Thursday, August 25, 2005

Almost over

Mim and I are back in Delhi. She flies tomorrow and I fly the day after tomorrow (why does English not have a word for that?).

We've spent most of her trip in the mountains. It was quite a journey from Delhi but every step was beautiful.

Our first stop out of Delhi was Nainital, a popular Indian holiday spot in the mountains. The lake is set among steep hills. It was misty for the whole time we were there but stunning nevertheless.

From there we went to Kausani, a favourite holiday spot of Gandhi. Again, clouds blocked our view of the Himalaya range but the sunsets were incredible.

We had a whole day free in Kausani so we walked down through into the valley below, through some farms and small villages. This tree was a perfect resting spot.

From Kausani we took another couple of buses, climbing further up to Guptakashi. This was just a place to stay overnight, a little village stuck on the side of a mountain. Still, the view from our 100 rupee hotel window was good value!

Early the next morning we got on a bus for Gaurikund where the road stops. From there we did the 14km trek up to Kedarnath on foot, stubbornly refusing offers of porters and horses. It was misty most of the way up and I was worried that I'd dragged Mim such a long way without yet seeing any snow capped mountains.

I needn't have worried because when we woke at sunrise the following morning the view was stunning.

Keen to take advantage of the good weather I scouted around for a guide to take us on a day hike even further up the mountains. We found one named Raul and started off, loaded up with biscuits and water.

We were heading for a mountain lake called Vasukital at 4,300m. As we climbed, it begain to cloud over and we ran into a Sadhu who shared his appropriately coloured supply of orange lollies.

When we finally made it to the lake we were exhausted. We had climbed 800m on a goat track in very thin air. It doesn't show in this picture but the lake had an incredibly eerie beauty.

We didn't stay long because Raul (aka Mountain Goat) was worried about the weather turning bad. He raced back down the mountain with us struggling to keep up.

Mim and I then did the 14km trek back down to Gaurikund and managed to find a shared jeep to Guptakashi where we had left most of our belongings. After a night there we caught a couple of buses back down the mountains to Rishikesh.

Our last couple of days have been filled with sightseeing and shopping in Delhi. At a pavement stall selling old coins we met a hero, a short old man without any fingers. We were browsing coins when he started to yell and scream at the crowd that had gathered around:

"Look, if any of you are going to buy anything step forward. Otherwise please get lost. These people are nothing different from you, infact he probably speaks Hindi better than you do. There's absolutely no need to gawk, you've all seen white people before and these ones are fully clothed. Now get lost all of you before you scare away my customers and ruin my business"

So many moments to treasure!


Venitha said...

This is too funny! Please do post the pictures - India's on my list of travel destinations, and mountains, glorious mountains, would be a welcome change.

J said...

Wow, you were fully clothed?! Amazing!