GOVIND DHAM TO GOVIND GHAT
It was about 7 A.M., when we were passing through the narrow dung littered passage of the small bazaar. The dirt all around was wet due to the rains. Just outside the bazaar, we crossed the open-air stable with a number of horses still tethered there under the ‘cheer’ trees. A little distance away, we passed along the trekking camp site which was dotted with mini tents of yellow, red and white colours. Due to the downward journey on the sloppy contour, we were at ease on feet and at better pace than before. All through the arduous descent upto the bridge over the HimGanga, we rather had to control body weight through knee brakes and the accompanying stick. Soon we were at the foot of the bridge. At a dhaba, near the bridge our friends were taking rest together with the porter. We also stopped at the dhaba for sometime. The roaring stream and natural scenery were marvellous. Standing on the bridge, some snaps were also taken. After a refill, we, like other co-travellers moved on. The scenes, valleys, glaciers and dense green forests seen during upcoming journey were being re-visited visually. The high decibel river was in contrast to the calm and serene green forest. What a natural music in wilderness! Half way over, the up-coming yatris were met. The horse bound traffic was quick, but the taste of journey to a pedestrian yatri was surely different. We progressed with due rests at intervals.
Since the time factor did not hang heavy on our mind, we were not at panic to reach the destination. We enjoyed brief rests at dhabas when needed and had refreshments to replenish the lost energy. Midway, the path passed almost under a hanging rock. The ceiling of this huge rock was simply smooth. A sadhu with his disciple was sitting under it. A smoking wood log with cinders was providing warmth to the sadhu who was enjoying his earthen cigar at short intervals. By chance or by design, the mahatma had fixed a thin stick between the floor and the ceiling of the colossal rock. The sight was laughter provoking, as it denoted that the huge rock was resting on the thin stick. With due regard to the sadhu, we moved on looking askance at his formidable stick. As roving guests, we crossed villages on the rocky path. Where necessary, for protection of field's crops, villagers had grown thorny bushes, as fences or formed embankments of stone plates along the yatri route. We photographed some waterfalls and attractive locations. Now, on our right were the high rugged mountains with much less vegetation and less growth of trees. But on the left side along and across the HimGanga, the forest growth was dense and all the vastness of the mountain was covered with a thick blanket of natural vegetation. Big chunks of rocks were lying on the right side. These could prove dangerous during the rainy season. One could feel the calm and ease with which the local residents were living with all sorts of risks on the mountains.
Lost in the surroundings and inching towards the destination, we reached the Alaknanda Bridge. The fast heavy currents of the Alaknanda River were crossed over the bridge connecting Gobind Ghat Gurudwara. Beyond the bridge, activity appertaining to the Gurudwara vis-à-vis pilgrims carried on as usual. But whatever the change we experienced, was subjective and attributable only to differences between the feelings for the onward journey and facts of the return journey.