First Big Ride – 2 (2009) Pauri- Gopeshwar- Devprayag- Chandra Badni


Day 5 – Pauri to Gopeshwar

The second leg of the trip includes us visiting Mamu’s various contacts for his business that was due.

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We left Pauri after breakfast knowing fully that we did not need to go long distance. Our itinerary was designed such there we were to clock averaging 140kms everyday.

The earlier plan was to reach Gopeshwar via Karnprayag but for the sake of enjoyment, we chose Rudraprayag – Ukhimath – Gopeshwar route, mostly due to its scenic drive.

This was June and sun was beating down all through yet the air was cooler at hills, we kept ourselves hydrated. Rudraprayag was pretty much hot adding to that was the humidity at the place

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We took left from Rudraprayag and kept the right to of river Mandakini to reach Agastyamuni and spotting a nice GMVNL guest house beside the river itself we took a break for refreshments.

The road ahead was broken and it took us a while to pass through the jam. Near Kakda we took a break again for a cup of tea and keeping right at the next crossing moved on towards Ukhimath a quaint old town where the lord Tungnath resides during winters.

The statue of Lord Tungnath is established here only in winters and then established back to Tungnath Temple itself in a grand opening ceremony that is widely attended.

By the time we reached Ukhimath, it was 2:30 pm and Gopeshwar was about 40 odd kilometres from there.

In 2009 Ukhimath had very few shops on the main road since we had skipped the town we were looking for some snack to carry with ourselves since the road ahead was not in good condition we were told.

We managed to procure a couple of biscuits and a long enough piece of plastic cover, this was just in case of any eventuality.

Lunch break

In about an hour we reach near Chopta with excellent greenery around we stopped at a couple of places to take photographs.

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A multi shot pano just before Chopta.
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Panorama near Chopta.

In about an hour we reach near Chopta with excellent greenery around we stopped at a couple of places to take photographs.

And then moved on to reach Chopta itself which at this time was entertaining few tourists stopped for lunch and few others hanging about in the green meadows.

From Chopta there is a trek for Tungnath temple, one of the highest situated temples of Lord Shiva in existence. The Temple itself is situated at about 10,000 feet and is not an easy trek.

We took a full meal here and the hotel owner seemed to be overcharging us, Mamu intervened and talked with him in staunch Garhwali to which his response was a big smile and reduction of prices.

The food was freshly prepared and so it took quite some time to cook. After a while, we moved forward to Gopeshwar road.

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Mammu inspecting the area which was at the highest most point for the Ukhimath-Gopeshwar road.

On the way, we found out that few of the assertions of locals were true namely the road was a bit rough near the highest mountain we came across.

Ahead of that was a descent and during one of those bands that hill we encountered a couple of wild birds on our left.

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Gopeshwar as viewed from the road coming from Ukhimath

Eventually, we came out at the opening on our right to view the big town over the hill it was Gopeshwar itself. We reached Gopeshwar at around 5:30 just in time before the daybreak and it took us a while to locate an empty hotel room, as most were booked before us.

We ate dinner early at 8:20 before the shopkeeper’s close it at around 9 pm. then went back and slept.

Day 6 Gopeshwar – Pipalkoti – Nandprayag – Karnprayag – Rudraprayag – Devprayag.

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Today’s itinerary was mostly reaching Pipalkoti where Mamu has his work so we left at around 8 am from Gopeshwar. As it would take us only an hour to reach Pipalkoti just in time for breakfast.

This day involved us riding about 170 km. By now Mamu had started to have the problems sitting in the back seat so we decided to break at every 30-40 km and fortunately we had all these Prayag’s which was literally within the tolerance limit of Mamu to sit continuously.

 

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Karn Prayag Sangam
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Mammu at Nandprayag Jun 2009
At present we mostly ran through our journey and stopped at each of the Prayag’s for photos I was in a hurry as we were headed to Devprayag.

THE MAGNIFICENT VEDIC OBSERVATORY

As soon as we reached Devprayag which took us about 5 hours from Pipalkoti, we located a guest house.

After a refreshing bath, we left our baggage at the hotel and moved upwards of Devprayag towards the Observatory.

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Mamu had promised me to take me to an old वैदिक नक्षत्र वेधशाला and Observatory situated at Devprayag which belonged to our far relatives from the maternal side the one which was established by Aacharya ‘Pandit Chandrasekhar Joshi’ a profound name in Astrology back in 1950-60’s.

Nehru and Indira Gandhi were among many illustrious clients of Acharya throughout the world.

Next two hours I spent there happily watching all the scientific Instruments and gadgets and navigating the magnificent library though right now exist in a deplorable state.

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A deplorable but rich library which was maintained by pitiful grants and self-earned money by the surviving family.
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Mammu in conversation with his cousin.
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Copper utensils used in some measurement.

The Observatory was a house full of information with lots of research work done by Late Acharya Chandrasekhar Joshi all that is left as his legacy.

Unfortunately in the run for modernization, we have always kept our knowledge as a second-grade thing only to marvel at and never pursue all the while most foreign countries have much better education diversification that includes them researching and gaining from our knowledge much like which was done at this Vedshala too.

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Some patra I clicked as it was layed by a shiysa.

LOST KNOWLEDGE

I was awestruck know that there existed people in India with such skills and knowledge. This is something that never interested the ruling party as it kept on fooling its people to vote for a single family for well over six decades and all the while we kept losing large chunks of our knowledge.

This ended my day’s trip on a bike with lots of sunburn, emotions, and knowledge that we saw slipping away.

Day 7 Devprayag – Chandrabadini Temple – Dehradun

It was the last day and the only reason we stayed at Devprayag was to visit Chandrabadni temple early in the morning before finally heading back to Dehradun.

We travelled back towards Srinagar road and took a left turn just outside of Devprayag to enter the road for Chandrabadni temple. It was early morning the sun has not broken over yet and as we reached midway to the temple as the sun began to rise and shower its golden rays into the valley below.

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The Golden hues of the rising sun.

UP UP AND AWAY

When we reached the parking for Temple we still needed to trek to the temple and the inclination of which was pretty steep.

Being tired by all the riding and travelling we were disheartened a bit but since we were here we pressed on nonetheless. After about a kilometre and a half, we reached an opening with few small shops and one shopkeeper has just opened his shop and currently he was preparing for breakfast.

The sight of parantha boosted us as we kept walking to reach the temple. The path was completely empty not a soul to be seen anywhere. With few breaks, we kept walking and within an hour we reached the top or so we thought.

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Mammu was walking with a steady pace. Slow and steady…

Thinking the Temple is up in the courtyard we sat down at a stair and took off our shoes washed our hands. As soon as we climbed what we thought were the last set of stairs to reach the broader platform.

We saw a red and very steep staircase rising directly to the temple courtyard above.

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Stairways to eternity.
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Mammu in the trans pose while he climbed stairs which seemed finally leading to the temple
We breathed and again soldered on. Eventually, we reached the Temple and offered our atheistic prayers
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Chandrabadni Temple from down below, before the trek started.

 

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The morning breeze atop the Chandrabadni Temple courtyard was worth it.

This marked the end of my first long travel by bike and what a way to end.

We refreshed ourselves by soaking in the serenity that comes with temples this desolate from the population, the fragrance of Agarbattis soaked with occasional bell rings that swifter winds brought.

We sat there for a while saying nothing to each other and when we were content we moved quietly down the temple stairs to have our breakfast in peace.

And eventually rode back to Dehradun with a wide grin and content from a trip well done.

This trip has added so much to my experience of riding a bike, and ecstatic sense of my own history, knowledge about the people,  places and this all coincided for me at an age when we tend to reflect back on life a perfect package that made me realize the importance of Travels.

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3 Comments Add yours

  1. ANKUR says:

    TRY n have some beef wid d real bikers..guru ji………next time i'l also gooo….

    Like

  2. Bacche pahle padh lo fir comment karna.Real bikers I don't know… are there any?

    Like

  3. Good Blog! Good Blog! Keep wandering, Keep Wondering!

    Like

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