the cold to some extent. All in all, I wouldn’t term it as a particularly easy night !!

From around 3 in the morning, I was sleeping soundly without any disturbance. My alarm went off at 5am, and on peeping out of the covers, I saw that the morning light wasn’t yet available abundantly so hesitated in getting out of the bed. It was by 5:40am that I was fully awake and came out of the barn to enjoy the beauty outside

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Yours sincerely, outside his humble shelter of the previous night.

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Those peaks in the distance, directly facing the village bewitched me.

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Imagine a vast white expanse of conifers and snow.

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A small settlement of concrete houses that I crossed enroute Malari, the previous night while trekking from the army camp. There were no signs of life.

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But my eyes kept roving towards those peaks. Try hard as I may, but I couldn’t help but keep gazing at them imagining what it would seem like to stand on the top of the highest peak and surveying the landscape before me.

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The landscape was both scenic as well as rugged.

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Houses on the upper side of the town as seen from the road leading through the village.

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The barn hanging precariously on the lower side of the village. A wonderful place to spend the night

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My plush 5-star accommodation for the night

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The locked door that I had to break open to take shelter for the night.

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“Breaking and entering”

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A last glance back at the towering wall of mountain before having a quick breakfast and setting out on a brisk pace towards the border.

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The road passing through the village of ‘malhari’ leading towards Niti Pass.

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Gram Malari

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The village square housing the local makeshift post-office.

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The long winding road leading to the border villages of Gamshali, Niti, Farkya, Bampa, Girthidobla & Sumna.

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Wooden thatched huts of Malari.

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The structural-pattern of the blue house reminded me of the houses in the Spiti valley.

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The concrete house of the Gram Sabha, Malari.

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The entrance gate of the Hiramani Temple located between the Malari village and the ITBP camp. It was about 6:45 in the morning and as I advanced through the village, I started encountering guys coming from the opposite side, gazing at me intently. Though not in uniform, but the way they conducted themselves, I was damn sure they were either from Army or ITBP.

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A look back at the enchanting village of Malari. The yellow gate leads to the Hiramani temple that is used by locals as well as the ITBP guys for worshipping.

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Mountains all around me; completely unadulterated view.

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The Hiramani Temple, Malari.

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The Malari and Niti valley is surrounded by numerous such beautiful snow clad mountains. The elevation of the Niti pass is 5800 m while that of the village is 3,600 m.

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These mountains leads to Southern Tibet, de facto Chinese rule.

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First view of the ITBP camp.

It was at this point that the guys crossing me from the opposite side and now returning towards the camp, accosted me. They wanted to know where I was going, who I was with and where I had stayed the previous night? After answering all the questions, I came to know that they were part of the recee group of the nearby ITBP camp. They saw me the first thing in the morning while in their rounds to the village and presumed me to be an army photographer due to my camo and DSLR. They further informed me that the road ahead is in very bad and fragile state and for my own safety, they cant let me pass their outpost because if any mishap occurs, they shall be held responsible for letting a civilian pass through their camp, at a time when even the local villagers haven’t yet returned to their villages.

They ITBP guys were a friendly lot. Unlike the Army, they follow the police system of hierarchy, i.e SI and Inspector instead of Lt. and Captain (sounds sense as their full form is “Indo Tibetan Police Force”). I was requested by the SI whose name was MN Deori to come to their camp, have warm breakfast and then leave the area. I was also requested not to click any more pictures of the camp site as the area was very near to the border. He along with another jawan accompanied me to their camp which was about 1.5kms ahead of Malari and served me a breakfast consisting 4 chapatis, cabbage subji and a cup of steaming tea. Though I don’t drink tea I couldn’t make myself say no to these extremely hospitable guys guarding our borders. I relished having warm breakfast under the open sky surrounded by snow-capped mountains with the chilly wind blowing while chatting with a couple of jawans.

The SI belonged to Dehradun while the accompanying jawan was from Karnprayag. They told me that they get leaves to visit their homes for a few days every two-three months. It was the beginning of April then, and snow thaws completely only by mid-end of May. The villagers starts coming back to their villages of Malari and the higher villages of Gamshali and Niti by 20th of April or beginning of May depending on the weather. They cultivate potatoes and apples while the season is on and descends to the towns of Joshimath and Chamoli when it starts snowing heavily by October in search of alternate means of employment. The main inhabitants are the Rongpa community who lives only in the trans-Himalayan regions of India-Tibet border. The name “Rongpa” is derived from the word "Rung", which means valley and "Pa" means inhabitants. Rongpas are generally founds on in the Chamoli district and its remote villages.

The SI asked me for my identity/ address proof and informed me that the Asst. Commandent of the camp - one Mr. Ravinder wanted to have a word with me. Upon completing my breakfast, he escorted me to the camp of the Asst. Commandent who was immediately upon me with a barrage of questions. The only difference was that he was more bewildered and less hostile/ inhospitable then the Army guys. He was bewildered that I, as a civilian had been able to come up to Malari in this season when it was out of limits for civilians and that civilians are allowed only upto Tapovan. I mentally disagreed with him as no one including the army guys had informed me about this. He expressed shock that the Army guys had let me pass their outpost the previous night and that the border was only about 50 kms. away. Again, this was another point of contention because later when I reached Joshimath and made inquiries with a mechanic who had been till Farkya to repair one of the army machine batteries, I was informed that it would be no less then 150-200 kms. in the minimum. Maybe the Commandent was trying to impress me with the gravity of the situation by exaggerating the facts a little bit. But overall, he was a decent guy. He also asked me if he could check my camera for the pics I had clicked as it was a sensitive border zone. I obliged and after checking, he deleted two pics revealing the position of the temple and the camp and requested me not to click any pics on my way back. But I was no saint; I take no pride in confessing that I re-clicked the pics he deleted on my way back for my/ my reader’s viewing pleasure.

Ravinder ji inquired if I was served breakfast and upon me affirming, he ordered a. Asst. SI to escort me back till Malari. Meanwhile, they discussed among themselves about the making of some report and I came to know that during off-season, the ITBP was required to make a report of every person who comes/ crosses their camp and if it seems suspicious, they were entitled to arrest such person (s) and hand them over to the police authorities in Joshimath/ Chamoli. Finally, they decided against the preparing of the report as they were sending me back and told me that if anyone inquired how I reached Malari, just answer casually that I was trekking and incidentally reached here. He was gentle enough to apologize for the inconvenience and asked me not to feel bad as the ITBP din’t let me venture further, that it was for my own good, to come back when the season was more stable and shook my hands bidding me goodbye and wishing me luck for my return trip.

The Asst. SI escorted me a bit further from the camp towards the village from where I saluted him and started slowly trekking towards the village. I intentionally took a break too many to capture the scenic beauty before me.

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The Rishi Ganga flowing serenely in the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve.

While resting on the roadside rocks, I saw a military truck approaching me from the ITBP camp and remembering their warning not to click pictures from near the camp, I started off briskly. Their way was marred by small boulders covering the road after cascading down the mountain side through-out the night, but it required the men only about 10 mins. to clear all the small boulders and reach me. One of them identified himself as the IO (Intelligence Officer) and asked me if I could produce my identity card again and the details of my bike that I had left downhill. He noted all the information down minutely in his diary and asked me to take a hitch in their truck which was going downhill nearby to refill water.

I joined the men and were they not a merry lot J I was welcomed by Mohit from Sirsa, SK Sandhu from Amritsar and Rathor from some distant district of Punjab to sit in their midst and share my story about how I managed to reach Malari at this time of the year. Mohit would again and again shake his head and tell me mischievously that I was there for some other motive to which I would keep a straight face and deny the very possibility of any other motive other then traveling and exploring.

Soon we crossed the Army camp and came upon a considerably big fresh water spring next to the camp where the truck reversed and the men descended to fill their water tanks. Mohit and co. shook hands with me warmly and remarked “jindagi mein maine bohot logo se mila, lekin aap jaisa insaan pehli baar dekh rha hu” (I have met a number of people in my life, but only today I have met a person like you) as a parting compliment for me; a compliment which I shall remember for the rest of my life and smile at the memory of the foolhardiness. I repent the fact that I was so engrossed in conversation with them that I completely forgot to click a parting click with the jovial group.

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Yours truly in front of a temple that he crossed the previous evening in pitch black darkness.
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Old 30th May 2016, 22:32   #6
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Post re: Malari Tales: Footloose in the Garhwal Himalayas

DAY 3 (contd)

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And finally, I reach the snow-slide area that I traversed the previous evening in darkness.

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Melting ice that feeds the streams and springs nearby in summer.

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Living on the edge My footsteps from the last evening were clearly visible on the snow and no other footsteps were to be seen. It was 9:12 in the morning which meant not a single soul passed this route since the last 14 hours. That’s the beauty of exploring unexplored places !!

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The view from the trek downhill.

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Small villages visible at a distance.

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And miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep...

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The rockfalls were exactly at the same position as I had left them last night

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Trying my hands on a deserted JCB

And as I descended, I came across the first team of laborers and GREF officers working slowly uphill clearing the roadblocks. They inquired from me how many roadblocks were there uphill and at what distance while I inquired from them whether they crossed my bike while coming uphill. They answered in the affirmative and told me I had choose a good place to park the bike. Emboldened by the news, I started descending with renewed vigour towards my trusted steed.

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As I reached the first landslide zone, I saw that the roadblock was cleared by the JCB workers neatly and spotted my bike parked at a distant exactly where I left her the previous evening.

It was 10:40am when I reached the parking spot. After repacking all the items I was carrying, tightening the cords holding my belongings, oiling the chain and checking the air pressure of the tyres, I kick started my bike alive and departed for Joshimath sharp at 11am.

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Spot the winding road

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Dronagiri Parvat viewpoint again – this time, the other side.

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Reached Suraithota at 11:50am after crossing Dronagiri viewpoint at 11:20 and Valley of Perfume/ Jhelum village at 11:30am. Jhelum was about 4 kms. from Drunagiri viewpoint (10 mins.) and Suraithota about 15 kms. (20 mins.) from Jhelum.

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As mentioned earlier, the Saraithota - Tapovan road was in shambles at certain stretches and the JCBs were busy working, clearing the mess.

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12:15pm: This was the unfortunate place where about a couple of days ago, 3 labourers had met their sad fate when they were brushed off the cliff by a JCB in action. Their bodies were later recovered from the river flowing beneath us.

I reached Tapovan at 12:50pm which was about 16 kms. from Suraithota, crossed Badagaon at 1pm (8kms. from Tapovan) and reached Joshimath at 1:15pm (about 8kms. from Badagaon). I planned to sleep for 2.5 hours till 4pm, pack and leave Joshimath for Delhi by 5pm. I was right on schedule when I left Joshimath at 4:50pm but as luck would have it, just 3 kms. downhill from Joshimath, my bike chain broke off bringing my bike to a standstill. With darkness fast approaching, I immediately called Ravinder from Hotel New Kamal telling him about my predicament. He assured me that he shall send a mechanic friend to help get the bike back to Joshimath and repair it further. This mechanic friend soon called me and understanding the location where I was stranded told me straightforward that he shall charge 500 bucks to get the bike towed back to his shop at Joshimath. I had no other option other then agreeing to his terms knowing the scarcity of bike mechanics at Joshimath. Soon he sent two of his worker boys to tow the bike uphill back to Joshimath.

The chainset was in a sad state of condition and I was actually aware that it was nearing its end. It was actually a relief that it had not chose to break off somewhere in the Malari-Suraithota stretch wherein I would have been completely at mercy of the occasional taxi drivers as there was no mobile network there. Dinesh, the mechanic told me that I would have to get the chainset changed and it would cost me 1200 bucks for a set other then the 500/- towing charge. He told me that last season similarly, a couple of guys coming from Bengalore on rented bikes and going towards Badrinath developed engine issues with one of the bikes and he charged 4000 bucks to tow it all the way to Joshimath. I had to leave the bike with Dinesh and his boys as they close shop at 7 in the evening; they promised that they shall start work on the bike by 8:30 in the morning and that I can come to collect it by 9am. I left for my room at Hotel New Kamal after enjoying a warm plate of Maggi in the market to tell about my Malari escapades to Ravinder – the hotel owner. I was amused when he expressed bewilderment at my experience and remarked that being a local, even he would not dare to sleep the night at a deserted village, so far off from immediate help.

DAY 4:

Malari Tales: Footloose in the Garhwal Himalayas-1-47.jpg

I left Joshimath the next morning exactly at 10am after collecting the bike from Dinesh at 9:30.

Malari Tales: Footloose in the Garhwal Himalayas-1-48.jpg

The weather was threatening to spill over so I started off at a brisk pace, planning to reach Chamoli by 11:30am, Srinagar by 2pm, Haridwar by 5pm and Delhi by 11 in the night.

The timing I reached the various strategic places are noted thus:

Leave Johimath: 10am

Heleng: 10:15 (13kms)

Garur-ganga: 10:40 (16 kms.)

Pipalkoti: 10:50 (6 kms)

Birhi: 11:10 am (9 kms)

Chamoli: 11:25 (7 kms)

Nandprayag: 11:40 (11 kms)

Lagasu: 11:55 (11 kms)

Karanprayag: 12:10pm (10 kms)

Gaucher: 12:50 (9 kms.)

Rudraprayag: 1:15 (23kms)

Malari Tales: Footloose in the Garhwal Himalayas-1-49.jpg

Captured at 1:50 in the afternoon, somewhere before Srinagar.

Srinagar: 2:05pm (36 kms)

Devprayag: 3:00 pm (38 kms)

---Break for 20 mins---

Malari Tales: Footloose in the Garhwal Himalayas-1-50.jpg

River Alakananda flowing into the town of Devprayag to form confluence with River Bhagirathi flowing from Gangotri to form the main Ganges..


Byasi: 4:20 pm (48 kms)

Shivpuri: 4:35 (9kms)

---Break for 30 mins.---

Rishkesh: 5:30 (19kms)

Haridwar: 6:00 pm (20 kms)

Roorkee: 6:40 (23 kms)

Muzaffarnagar: 7:30 (54 kms)

Meerut: 8:00 pm (58 kms)

Delhi: 11:10 pm…

....thus bringing to end one of my most adventurous trip to the Garhwal himalayas. Until my next trip……adios. Ride safe!​

Last edited by SJD@NewDelhi : 30th May 2016 at 22:36.
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Old 31st May 2016, 06:30   #7
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Default re: Malari Tales: Footloose in the Garhwal Himalayas

Note from Moderator: Thread moved here from Assembly line. Thanks for sharing the travelogue with us
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Old 31st May 2016, 10:47   #8
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Just brilliant! Been waiting for this since you've been depressing us 9 to 5ers on facebook for some time.
You are living the life, m'man!
I could never imagine that there'd be places you can go to where the village would be abandoned for the season. Loved the pictures, and the log.
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Old 31st May 2016, 11:49   #9
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Default Re: Malari Tales: Footloose in the Garhwal Himalayas

Originally Posted by mayankk View Post
Just brilliant! Been waiting for this since you've been depressing us 9 to 5ers on facebook for some time.
You are living the life, m'man! I could never imagine that there'd be places you can go to where the village would be abandoned for the season. Loved the pictures, and the log.
Thanks Mayankk bhai for following my adventures Trying to live it all while the sun is shining I have done Sach Pass, Kedarnath trek while being sick with chicken pox, the Kheerganga trail and the Satopant trek...but this simple Malari trip which wouldn't have even involved a trek under ideal conditions, remains my most adventuresome trip till date. Working upon the Gangotri tlog now, after which the Kheerganga and the Satopant tale shall be worked upon.


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Old 31st May 2016, 12:25   #10
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Default Re: Malari Tales: Footloose in the Garhwal Himalayas

This travelogue is a different level from what I've read so far. The pictures are inspiring and so are your words. Felt as if I was watching you from a drone while you did your trek. Too real!

As a fellow biker, let me salute you for this expedition of yours. Takes immense courage, planning and immunity from inhumane conditions to undertake something of this scale. Kudos to you. Rated a completely deserved 5!

Allow me to conclude by quoting something which came to my mind as soon as I finished reading your travelogue.

“Where the mind is without fear
and the head is held high,
where knowledge is free.
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls.
Where words come out from the depth of truth,
where tireless striving stretches its arms toward perfection.
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost it's way
into the dreary desert sand of dead habit.
Where the mind is led forward by thee
into ever widening thought and action.
In to that heaven of freedom, my father,
Let my country awake.”

- Rabindranath Tagore, from "Gitanjali".

Last edited by barcalad : 31st May 2016 at 12:26.
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Old 31st May 2016, 12:31   #11
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Default Re: Malari Tales: Footloose in the Garhwal Himalayas

This is just way too good. The pictures are just fantastic and the accompanying write up made me feel as if I was there too. You sir, are a rock star. Thank you for sharing. Made my day.
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Old 31st May 2016, 13:15   #12
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Default Re: Malari Tales: Footloose in the Garhwal Himalayas

Wonderful write-up, with some great pictures! And as mayankk mentioned you are truly living your life! Rated a well deserved 5 star!
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Old 31st May 2016, 13:53   #13
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Salute to you for your courage sir. Never thought such beautiful places exist so close to us. Read the full post in one go and felt a part of it.

OT How do you people convince your families for going on such trips: alone, at night??
I once went to Mussorrie on bike with my mates and still facing the aftermaths from my wife every now and then.
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Old 31st May 2016, 13:56   #14
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Default Re: Malari Tales: Footloose in the Garhwal Himalayas

Take a bow man! It takes guts to go on such a venture, something most people like me can only dream of. An excellent write up for an A-M-A-Z-I-N-G journey!

Just a question, you family is cool enough to let you go all these solo ventures without any hindrance?
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Old 31st May 2016, 14:14   #15
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Default Re: Malari Tales: Footloose in the Garhwal Himalayas

My Great God. You are one brave soul.

Lovely description and beautiful photographs.

One query also. If I plan to visit joshimath/Devprayag in June, starting 11th June-13th June, how would the weather and hotel conditions be?
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