Monday, 11 June 2012

When I was in Pithoragarh – Part 1

This time my nomadness brought me to Pithoragarh.  Though, I got some opportunities earlier but my busy schedule was not allowing me to go there. This time again I got chance and I was pretty sure to cash this, so I made all the arrangements and pack my bag to go…

It was the morning of   5th November 2010 when I moved to bus stand. Though I was on time but when I reached there, bus was relatively packed. With some disappointment first thought swift in my mind was, that this time again I will have to cancel my plan but next I thought, I will go by the same bus and arranged a seat on the bus-bonnet. Seat was uncomfortable but front view was wide and clear so I was not that much unhappy. Sometime later bus started and within 30 minutes, it stopped at Bhowali, A small fruit market.  Lots of passengers shuffled in and out but bus was still jam-packed. After little halt, bus came to a life and set off to Almora. It was winter and I was almost shivering...

This route is known for me but this time it was badly damaged by last years' heavy rain, which was like disaster. Signs of disaster still could see on the road. I saw damaged road, damaged bank of Kosi River, damaged house, damaged shops and even I saw some damaged vehicles also. It was heart breaking. Road was nowhere, only the heap of yellow dust could be seen. I tried to take pictures from my mobile but the heavy jerks shake my hand.  Around 10 AM I was at Almora.

Here I got a seat and settled down there. A middle-aged man sitting next to me. His mouth was badly smelting with tobacco. My back was in little pain so I leaned back to my seat and was waiting bus to move. I was happy with my silence but the man started conversation…

Are you going to Pithoragarh ?
Yes – as I am horrible to speak much so I was replying short.

Are you media person, I saw you were taking pictures all the way ?

Going Pithoragarh for some reporting work ?
Yes – Now the man was irritating me.

Suddenly he starts talking with passengers who were searching for seats. I found him a sort of chatty person. Most of the passengers were busy in sipping tea and gossiping. Mostly were speaking in their regional dialect (Kumauni).  Around 15 minutes later bus started but stopped again. Driver tried again but it couldn’t start. He tried over and over again but nothing happened, then he said – bus ko dhakka marana parega (Need to push the bus). Some passenger went off and pushed but bus was still jam. Driver saw that some little more enthusiast passengers were pushing the bus from front to back and other were pushing it from back to front. Driver shouted – push it from backside only. Well after some more pushes fortunately bus start again…

Bus was still bustling with passengers. Seat I got was not good coz nothing could see from here and the man next to me was talking continuously, though he was quite decent person. He starts talking about Pithoragarh and wanted to know, why I am going there ? Condition of road was still not good.  I did try to look out but not able to watch anything. I wished I could sit on the bonnet-seat again but it has engaged…

Now the weather was getting hot and passengers were busy in gossiping. Some little children was crying on their mothers’ lap and man sitting next to me was giving me lots of instructions and information about Pithoragarh. When Himalaya range start appearing, he told me – see this is Himalaya… I thought next time he might tell me see, this is cow, dog and labla labla la... Well after crossing small villages like Dhoulchhena, Bhikiyasen we reached at Panuwanaula, where I got front seat again. Thank god now I can see proper view and also got rid of the persons’ tobacco smell. 

Its bright day and I looked out from window, watching Small villages, town, Small shops, terrace fields were passing… Rang of Himalaya were very clear. Here I noticed most of the men wore long shirt and payjama and women wore sari with different style. Around 12 O'clock bus reached at Danya, Small town with some Dhabas (Restaurant). Bus stopped here for lunch.  When I was planning for Pithoragarh, one of my friend told me that Aloo Paratha is specialty of this place so I had already decided to take Aloo Paratha for lunch.  I went in a restaurant and ordered for paratha.  A lady and her husband was running this restaurant. After a while, paratha was on my table but when I ate, I got disappointed coz parathas were not that good as I was told about. After finishing food, I back to my seat… After little more time bus starts again and thankfully this time without any push…

We headed forward now.  I still could see the badly damaged things by the last year rain. I came to know that village called Dyaoli badly destroyed by the rain and the numbers of casualties were highest here. As bus was still jam-packed but the driver was still stopping for every passenger. Conductor got mad on him and shouted – why the hell are you stopping bus everywhere, Can’t you see there is no space for anybody ?  just run the bus coz I have to reach Pithoragarh on time . Driver replied with double voice – I will stop for every passenger coz this is the only bus for them, if I would not stop, their whole day will be spoil and most of them have to walk kilometers for way back to their home.  he was still murmuring – I am on time and will be Pithoragarh on time, don’t know why he always shout like this… after this sort of world war third driver slowed down the bus speed… I was favoring him coz his logic was right though me to wanna reach Pithoragarh on time.

Now a Dholiganga river has start following us. Some electric power projects were running on the river. From here, view became very pleasant. Large and green field were making journey little easy. Around 3 PM we reached at Ghaat and still almost 1 hour drive left from here but don’t know when driver is planning to reach coz he was still in anger and murmuring also… Bus was on bridge now and crossing the Ghaat.  River was leaving behind and we were going up and up and up from the river…

Bus again stop in a small town and when it start, conductor asked one passenger – where is the passenger sitting next to you ?
Passenger replied – His Sikkim Brand has broken so he went off to buy another one…

Sikkim Brand, name stuck in my mind and I thought it must be a famous brand of this region so I will buy one for me from Pithoragarh but latter in Pithoragarh when I enquired about Sikkim Brand, I came to know that it’s a brand of local liquor… As I heard this sort of brand first time so I laughed on my stupidity and stooped the idea to buy Sikkim Brand… Well by 3.30 we reached at Gurna.  

Bus stopped in front of a temple. I was told that – Once upon time when it was complete jungle many accidents used to happen here and people had a threat for this route. One day a local person dreamed about temple and he made a goddess Gurnas' temple. It says after the temple construction, this place saved from any type of accidents. Since then every vehicle stops here for a while.   

 Eventually bus reached at Pithoragarh but just 1 hour late… Its 4.30 now and I moved straight to hotel where I had my bookings already. First glimpse of Pithoragarh was not very good like all Indian cities but I was hoping for good time. Well my hotel was good enough to welcome me in a new place.  Temperature was batter so after freshen up I took coffee and decided to go out to explore the city…



  1. Wow what an exciting journey!!

  2. A very exciting report, real adventure!

    Servus, and thank´s for visiting my blog.

  3. lovely story and nice photographs....

  4. Interesting bus journey. Sometimes its fun to travel in a crowded bus with quirky fellow travellers. Nice narration.

  5. What an adventurous bus journey.

  6. That bus tour is adventurous and exciting at the same time. I wonder whether the road was damaged by flooding or landslide because of heavy rain.

  7. Great story and photos.
    Some bus journey you had.
    Hope you're having a great weekend.

  8. beautifully narrated travelogue...

    and photos are good..

    thanks for sharing

  9. This is really an adventure.

    And a good experience as well.

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