Tag Archives: Uttarakhand

Garhwal Diaries 8 – Random Clicks in Kedarnath

They say you are really lucky if you have been able to visit Kedarnath at least once in your life. Well, may be or may not be. For a travel enthusiast and a nature lover like me, the experience was just mindblowing…memories that I will forever cherish in my mind…

IMG_0287Random clicks of the surroundings at Kedarnath

IMG_0288I was quite amazed to see the crowd

IMG_0294View of the valley.

IMG_0293Another random click!

IMG_0268Goldy, someone I befriended on my way back from Kedarnath

Dev Bhoomi Drowning

Dwaipayan Chakraborty writes about his travel to Uttarkhand a few days ago and ponders over what went wrong!

flood 1

It was alive a few days ago!

11th June I returned from Badrinath (Uttarkhand) about a week ago. My journey ranged from Haridwar to Badrinath via Joshimath & all the Prayags. Since childhood I had heard stories of hundreds flocking to these Great Dhams in search of salvation, but this visit was not for any religious motive but just as an enthusiastic adventure ride.

To me Haridwar/ Har ki Pauri was a place where people of various sects/races/class amalgamated to offer their prayers to the Almighty. One must be in the middle of the enormity in order to feel the energy and belief of us humans towards a Supreme Power. After having experienced the famous sandhya-aarti my journey continued towards Badrinath, with a stop at Joshimath/Auli, a bus journey of about 12 hours in moderately maintained Uttarakhand State Transport Buses. During this journey I crossed Hrishikesh, DevPrayag, RudraPrayag, KarnaPrayag, NandaPrayag, Srinagar, Joshimath, Govindghat  and many others too. The journey with the mighty mountains on one side and the Ganga on the other in the form of Mandakini, Bhagirathi, Alaknanda was indeed breathtaking. Deep gorges, sharp turns, shaky railings, crowded roads, stops at the dhabas for some quick grab made my travel all the more adventurous. I specifically remember Sikh devotees lined up along the roads with their saffron bands moving gradually towards their Holy place of Hemkund Sahib, people from Andhra arriving for their holy Char Dham Yatra. All a collection of chaos in those hills.

Now sitting at home and watching visuals of many of these places heavily affected by Nature’s fury does give me a chill in the spine. I was there just a week ago. What if I was among the thousands trapped, hundreds injured and many sacrificed? Before I left my father had casually warned me, I checked the weather forecast and showers were not expected before late June or early July. Yet it had arrived now, and in a titanic scale. Har Ki Pauri in huge waves of water. In Devprayag, RudraPrayag all the connecting bridges are now dangerously close to water levels resisting transport to ply. Further up market places of Srinagar are experiencing flood thereby making daily life all the more difficult. Chunks of roads have cracked and opened up. Large Stones loosening from the hill sides and being washed on to the roads. Rescue and private vehicles being gobbled up by the waters just like toys. Large housings near the river falling like delicate boxes. Heavy rain making the roads which already are marginally safe more vulnerable. Pilgrims towards Hemkund Sahib, Badrinath who have to make a certain journey on foot after a point all stuck praying to survive and safely return.

Such a reverse drama all in a week. While I was there the climate had a chill about it, often hot in the mornings but predominately cooler throughout the day. I remember enjoying my bus ride along with many others, often stopping on makeshift Dhabas, enjoying my meal which were insecurely made near the rivers. Houses lined up precariously close all along the river. People had turned their own homes into budget hotels in order to accommodate the large crowds. All the visitors were in a festive mood; everyone had come to unwind themselves, to find peace in the lap of their Gods. And ironically the scenario has drastically altered, now the festive mood has turned into a question of survival.

But the statistical numbers and the images prove yet again that Nature is too powerful to handle when enraged. The reasons, some known, others unknown are matters of research and rectification. National Disaster Management and the State and Central Governance often come into the picture post disaster. Having an aerial view of these places show the havoc created but being in the middle of it is another ball game. Stricter guidelines, implementation, frequent weather updates and proper crowd management along with self-awareness are the primary factors that could safeguard people. Calamities beyond our reach cannot be foretold but the reasons that triggering them can be taken care of.

With each passing minute, the prayers are getting stronger, the hope and faith remaining undeterred.

Garhwal Diaries 6 – Memories of Kedarnath

My heart wrenches as I continue the series on Garhwal Diaries. The recent mayhem in the Garhwals has stirred my memories and left me despondent. However, through my photo blog I make an effort to fall back on my memories of Kedarnath.

IMG_0261Random click of flowing water

IMG_0266Good Old Maggie with chai at Ramwara

IMG_0270The scenery changes as I come closer to Kedarnath

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Finally Kedarnath!

IMG_0281A closer look at the steeple!

Garhwal Diaries 5 – Reached Sitapur

Nature is at its best in the Garhwals. I could not stop clicking even if it meant capturing blurred images.

I was so smitten by the beauty of nature that I almost lost track of time only to be reminded  by the driver that I have reached by next destination Sitapur.

A recently developed small-town, Sitapur has a few motels where you can spend a night. Most of these motels offer home-cooked sumptuous meals. These days travellers prefer Sitapur over Gaurikund in order to avoid crowd.

IMG_0255The Sitapur Skyline

IMG_0300Next morning heading towards Gaurikund

gaurikundI started for Gaurikund sharp at 8 in the morning after Breakfast. The drive took barely 40 minutes. Upon reaching Gauri Kund I was shocked to see the crowd.

IMG_0256 (1)The trekking base for Kedarnath, Gaurikund has a hot water spring of the same name. However, I did not waste much time and headed towards the much awaited place.

Uttarakhand: Water, Water Everywhere…

Floods and landslides have wrought havoc in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh. Submerged houses, floating buildings and corpses gives the feel of the D-Day! Here are some images of the flood which evokes pathos and fear.

flood 1Rishikesh: There couldn’t have been greater irony! The Lord of Destruction, too, caught up in the midst of  destruction and devastation.

flood 2Houses partially submerged due to the torrential downpour!

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People remove their furniture from their homes as the water level rises.

flood 4Army swings into action for relief from flood.

flood 5Dehradun: Houses partially submerged in the flood water

flood 6

Buildings topple into the river and is washed away by the current.

Garhwal Diaries 4 – Reaching Sitapur

IMG_0243Time for a tea break with more sugar!

Majestic mountains and serpentine trails began to welcome me as I started from Haridwar. The plains gave way to rocky mountains. I made an effort to capture the vastness of the sky and nature through my small digital camera. Here are some moments:

IMG_0244The line between reality and make-believe becoming blurred

IMG_0246Increasingly blurred!

IMG_0256Some more cascades

IMG_0260Random clicks

Garhwal Diaries 3 – Enroute Devaprayag

IMG_0233Water, water everywhere, cascading down the mountains.

IMG_0235Clouds looming on the horizon

IMG_0236The clouds broke a little and the sun came out

IMG_0238The retro look

IMG_0240All in a day’s work.

Garhwal Diaries 2 – Enroute Devaprayag

After Haridwar, Sampurna Majumder continues her photographic journey to Devaprayag.

IMG_0219The road while leaving Haridwar

IMG_0222
Verdant greens

IMG_0225A random click

IMG_0224Technology finds its way amidst nature!

IMG_0228The confluence of Rivers Bhagirathi and Alkananda

Garhwal Diaries I – Haridwar Hopping

Sampurna Majumder writes a photographic blog of her trip to the Garhwals.

Since I love the mountains, I frequently wander around mountainous regions. Sometime back I embarked on a trip to the mighty Garhwals. An indigenous mountainous region in the northern part of India, the Garhwal is home to some of the majestic mountain peaks and tussled trekking routes. A great place to wander around for someone who is an avid trekker and a passionate photographer.

Haridwar was our first stop. One of the seven holiest places for Hindus, Haridwar presents a kaleidoscope of Indian culture.

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Blurred lights and waters captured in my cam.

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Abstracts from Haridwar

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Market place

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How about some bargain!

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Dawn at Haridwar ghats!