28th February 2015
I slept IN THE CAR parked on the main Uttarkashi-Gangotri road that night. Vehicle movement was regular throughout the night. Temperature was comfortable, quite opposite to the freezing cold of Harsil. It was still dark when I got up. It was good to see tea shops open so early. Uttarkashi is a central point and buses to different locations start plying very early. In the company of excited commuters, hot tea with buns was very refreshing. Soon I was on my way to Chaurangi Khal. The route was suggested by Devendra Tokas and Mr Tilak Soni of “where Eagles Dare” fame.
I saw a beautiful stream flowing near the road. The water of the river was freezing cold. Still I could not resist taking much needed bath. A taxi driver washing his car was surprised to know that I sleep INSIDE the car and take bath on the streams like that.
Two bikes were parked on the road and I had the feeling, some birds of same feather were somewhere close. They were Nikhil Joshi and Anshum Gupta from Ambala cantt, passionate riders of Himalayan roads. It felt very nice chitchatting with young riders. We exchanged few experiences and information about some new routes and parted with the promise to meet again, the same way but on some other different road.
Usually I am not a big fan of Maggie but I ate it that day on the recommendation of the young riders. It tasted really well and even more when I learnt that the young riders had already paid for it before leaving the place.
आते जाते खूबसूरत आवारा सड़कों पे,कभी कभी इत्तेफ़ाक से, कितने अनजान लोग मिल जाते हैं,
उन में से कुछ लोग भूल जाते हैं, कुछ याद रह जाते हैं!
It had been one of the best driving routes I had been to. The route and the sights were kind of virgin beauty. The moment I reached Tilwara on the main Rudraprayag road, the charm and beauty was gone. The road and the towns enroute were all crowded and I wanted to reach Ukhimath quickly. So my focus was more on driving and the road now.
From Kund I turned right towards Ukhimath. It was quite dark by then. I was driving up and the lights on the hills around looked pretty charming. Ukhimath has quite a big bazaar. I was looking for a safe place to park the car. Some restaurants in the middle of the bazaar were open and there was ample lighting too. I parked the car at a safe place and went for a little walk in the market.
It was amazing feeling, being at a new and different place every evening. The newness of place, look and behavior of the people, being basically same but still so distinctly different, felt so fascinating. I always feel like lost in these situations. I don’t know why…..but I always feel so good being among st strangers and still feeling so comfortable .
On one side of the road few steel chairs were fixed in such a way that while sitting on them one could see huge mountains across the deep valleys. Twinkling lights of the villages and homes spread all over presented a very charming sight. I spent quite a good time sitting on one of the chairs in deep contemplation when sleep came calling.
Walked up to the car, pulled the cover over, locked the door from inside, crept into the sleeping bag and tried to sleep while events and sights of the day kept flashing before my eyes.
I knew I was living a dream!!!