26/09/2013 10 am, Swami Shivanand Ashram, Uttarkashi
After a hearty breakfast of wheat flour porridge and a packed lunch, we set out for the second day of our journey to Uttarkashi.
Silyaara to chamiyala – walk (3km)
Chamiyala to lambgaon – shared taxi
Lambgaon to uttarkashi – shared taxi
Uttarkashi to ganesh pur – shared taxi
Traveling in Uttarakhand in shared taxis is quite an adventure and an experience. You need to be prepared for any amount of travel time. The distance really has no correlation with the time it takes to cover it.
First, the taxi will move only when its full (which means 12 passengers). On each leg, we had to wait for at least a couple of hours. We were usually the first passengers there and it was only after 2 hours that the taxi would get full to the driver’s satisfaction.
Then, the taxi will stop anywhere to pick and drop passengers, which I guess is okay. It does get interesting if the driver saw his friend coming from other side. In this case, both the taxis will stop in the middle of the road for a chit chat. :). They might even stop to have a bidi break there and then. Also, if you are crossing a shop and one of the passengers wants to buy something from the shop, he/she will ask the driver to stop, make the purchase and then move. All the while the other passengers are waiting 🙂
Didn’t see much destruction due to floods on this route but still the roads were in parts simply dirt roads and for the most part single lane.
Nobody is in a hurry here. There is no time to reach to a destination. Just surrender to the surroundings, enjoy the views of the himalayas, the terrace farming, the scattered villages, winding roads, women working in the fields and men playing cards or sitting idle at shops :). Joseph ji was sharing that once someone told him that if you have a train to catch from Rishikesh or Haridwar you must plan to reach there 24 hrs earlier because there is no assurance of vehicles from the villages and the time it will take. At first he thought they are just joking but soon experience told him how correct it was :).
Another thing I learned is that in the mountains whenever someone says “its just here”, take it to mean at least 2-3 kms.
It took us 10 hours yesterday to cover 100kms. We finally reached Swami Premanand ji’s ashram at 6pm. We met Devendra ji briefly and then just rested for the day.
In the morning we were fortunate to have an hour with swami ji. He talked to us about attachment with detachment. I shall write about that later. But hope this post gives an idea about travelling here in the mountains