A pilgrimage up North – Part 3: Rambara to Kedarnath

The last couple of kilometeres, we found were the hardest for us. In the distance we could see the destination, but our pace had slowed down considerably, it started snowing very lightly and Meena was having a tough time coping with the journey. She had tried hard to build up endurance for this trek and was going on regular walks in Bangalore for at least a month or so before the journey, and it didn’t seemed to have helped. Despite asking her to take a Pony for the last kilometer or so, she choose to walk. The last couple of Kms took us more than an hour. As the mountains gave way to the plateau, the scenery changed and it was stunning to see the majestic peaks of Kedarnath in the background. However many photographs we clicked, it was impossible to capture the beauty of it.  It was almost 1.30PM by the time we reached Kedarnath. Nitika who had gone ahead on the pony from Rambara along with the kids and had already reached by 11AM and kept waiting for the rest of us to follow.

Then suddenly we realized it is past lunch time and would the Pittu guy would have dropped Tanvi to where Nitika and kids were or would he be waiting for us and what about Tanvi – what if she was feeling hungry or thirsty? And how and where would we find the Pittu wala? The very thought gave us the shivers! Very fortunately for us the Pittu guy had very safely delivered Tanvi to where Nitika was waiting.

Kedarnath peaks in the background

Kedarnath peaks in the background

The kids had some Maggi for lunch and then the trouble started.  Akku started vomitting….the other 3 kids meanwhile had taken their shoes off and ran into the temple and when they came back, the socks were wet, the temperature was almost freezing and they starting feeling the frostbite and one after the other, all the four started howling, with Pawan and Nitika feeling overwhelmed and tending to them, unaware of the fact that it was the frostbite that was troubling the kids.

Meanwhile as Meena and I reached into Kedarnath and crossed Mandakini, we saw a series of oversized steps leading into the town and that’s when I gave up. Just sat on the stairs exhausted!! We somehow dragged ourselves into the town and walked to the temple. Meena meawhile was mentally cribbing about the journey, tired and exhausted, as she approached the temple, a Sadhu looked at her and said “Woh sab baad mein, pehle darshan” (All the cribbing later, first have darshan). How did he read her mind, is something we couldn’t figure out. She waited to see if he said the same thing to others, but he just smiled at her, turned and walked away.

We found Nitika and Pawan with the kids at the first shop opposite the temple. As we tended to the kids, Pawan and Aunty moved into the queue for Darshan – the temple closes for lunch at 3.00PM. We joined them and very fortunately, we all had a good darshan. Darshan over, it was back to tending to the crying and howling kids, we bought new pair of socks, rubbed Zinda-Tilismath that gave them much needed relief – didn’t I mention earlier that it was a cure for everything – bought additional blankets for the kids, hired Pittu’s for all the kids for the journey down and started back for Rambara.

In the chaos that ensued with the kids howling, we had forgetten to click any snaps at Kedarnath, I wanted to visit Adi Shankaracharya’s samadhi behind the temple, but couldn’t and as we stepped out of the temple town, we started feeling famished. It was already 3.30PM….and we didn’t have time to stop for a proper meal – we had the 7.5Kms trek back to Rambara to do and we had to do it before the sun went down. As it is the weather was quite unpredictable – we had experienced bright sunshine, rain, and light snow in a day – and we wanted to reach Rambara before nightfall. We stopped near a shop bought a couple of bananas and ate them, they were the hardest bananas that I had ever eaten in my life. Luckily we had taken choclates with us and both the ways we gorged on them to keep the energy going.

The trek down hill was awesome!  More about it in the next post.

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