The second leg of the trip only includes us visiting Mammus various contacts for his work that was due.
We left a bit late after breakfast knowing fully that we didn’t need to go long distance. The earlier plan was to reach Gopeshwar from Karnprayag, but for the sake of enjoyment we went ahead and chose the Rudraprayag – Ukhimath – Gopeshwar route. Mostly due to its scenic drive.
This was June and sun was beating down all through we kept ourselves hydrated. Rudraprayag was pretty much hot adding to that was the humidity at the place.
We took left from Rudraprayag and kept right of river Mandakini to keep to Agastmuni. We took refreshment break at near Agastamuni GMVNL guest house not sure of the place but it was beside Mandakini river itself.
The road ahead was a bit 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 Ukhimat quaint old town where the lord Tungnath resides during winters. The statue of Lord Tungnath is placed here and back to Tungnath Temple itself in a ceremony that is widely attended.
By the time we reached Ukhimath it was 2:30 pm already and we still have to reach Gopeshwar which was about 40 odd kilometres from there.
In 2009 Ukimath had very few shops outside on the main road, since we have skipped the town we were looking for some food to carry with ourselves just in case since the road ahead was not well-kept as we were told and finally managed to keep couple of biscuits and a long enough piece of plastic cover, this was just in case of any eventuality.
In about an hour we were 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. The Temple itself is situated at about 10,000 feet and is not an easy trek for most.
We took a full plate 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 for Garhwali. The food was freshly prepared and so it took quite some time to cook.
After quite a while we moved forward to Gopeshwar road and found out that few of the assertions of locals were true namely the road was a bit tough just near the highest mountain we cross, not sure if there exists a local name for that pass or not but it did appear so to us, the road here was pretty thin just enough for one four wheelers to pass.
We were going pretty slow knowing fully that we have plenty of time for ourselves. When we descended that hill we encountered couple of Junglee murgee on to our left.
We were told at Chopta that there was a man-eater near Gopeshwar so most of the time I was peeling my eyes ahead and back through rearview mirrors to ensure we were not being tracked.
Eventually, we came out at the opening on our right to view the big town over the hill it was Gopeshwar. 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.
It was a sleepy little town and we ate dinner early at 8:20 before the shopkeepers close it at around 9 pm. Went back and rested.
Today’s itinerary was mostly reaching Pipalkoti where Mammu has his work so we left at around 8 am from Gopeshwar. As it would take us only an hour to reach there just in time for breakfast.
This day involved us riding for 170 kms. By now Mammu had started to feel the problems at sitting in the back of a bike so we used to stop at every 30-40 km to take a break this time around we had all these Prayag’s which was literally within the tolerance to sit continuously.
And we mostly ran through our journey as we headed to Devprayag. Where mammu promised me to Take me to a very old वैदिक नक्षत्र वेधशाला (Observatory) 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 the day (1950’s) of Nehru and Indira Gandhi which along with many illustrious clients throughout the world.
As soon as we reached Gopeshwar which took us about 5 hours from Pipalkoti, we located a chalta firta guest house as that’s what we could manage for the night. And after a refreshing bath, we left our baggage at the hotel and moved upwards of Devprayag towards the वैदिक नक्षत्र वेधशाला (Observatory).
Next two hours I spent there watching all the scientific Instruments and gadgets and a magnificent library though right now in the deplorable state. With lots of research work done by Late Acharya Chandrasekhar Joshi and his legacy.
Unfortunately in the run for modernisation, 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.
I was awestruck know that there existed people in India with excellent skills and knowledge but that is something that never interested the ruling party as it kept on fooling its people to vote for a single family literally forever and we kept losing large chunks of our knowledge to foreigner who even resorted to plundering it by money even after these nations so-called freedom.
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 this temple early in the morning before reaching finally back to Dehradun.
We travelled back towards Srinagar road and took a left turn just outside of Devprayag to enter a path 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.
When we reached the parking for Temple we still needed to trek to the temple and the inclination of which was pretty steep for about 2kms or so. Being tired by all the riding and travelling we were disheartened a bit but then pressed on none the less as one shopkeeper was opening his shop and currently he was preparing breakfast.
That boosted us enough as we started the trek to reach the temple. The pathway was completely empty not a soul to be seen anywhere throughout the road. We kept walking and within an hour we reached the top or so we thought.
In the meantime we too time to sit and rest and took out our shoes washed out hands. And as soon as we reached the broader platform we saw a very steep stair case reddish and rising directly to the temple courtyard above.
Well, मरता किया न करता we breathed and again soldered on. Eventually, we reached the Temple offered our atheistic prayers by appreciating the beauty of the temple and wondering about the choice of those people who lived nearby this huge hill who had an idea of establishing this temple here at the top.
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 while we were content we moved on quietly down the temple ate our breakfast in peace.
And eventually rode back to Dehradun with a wide grin and content of a trip well done.