The Journey to Joshimath via Haridwari and Rishikesh- The Start of the VOF and Hemkunt Trek

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I recently trekked through Valley of Flowers (VOF) and Hemkunt Sahib in Uttarakhand. But the story begins with my trying to reach Joshimath, my initial halt at Uttarakhand before the trek.

I started at 7.00 am for ISBT Kashmiri Gate Bus Station at New Delhi. Reached there in good time too, only to be told that all buses to Haridwar start from Anand Vihar ISBT. So I headed to the Metro station again and moved towards Anand Vihar. Once I reached there I realized there was an ordinary bus heading to Haridwar in a short while. When I inquired if there were any AC or Volvo buses the person at the counter gave me that look and then said in Hindi, “An ordinary bus is going in a while, if you care you can board it.” I took that advice and soon I was on my way.

I just slept through the 7 hours it took to reach Haridwar. And when I opened my eyes I was dazed. The bus stopped next to the river Ganges and not at the usual bus stand. Everyone was getting out, so I also got out. Then I could find no buses to Rishikesh which otherwise is a routine task. Soon there was a group who wanted to go to Dehradun/Rishikesh and was not finding a way out!

Before joining this group I had already walked on foot to the next stop suggested to get a bus with my rucksack and a small bag. I was turned away by the police officer back to the Ganges bus stand.

So I joined that helpless group and was thinking that I had it. The night would be spent among the Kawarias and I would not reach Joshimath the next day!

Luckily a jeep person approached us saying he can drop us to the relevant city bus stand. The jeep was full in no time! The first time around police didn’t let the jeep go in the intended direction. After coming back again and showing a paper we were allowed to go through!

True to his words the jeep driver got us to the correct bus station and once again I was on my way- to Rishikesh.

I was looking for a hotel near the bus stand as I intended to start at 4.00 am for Joshimath. It takes 10-12 hours to reach Joshimath and the hill roads are not that safe after the dark (chances of the bus falling of into a gorge increases!). Hence starting early has a distinct advantage. At that hour I didn’t want to look for an auto, so I was looking for a hotel from where I could walk to the bus stand.

Hotel Suruchi looked the biggest of all but the lesser said about it the better. I managed to fall asleep as I was very tired but I surely would not like to stay there ever again.

I got up at 3.15 the next day and managed to get a last row seat in the 4.00 am bus to Joshimath. On the way someone took pity on me and gave their isle seat as they were all part of a group and change of seats made them sit next to each-other.

For mountain roads Avomine helps me avoid nausea and sleep as well even on rickety buses. I woke up an hour before Joshimath that means I slept for 9 hours!

And if you think I have learnt my lesson now this was already my 3rd visit to Joshimath.

The story continues …

You can check out the entire trip account day wise from the following links-

Rest Day at Joshimath (Day 3 of the trip)

Trekking from Govinghat to Ghangaria (Day 4 of the trip, day 1 of the trek)

Trekking from Ghangaria to Valley of Flowers (Day 5 of the trip, Day 2 of the trek)

Trekking from Ghangaria to Hemkunt Sahib (Day 6 of the trip, day 3 of trekking)

Trekking from Ghangaria to Govindghat (Day 7 of the trip, day 4 of trekking)

Please check out my Antarctica Dream Page as well