My Himalayan Travels – Day 3
On Day 3, I wanted to go all the way to Kedarnath from Gupt Kashi. The route is shown below.
We woke up to a beautiful sunrise in the mountains in the morning at the hotel. Then we started at 6 am to go to Triyugi Narayan via Son Prayag. The road steadily rises up as we go to Son Prayag via Rampur and Sitapur. But there is a much steeper climb via a barely motorable road to Triyugi Narayan.
The climb is quite steep and the road is very uncomfortable. We finally make it to the top of the hill and are rewarded with unbelievable views. Sitapur is dwarfed when viewed from that height. The snow capped peaks in the distance looked amazing.
Triyugi Narayan is a small hamlet at the top of the hill. It has a beautiful temple dedicated to Narayana. The legend is that Shiva married Parvati here at the temple in the Sathya Yug. Narayana solemnized the wedding by giving Parvati away to Shiva as her brother. Brahma was the priest of the ceremony. The Dhuni or the sacrificial fire that was lit for the ceremony is supposed to be burning for three yugas. Hence the name Triyugi narayan.
The Dhuni still burns today and we had the opportunity of adding one more log to the Akhand Dhuni. It is a very serene environment there.
Then I started moving from there to the next place which is Son Prayag. Son Prayag is at the confluence of the Son Ganga and Mandakini. From Son Prayag it is 5 kms to Gauri kund. Outside Vehicles are not allowed beyond Son Prayag. However, there are local all wheel drive Sumos that ply between Son Prayag and Gaurikund. Since each kilometer saved would be vital, we took the Sumo and got ourselves dropped at Gaurikund.
This is where the Goddess Parvati was supposed to have appeased Lord Shiva by meditation. GauriKund also has hot water from sulphur springs which is considered beneficial.
There is a temple for Goddess Gauri which we can pray to before setting off to Kedarnath by walk (or by mule).
Mandakini flows in front of the springs with great ferocity. I had to freeze the camera to make her look timid in pictures.
From Gauri kund, we like Parvati, set out to meet her beloved – the Great Shiva.
On the way to Kedarnath
The path to Kedar cuts across four to five mountains. It is a steady upward climb for the most part punctuated by a few downward slopes – especially when the path crosses the Mandakini. These downward climbs are immediately followed by more vicious upward slopes as if the path wants to make up for the extra luxury that was afforded to the intrepid traveller. For intrepid the traveller has to be to negotiate this climb. It is documented as around 14 kms. But I am fully confident that by the time all is said and done, it would not be less than 22 to 23 kms from Gaurikund to the Kedarnath temple. It goes forever. Deep gorges, the gushing Mandakini, awesome crevasses and lovely waterfalls appear in the journey. Glaciers still stand with ice that has not melted even after 6 months of sunny weather.
But the journey moves on and on.
We made abortive attempts to hire a horse but was terrified. Shiva, after all, wanted me to travel to the top by foot and is not taking any compromises. We had gusts of wind followed by a sudden downpour in between but it soon subdued itself. God came to us in the form of a porter (Rajesh Chauhan) who managed to take care of our bags from us. Even then, I went quite breathless and was feeling very cold by the time I reached the top of the hill. It was 7 45 pm by the time I reached the top.
I promptly found the Punjab and Sind Nivas which was supposed to be our point of stay for the night. It is not a great place but had a ton of blankets. Had some food and slept for the night like a log. Dreamt about the logs that I helped ignite in Triyugi Narayan – the logs that kept the Akhand Dhuni going for three yugas.
Good night guys.