Thursday, April 05, 2007

Kalindikhal Wrapup

Two more days of the Kalindikhal writeup have been overdue for months. After crossing the pass, we headed down the beautiful Arwa valley, first fording ice-cold rivers (you could see the source glacier a kilometre upriver, and one particular raging, thighdeep torrent had blocks of ice floating in it and threatened to sweep us off our feet), then crossing moss-covered boulders and lovely smaller streams (camping for the night at Arwa Tal), and finally walking through river meadows filled with grey mist and green grass and flowers until we got to the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) camp at Ghastoli, a beautiful place with an absolutely surreal little pond a few hundred metres before the camp. The armymen welcomed us and provided cups of tea, and after some pleasant conversation we headed further down to Mana (a little village just above Badrinath). Halfway down, we managed to intercept a construction truck just where the motorable road starts, and took a riotous little ride down the winding road, being tossed around like sacks of potatoes in the open back of the truck. We crossed the Saraswati river over a narrow bridge below which the stream plunges so steeply that the water level is perhaps a hundred feet higher on one side than on the other. From Mana to Badrinath and its sinfully relaxing hot-spring-fed tanks, and then homewards via Hrishikesh. Goodbye, then, and here's the last lot of pictures.