Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Adobe of GOD- Kedarnath

My Kedarnath yatra

                When HR announced Diwali holidays my first and only thought was to take advantage of the five day break and head to the mountains. I had two options: either to go to Devaria Tal (to capture the reflection of the Chaukhamba Peak in the blue waters of the lake), Ukhimath, Kalimath and Kedarnath or to go to Gwaldam.
As usual, I called Guruji (Tribuwan Sing Chauhan) in Rishikesh who told me he was going for the door closing ceremony at Kedarnath temple on 11th November. The temple remains closed during winter due to heavy snowfall.
My decision was made. We decided to meet at Kedarnath the previous day, November 10.
I took a 10.30 pm bus from Delhi to Rudraprayag. (God only knows how I got a seat!)
It was freezing cold and very cloudy and windy when I reached Sari in the afternoon. It had snowed in Kedarnath. I had dinner with Rajendra who I had made friends with on my last visit in April 2007.


I woke up at 5.30 the next morning and headed to Devaria Tal.
More than anything else, I was shocked to see the reflection of the Chaukhamba peak in the lake! It was beyond what I had expected. I got busy capturing the beauty of the place from different angles.
In Devaria I met two women who had come all the way from Pune. It was their first visit to Uttarakhand. They were very excited as they had just returned from Tungnath where they had gone to see snowfall.
A group of elderly people from Gujarat asked me, "Devaria ja ke paise vasool honge ki nahi?"(Is it worth going to Devaria Tal?)

While I was relaxing at a tea stall, I saw a person with a big rucksack coming towards me. He looked familiar. It turned out to be Shubhag Rathuri, who was in Devaria for paragliding with four friends from Bombay.
I decided to join them and up we went flying over Sari feasting our eyes on the beauty around us.
By the time we returned it was dark. I forgot to carry a torch and we had to trek down in the dark.
We attended the Diwali celebrations at Sari where there was a lot of singing and dancing

On November 10, I started my trek to Kedarnath. It was very cold and windy and turning out to be a tough trek.
Reaching Son Prayag was a fight. By 3.30 pm it seemed like I wouldn't be able to make it to Kedarnath. The locals warned me it was not safe to go any further due to the bad weather.
Thankfully, at Gaurikund I met a Garhwal Regiment group who were on their way to Kedarnath. I joined them.

On the way we met a devotee from Rudraprayag who attends the opening and closing ceremony of Kedarnath temple every year.
As it had snowed in the valley, the wind was chilly. I put on my raincoat as well to safeguard against the chill.
We reached Garurchatti, about 10 km from Gaurikund, around 9 pm where we had dinner and visited a yogi who has been staying there for the last 35 years

We left Garurchatti at 10.30 pm. There were no street lights and we had no torch.
The entire valley was covered with snow. The only light we saw was of Kedarnath is the distance.
It was the most beautiful sight I had ever seen. All my tiredness vanished at the sight of the beautiful valley!

We reached the Kedarnath temple at 11.30. The first thing I did was to thank God for giving me the opportunity to be there.
Then I went looking for the army group. They had my tripod and I was not getting a place for the night. Unable to locate them, I finally went and sat next to a sadhu who was sitting by a fire place within the temple premises.
The temple was to open for darshan between 2 am and 5 am. Between 5 am and 6 am was the Samadhi pooja and from 6 am to 7 am was the Samadhi darshan.
At 1.30 am a kind soul offered me a place to sleep. I napped for a bit and at 2.30 am went to the temple where I met Guruji.

We stayed on at the temple after darshan and watched the first rays of the rising sun fall on Kedar Peak. Meanwhile I met the army personal and got my tripod. We also went to the Bhairon temple.
At 8 am the doli started its journey to Ukhimath. Everyone was dancing while the Garhwal regiment band played. We reached Gaurikund at 1 pm.
Since I couldn't get conveyance to Rishikesh I stayed the night at the guest house of the Ukhimath temple.


I woke up early next morning and went to the temple. There I met a person (Mr Mishra) who offered to give me a lift to Delhi. Mr Mishra had come alone from Delhi with 30 kg of flowers to decorate the Kedarnath temple!

On the way we stopped at Kalimath, famous for its temple dedicated to Goddess Kali. We reached Rishikesh at 6.30 pm and Delhi at 1.30 the following morning.

How to get there
The nearest airport is at Dehradun.
The closest railway station is at Haridwar, 221 km.
Kedarnath is a 14 km trek from Gaurikund, where the motorable road ends. Gaurikund is well-connected by road from Rishikesh, Dehradun, Haridwar and Kothdwar.


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