In April 2019, I travelled to the state of Uttarakhand, India. This state is home to the Ganges, Jim Corbett National Park, Rajaji National Park, Robber’s Cave, Bhatta Fall and other popular tourist attractions. The cherry on the cake is that the august Himalayan range crosses through Uttarakhand and a glimpse of the snow-capped Himalayan range is a feast to the eyes.
Apart from boasting its main tourist attractions, Uttarakhand also hosts numerous pilgrimage sites for Hindus. Every year, thousands of pilgrims travel from the nooks and corners of different countries to make it to these pilgrimage sites. When I was in one of the pilgrimage sites, Gangotri, the locals told me that the pilgrimage season starts in May.
I have the habit of attaching a goal to each of my travels. This time, the magnet that was drawing me to Uttarakhand was the majestic hills and mountains. In March 2018, I travelled to different towns of the Himachal Pradesh but I was driven by a driver. I wanted to rent a car last year but the fact that I never drove on hills and mountains stopped me from heading in this direction. I rather booked a car with a driver. This year, it was different. I rented a self-drive car. I drove all the way from Delhi to Gangotri and back. I experienced more freedom in doing so. I could stop wherever I wanted and do everything that I wanted.
There is something unique about the hills and mountains of Uttarakhand. The hills and mountains differ from places to places, and a road trip through the contrasting landscapes is a treat to the soul.
The hills and mountains of Dhanaulti, a hill station situated in the foothills of the Garhwal Himalayan range, were lush green. They were filled with pine trees and rhododendron flowers. Compared to the hills and mountains of Uttarkashi, which were partially dry, Dhanaulti was hosting completely green mountains.
From the guesthouse where I was staying, I could see a clear view of the snow-capped Himalayan range. In fact, I had to drive in that direction to reach Gangotri and the duration of this trip lasts can take up around 9 hours by car. Thus, I did not drive in one go to Gangotri. I stopped mid-way at Uttarkashi and spent one night by the shore of the Ganges.
As I drove further towards Gangotri, I passed by a place called Gangnani and here, the look of the hills and mountains changed completely. They were bigger in size, covered with snow in most areas and some were teeming with posh green forests while others were just massive rocks.
Once at Gangotri, the hills and mountains had a different character. The clouds were hovering at the snow-capped peaks. The mountains were colossal and the mountain ranges seemed to have no ending. As the temperature in Gangotri was – 6 degrees when I was there, it was snowing every day. So, when I slept and woke up, the look of the hills and mountains changed again. They were whiter in the morning and during the day, as some snow melted, the surface of the hills and mountains could be seen.
I think that observing the hills and mountains is a beautiful thing to do when one is travelling in mountainous and hilly regions.