In the Uttarakhand series so far, you saw, we began our journey from Haridwar and…. ….we visited the Yamunotri Dham…. We committed some mistakes like…. ….not bringing snow shoes to wear for walking in the snow and… ….we forgot to bring umbrella with us to protect from the rain. While planning this tour, remember to add these things to your checklist. Well, if you also forget to bring woolens or raincoat with you…. ….you miss packing the same, you can locally purchase the things. You can purchase good quality woolens in Harsil. But before embarking on this yatra, if you keep in mind to pack woolens, raincoats, shoes, mufflers,….. …in your luggage, it would be better. From Janki Chatti to Gangotri, we spent one night at Tipri village. In our last episode, you saw that we really enjoyed Garhwali food in the village. In this episode, you will see the journey from Uttarkashi to Gangotri Dham. If you have missed any episode of the Uttarakhand series,…. …you can refer to the playlist and watch all episodes in continuity. Namaskar friends! Welcome to Visa2explore! This is your host, Harish Bali Today is Day 6 of our Yatra. Last night was spent in Hina village, 15kms from Uttarakhand. From here, we will begin our journey to Gangotri Dham. You can see how beautiful the view is of the Bhagirathi river. Really magnificent!!! You can easily spend an hour or two sitting on the rocks there and enjoy the view. This Bhagirathi is known as the Ganga river in Devprayag a little distance from here. From here, it will take us 3 more hours to reach Harsil and then an hour more to Gangotri. And if we keep stopping on our way, it is possible that we may reach Gangotri Dham at 8 or 8.30 pm tonight. Maximum travellers finish this journey within 9 to 10 days but …some travellers take upto 12 days as well. But since we stopped at a lot of places on our way during the yatra,…. …so our whole journey, from Haridwar to Haridwar,…. …is going to take us a total of 24 to 25 days. We just saw, after covering a distance of 5kms,…. ….a roaming kiosk van, for the purpose of registration of pilgrims on the route. You need to carry your ID proof, like election card or Aadhar card with you. This is how the registration card looks like. After traveling another 3kms we’ve reached Khedi waterfalls. The actual waterfall flows down from the mountain, during the rainy season…. …which is called Khedi waterfall. This water flow that you see in front of you…. …this comes from the Maneri dam, quite an old dam in this area, a small distance away. The dam is built on the Bhagirathi river, which you can see in front of you. So this water flows into the Bhagirathi. If you come here in June or July, the pressure of water flow increases 3-4 times. The water level rises upto the road on which we are standing right now, that too with high pressure. So, today, the water level is only 25% of what it usually is and even that looks so ferocious. We’ve reached Gangnani. Harsil is 31kms from here, as is written on this milestone. Now we will walk towards the Gangnani spring. Brother, the way to Gangnani? That board there? We walked up 10-12 stairs to reach the temple at Gangnani. We paid our obeisance. We have with us the temple priest. Can you tell us something about the Gangnani kund and this place? Yes! Saint Parashar descended on this place for the conservation of Vaidik Dharma. He couldn’t reach Gangotri in Uttarakhand. The route was obfuscated. He sat here by the banks of the river Ganga. There is a boulder inside, he sat on that and kept singing devotional songs. While praying to the divine, he called upon the Ganga to reach here. This came to be called Parashari Ganga. Saint Parashar was the father of Saint Ved Vyas. Saint Parashar spent years meditating at this place. He also established four kunds (ponds) here. Ved Vyas Kund! Parashar Kund! Vashisht Kund! Narad Kund! I am a servant here! Say Ganga Maiya ki Jai! This is Maharashi Ved Vyas Kund! Its water is quite warm! The pilgrims take a bath on this side. Cap, woolen! Is it handmade? How much for it? This one is for Rs. 150. Rs. 150! And do you have hand-woven woolen socks? Yes, we have! Handmade! Yes, these would fit me. Okay! What is its price? It is for Rs. 180 a pair. Rs. 180. Okay brother! We have to travel 27kms more to reach Harsil. We are having tea and biscuits. How is this place? Amazing, no? Right there, you can see 4-5 different waterfalls flowing down the mountain in different places. There are mountains on all sides of us and it feels like…. …there couldn’t be a more beautiful place than this. I am trying to imagine from this point of view that there are 27kms left to reach Harsil. So, how beautiful would Harsil be!!! We have the Bhagirathi river on our back and the road in front. This place is heaven! Too good! Very beautiful! We are still 23kms from Harsil. Look at this beautiful scenic view, look at the powerful pressure with which the water is flowing down below. Superfast! There are mountains everywhere. I feel like, there is our car right there, sending our car on to Harsil and… …walking the rest of the 23kms of our path on foot. We would reach Harsil at leisure in the evening and do the night stay. It is such a beautiful view! From the moment we began our journey from Gangnani to Harsil… …I have been seeing such small springs like these after every few kilometers. Some springs are flowing down the tall mountains and others are flowing down the road on which we travel. Now that mountain standing there, if you’ve got a pair of binoculars with you,… …you would enjoy watching the springs flowing down that one. We don’t have such a powerful lens to show you the view in close up but….. …I’ve realized that one should bring binoculars to this trip, it would be enjoyable! Right now, we’ve stopped about 12kms from Harsil, in Sukkhi village. About one and a half kilometers from here will come the Sukkhi Top. Now, the dhaba that you see right there, we are going to eat some Garhwali food here. After our discussion, they have asked us to wait for an hour or so. They are going to make us lal chawal (red rice) and with that Naurangi dal (9-colored lentils). Now, I am going to give you some information about both the dishes. First of all, see the raw red rice, I’ve asked for some of it to show to the viewers. In the mountains, if you ask someone for ‘Ghar ka chawal’ (homely rice), it means red rice. With that, this is Naurangi dal, as I mentioned just now. And they also used Jakhia to cook naurangi dal. The dal is, in fact, ready. While the rice was being cooked, its fragrance was quite strong and quite a new experience for me. This dal that you see in the katori (bowl) is made of two varieties. One is Urad (split black gram) and the other one is Sonta dal. The Sonta dal, I am told, is native to the mountains and there is a rare chance you will get it in the cities. Quite a different experience! Lal chawal & Naurangi dal! As I told you already…. ….there is a 99% chance that you will get red rice to eat in case you ask for homely rice. It is clear from the name that the rice is red in color. Now let me taste a bit of it separately. This rice has smaller grains and as I mentioned earlier, this rice is crushed with mortar and pestle. Unpolished rice! Having a fibrous feeling while eating it So, you can take it as a very healthy variety of rice. Whether you will get it anywhere else apart from in the mountains? I have no idea. Before this trip, I’ve never had red rice ever. Now let me taste the dal separately to gauge its taste. Now, if you ask me whether this is urad dal, yes it is, but its taste is different. There is a third variety of dal, whose flavor is dominating the dish. The flavor of this dal doesn’t match either masoor or toor dal. That dal’s flavor,….. …if I have to tell you about its nearest match, just for the heck of it,…. …that would be Gehat dal. That dal, I have had at least twice or thrice in the past few days Whenever you come to Garhwal,… ….so, the lal chawal and the naurangi dal like this,… ….if you get Urad dal separately or the Sonta dal,… …this combination is brilliant and don’t miss adding Jakhia, wherever you may eat it,… Jakhia is compulsory if you want to experience the original taste of mountains. Since we are talking about the taste of mountains,… …you must look at the environment carefully. There are mountains all around and there you can see snow on top of the mountains. May month, pleasant weather! We are sitting here, wearing a sweater, which means we are feeling cold as well. And we are enjoying such a beautiful tasty food in such good weather! You will rarely get to enjoy such a lovely location, but such locations are abundant throughout Uttarakhand. The past couple of hours, we have been seeing such beautiful locales throughout our route. So amazing! And when we reach Harsil, we’ve heard that it has awesome scenic views!!! By the way, today we’ve planned to spend the night at Gangotri Dham. Let us enjoy this meal. After we finish here, we will proceed further and after enjoying the scenic views, will end our journey today. As I told you already, we are 1 km from Sukkhi Top, at the Sukkhi village. As we were leaving here, we met this gentleman, a resident of Sukkhi village. When I asked him what else was famous here, he told me Rajma (kidney beans). While we were talking, he got 6 different varieties of rajma from his home to show to us. Here it is! So, brother, please tell us what are all these called. Generally, these are called rajma and the classification is done based on its color. White rajma, yellow rajma, red rajma, red spotted rajma, white spotted rajma and small rajma! As for the flavors of these, the best flavor is that of the white rajma. As for the red and other varieties of rajma, their flavors are almost similar. Okay!!! So, this means that we must eat the white rajma at the next given opportunity. Yes definitely! Thank you brother. I am happy that you showed us so many varieties in rajma. And are there any other varieties too? There are a few more varieties, which I don’t have with me right now. You mean there are 8-9 varieties of Rajma here? Yes, there are! Very good Sir! Thanks a lot! We will take your leave now! Thank you! Thank you! Before leaving Sukkhi village, we’ve climbed atop the roof of somebody’s house for better scenic view. Now look at this beautiful view, there are clouds everywhere, mountains and snow on top of mountains. So beautiful!!! With that, you can look at these apple buds too! This is the smaller version of an apple. It will take 3-4 months to ripen. Now, we will travel 1km from here and take a halt at Sukkhi Top. Yes, we’ve reached Sukkhi Top. Look at this magnificent view! Wherever you look, there is a gorgeous view! Now, if you would notice the movement of the clouds,… …these are not very far from us, hardly 200 meters away…. …moving clouds are adorning every mountain around us. You can see snow atop the mountain in front of us. That mountain top is not very far from us either, if we talk of the aerial distance, hardly 800 mts or 1km. If we look downwards, it seems the water in the Bhagirathi river has frozen. The water seems to have stopped, if we look from here. The river banks and the sediments collected on the side have also acquired a designer hue from this distance. I can also see a long line of vehicle stuck in a traffic jam and on the other side of the bridge,… …vehicular movement is nill. And the spot from where we are looking, the water seems to be flowing at such high speed. Though the river is far down below and we don’t have a zoom lens so that we can show you clearly but…. …just too good! One more interesting thing I must tell you, that mountain straight ahead,… …on which you can see the snow, it is called Bhugial. It is a flat area of on top of the mountain, which is a sort of greenland, where snow…… …when collects during winters, looks beautiful like this. I am repeating myself, this piece of land is called Bhugial. When you will reach here while travelling on the Char Dham route…. …you must stop here, you will enjoy here very much. From the Sukkhi Top, when we were looking at the Bhagirathi river down below…. ….it looked immensely beautiful. It seemed as if the river had stopped flowing and the sand on the river bank….. ….but as we reached down here and looked, we found a lot of small stones lying on either side of the river. As the car proceeds on this road, we are realizing that Mukhba village is located on top of this mountain. Scenic views are awesome but the road is narrow! If we come here during the rainy season, there will be full chances of a landslide happening on this road. Right now, we are in the Mukhba village, the winter abode of Ma Ganga. I just paid obeisance inside. We have Pandit Ji (the priest) with us. Jai Ganga Maiya Ki! Ganga Maiya Ki Jai! Pandit Ji, can you give us some information about the winter abode of Ma Ganga, where we are sitting now Yes! This stone statue of Ma Ganga is believed to be centuries old. It is antique. We pray to Ganga Maiya throughout the year. We walk on foot from here to take the statues of Ma Ganga, Ma Saraswati and Ma Annapurna,…. …to the temple of Lord Bhairava, where we worship to the deities through the night and…. ….leave early next morning to reach Gangotri. After performing the necessary rituals, the doors to the temple are thrown open to devotees. On the day of Akshay Tritiya? Yes, Akshay Tritiya! And when do you bring the statue of Ma Ganga back here? After the Diwali pooja is performed, we reach the Markandeya temple….. …near the main Math. After a night long ritual of worship and singing devotional songs, we reach back…. ….to the main temple on Bhai Dooj. It felt good to come here, talk to you and visit the temple of Ma Ganga. Thanks a lot! Jai Ganga Maiya Ki! Ganga Maiya Ki Jai! We’ve reached Gangotri Dham. It is 10.15 pm. Tomorrow, we are going to Gaumukh, for which we need to wake up at 4 am or 3.45 am…. ….and leave at 5 or 5.15 am. We will be walking 18 kms to and fro for this journey. We had reached here at about 7.30 or 7.45 pm but…. …it took us almost one and a half hour to figure out where we are going to stay for the night because…. ….we didn’t have any advance booking. We were not sure that we would reach Gangotri Dham tonight. When we were sure of our plan, two days ago, enroute to this place….. ….the internet connectivity was very poor. Anyways, finally, we got to stay in this rest house of Garhwal Mandal. Very decent place! It is a large hall, having two double beds in it. It costs Rs. 2240, including taxes. So, that is very reasonable! Now, this accommodation is available only for a day so tomorrow…. ….when we return from Gaumukh, we might need to chance our accommodation because of this issue. No rooms are available tomorrow. This list is displayed right outside the Garhwal Mandal Rest house…. …which says the Ganga Maa Mandir is half a kilometer from here. The Bhagirath Shila is also close by. We will go to Maa Ganga Mandir day after tomorrow. As you can see on this board, all these landmarks are nearby. We will meet soon with the new episode on Gaumukh. Till then goodbye! Jai Maa Ganga! For your knowledge, you need to walk on foot from your parking area to your hotel in Gangotri Dham. This distance ranges between half a kilometer to one kilometer. To carry your luggage, you can either hire a porter or take help from the hotel staff. In the coming episodes, you will see the Gangotri Temple…. …and also the journey to Gaumukh! We will meet soon with a new episode, a new journey. Till then goodbye! Thanks for your time!