Trans Hima 2020 – 30 Rishikesh

Early morning I woke up hearing people running on the open ground where I camped. It was a pretty chill night on the banks of the Alaknanda river on the outskirts of Rudrapayag. I slept comfortably a bit away from the traffic noise on the NH7. I packed up my gears and walked down the highway looking for a share taxi to Rishikesh.

I picked up some oranges as breakfast snack and was stopping passing jeeps enquiring for their destination. I finally got lucky with a Sumo heading to Rishikesh. I jumped in and squeezed in aside three others on the middle bench. The highway was a mix of new road, pothole patches and one lane landslides being fixed. Our driver was a pro race car driver flying over broken roads.

Mid way we stopped for breakfast in a small dhaba. Aloo paratha with pudina, best one I had tasted anywhere and that for 30Rs. We boarded our flight again and touched down in Rishikesh at 11am, a good 3.5 hours to cover 150K. I got down near Tapovan at the start of my next hike. Today s plan was to climb a 1300m high peak on the other side of the Alaknanda river.

I dropped into a road side dhaba and grabbed some mommo’s and charge my phone. By 2pm I start moving, cross the bridge across the river which is flooded with tourists. A monkey steals my peanuts from my backpack while I shoot a video of a raft floating underneath. Too crowded here – I need to get out of this place! I step into the trail next to the bridge and – vanish! No one to be seen anymore.

Tourists come to the mountains not to appreciate nature but to roam in the concrete city between their hotel, shops and eateries. For the next 3 hours it s nobody but just myself and a pristine jungle next to an over crowded city. I hike up a nice trail which contours around the mountain. The forest at the foothills of the Himalayas appears greener then those higher up.

I pass the hamlet of Totla where the locals warn me about the dense jungle ahead. I spot regular elephant poop, first time seen in the Himalayas. There s a lot of bamboo and lower altitude vegetation not seen at higher elevations. I climb up in a valley to the deserted hamlet of Simaldhani. A bit higher up I meet one sadhu meditating in a single home.

He invites me to take a break and treats me on dry fruits, papaya and tea. I continue my ascent and discover an unmapped hamlet of Bhandari just below the top of the mountain. A friendly young man invites me to stay over at his home suggesting it s too cold to camp in the open on top. I drop my bag and climb up to watch the sunset above Rishikesh. A chilling wind appears as soon as the sun disappears.

I descend back to my host who shares s nice comfortable room with me. Bed, warm blankets and home cooked dinner. Plan is to climb together early morning to a small temple on top of a nearby peak and watch the sunrise. Some kids from family come over to play.

At 7pm we go to a traditional kitchen room where a tasty dinner is prepared. Fluffy chapattis, sabji, fresh home made butter. Genuine, non expecting hospitality. People of the mountains have a pure soul. Humanity we lost in the cities.

3 thoughts on “Trans Hima 2020 – 30 Rishikesh”

  1. Very true we in cities have lost that purity against materialistic world our cities have created around us. Really enjoyed following your entire journey. Look forward to see you in Mumbai..

  2. Peter,
    Travelling in your way is the essence of the life. You can see that still in remote villages there are friendly people and humanity.
    Ciao from Italy.
    And happy journey.
    Msrio

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