Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Trek To Vasudhara Falls – Badrinath Revisited


The Himalayan shrine of Badrinath will rank as the most visited among all the shrines and temples in Garhwal Himalayas. The temple gates opening around first week of May, will see pilgrims in buses, minibuses and cars line up on the steep hill road from Joshimath. Generally Do Dham Yatra consisting Badri – kedar are most popular, followed by Char Dham Yatra namely Badri – Kedar, Yamunotri – Gangotri  

Any travel operator offering ‘Do Dham Yatra’ or ‘Char Dham Yatra’, will land the visitors to Badrinath Dham around noon time. The visitors after checking in hotel, guest houses or dharamshalas, having lunch, will have a sightseeing visit to Mana village about 2 km away, mostly in shared jeeps. Evening will be spent around Badrianth temple complex, having darshan and offering  puja. There are special programs like ‘Vishnu Sahasra Naam’ among many others, which I attended, for which there is advance booking at a special counter behind the temple. The pilgrims leave the temple town in the next morning to another destination as per their itinerary.

Badrinath Temple
 On one of my visits to Garhwal Himalayas, for visiting Hemkund and Valley of Flowers; the Hemkund trek was aborted with an accident enroute Hemkund trek route, where a glacier collapsed and blocked the road. We lost the opportunity to visit Hemkund that year but got an additional day at Badrinath as a bargain; hence my Vasudhara Falls trek was an accident and not as planned. The following sketch shows the route from New Delhi to Badrinath and onwards to Mana Village and Vasudhara Falls


As is customary during all our trek tours, we woke up at the crack of a dawn and our Qualis loaded with tourists were on their way to Mana Village at a distance of 2 km. Reaching Mana village, having breakfast and tea, half the group went for visiting Vyas Gumfa and the other half including me were on our cherished goal of Vasudhara Falls. On the way we found a Sadhu Baba covered with ashes seated in one of the caves. Further down we arrive at Bhimpul - as per legend, was built by Bhim for the Pandavas to cross from one hill to another, by placing a big boulder. The Saraswati river with all its aquatic fury was flowing below the boulders  and rushing  to mingle with river Alaknanda and in unison pass through Badrinath town just ahead of the temple. 

Bhimpul
The gentle uphill road to Vasudhara Falls was fairly straight unlike the winding ones we face on most of the trek related to Himalayan shrines. As we looked behind on a lovely landscape, a beautiful looking temple, the sleepy looking village at a distance, the road leading from Badrinath to Mana and the clouds clinging to the mountains in the backdrop, made a perfect picture.

Landscape on way to Vasudhara
As we pushed ahead, both sides of the trek route were covered with agricultural plots. A mongoloid featured woman was doing the de-weeding of her plot. Mana happens to be located very close to Indo – China border, It was revealed by our vehicle driver that the villagers of this place are of Chinese origin, having migrated as shepherds many decades back, even before Indo – China war, and settled down because of rich pastureland for their livestock. Presently they are into livestock rearing and farming.


Villager
As we pushed along, the cloudy weather was a huge respite, not taxing us too much. The lush green Bhugyal on slopes was inviting for brief breather, with a cave temple nearby. 

Cave Temple
We got a distant view of a pyramid shaped glacier at the base of Vasudhara Falls. The backdrop was grayish looking foggy appearance with mass of water vapour and water droplets.

Glacier in front of Vasudhara
The final stretch of trek landed us to a flat portion of land adjacent to a pyramid shaped glacier. The Vasudhara Falls water mass coming out of a funnel shaped opening at the hill top was crashing on craggy mountain surface, breaking into a large number of smaller waterfalls and finally landing behind the glacier. 

Vasudhara
The glacier in front of the Vasudhara was beehive of activity. At least 10 visitors including men women and children, were walking on the snow mass, some were even bare footed. With my experience of walking on glacier on way to Gandhi Sarovar at Kedarnath, I controlled myself; instead shot a video to capture the mood of the place
 
Behind the flat land, on the left hand side, down the slope, the grayish looking place was absolutely barren with mud and pebbles on a dried river bed. A serpentine narrow steam was running downhill. That area leads to some hardcore trekking expeditions to Satopanth – Swargarohini. 

Cloud veils Himalayas
As we retreated from Vasudhara, the cloud veil was lifting and as if by magic, Himalayan panorama was revealing itself with all its glory. On a clear day, this place will look stunningly beautiful.
Cloud Veil Lifts
Important Info for Trekkers:
1) One can plan the trek after the Badrinath temple kapat opens in early summer around first week of May. Exact date of temple opening may be available from website http://www.badarikedar.org/ 

2) It is better to carry water bottle and some packed food stuff on Vasudhara Falls trek, if one has not taken any brakfast. No eateries were observed on this 5 km trek route. There are no ponies or palkis available for this journey,

3) One can use any footwear one is comfortable with. Be it a sports shoe or floaters. There are some small region on trek route, where the water coming down the hills flows over the road and goes downhill. Water will be ankle deep but with some stones placed at strategic locations, one can hop over and cross the stream comfortably. I had worn an all weather floater, which proved to be quite useful. The sports shoe if it gets wet may be a nuisance.

4) Trekkers can venture beyond Vasundhara Falls for trek to Satopanth – Swargarohini with the services of an experienced guide.

5) Photographers may note that the hill cradling the Vasudhara, falls in the shadow zone, in the morning, with the sun behind the hills. This coupled with glacier in the front of the water fall, the still photo or video exposure will be tricky, necessitating additional aperture opening. 

* Author has the pleasure of presenting a video on Vasudhara Falls recorded during the trek, which can be accessed by taking following link: http://youtu.be/la5jfb5TINY

1 comment:

  1. I have not visited the place; but I wish to visit in future after watching photos and videos.

    ReplyDelete