Scenic drive to Gangotri, Uttarakhand

The Uttarkashi Gangotri Highway is truly one of the most scenic drives in the country. There is something to stop you at almost every turn.

Gangotri – An Introduction

Gangotri is a holy place for the Hindus, and one of the 4 highly revered Dhams. It sees huge number of devotees every year. It is revered as the place of origin of Ganga – the holiest river for Hindus.

The idea of standing in serpentine queues, pushing each other, just to get a glimpse of the Almighty doesn’t appeal to me.

What the hell was I doing visiting a Dham then (Gangotri), you might wonder. Well, the motivation for this trip was something else, not the Dham yatra per se. The reason is here.

Gangotri – How to reach?

From Delhi, Gangotri is roughly 500 kms away. National Highway 33 connects Haridwar and Gangotri. While it is possible to drive down in a day, but I would recommend breaking your journey midway, or at Uttarkashi. From Uttarkashi, it is 100 kms or so, but takes a good part of the day. We took 6 hours to cover the distance. One of the reasons being – the surroundings are so damn beautiful! You will feel like stopping every few mins.

PREVIOUSLY ON THIS TRIP – Delhi To Uttarkashi

NH33 between Uttarkashi and Gangotri

Locals told us a portion of the highway (to Gangotri) was washed away and no vehicles had arrived from Gangotri since yesterday evening. Since the highway was blocked and we didn’t have much else to do, we had a leisurely breakfast! Lol!

Soon we got some good news about vehicles arriving from Gangotri – the highway was open! Our plan was still on! We left Uttarkashi around 11 AM. Filled up the tank just after the town. No petrol pumps beyond this point.

The administration appeared to be on its toes this time. Workers could be seen everywhere trying to keep the Gangotri highway open even in these adverse conditions. Maybe, they don’t want a repeat of 2013.

Once we crossed Bhatwari, signals disappeared from our phones. In the modern world, that’s true peace! The happiness was short lived as we realised the phones would spring back to life in Gangotri. We had only about 60 more kms to cover and had ample time. That meant – more breaks!

On one of our breaks, we stopped near a tea stall which appeared to be in the middle of nowhere. No villages around or anything. They didn’t even have electricity. The family has been living here since past many years. They have a small shack just adjacent to this tea shop. Thinking about the night at this place gave me goosebumps.

The Uttarkashi Gangotri Highway is truly one of the most scenic drives in the country. There is something to stop you at almost every turn. And we happily obliged most of the time 🙂

A bridge near Bhaironghati, is apparently, Asia’s highest bridge! One walk on it, and I am not doubting the claim! The photos might not give you the true idea of it’s height, but trust me, it *is* high, I mean H-I-G-H.

Watch the video log

The road condition was good for most part with occasional bad roads. The road is narrow closer to Uttarkashi, but seems to spread out afterwards. Road widening work is going on after Bhaironghati till Gangotri and as a result, there is no tar road. But even the dusty trail is a lot better to drive on compared to the Wangtu – Tapri stretch in Himachal.

A few more stops and we rolled into Gangotri at close to 5 PM. 6 hours since we started from Uttarkashi! You can imagine the number of breaks! Lol! The town was bustling with people but locals insisted it was ‘Off-season’ with not many tourists around. Our stay offered a clear view of Bhagirathi. But, we headed to the ghats anyway. They were completely deserted! We enjoyed the peace here.

As darkness fell, temperatures also plummeted and we retreated to the warmth of our rooms. After dinner and some chit-chat, we ventured out again. Due to the weather maybe, the town was eerily quiet, all we could hear was Bhagirathi gushing through the boulders. Water level was substantially higher now. All the shops were closed and very few people could be seen outside. Within a few minutes, it started raining. Consequently, we rushed back to the hotel and retired for the night.

Summing it up

I could not sleep in anticipation of what was to come.
Something for which we had travelled this far, suffered all the mist, rains, broken roads etc.

To make matters worse, it had started raining again! Will we be able to make it  to our destination tomorrow? What if the rain doesn’t stop? With countless thoughts running through my head, don’t remember when exactly I fell asleep.

Next day, THIS happened. 😀

Keep Rocking, Keep Roaming!
Have you been to Gangotri? How was the experience? Do share any stories or photos you might have.

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