Sunday, July 7, 2013

Tour of Uttarakhand - Enroute Joshimath

Part 1 National Chambal Sanctuary is here.
Part 2 Lansdowne is here.
Part 3 Enroute Joshimath is here.
Part 4 Badrinath is here.
Part 5 Auli - Tapovan - Kanchula Kharak is here.
Part 6 Chopta Tunganath is here.
Part 7 Devariyatal (Deoriatal) is here.
Part 8 Kakdagaad Haridwar is here. 

DAY 5

A 0445 hrs start on our drive to Joshimath gave us ample time to stop for birding and halts at scenic places to take in the natural splendour of the Himalayas. Satpuli was one such place which was spread out in the valley below looking absolutely enchanting in the morning light. 


Satpuli

Jacarandas

Plum headed Parakeet

 Moving on... the road getting narrower and higher taking us to Paudi and then to Shrinagar was quite a lonesome stretch where we went for tens of kilometres without sighting a soul!

Shrinagar was a bustling town and also the point where we joined the regular yatra route making for extremely long lines of vehicles going up towards Kedar/Badrinath. At points we were barely crawling along... tiresome really!


Shrinagar

Himalayan Griffon

Stopped for lunch at Karnaprayag and looked for the sangam there in vain! I thought there was one ....! Only on ascending the road further towards Joshimath did we manage to see it. The beautiful green waters of the Pindar joining the frantic turbulence of the Alaknanda! A beautiful sight indeed!


Pindar before the sangam at Karnaprayag

Nandaprayag

Made Joshimath quite uneventfully that evening and settled in early for the night in anticipation of the next day’s outing to Badrinath!

View from Joshimath



Tour of Uttarakhand - Lansdowne

Part 1 National Chambal Sanctuary is here.
Part 2 Lansdowne is here.
Part 3 Enroute Joshimath is here.
Part 4 Badrinath is here.
Part 5 Auli - Tapovan - Kanchula Kharak is here.
Part 6 Chopta Tunganath is here.
Part 7 Devariyatal (Deoriatal) is here.
Part 8 Kakdagaad Haridwar is here. 

DAY 2

Directly after the safari, we drove off to Meerut via Agra. The Yamuna expressway is really very good... our first experience on it.  That stress free drive ended as we took the turnoff to Bulandshahr and onwards to Meerut. Some stretches were really beautiful tree lined avenues... others were potholed and narrow. In all, a decent drive. 

Enroute Meerut

DAY 3 and 4


The next day we made an early start to Lansdowne. Had breakfast of Chole-Bhature from a ‘thela’ in Miranpur which was yummm! Skirting Bijnor, drove past Najibabad, Kotdwar and then onto Lansdowne. The scenery changed after Kotdwar dramatically as the hills began. One particular signboard had us in splits...’Be gentee on the curves’.  Lovely roads and picturesque settings all the way to Lansdowne. 



Close to Lansdowne

I was surprised that despite the place being not particularly high up (in altitude), it was cold indoors even in the afternoon! The most striking thing on reaching was the profusion of flowers everywhere. The tiniest place be it on the mountainside or along the road was blooming with wild flowers. Many moss-laden trees had orchids on them in full bloom. Coming from the hot, dry and dusty plains, this was pure bliss!


The two days in Lansdowne, all we did was bird watching and enjoying the long walks in and around the place. For us from the plains, it was a completely new set of birds we saw there and the Plum headed and Slaty headed Parakeets caught our attention with their raucous screeching. Thus began our acquaintance with birding in the Himalayas...Himalayan Bulbuls,  Russet Sparrows, Lesser Yellownape, Brown fronted and Himalayan woodpeckers, the Eurasian and Black headed Jays, the numerous Tits, Flycatchers, Barbets, the list is endless. Kept us enthralled for the entire duration of our stay there...

Himalayan Bulbul

Slaty headed Parakeet

Black headed Jay


Verditer Flycatcher

Bulla Tal

Great Barbet

Orchids...!





Tour of Uttarakhand - National Chambal Sanctuary

This is Part 1 of our trip.
Part 2 Lansdowne is here.
Part 3 Enroute Joshimath is here.
Part 4 Badrinath is here.
Part 5 Auli - Tapovan - Kanchula Kharak is here.
Part 6 Chopta Tunganath is here.
Part 7 Devariyatal (Deoriatal) is here.
Part 8 Kakdagaad Haridwar is here. 

This was a driving trip from Bhopal to Badrinath and back. This travelogue will take you through the trip in smaller installments since the report is very long.

Day 1

The first leg of the trip was Bhopal to Devri (6 Kms ahead of Morena, near Gwalior). The reason for this fairly obscure destination was the boat safari on the chambal river slated for the next morning. Checked in at the FRH in Devri in sweltering heat. The place was absolutely burning up!! No power that day, though we were told that this was a one off... this generally never happened. When the situation did not improve till late evening and after nightfall, we had dinner at the FRH (which was very good) and decided to fall back to Morena and stayed at the circuit house there.

Day 2

The boat safari on the chambal was mesmerizing to put it mildly!! Our target was the endangered Indian Skimmer and the equally endangered Gangetic dolphin. Got to see them both to our heart's content. The dolphins are majestic creatures and being blind, do their hunting as well as navigation by sonar in the bump on their foreheads... We could not manage any pics since it is very difficult to predict where and when they will surface...
Ghadial

River Lapwing

Magar


The Ghadials and Magars are all around living up to the name of the sanctuary... National Chambal Gharial Wildlife Sanctuary.

Some pics of the Skimmer in Chambal...