Himalayan holiday - Travel talk from Badrinath, Madmaheshwar and beyond

Charmed by the Himalayas, Shailly and Sanjay Shukla from Lucknow explore lesser known destinations in this snow-capped, green-valleyed neighbourhood over a fortnight in June. AnandWay follows their drive…

Picturesque Gwaldam

Garhwali Brahmin boy blowing the conch shell outside Madmaheshwar temple, Garhwal Himalaya

It was a privilege to stay in a rest-house dating back to 1890 at Gwaldam. The oak and deodar forested haven with Pindar river gushing by, with snow peaks of Trishul, Hathi Parvat preening in the cornflower-blue sky, and the playful breeze exciting the green sentinels of the hillside; was all a sensual treat for us. We were overwhelmed by this introduction to the Himalayan beauty.

Rivers Markandey and Madmaheshwar Ganga assured us of the right track by their presence

Badrinath and Vasudhara

Driving on the winding road up to Badrinath, with the frothy river Alaknanda always in sight was very exciting. With Badrianth as the starting point, we trekked over glacial terrain to reach Vasudhara and Vyas Gufa. Walking gingerly over ice and snow of all levels of hardness, we slipped, fell, and laughed at each other, while building a relationship with the icy wind. All hungry, thirsty, cold and exhausted we reached Vasudhara, but were unaware of our physical needs as we were absolutely in awe of the majestic persona of the Himalayas revealing itself to us on such a grand scale!

From Joshimath to Auli

Auli’s bugyal meadows which transform into world-class ski-slopes in winter, were laden with wild flowers in summer. We took a ride in a ski-lift at Auli, with the peaks of Nanda Devi, Hathi parvat, Gauri-shankar, Comet and Eravath cheering us.

Snow peaks view from Madmaheshwar Uttarakhand

When we discovered a break oil leak in our car, it was divine providence that got us to a free one day camp set up by Maruti at Joshimath, and that made our day in the wilderness.

Ukhimath to Madmaheshwar

We reached Ukhimath on the banks of river Mandakini and found our way to Mansuna village to trek 21 km to Madmaheshwar. Our night halt at Gaundar, amidst silence, starlight, and under a cosy roof with home-cooked daal-chawal-sabzi-roti by a jolly local, was absolute bliss.

Himalyan river

Himalayan forest-scape by the banks of rivers Markanday and Madmaheshwar Ganga

The trek itself through untouched forest with nothing but nature for company was actually an act of meditation. Rivers Markandey and Madmaheshwar Ganga assured us of the right track by their presence. When we reached Madmaheshwar, a green bowl in the valley surrounded by snow peaks, it was a joy to find a roaring game of cricket in full swing! My son was quick to join in the camaraderie, mindless of the long trek that he had just undertaken!

Locals from Madmaheshwar village, Madmaheshwar temple, garhwal Himalaya

The main Shiva temple here, Madmaheshwar temple is a part of Panch Kedar and affiliated to the famous Kedarnath temple. This place has a flavour all its own. No milling crowds, no vehicle-fumes, no sound other than that of nature itself :-)

Madmaheshwar temple

Panchkedar Madmaheshwar Shiva temple Uttarakhand India

The locals take pride in serving the shrine and keeping the area absolutely clean! Happy faces, sound of conch shells and little children chanting Sanskrit praises of divinity, and a subtle vibration of Om Namah Shivaay give the place a special character. A trek further up to Budha Madmaheshwar set amidst flowery bugyal and yet another trek to Pandushera where we saw ancient weapons of warfare, supposedly belonging to the Pandavs; found us exploring the Himalayan legends.

Over the fortnight that we spent driving and trekking in the Himalayas has wetted our appetite for more.

Himalaya Series

Anisha Sharma
Views: 22530

blog comments powered by Disqus

Amazing Himalayas! No doubt they are called 'Devbhoomi'!

Anita on Sunday, July 6, 2008

Sundried candied orange peel recipe for orange tea and natural dessert flavouring

Online, Yoga-based Life Skills for Childrens' Mind-Body Fitness

  • The Art of Living's Online Utkarsha Yoga (for 8-12 year olds),
  • 3-5 June, 2022, 4.00-6.00 p.m. IST
  • Language: English & Hindi
  • INR 1000
  • Includes Free Phone App for guided practice at home to build the Yoga habit in 2022
  • Registration Link  aolt.in/616614 
  • Teachers: Anisha & Swati Sharma