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Old 6th October 2016, 17:59   #1
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Default And the Mountains echoed: A 50-hour drive from Delhi to Gangotri & back

Hi All,

This is my first thread on this forum.

The travel bug has been there with me for almost 25 years now (I am 29 by the way). Beaches, Mountains, Forts, Palaces and what not have always been on the radar for me. I have traveled solo, with friends and with strangers. I got married last year and the wife too has the same bug. As they say, matches are definitely made in heaven.

Cut to 30th September 2016, Friday. The Wife & I were getting bored with the whole weekend ahead of us. Mussourie & other "normal" hill stations like Shimla or Kasol bore us now (they indeed are beautiful, lets just say we are over them now). We had been planning to visit Gangotri for a long time but the plan had never materialized. Reasons:
a. The distance- A weekend trip in the mountains to a place which is 500 kilometers away is going to be a stretch as well as stress.
b. Road condition- We have a Honda City- the car (in)famous for really poor Ground Clearance. Will it be able to travel the really bad roads to Gangotri?

We thought and thought and suddenly at 11 PM, I thought about taking a chance. The GC might be poor but how will I know unless I go? The distance might be too much but how will I know until I go?

We packed within an hour and were on the road from Noida to Ghaziabad by 1230 AM. The itinerary was thus:

1. Reach Western UP Toll Plaza by 2 AM.
2. Haridwar by 5 AM. Take a break, visit Har Ki Pauri (for those who don't know, there is a great parking spot just 500 meters away from Har Ki Pauri. Keep looking on your left while coming from Delhi and you will find it)
3. Leave Haridwar by 545 AM.
4. Follow Google Maps to avoid Muni Ki Reti & Laxman Jhula Road to Rishikesh (which more often than not is always crowded).
5. Enter the mountains from Rishikesh by 7 AM.
6. Chamba by 930 AM.
7. Uttarkashi by 2 PM.
8. Gangotri by 530 PM.

The City- Doesn't she look beautiful?
And the Mountains echoed: A 50-hour drive from Delhi to Gangotri & back-city-relaxing.jpg


Yours truly was the only driver so I added 1 hour extra for breaks, stretching etc. This was going to be an awesome ride and boy I was excited.

1. We managed to touch Western UP Toll Plaza by 145 AM. The security all through till Haridwar was very strict, probably because of the tension on border. Thanks to the wife and her sister, no cop bothered to stop us and we zoomed ahead. Reached Haridwar by 5 AM. The road condition worsens almost 50 kms before Roorkee and continues to be awful till we enter Haridwar city. The worst stretch is while crossing Patanjali Yogpeeth. The road is almost non-existent and a flyover is under construction. Thankfully, the City managed to pass through without scraping its bottom anywhere.

2. Relaxed for around 45 mins at Haridwar. Parked the car, had some tea and splashed the cool Ganga water on my face. I have this amazing connection with the river for some reason, seeing it always brings a smile on my face.

3. Left Haridwar by 545 AM. It was still dark, the sun came up only around 630 AM. The road from Haridwar to Rishikesh was okayish- not too bad, neither great. Don't cross 70 KMPH on this stretch is my take. Loved Google Maps on this stretch, it bypassed Muni Ki Reti, Laxman Jhoola et all and by 7 AM we were at the entrance which said "Gangotri 262 kilometers". There was a check post here, no vehicles are allowed to go before 5 AM. The views were ah-so-amazing. Greenery all around, super awesome roads (for the mountains). Tanked up around 30 kms before Chamba.

On Way to Chamba from Rishikesh
And the Mountains echoed: A 50-hour drive from Delhi to Gangotri & back-rishikesh-chamba-greenery.jpg
Small Rivulet on the same road
And the Mountains echoed: A 50-hour drive from Delhi to Gangotri & back-rivulet-rishikesh-chamba.jpg
Mesmerizing
And the Mountains echoed: A 50-hour drive from Delhi to Gangotri & back-rishikesh-chamba.jpg

4. Crossed Chamba by 10ish. We took multiple pit stops in between. The views were simply irresistible. Roads after Chamba were okayish- very bad at times, okay at times and very good at times. There were landslides at multiple stretches. Hats off to BRO- the folks were working almost at every landslide area to remove the debris. City never scraped the bottom.

5. Reached Uttarkashi by 2ish. Decent valley town. Most of the travelers to Gangotri or Yamunotri take a night halt here before moving ahead. We passed the town. Stopped for lunch in-between somewhere.

Uttarkashi to Gangotri
And the Mountains echoed: A 50-hour drive from Delhi to Gangotri & back-clouds-mountains.jpg
The Rainbow Waterfall
And the Mountains echoed: A 50-hour drive from Delhi to Gangotri & back-rainbow-waterfall.jpg

6. Reached the entry point to Gangotri road by 3ish. There was a check post where an entry was done, vehicle number etc. Will come in handy in case of a natural disaster I believe.

Small Waterfall on the road to Harsil
And the Mountains echoed: A 50-hour drive from Delhi to Gangotri & back-small-waterfall-harsil.jpg
A beautiful garden of flowers on the road
And the Mountains echoed: A 50-hour drive from Delhi to Gangotri & back-flower-harsil.jpg
A Small Apple Orchard on way to Harsil
And the Mountains echoed: A 50-hour drive from Delhi to Gangotri & back-apple.jpg


7. The roads post that till we crossed Harsil were super awesome and dangerous. N Number of tough blind curves, hair pin bends, narrow roads, streams on the road etc. I don't remember the name but there was a stretch of around 15 kms of flatlands. Amazing and insanely beautiful it was. Also crossed a waterfall which made rainbows while falling. Beautiful is too small a word for it.
8. Crossed Harsil- the most beautiful town I have ever seen. I was exhausted by now and the continuous 15 hours of driving was taking its toll on me. Thankfully, had bought a couple of Red Bulls while leaving from Noida. It definitely gave me wings. Stopped by at an Apple orchard. Loads of green and red apples. Not as beautiful or big as the ones in Himachal but still. Crossed one of the highest bridges in India as well. Photography was prohibited.

The First Glimpse of Snow
And the Mountains echoed: A 50-hour drive from Delhi to Gangotri & back-first-glimpse-snow.jpg
Mountains
And the Mountains echoed: A 50-hour drive from Delhi to Gangotri & back-snow-view.jpg
Flatlands
And the Mountains echoed: A 50-hour drive from Delhi to Gangotri & back-flatlands-amidst-mountains.jpg
More of them
And the Mountains echoed: A 50-hour drive from Delhi to Gangotri & back-flatlands.jpg

9. The last 5-7 km stretch to Gangotri is in a mess. I was scared of getting a puncture or something like that and it was getting dark too. Thankfully, nothing of that sort happened and we reached Gangotri by 630 PM.

Took up an okayish room, ate and slept with the sound of mighty Ganga in background.

2nd October:

1. Woke up at 8, stepped out to see a bright sun shining over snow capped mountains with the sound of Ganga (rather Bhagirathi there) in background. It was heavenly, to say the least.
2. Shower, visited the temple, offered our prayers, the water was freezing so couldn't take a bath but did what we call in hindi as "achaman".
3. We were back on the road at 11 AM.

The mighty Ganga from Gangotri Temple
And the Mountains echoed: A 50-hour drive from Delhi to Gangotri & back-river-view-gangotri.jpg

4. The journey back home was pretty quick even by my not so lethargic driving standards. We managed to reach Rishikesh by 8 PM. The last 15-20 kms were horrendous. It had rained probably and the area was filled with mist & cloud. Roads were not visible at all- probably a visibility of 100 odd meters only. Drove dead slow.
5. Hit the road post dinner in Rishikesh at 845 PM and was home 2 AM. A good night sleep on my good old comfy bed.

Mist All Over the valley
And the Mountains echoed: A 50-hour drive from Delhi to Gangotri & back-misty-uttarkashi-chamba.jpg

Few pointers which I observed during the trip:
1. Mountain roads are not that bad as most of us expect them to be. Additionally, they always keep you on toe.
2. The driver loses out on a lot of good scenic beauties. It is a choice between the two loves of your life- mountains or driving and to choose among the two is very difficult.
3. Most people (I don't want to offend but I can't help it) don't know the basics of driving. The last hilly stretch while coming back could have been a lot more easier if people didn't have their high beams switched on all the time. They don't even care to blink their lights from high to low and back. And I am not just talking about the cab & truck drivers. Private car owners too. Leave aside the highway, people have their high beams on in Delhi Gurgaon as well all the time. This needs to be checked seriously. Also- any suggestions how to handle this high beam blinding situation?
4. City's ground clearance might be low but it managed to cover this stretch at ease without scraping the bottom even once. I am seriously thinking of doing Ladakh now but am unsure of its performance on the passes.
5. Sports Mode & Paddle Shifters are a boon while driving in the hills. I am pretty sure I would have been tired like anything if I was driving a manual or an automatic without paddle shifters.
6. Last but not the least, when the mountains call, you just go.

To more trips! To more mountains.

Lazy Driver

Last edited by Lazy Driver : 8th October 2016 at 14:35.
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Old 6th October 2016, 18:51   #2
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Default re: And the Mountains echoed: A 50-hour drive from Delhi to Gangotri & back

Let me be the first one to say that you should change your name. You are a fairly active driver. Kudos to you for the trip.

I see that you didn't sleep at all on Friday? Were you able to function normally all night or did you have your moments of momentary eye blinkers?

Gangotri is a dream for me too. Will go there someday.

The pics don't do justice. Scoop out some more.

Tapish
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Old 8th October 2016, 14:42   #3
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Default re: And the Mountains echoed: A 50-hour drive from Delhi to Gangotri & back

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tapish View Post
Let me be the first one to say that you should change your name. You are a fairly active driver. Kudos to you for the trip.

I see that you didn't sleep at all on Friday? Were you able to function normally all night or did you have your moments of momentary eye blinkers?

Gangotri is a dream for me too. Will go there someday.

The pics don't do justice. Scoop out some more.

Tapish
Thank You Tapish. Well the wife says I am Lazy and as a good obedient husband, I chose to listen to her.

I didn't sleep at all on Friday. Functioned normally without any issues. Started feeling uncomfortable by 5 PM next day, that's when the Red Bulls kicked into picture. Having said that, I wouldn't recommend everyone to go for such a stretch, understand your bodily requirements first.

We had our cellphones only hence the quality of pics isn't great. Will carry a camera and spend sometime on photography from our next trip onwards.
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Old 10th October 2016, 10:04   #4
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Thread moved out from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section). Thanks for sharing!

Last edited by GTO : 10th October 2016 at 10:04. Reason: Bump
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Old 10th October 2016, 22:44   #5
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Default Re: And the Mountains echoed: A 50-hour drive from Delhi to Gangotri & back

Nice travelogue with captivating narrative complimented with beautiful photographs. I really appreciate your stamina to drive at a stretch for so long with small breaks in between. This trip of yours made me nostalgic as it reminds me of the trip to Yamunotri and Gangotri which I undertook in June 2012 in a Maruti 800. While reading your travelogue it felt like I am going through the experience all over again. Here's the link to the travelogue of my trip which I posted on this forum, I hope you will relive your trip experience while reading it.

Uttarakhand calling: Trip to Yamunotri & Gangotri in a hatchback: http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...hatchback.html (Uttarakhand calling: Trip to Yamunotri & Gangotri in a hatchback)

Would like to hear more travel stories from your end. Keep posting.

Best Regards.
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