Udayavni Special

Legs and Wheels – The base camp of Yamunotri


Team Udayavani, Oct 3, 2018, 1:31 PM IST

The Char Dham Yatra – travel begins with reaching the base camp of  ‘Yamunotri’  in the Garhwal Himalayas.  River Yamuna is considered pious by Hindus as she adds beautiful narratives to the childhood stories of   Lord Krishna. Travelling Yamunotri, the source of Yamuna River, is considered relatively tough by a majority of the travelers. As we start our journey from Hardwar to reach Yamunotri we travel approximately 280 km on terrain roads.  Since there is no vehicular support to reach the last 6 KM stretch, it becomes important of the traveler to reach the base camp previous night.  

Reroute to the Base Camp
As mentioned earlier stage one of Yamunotri is to reach the base camp.  We leave Hardwar early morning and on the way touch Dehradun and  Mussoorie.  Now, this is an interesting part of the journey as the travel plan to ‘Char Dham’ begins from here.   If you have enough holidays on your hand and vehicle is at your disposal and you have not visited this part of the country there are a lot of sightseeing placed near Dehradun and  Mussoorie is worth spending time.  The city on the mountain is enchanting.  A travel plan booked through a travel agency invariably includes a visit to Kempty falls and Market Place in Mussoorie.  However, the programs largely remain uncertain-thanks largely to traffic.  Just to cross a bottleneck your vehicle may stop in an inclined position for more than 2 hours.  An erratic driver who does not care for lane discipline may play a spoilsport. Once we cross Dehradun roads are curvey and speed of the vehicle automatically reduces to 30 to 40 km/hr.

With mesmerizing nature…as you move in ranges.. your soul starts communicating with nature and tries to become one with the mother nature.  As you cover the distance…..you will see many glasses of the waterfall that makes you feel like stopping at every spot. But remember travel in these ranges is only during the daylight and after 7 pm, not even an experienced driver drives his vehicle. If you are blessed then let there is no landslide or traffic jam.

Selecting the Base Camp
To climb Yamunotri our first station should be close to the Dham. Lodging facilities are available at Uttarkashi, Barkot and Janaki Chetti.  Uttarkashi is around 124 km and will take approximately 5 hours. People may also prefer Janaki Chatti which is just 1.5 KM from where the actual trek to mountain begins. Helicopter facilities to reach the base camp is also there. Though good lodging and boarding facilities are available at Uttarkashi we preferred to stay at Barkot as it is just around  45 KM from Janaki Chatti.  
The total travel time to reach base camp Barkot from Hardwar takes around 8.30 hrs. The distance between Barkot to base camp Janki Chetti is around 45km.  

Base Camp Barkot
After a days-long journey, it is nice to stay at Barkot, a sleepy town on the laps of Uttarakhand. This town meeting quietly in the hillock region provides a distinct view of Banderpoonch and Himalayan Ranges. Barkot is also the base camp for many other adventurous excursions and shopping place for local woollen handicrafts, if interested. 

Lodging and Boarding 
In Barkot we get rooms to suit our interest and pocket size.  Booking rooms online are easy. If we are particular about the facilities it is always good to book the rooms in advance, otherwise, there are many hotels on the highway for a traveler to chose.  In Barkot there are several entrepreneurs who provide you with the experience to stay in tents. The tents pegged on the banks of river Yamuna,  are fully furnished and provide you with all the facilities of staying in a hotel room, except for instant hot water bathing.  The hot water is supplied to the rooms on demand.  The service providers are alert and very hospitable so no issues. 

Staying in the tent was totally a new experience for me and my husband Lakshmikantha. Sitting outside the tent as ‘adrak’- ginger flavored hot tea aroma fills your nostrils, the furious Yamuna and ice-tipped mountains fill the heart. According to me, the traveler goes spiritual and silent from here. The unpredictable rain that tickles your body is, of course, a blessing in disguise. Facing the Yamuna the entire night, hearing her flow was an enchanting experience. Barkot is suggested for stay as you finish trekking Yamunotri you come back to Barcot rest your tired bones to proceed to Gangotri next day.

We left Hardwar at around 10 30 in the morning and by the time we reached Barkot it was already 7 pm. wrapped up with the dinner at 7.30 pm and off to sleep, listening to the lullaby sung by the Yamuna.

– Dr Nandini Lakshmikantha

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