Upper Garhwal

It always feels especially good to be alive after a Himalayan drive. Stepping out the back of my over-packed jeep into the high Himalayan town of Joshimath, after another bumpy ride through the Garhwal foothills, was no exception. Winding high above white rivers at the sunless bottoms of vertigo-inducing valleys, long stretches of the road had been battered by the monsoon into a precarious muddy track barely wide enough for a single jeep. Passing buses was always fun, as were the routine stops for landslides. Some held us up an hour or so while others forced us to hike across and wait for jeeps or buses on the other side to turn around. After watching them casually maneuver their heart-stopping u-turns I'd reluctantly climb inside for what always seemed likely to be the final ride of my life. It had been two heavy months of monsoon and I'd caught the roads at their very worst.Basing in Joshimath, I took a few days to explore the upper reaches of Garhwal, stopping off at Badrinath, the most famous of Uttarakhand's char dham, and taking a two-day trek to Gangharia and the Valley of Flowers. I was a few weeks late for the flowers, but the hike was well worth its 18km climb: while I probably passed a thousand Sikh pilgrims en route to Hemkund Sahib, I found myself almost completely alone in the secluded valley.




Anonymous said...

These pictures look so ridiculously wonderful!!! Great work!!!

Anthon Jackson said...

Thanks for the comment. The Valley of Flowers was great. Hoping to be back in India soon.