Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Kalindikhal - Part 2

16 July: Woke up early and went off to have breakfast somewhere in the city. Here are some misc. snaps from Uttarkashi.

We then loaded all our stuff onto a jeep (hard work! phew!) and moved out of Uttarkashi. Here's what an overloaded jeep looks like.

Halfway to Gangotri, we ran into this little shop with this awesome hoarding. Do click to enlarge it and read all of the writing.

But a little further ahead, we found the road blocked by a landslide. Tons of rock had been swept onto the road, and the rain had compounded the crime by bringing down a river of sludgy mud over it that threatened to immobilize any vehicle that tried to venture across it.

Apparently a bulldozer was on its way, but while we waited for it, some folks on both sides of the divide decided a little honest labour couldn't do any harm. So in a steady drizzle, people squelched around in the muck moving huge rocks and boatloads of mud with one crowbar, one length of webbing and a plentiful supply of bare hands. We all chipped in, some very enthusiastically wading right into the thick of things (literally), and some two-wheelers did manage to find a narrow reasonably solid route across (left) (with liberal amounts of pushing and pulling involved in each transit), but after a good part of an hour the effort waned and we decided stone-throwing competitions were a better way to while away time (right).

The bulldozer did finally turn up, a huge yellow caterpillar-tracked monster that ploughed purposefully through the debris. The huge quantity of earth it displaced with each pass showed very effectively just how futile our manual labour had been :).

And so on to Gangotri, a town perched at 3048m right above a chasm of rock through which the Bhagirathi thunders down after hurtling over a shelf.

You really have to stand on the bridge or one of the little platforms above this spot (right in front of the GMVN at Gangotri) to get an idea of the unimaginable force of a huge volume of water (a good fraction of the Ganga's flow at Haridwar) forced through an opening a couple of metres wide.

A nocturnal visit to the temple nearly resulted in a fight with a couple of self-appointed temple "guards". Thankfully, the situation was diffused before half the town was called into the fray.

(Part 3)


olidhar said...

hoarding priceless.
and the suryakund area looks greener than i have ever seen. very lovely, i must say.

olidhar said...

and i like the porter.

expiring_frog said...

Rain, rain, etc etc. My memories from a visit in May many moons ago are of a rather oppressive place. This time everything seemed much mellower.

Rapid I Movement said...

The "diffusion" was hopefully not enacted by the Chus Lee-ing the (priestly) goons off.

Love the way you described the Gangotri though...have heard about it from others too. I can only imagine what it must have felt being there actually.

hutumthumo said...

eta heavy jomechhe. chaliye jaan dada.

Anonymous said...

Keep writing Dude, doing a great job :)

olidhar said...

interesting development which i might mention here: i think i shall have the chance to get worked up much sooner than i expected.
i had it proposed to me before i could propose it. i consented very, very graciously. as our plans for the post monsoon season stands now, we leave for here on 30 september.
part 3 awaited.