Badrinath, Valley of Flowers, Hemkund Sahib, Auli (India) – Day 6 of 9

An account of our 9-day road trip to Badrinath – Day 6

June 2012

(Note: This travelogue was written real-time, as the 9-day road trip to Badrinath progressed)

Ghangaria to Badrinath (via Govindghat)

Not finding the magical bag of cash for the helicopter ride under our pillow on waking up in the morning, we knew what had to be done. We quickly packed all our stuff and hired a porter to carry it for us till Govindghat – repeating the same drill as while coming to Ghangaria. We just kept light backpacks with us containing some food and water. We started the trek at 8am. The plan was to reach Govindghat by noon and then drive to Badrinath. We were to stay in Badrinath overnight.

The descent was quite fast and we had to take very few breaks. The knees and ankles, however, were complaining, since the path is so uneven and rocky, and the descent is steep at several places. We looked back at the track every now and then and were amazed at how we had managed to climb it on the way up.

We reached Govindghat a little past noon and found our car waiting for us, exactly the way we had left it three days back. After paying the parking charges (Rs. 400 for 4 days), we rolled off to Badrinath. We had not yet encountered the sinister patches of the Joshimath-Badrinath road till Govindghat, and were anxious about what might lay ahead as we approached Badrinath. We also did not know which gate was open right now – the one at Joshimath or at Badrinath, but seeing the limited traffic on either side, we weren’t too bothered about it.

The road condition worsens only after Hanuman Chatti, which is around 10 km before Badrinath. There were patches so rough that we were unsure if the car would be able to cross them without getting damaged. These patches were mostly where a stream of water was running across the road, causing the road to break down. We were somehow able to cross all hurdles and arrived in Badrinath at around 2pm.

We checked into Hotel Sarovar Portico, which is expensive but provides hot showers, heated rooms, and electric blankets. The best part was that we could order delicious pastas in the room itself. After lunch and a brief rest, we headed out to the town. We were completely out of cash, so we had to bank on the only two ATMs in town. We were both relieved and anxious on being told that the ATMs were “working these days”.

Luckily for us, we were able to withdraw the money. The ATMs are right at the doorstep of the Badrinath temple complex, and we decided to visit the temple for “darshan” (idol sighting) today itself rather than postponing for tomorrow morning. We joined the queue at the temple gate and were able to do the “darshan” and come out of the temple within half an hour. We might have had to wait a lot longer had we come in the morning, because of longer queues at that time.

This was a very serene experience and we went back to the hotel feeling happy and at peace. We ordered dinner in the room and quietly dozed off.

Key expenses:

Porter for Ghangaria to Govindghat: Rs. 600
Double room with extra bed at Hotel Sarovar Portico in Badrinath: Rs. 6500 (plus ~13% taxes)


Read more:
Day 1: Delhi to Devprayag
Day 2: Devprayag to Joshimath
Day 3: Joshimath to Ghangaria (via Govindghat)
Day 4: Ghangaria – Valley of Flowers – Ghangaria
Day 5: Ghangaria – Hemkund Sahib – Ghangaria
Day 6: Ghangaria to Badrinath (via Govindghat)
Day 7: Badrinath to Auli
Day 8: Auli to Rudraprayag
Day 9: Rudraprayag to Delhi