Saturday, 6 May 2017

Tapovan : A Life Time Experience – Part 1

After much confusion, I am finally packing my rucksack for adventures trek of Tapovan. It’s too dark when I wake up 3 ‘o clock and there are two reasons for this too dark. First, its night and second is no electricity since night. I somehow manage my works and off to station in wintry dark. Station is busy with buses so I struggle to find out bus for Haridwar and 6.30 am I starts journey. Bus is almost empty. In Rudrapur bus had an accident. Actually, driver left bus without lock. Suddenly bus starts moving forward but luckily, driver see and manages to jump inside and stop the bus. It could be a serious accident coz road was engage with paddlers. Bus reaches Haridwar by 2.30 and I went to Rishikesh from where I can get bus for Uttarkashi. Getting bus for Uttarkashi is another expedition coz no bus is going there and taxies are asking for high charges. After lots of struggles, I get taxi. Rishikesh is very hot but it becomes cold when taxi reaches upward. Taxi driver is less talkative short height chubby man. Road is stunning with beautiful valleys. On the way, I saw groups of nomads who are walking with their families, cattle and dogs. Nomad has always been my favorite. They walk in huge groups and every group has many buffalo. Local people always become happy to see them coz they are very lovable and trouble-free people. They sale milk and other milk products, which is only source of their income…  

Soon it become dark and villages are showing their presence through the light. Villages are blinking like stars in dark valley. Tihri Dam Reservoir is also showing presence through reflection in water. In Chamiyashoud village, I saw beautiful reflection of Tihri Dam Rservoir. I finish dinner on way and by the time, I reach my rest house in Uttarkashi it was 11.30…

I wake up 7’o clock in the morning. Temperature is pleasant yet. I went for short walk to the bank of River Bhagirathi, which is flowing, near to my rest house. River bank is dry and mining work is going on there. Far from this, I hear the prayer sound of primary school students who are singing national anthem with drumbeats. This made me nostalgic. When I was student, I used to do all these too. Hearing it again is good experience. After breakfast I off to shopping for trek in sultry weather but unfortunately, I could not get anything in Uttarakhshi’s unmanaged market. In this heat, getting taxi for Gangotri is another struggle. Though I get share taxi but taxi driver starts after 2 hours when taxi become full with passengers. Man sitting next to me is blind follower of RSS and spewing so much poison for others. This is sad to see that where we are going. What the fake reality is incubating in the brain of people on the name of patriotism and religion. Disgusting! He keeps talking about Hinduism and other topics. He is from Uttar Pradesh and going to Gaumukh…

Hence, for me it’s better to enjoy the beauty of mother nature. Bhagirathi is with us all the time. Somewhere it is broad and somewhere it’s narrow. Somewhere it is jumping through the high hills and somewhere it is flowing through the deep gorges. Somewhere color of water is bluish, somewhere it’s greenish, somewhere it is flowing like ribbon but every appearance of Bhagirathi is beautiful and gorgeous. Driver is insolent young guy. He is not stopping taxi anywhere. This valley is famous for apples. I see many apple orchards on the way and want to buy some but driver is not ready to stop. When I ask him to stop, he badly replies – I will not stop taxi anywhere. When taxi reaches Harsil, one more passenger, from Mumbai, wants to get out and see the open valley of Harsil for a while only but driver didn’t stop. Now it was height of his rudeness so I tell him – Is this the way you behave with tourists ? They are the source of your earning. You should pay some respect to them. They are not coming here again and again. But driver again rudely reply – I don’t want them to come here. You go back. We don’t need outsiders here in our area. This is unbelievable for me. I still remember the Kedarnath catastrophe when tourists stopped coming here. That time, these were the people, who were saying - We will die hungry if tourist will not come coz we have nothing else to do. How will we survive if tourist will stop coming. Now when tourists are coming they are behaving like this. Selfish people though I am not saying this to all... 

No doubt, scenario is beautiful but roads are not good. In every 5 minutes, roads are bumping like hell. However, the good part is now I can see the Himalaya. RSS follower says after watching the Himalaya first time – It’s not real, it’s not snow, mountain has been whitewashed in white color that’s why this is looking beautiful. Taxi reaches Gangotri by 5’oclock and I went to hotel, which I have already booked. I searched hotel with the help of locals, put my stuff there, and went to permit office to get permit for Tapovan... 

I also met my guide there and went into the office. When I entered, I saw huge pictures of blue sheep, which is, I can say the specialty of the Tapovan.  Permit officer is a nice person. He gives me form and asks about my guide because I cannot go without any guide. I introduce my guide to him and then he gave me permission with few important advices…

After finishing this I stroll in the small market of Gangotri. Worship paraphernalia, warm clothes, shoes, and food products are available here but prices!!! Price is what shopkeeper wants to take. They sell 10 rupees Maggi in 40 to 50 rupees. 15 rupees chocolate is around 50-60 rupees. Reason behind this loot is that it becomes very expensive due to transportation. I can understand the logic but cannot believe that it could be that expensive. Anyway strolling through the market, I reach to Gangotri Temple...

Constructed with white tiles Gangotri temple is far away from my imagination. When I reach, only few people were here but slowly devotees are increasing. Arti will start in a while. Main temple has covered with curtain before arti starts. Priest will do the arti in honor of River Bhagirathi. When arti starts, one more priest starts beating drum in rhythmic high volume and other priest holding huge wick lamp in his hand and moving it into circular movement. He is doing this with the drumbeats. All temple campus is echoing with this sound and it was so soothing that I sit peacefully until 45 minutes when arti stop.  Now I come to market again and finish dinner for which I paid two times more money… 

River Bhagirathi flowing just next to my hotel with gushing and roaring sound. Flow of the water is amazingly speedy. I spend whole night with this roaring sound…


  1. Absolutely stunning, the landscape is really cool, I wish that I love to be there.

  2. Nice. Photos are beautiful.

  3. What an amazingly beautiful area. I live in a mountainous area but the Himalayas make our mountains look like hills.

  4. Excellent travelogue. I envy your experience. Thanks for sharing these beautiful photos. Waiting for Part 2.

  5. Tolle Bilder von den Bergen und der Landschaft.


  6. Thank you sooooo much you took me with you on such a glorious journey dear friend!!!

    I consider you brave enough to wakeup as early and set off for more than 8 hour bus travel alone .
    like you did you preparation without light we also have almost 10 hour load shading ,i read and enjoyed each bit of your beautiful post and was about to write comment and light went off. just got it back ,I am still under the spell of your virtual description of your journey .
    Nomads always fascinate me ,their life style is so natural and adventurous .

    your first stay near river is so inviting as photos reveal the peace and serenity you must have experienced there .listening anthem in school and remembering your student life is a natural reaction .

    your second taxi driver sounds like rude or mentally ill for not allowing you and others to stop and enjoy of purchase anything.
    your capturing is absolutely GORGEOUS!!! loved the view of mountain so much,what a spiritual experience it must be .
    you really are lucky to live life of your dreams ,waiting for next updates!

  7. I was interested in or attracted to some “light” in this post like preparation without light, the warm blinking light of the village in the dark, and the light on top of the snow-capped top of the mountain. A trip full of nice experiences.


  8. Wonderful shots i must say vinita.I enjoyed the beauty.

  9. Hello Vineeta,
    Great pictures of this amazing area. A wonderful place to be.
    Nice to read your story.

    Best regards,

  10. Wow! So many places to see. Looking forward to Part 2.

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  11. Excellent photos Vineeta of your journey.

  12. I wish I could experience this myself too!

  13. Fantastic journey and really enjoying reading about your struggles.....and fantastic pics !

  14. Beautiful place. Definitely a life time experience.

  15. Someday would love to trek this route. Nice pictures.

  16. Great experience. Made me want to pack my bags too. :-)

  17. Superb captures all!! Sad to read about the rude taxi driver and the careless bus driver.

  18. Olá, fazer uma caminhada pelo meio da perfeita natureza é fantástico, o ambiente natural é cativantes, assim como, são as belas fotos.

  19. Hi Vineeta,

    Amazing and nice story of tapovan trek. Beautiful pictures of tapovan trek place. After reading your article, I also want to experience the same. Thank you for sharing your experience.

  20. मैंने नहीं सुना ऐसा कि तपोवन तक के लिए किसी परमिशन या गाइड की जरुरत होती है ? गोमुख से तो लोग कांवड़ लेकर आते हैं !! खैर , आपने जो टैक्सी ड्राइवर के व्यवहार की बात की , कुछ के पास पैसा आ गया है तो उनका दिमाग सातवें आसमान पर है , अन्यथा उत्तराखंड के लोग अच्छे होते हैं !!