Uttar Pradesh Travel
Located at the foot of the Shivalik hills, on the right banks of the river Ganga, Haridwar is a city and centre of great antiquity. It is here that Ganga descends on the plains on its onward journey to the Bay of Bengal. The celebrated bathing ghat, Har-ki-Parui, on the river Ganga, is the most sacred spot where devout Hindus collect in thousands to have a dip. It is another site for the twelve yearly Kumbha Mela’s occurrence. Huein Tsamg, the famous Chinese pilgrim had paid a visit during the reign of Harshavardhan. The cool and serene waters of the river send a wave of rejuvenation in the bathing persons. There are many temples of great antiquity. The most enchanting spectacle is the evening worship (Aarti) of the river Ganga in which hundreds of lamps are used. Haridwar is well connected by rail with Delhi, Calcutta, Lucknow, Varanasi, Dehradun, etc. It is just 200 kms. away from Delhi. Regular Deluxe and ordinary buses by between Delhi and Haridwar. Besides Western style hotels, there are Dak Bungalow, PWD Inspection House and numerous comfortable inns and Dhararmshalas are available for tourists’ stay.
21 km. away from Haridwar, on the right banks of Ganges, at altitude of 458 meters lies Rishikesh, a gateway to the kingdom of gods. Its serene and holy atmosphere inspires the pilgrims with pious thoughts. Around Rishikesh is the area where sages, seers or the Rishis and Munis in ancient times, practised severe penance and meditation. Across Ganga, on the other side, are Tapovan, Swargashram, Geeta Bhawan and a host of other well known temples, yoga centers, etc. To cross the river there are two hanging brides, Ram Jhoola and Lakshmaii Jhool a. Rishikesh is an excellent place for Yoga Sadhana. The holy stream of Ganga abounds here in fish, as in Haridwar, but in these places they are fed instead of being caught. A branch railway line from Haridwar leads to Rishikesh. There are regular buses to Rishikesh from Haridwar and a trip by bus hardly takes an hour. There are Tourist Bungalows, Western style hotels and numerous Dhararnshalas which offer free lodgings to pilgrims.
Altitude: 3133 meters
Climate: Nov. to April—Sow bound
May to Nov.—Cold
Best Season : May-June & Sept.-October
The climate of Kedarnath is almost identical with that of Badrinath. Kedarnath is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva. This imposing shrine stands near the head of the Mandakini Valley on a level ground against fascinating backdrop of magnificent snow. At the entrance is a huge Nandi Bull, the mount of Shiva. The walls inside are exquisitely carved with images. The to south of the Temple is the shrine of Bhairava on the top of the hill. Closely is the Samadhi of Adishankar who is said to have died here after building the Badri-dham. There are a number of holy sarovars and kunds (ponds or small lakes) in thc area. The bus from Rishikesh reaches up to a point 15 km. from the shrine which has got to be covered on foot.
Valley of Flowers
The celebrated Valley of Flowers at an altitude of 3,500 meters to 4,000 meters is little away from the route to Badrinath beyond Joshimath. The credit of discovering this Valley goes to Frank Smythe, a famous English mountaineer, while returning after having scaled MountKamet(7750m.) in 193l. During the monsoon days the entire valley turns into an exquisite flower-carpet.
From Govind Ghat (1829 m.) which is 20 kms. from Joshimath, the Valley is a 16kms. trek, Ponies and porters can be hired fromGovind Ghat for the trek. The trek passes through excellent scenic beauty. After crossing the suspension bridge over the river Alaknanda the winding mountain bridle path goes along the gurgling stream of Lakshman Ganga. The trek then leads on to a beautiful village called Ghangeria (3,200 m.) past dense forest, breathtaking scenes andpassing through the captivating valley of Kak Bhushundi. This pretty village is the base point for the Valley of Flowers, nestled so charmingly amidst towering deodars, lofty snow peaks and lush green vegetation. From this village onwards there is a gradual ascent, and the 3-5 km. trek passes by glistening glaciers, snow bridges, crystal clear streams and forests.
The Valley is now covered into a National Park, and it will go a long way in preserving the balance of so delicate an ecosystem. The entry fee to the Valley of Flowers National Park is Rs. 15 per person for foreigner and Rs. 2 per person for Indians. In monsoon, that is between mid-July and mid-August the valley is at its best when it bursts into blooms of all colors and descriptions. At Ghangeria there is a Gurudwara, a Forest House, a Tourist Rest House and private lodges.
Gangotri is believed to be the source of Ganga’s origin. It is situated at an altitude of 3,140 meters. There is a temple dedicated to the Goddess (river) Ganga. The place is called Gangotri because the Bhagirathi or Ganga flows to some distance due north. The tiny but picturesque village of Gangotri is inhabited by priests, pandas, few shopkeepers, yogis and sadhus. The temple of Bhagirathi was built by ‘Amarsingh Thapa, the Gurkha Commander, early in the eighteenth century. For reaching there, the starting point is Rishikesh; and then one has to go to Narendranagar, Tehri, Srinagar, Dharsu, UttarKashi, Ganganani, Sukhi, Harsil, Lanka where the bus service ends. Then the remaining 12 km. route is covered on foot or by a jeep available there n hire. At Gangotri, there are a Travellers’ Lodge, a Forest Rest House, and PWD Inspection House. Log cabin and some Dharamshalas. Gomukh, the source of Ganga is 18 km. beyond Gangotri. Foreign travellers can visit Gangotri, Yamunotri, Uttarkashi and Gomukh. There is no need to obtain a special permit.
This source of the river Yamuna, lies at an altitude of 3,322 m. on the western edge of the perenially snowclacl mountain of Bunder Punch. The source of Yamuna is called Saptarshi Kund. At Yamunotri stands the temple of Yamunaji, closely are a few hot springs where the boiling water gushes out of the rock-cavities. Surya Kunda is the most important of these, A handful of some rice or potatoes tied loosely in a piece of cloth is dropped in the Kunda, which gets completely cooked after a while and taken home as the prasad. The road to both Yamunotri and Gangotri is common up to Dharsu, 126 km. away from Rishikesh and at a height of 900 meters. From here the road bifurcates to Gangotri via Uttarkashi. From there to Handmanchat-ti whence the remaining 13 km. distance is to he covered on beauty. After crossing the suspension bridge over the river Alaknanda the winding mountain bridle path goes along the gurgling stream of Lakshman Ganga. The trek then leads on to a beautiful village called Ghangeria (3,200 m.) past dense forest, breathtaking scenes andpassing through the captivating valley of Kak Bhushundi. This pretty village is the base point for the Valley of Flowers, nestled so charmingly amidst towering deodars, lofty snow peaks and lush green vegetation. From this village onwards there is a gradual ascent, and the 3-5 km. trek passes by glistening glaciers, snow bridges, crystal clear streams and forests.
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