Thursday, August 19, 2010

Feel the chill and the thrill.

Being from Bangalore I had never experienced this sort of cold. In June it was 5-6 degree Celsius... what on earth would it be like in the winters? And the real reason was that I was totally unprepared. During the late entry of the bus (around 8 PM) along the circuitous roads with hairpin bends, firstly the mind was shocked and numbed, then a downpour started and as I got off the bus having reached Badrinath with only a jacket on - the chill hit me - hard. Initially it was manageable but later the second day the body was slowly giving way to the onslaught, unexpected, un-acclimatized and unprepared as it was. I managed to reach the GMVN Yatri Nivas asking many people on the way as it was dark all around and the drizzle intensifying and ebbing all the time. 

The Yatri Nivas though spacious it had these flickering yellow lamps reminiscent of massive halls of some old and dilapidated mansion. The cold outside had me blinded and it took me some time to get adjusted, the dorm was nice and cosy looking with wooden beds and massive blankets that would turn cold if left alone for a minute. The second day evening was horror - as I kept shivering even with a jacket and a sweater on, almost caught fever and had to eat properly (a heavy dinner as I wasn't eating properly for last 2 days) to get my system working up to all its potential. The first morning the bath at the natural geysers beneath the very colorful Badrinath temple was like bliss. Hot to the first touch it becomes warm as you enjoy frolicking in the waters. 

The roaming around the Mana village the whole day was yet another exciting experience - we went down the rocks and touched the river waters! Crossing the bridge and reminiscing the idyllic life that the villagers live! It is harsh though very harsh to lead life at those altitudes. Later when I had to get back to Joshimath it was a long wait at the bus depot waiting for jeeps and Sumos and Qualises. Finally quite in a bad health and a Crocin to reduce the pain I reached the sunny Joshimath. Most of these memories is now overshadowed by the breathtaking beauty of Badrinath and Mana. The wait at the temple for hours, the rock formations and quaint huts of Mana, the gurgling river spewing fresh water as it slapped on the rocks turning them to round boulders and smaller stone fragments and even stone powder! The green river, the muddy river, the blue river, the white waters - so many forms, so many colors ...  

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