Travel Story Book

Travel stories by a nature lover – stories about nature and life

Garhwal: Khirsu-Ukimath-Auli-Haridwar

December 2009

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Khirsu Ukimath Auli Haridwar Map Information 

This was a trip which was planned for well in advance, something which is very rare for my travels. There were two reasons for doing so: (1) I always love to have some like minded company with me during my travels, but last minute planning makes it very difficult to get one (2) My luck with the Himalayas has been bad in general. So this trip was planned in December when the probability of having clear blue skies is the maximum. So a friend and me, along with our families, boarded the Rajdhani Express from Kolkata to Delhi on Christmas eve and set off for our trip to Garhwal Himalayas. A silent prayer on our lips – Oh God, please, please, please, give us a clear blue sky when we reach there.

Heading for Haridwar

Har-Ki-Pauri at Haridwar

Har-Ki-Pauri at Haridwar

The train was an hour delayed in reaching New Delhi, leaving us sufficient time to check into a nearby hotel and freshen up before boarding the next train for Haridwar. Unfortunately that train arrived two hours late at Haridwar, when half the city was closed and the remaining half was in the process of closing. Luckily my friend Utpal has a friend in Haridwar who suggested a hotel where we moved in immediately. It was cold, too cold.
We ventured out in the streets for dinner and only ‘Dada-Boudi’s Hotel’ was open at that time. It is a favorite haunt for all Bengali tourists to Haridwar where hot meal thalis are served – steaming rice with a spoonful of ghee, fries, dal and vegetables. It was great and was welcome after the train food. Steaming hot rice and ghee, with a dash of chilly and brinjal fry….sinfully delicious. But did I start putting on weight from then?

On the way to Khirsu

The next morning a SUV was arranged for – and it will be with us throughout the trip until we return back to Haridwar. Our driver Mahgal Singh seemed to be calm and confident – has been driving in the area for more than 10 years. Without wasting much time, we started our journey towards Khirsu. But not before we had our breakfast of hot kachoris and a glass of steaming milk tea. It was cold, but fortunately nobody complained and got used to it after some time (and hopefully enjoyed it). Our first destination was Khirsu, a small village 20Km from Pauri, the headquarters of Tehri. Very soon we had crossed Rishikesh and were traveling through the mountains, roughly following the course of the river Ganga. The Ganga looked beautiful from the top – sea green water, sandy white banks and meandering through dense forests. There were a number of rafting camps that could be seen on the banks and they looked so tempting. Brightly colored tents set up on the white banks. Mangal Singh informed that these rafting camps provide various packages where one stays overnight in the huts or camps, camp fires and barbecue dinner at night and then raft to Rishikesh in the morning. It was mentally noted instantly – something I should try sometime later.


Devprayag, Garhwal Himalayas

Devprayag, Garhwal Himalayas

Our first halt on the road was at Devprayag – the holy confluence of the rivers Alakananda and Bhagirathi. From Devprayag, the river Ganges is born. The confluence of the two rivers is distinct, the turbulent gray water of Bhagirathi and the calm green water of the Alakananda. We went down to the banks of the river, spent some time and then resumed our journey to Khirsu. The weather was pleasant and it was a welcome break from the heat and pollution of the cities. The air felt lighter and the sky was blue, dark blue – a rarity in Kolkata at present where everything is shrouded in a blanket of smog all throughout the year.

Reached Khirsu

We reached Khirsu around 3:00PM. The view was wonderful from GMVN, where we were staying. The snow capped peaks of Chaukhamba, Kedarnath stood out proudly against the clear blue sky. There was a big garden in front and people were assembThe rooms at GMVN were nothing great, but fine enough for a night’s stay. Lunch time was over and the kitchen was closed, so we ventured out in search of something to eat. There were a couple of shops outside and one of them cooked up some mouth-watering noodles. Actually it may not have been that good, but hot food and hungry stomachs always make a delicious combination. Groups of tourists were scattered on the lawn and enjoying the ambiance and the scenery. We also joined them and spent the entire evening outside until the cold was biting through our clothing.

Sunrise at Khirsu, Garhwal Himalayas

Sunrise at Khirsu, Garhwal Himalayas

The next morning I woke up early to catch the sunrise. It was not very dramatic, but every sunrise in the mountains touches the heart somewhere and this was no exception. A few snaps at various angles tried to capture the morning, but its very difficult to portray the mood in our snaps. The remaining members of my team had decided to skip the sunset and woke up to a bright sunny morning. Aheli had ventured out briefly to get a glimpse of the sunrise, but had again taken shelter under the thick blankets and fallen asleep once again. We met quite a few people at Khirsu, some had come from Bandel while some were from Delhi. But majority of them were Bengalis. Later when we were having breakfast at one of the shops in the small market, the shopkeeper told us that mostly Bengali tourists come to Khirsu. The next batch of tourists will start appearing when it starts snowing in end January and April. We were surprised to see frozen frost on the ground and the rooftops. This gave us hope that may be we will be able to find snow at Auli. Fingers were crossed….


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Khirsu Ukimath Auli Haridwar Map Information


  1. Deoria Tal | Travel Story Book said:

    [...] Tal was a part of my trip to Garhwal: Khirsu-Ukimath-Auli-Haridwar. But without a separate trip report for Deoria Tal, it would be sheer injustice to the beauty of [...]

    Posted on April 13th, 2010 at 4:26 pm

  2. kulwant singh said:

    this is very nice place.

    kulwant singh pundir
    Village Bhughani Pauri Garhwal

    Posted on July 8th, 2011 at 12:51 pm

  3. Deoriatal – Trekking | said:

    [...] practice is to stay at the nearest places of prominence – Ukimath or Chopta. [Refer to my post on Garhwal for staying options at Ukimath]. One can stay at any of these places and make a day trip to Deoria [...]

    Posted on December 13th, 2011 at 5:15 am

  4. Savana said:

    Nice artlcie… It’s a pretty much upcoming trend. The only bad thing I feel about this is that there is too much of chaos and too many choices. Someone should come up with something different and convenient. In that sense, deal space is a nice attempt…

    Posted on February 5th, 2012 at 8:03 am

  5. Volni said:

    Oh, so wonderful to hear from you again Tina. We are also etixed about your travel to Dharamsala. Since four years we have about five people from our base living there and they are running a cafe and working with children in a refugee camp.Who knows you will bump into them!!We do hope you are well and healthy, but it seems like it reading your blog. Your travel friend who traveled with you from the beginning is now with you again?Roel and Astrid and I are in a few hours travelling to Uppsala. We will be with Harald and Anna-Karin and the kids for the weekens. Astrid is still working so we will only go at three. Hopefully she is not too tired as she can also take part of the driving.Well dear niece, we are still praying daily for you!Have you stopped reading the Bible after you got scared by Deuteronomy? Why not read the gospel of John! God truly loves you soooo much!And me too.LoveRosalie

    Posted on October 23rd, 2012 at 9:05 am

  6. Reham said:

    I think it’s foolish to start so many hydel prceojt in the state and clearing the forest area for this thing,Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) are very right in their point.This whole thing will lead to considerable amount of forest loss, which is not right.Don’t destroy the ecosystem.Preserve nature for preserving humankind

    Posted on October 23rd, 2012 at 5:03 pm

  7. Cattye said:

    i am looking at the eforft that went into taking this picture.The long days of train, bus & foot journeys, the sleeping in local rooms, and what all not ..joshi n v u u resemble a spirit full of freedom .. and the pic .. brilliant composition.

    Posted on October 23rd, 2012 at 8:59 pm

  8. Cindy said:

    Da! Beautiful snap! I have always weatnd to visit Hridwar. Lucky guy! There was a beautiful documentary of the ganges in Discovery travel and living. Beautiful take macha!

    Posted on October 25th, 2012 at 5:10 am

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