I was excited by the thought that I was going to be in Devprayag by the end of the day. The journey was not long as I had to drive only 160 kms. But, in the back of my mind I knew that it would take me a whole day to reach since I was going to take a detour from the main road and visit Kartik Swami temple which was little off.
While researching for places to visit in Uttarakhand during my planning stage, I had stumbled upon this temple situated high on the mountains with a beautiful backdrop of snow covered mountains. The photo of this temple shown on google was enough for me to include this place in my to do list of places to visit in Uttarakhand. And here I was, who would be visiting this place soon and experiencing its aura and charm and its beautiful location.
I started around from my “Dharmashala” around 9 am after having only a cup of tea. I thought of having breakfast on the way in order to save time. Unknowingly, it has been observed that a lot of time is wasted if we have breakfast at the same hotel where one stays while checking out of the hotel. So, its better to get the things moving and stop on the way for a quick breakfast.
The road condition were the same I had encountered before. Narrow and occasionally broken asphalt and at some places road widening work going on. The weather was good. The sun had come up, the skies were clear and there was cold still lurking in the atmosphere.
After around riding for an hour, I took a left from the main road and the road led me through villages nestled beautifully behind the cover of forests. The road track was also narrower. It was this road which was going to lead me to the base of trek point to the “Kartik Swami Temple”. Along the way, I stopped at one of the small restaurants in one of the village for a quick breakfast. I had a bun along with tea and also ate some freshly prepared “Jalebis”.
Within no time, I was at the entrance gate of the trek starting point. It was similar to one like the Chopta trek, the only difference being that the former one was shorter, somewhere around 2 kms and devoid of any black ice, since it was located at a much lower level as compared to Chopta. But still, 2kms was not at all by any means a short trek.
Just like before, I offloaded all the luggage at one small restaurant situated right beside the entry gate and carried only the necessary gear. Like Chopta, I didn’t have to pay a single penny for entering inside. Also, hardly, I could see anyone going up with me and I was alone during the entire duration of trek which passed mostly through a dense cover of forest. I could say it was a medium level trek which really did not test my stamina.
Finally, the temple was reached by climbing somewhere around 100 steps. The only steps I encountered during the entire route. The temple was situated at the end of a long path right after the last stairs ended. And I, really could not control my emotions flowing out. The same feeling when I’d reached the Tungnath temple. Beyond the temple, there was nothing but a vertical deep drop. A ring of mountains encircled the mountains in perspective view. This time also, it was bad luck that the clear view of the mountains could not be seen as the clouds had blocked them. But, at that moment and time, I felt like time had just paused and everything felt just perfect. There wasn’t any electronic sound to be heard till miles. The feeling was something which made me feel like I was at the highest point on the earth and I could almost touch the skies with my outstretched hand.
After praying my respects to the temple and standing there for few moments, I started my downward journey. I was not particularly happy about the way the things were littered along the walking path. Especially, plastic waste lying around. So, I collected plastic bags and bottles in a large bag as much as I could till I reached the parking lot where I dumped all the trash. I felt really disgusted by the thought that how could somebody litter such peaceful and beautiful place especially, when it was not their home.
I had Maggie and a hot cup of tea before I set my foot on bike and headed towards in the direction of Devprayag. I started around 3 pm and reached Devprayag just before it got dark. The road experience was OK and I could maintain a normal speed.
I wanted to have a hotel where I could see the confluence of Alaknanda and Bhagirathi river forming Ganga clearly through my balcony. At my first stop while entering Devprayag, I noticed a 4 storey building to my right. At first, it didn’t seem to me like a hotel and looked more of a student hostel. But, I was wrong. Upon entering the gate though a steep incline and asking around for the owner, a person standing in the parking open space pointed out to me that it was indeed a hotel on a budget and mainly built for pilgrims arriving for short duration. I again felt lucky this time, to find a decent hotel right at the first shot itself.
I met with the owner and settled the price. The price was 500 bucks for stay with other expenses chargeable. I got room on 3rd floor from where the view was perfect. Perfect, so that I could comfortably take a photo of it. Just the thing I wanted. The room boy helped me to shift all my luggage to my room. It was really a uphill task especially after the trek I had endured a few hours back.
After getting myself fresh and relaxed, I went to the market place to buy some toiletries for me following which I had dinner at my room itself. I’d planned to shoot night timelapse from my balcony but, since it being a common balcony, there was fear of someone tripping because of my tripod which would have been a disaster not for the tripod but for my camera. Citing the fear, I backed off. I clicked some pics of the confluence which really came out beautiful in the dark.
Since the day had ended for me after the dinner, It was time for a good sleep. Tomorrow, I would be exploring Devprayag, the owner, when we’d met later in the evening had vowed to help me with the things around and after that I would be heading to my last destination which would be Haridwar. The journey was nearing its end.