Tuesday, January 5, 2016

A sojourn in the Kumaon and Garhwal Himalayas : Glorious Gwaldam - (Part 6)

Day 7 - Oct 8th , 2015

It was a long drive from Munsiari to Gwaldam. The distance was around 250 kms , but the journey took a long time.. really long.

We departed from Munsiari around 9.30 AM , and reached Choukori by lunch time. Had a sumptuous lunch at the same hotel where we used to eat during our stay there. The hotel guys still remembered us :)

The same old menu, bread toast - bun makhan , lassi and paratha was our lunch.

Around evening , we reached a place called Bageshwar.


Bageshwar is a city in Bageshwar district in the state of Uttarakhand, India. It is also the administrative headquarters of  district.
Situated at the confluence of rivers Sarayu and Gomti, lies the holy township of Bageshwar. It is also revered as the pious land associated with Lord Sadashiva, the redeemer of all sins. As the puranas state, this  place is undoubtedly capable of liberating one from the eternal bondage of births & deaths. This land of Lord Shankar is of great religious, historic and political significance.

Bhageshwar temple

We then travelled to Baijnath dham, which is another Shiva temple with a great historic importance.

Baijnath Dham

The temples at Baijnath are situated on the left bank of the Gomti. It has no inscriptions , and the main temple, dedicated to Baijnath or Vaidhyanatha (a name of Shiva), which gives its name to the present village is situated near the Gomti. The temple is approached from the riverside by a flight of steps made of stones. 

Baijnath Dham


The winding roads and the starry sky welcomed us at Gwaldam. We reached there by night, and our hunt for lodging began. Checked into KMVN, but found it was not that clean enough.

Few locals suggested another place called "Nature's Treat", which is around 1km from KMVN. This place looked quite good, and we halted there.

It was dinner time and few local delicacies were savoured.

Gwaldam is a sleepy little town, on the border of Garhwal & Kumaon hills. Set amidst green woods and apple orchards, it is located at an altitude of 1629 mt. 40 Km from Kausani, Gwaldam offers a fascinating view of Himalayan peaks Nanda Devi (7817 mt), Trishul (7120 mt) and Nanda Ghuti (6309 mt).

Gwaldam is 22 km beyond Baijnath, The highway that goes to Bageshwar, branches off to take you through a fascinating route amidst thick pine forests, against the backdrop of the Himalayas.

From Gwaldam, the road winds it’s way through dense forests and terraced fields dotted with cottages of Tharali upto the Ranikhet road.

Day 8 - Oct 9th , 2015

The next morning , we set off to a nearby view point to see the Trishul mountains during sunrise. 
This was very near to the SSB training centre.

Gwaldam offers its visitors one of the finest views of the Trishul and its sister peaks.

After seeing the mighty Trishul and Nandaghunti peaks, myself and Ambika remembered the amazing trek to Roopkund we had done an year back.
The link to my Roopkund blog is here incase you have missed it:

 Trishul at dawn

Trishul  is a group of three Himalayan mountain peaks of western Kumaoun, with the highest (Trisul I) reaching 7120m. The three peaks resemble a trident - in Hindi/Sanskrit, Trishula, trident, is the weapon of Shiva. The Trishul group forms the southwest corner of the ring of peaks enclosing the Nanda Devi Sanctuary, about 15 kilometres (9 mi) west-southwest of Nanda Devi itself. The main peak, Trisul I, was the first peak over 7,000 m (22,970 ft) to have ever been climbed, in 1907.

 Tishul and Maiktoli peaks

 First rays touching Trishul

 Trishul , Maiktoli and Mrigthuni peaks

 Distant town as seen from Gwaldam

 Trishul I , II

 Nanda Ghunti

Nanda Ghunti is a 6,309-metre-high (20,699 ft) mountain in Garhwal, India. It lies on the outer rim of the Nanda Devi Sanctuary.

 Trishul and Maiktoli(R)

To the west of the Pindari Glacier, situated on the southern slope of the Sunderdhunga Khal, is the 5 km long Maiktoli Glacier. The west of Maiktoli Glacier, is the Mrigthuni Glacier situated on the southern slope of the Mrigthuni, Devtoli peaks. Along the western side of the Sunderdhunga, one reaches at a point from where the Maiktoli and the Mrigthuni Glacier becomes approachable. 

 Trishul and Nanda Ghunti

Nanda Ghunti , Trishul , Maiktoli and Mrigthuni

 Tricolor flag

The very sight of these incredible mountains leaves you spellbound as you admire the beauty of Nature and lose your mind and soul there.

Each falling rays of the sun, creates an irreversible magic, which makes you wonder what happens next !!

We then set off towards Badrinath from Gwaldam. 

Kumaon was completed and we were entering Garhwal.

Many landslides on the way and Pindar valley welcomed us to Garhwal - the land of gods.

We could feel the Pindar river below us waiting to meet Alaknanda, as we approached Karnaprayag.

Karnaprayag :

The lunch at a hotel near the confluence of Alaknanda and Pindar rivers was very refreshing. The sight of the gushing river and the sound it makes was a pleasant scene.

 Alaknanda and Pindar river (beneath the bridge)

Alaknanda river

Karnaprayag is a city in Chamoli District in the Indian state of Uttarakhand. Karnaprayag is one of the Panch Prayag (five confluences) of Alaknanda River, situated at the confluence of the Alaknanda, and Pindar River.

Karnaprayag is one of five sites where the confluence of rivers occurs. The five prayags are Vishnuprayag, Nandprayag, Karnaprayag, Rudraprayag and Devprayag. Karnaprayag is believed by many to be the place where Karna of the Mahabharatata is said to have worshipped the Sun God. 

From Karnaprayag, we travelled along the banks of the Alaknanda river as we headed to Badrinath.

We could not make it to Badrinath the same day, however, we managed to reach Joshimath by night,and halted  there.

Getting there (Gwaldam & Karnaprayag) ...

1) Gwaldam is well connected by roads, as it is easily accessible from Kumaon and Garhwal sides.

By Air : Dehradun
By Railways : Kathgodam (180 kms)
By road : Well connected with major towns like Almora , Bageshwar , Nainital and Kausani

2) Karnaprayag is also well connected by roads from the Garhwal region.

By Air : The nearest Domestic Airport is Jolly Grant Airport, Dehradun, roughly three hour drive from Karanprayag. This airport is well connected to the other important cities like Delhi, Amritsar and Mumbai. The second nearest Domestic Airport from Karanprayag is Pantnagar Airport, roughly 255 Kms from Karanprayag.

By railways : The nearest Railway Station is Rishikesh which is connected by  all major cities of Uttarakhand. It is situated on the New Delhi-Dehradun railway line and is linked with the place like, Haridwar and Rudraprayag.

By road : Being located on National Highway 58, it connects Delhi with Badrinath and Mana Pass in the state. Karanprayag is 32 Kms from Rudraprayag, 41 Kms from Gopeshwar, 67 Kms from Srinagar, 95 Kms from Pauri, 99 Kms from Devprayag, 173 Kms from Rishikesh, 193 Kms from Haridwar and 400 Kms from New Delhi through Uttarakhand State Road Transport Corporation (USRTC) and some private travel services.

Our Route ...

i) Munsiari - Choukori - Bageshwar - Baijnath - Gwaldam (approx 250 kms)
ii) Gwaldam - Karnaprayag - Nandaprayag - Chamoli - Pipalkoti - Joshimath (approx 160 kms)

Next Pitstop -> Badrinath ...

Part 5 - Munsiari

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