My Doomed Char Dham Pilgrimage


I left Rishikesh 3 days ago to visit the holy places of Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath. But here I am back in Rishikesh 8(.

My first destination would have been Yamunotri. It was 2 days of bus hopping that got me all the way to Hanuman Chatti, just kilometers from the start point of the trek to Yamunotri. Travelling via the buses in the northern parts of Uttarakhand proved to be a challenge and a hassle.. none of the conductors or anyone for that matter seem to know a word of English, the buses run extremely infrequently - I had been stuck in Dharasu overnight because I missed the only bus running to Barkot, which ran at 6 in the morning. On top of that everyone seemed to have a different opinion of when the buses leave, or if there are buses available for that matter.

It had rained cats and dogs ever since the bus reached the mountains and it did not let up for all the days of my travels.

At Hanuman Chatti I received the news of landslides closing the road down to Jenki Chatti. An overnight stay later and the situation did not improve. Finally I meet a man who spoke enough English to tell me he had come from Kedarnath, Badrinath and Gangotri, and that the situation is just as bleak in those places too.

I also met a kind old man who travelled with me from Hanuman Chatti all the way back to Dharasu and to a place called Chamba. He insisted I stick with him and he was a Godsend with his knowledge of Hindi. We did not have quite the vocabulary to talk to each other, but somehow we managed an understanding. I felt a great deal of love for the man.

Through asking the various conductors in the buses we had hopped on and off of, he had gathered that Badrinath would still be a possibility.

But at Chamba I found out I had to stay the night because I missed the only bus to Srinagar for the day, which ran at (sigh) 6 in the morning.

Which was about the time I threw in the towel, licked my wounds and headed back to Rishikesh.

Am more than a little sad at the turn of events because this pilgrimage would have been the high point of my travels in India, but I am accepting of this turn of events. I can always do this pilgrimage in my next trip to India, better still I could join the next Himalayan Yatra with my Master!

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