It was in August 2013, after the flood devastated the state of Uttrakhand in June that year. After healing a tibia fracture and quitting my job, I had gotten restless by then. I had to be outdoors, in the Himalayas, somehow, by any means...
News channels and the internet were flooded as well, but with news of the flood. Having been in Uttrakhand many a times before, I had developed a soft corner for the people and the place. The sight of the flood victims felt very heavy on the heart.. I was not financially capable to provide any monetary help to the victims, neither did I have a better consoling ability.. I fear if my consoling efforts trigger negativity instead. I can just feel bad and sad, within.
I decided to visit the state.. ALONE.
After quitting my job, I had earned little money by developing couple of websites for a school and a local business. That was only what I could spend. Also, I could not tell my parents where I was heading to. They would simply had locked me up - emotionally !!
A Great Looking Plan:
I made a quick plan, researched few trek routes and villages, prepared a small resource booklet for myself. I then slowly packed my rucksack and camera to keep it ready. I booked my tickets to New Delhi.
I would require few days to prepare an environment in my house for my travel plans, and I would do that by releasing few information on daily basis for about a week. Though I decided to hide the fact that I would be going to the 'Currently Troubled' Uttrakhand and that too alone, on my own !! Revealing that too wouldn't be a nice idea before I come back safely to home.
Finally, after setting it up and with little sadness, I left. Me, few clothes, a tent, sleeping bag and camera. Since I was carrying less clothes and no mattress, I carried my mom's shawl.. I liked its homely smell.
I headed for Joshimath straight away from Delhi, though it was not a simple journey which it used to be, because of the floods. It was only when I reached Haridwar, I understood the ground situation in Uttrakhand. Simple travel wasn't even possible. In a time when no outsiders were to be seen in the state, I was the odd one out. Few thought I was a journalist, specially for my camera. I had to change 4 jeeps and answer why I was there many a times to different curious people, before I could reach Joshimath.
My plans were to
1) Visit the Rongpa villages of Niti, Malari, Ghamshali, Bampa
2) Trek to Nandikund, from Dronagiri village
3) Reach Badrinath, and Mana
4) Trek till Satopanth Taal
5) Come back and go to Ukhimath
6) Trek Nandikund
7) Come down to Uttarkashi
8) Trek Gangotri
9) Come back to Uttarkashi to join NIM for basic mountaineering course
10) Return home after BMC
This could keep me in the mountains for 3 months. So little was I aware of the ground realities and practicalities when I had made a great looking plan, building a booklet of resources on my plan, sitting on a comfortable chair, surfing the internet, in my home !!
After reaching Joshimath, now there was a question mark on it..
The eventual flow of my solo unguided travel took its own course, and it was me who flew with it.
The journey is written in multiple blogs listed below.
- Niti Malari - Where People Are Gods
- Heavy rains, Dark night, A stone cave and Me
- Loitering in Badrinath | Sadhus, Cannabis, Free Meal, Free Stay
- That's How I Got Leh'd
- Stok Kangri - An Unplanned Climb
- Riding The Nubra Valley
- Travelling Solo, An Insight