Day 5, Wed Aug 27 2008: So we had already finished the difficult parts of the trek by now. Today we had to descend back to Govindghat. Our knees were still paining from yesterday's roller coaster descent. After our daily routine of things, we finally departed from Ghangharia, our trekking base for last 3 days. As we kept on walking, our knees also got better slowly. Actually, it's true, when you decide to do some thing, things usually fall in place. We reached Govindghat in 3.5 hours if I recall correctly. We had our lunch there. I tried calling home but phones were not working in Govindghat that day :) So beware, these kinda things, which may sound strange to you, happen quite often in places like these.
Retracing our steps from 3 days back, we came to the main road from where we were "likely" to get a vehicle for pious town of Badrinath. Here we heard the not so encouraging news that road to Badrinath was blocked due to landslide. We were still hopefull though and continued to wait there. After about an hour or so, we were relieved to see 2 buses coming from Badrinath side. I asked the conductor if the road was clear now; he replied in affirmative. Ok, so the road was open now, but we still had to get some vehicle. We waited and waited. I kept running to each vehicle that stopped there to ask if it was going to Badrinath. After waiting for about 2.5 hours there we got a shared jeep at 2:30 pm or so. We launched ourselves into it. As there was hardly any space (there were 5 people on the back seat - 4 on the seat and 1 in the lap of another), we kept our luggage on the roof of the vehicle, which later caused it to get wet.
There were two interesting people in the jeep. They were mule herders, going to Badrinath to buy new mules. They were talking about religion, nature etc. I remember one of them saying that mountains streams are actually tears of mountains :) The other guy seemed more intelligent. He said "It can't be so. If these steams were not there, there won't be enough water on planes". Very interesting their conversation was.
Soon, we reached the landslide zone. It was a mess there; it seemed as if rocks will start falling again on the road at any moment. Our fear was further exacerbated when our driver asked his helper to look outside the window and keep an eye on falling rocks. We just kept our fingers crossed till that stretch was over. Road was in bad shape at lot of other places too. We crossed many streams which had washed the road away and were flowing there unabated. Anyway, we reached Badrinath at around 4:30 pm.
So, we had got at least one good thing from Ghangharia TRH - information regarding TRH in Badrinath. The guard there told us that Badrinath TRH was very nice, unlike Ghangharia TRH, and gave us the address too (actually he was posted at Badrinath TRH earlier). We found the TRH (Hotel Devlok) pretty easily and checked in. The rent was 600 per day and room was very good. For a change there was no need to order for bucket of hot water as there was a working electric geyser in the bathroom and guess what, there was electricity in the town. I remember myself asking the caretaker from what time to what time electricity is available there. No wonder, he was little surprised by that question :)
Now, the first impression of Badrinath. It was an amazing feeling. I am not sure what exactly it was, but I think it was the feeling of spaciousness that we felt there. The town, located on a huge flat top, was very very clean, and had a very fresh feeling. Almost all the buildings were single floor ones, which added to the feeling of spaciousness. And, we were already impressed by the room in TRH and low rates.
After taking bath in hot water all the weariness of the trek was gone. And, then it dawned upon us that our trekking days were finally over and time to relax had come. Some trekking it was. We had trekked for more than 50 kilometers in last 4 day.
Since, this post has already run so long, I'll write the rest about Badrinath in next post, which is coming very soon.