We started for the New Delhi Railway Station at 6 am. Anil Kaka, Anju maushi and Chingu all came to drop us at the railway station in their Santro. We had trouble locating the platform on which the Dehradun Shatabdi would arrive, however to our surprise it suddenly came on the same platform that we were waiting on. We saw one of the BJP spokesperson, a VIP, get onto the same train. I was traveling by a Shatabdi for the first time and I thought it was a great ride. Almost as if you are in an airplane.
It was quite an eventless journey though. When the train had stopped at Roorkee, I couldn’t stop myself from thinking about graduating from a top college like the Roorkee Engineering College, now an IIT.
We reached Haridwar at 12 noon. We needed to go to Rishikesh and while, Sandeep haggled with an Autorikshaw person on the price, I was looking around. Hardiwar railway station and the surroundings are like any typical midsize Indian town, crowded, dirty but full of life and people.
The distance between Haridwar and Rishikesh is around 25 km and they are both in separate districts. Rishikesh is on the border of the Deharadun / Pauri Districts. There is some kind of understanding between the autowallah’s of Haridwar and Rishikesh, which doesn’t allow them to encroach into other’s territory. We had to change our auto midway someplace. Somewhere near Rishikesh we stopped at a Petrol station. What I found surprising was there was no signboard indicating it was a Petrol station, there was only one person manning the station and there was only one small pump selling diesel. Thought it was real funny.
We reached the GMVN, Bharat Bhumi Tourist Rest House at just about lunchtime. As usual is the case, Sandeep was unusually “soft” and coquettish with the receptionist there (a girl) as he made enquiries about the places in Rishikesh. We checked into room no. 204, freshened up, had lunch and started for Lakshaman Jhula by 4 pm.
At Lakshaman Jhula, we went to the Red Chilli office and were greeted by Arvind Bharadwaj, our guide to be on the Kuari Pass. Arvind is an affable fellow and in the very first meeting he set the stage for the adventure that was to be. Both Sandeep and I liked him instantly. We talked about the weather in the mountains and had tea while we waited for John Cooper, Arivind’s partner. The RCA office is on the Ganges banks, and we took a few snaps of the setting sun from there.
From RCA, we went up till Lakshman Jhula, strolled around the market for some time. At the bazaar I wanted to eat Rabadi and Sandeep didn’t want me to. However, I had my way and after a long time in my life, had Rabadi. It wasn’t as good as the one I used to have at Sarafa in Indore, but “Chalta hai”.
The day ended as we came back to the GMVN guesthouse, had dinner and slept having dreams of a wonderful week ahead.