I had been thinking of getting out of the rut of routine and get off some place away from the complete complexity of daily brekneck run from 8 to 8. The arrival of the my elder brother-in-law with his family and a nascent plan to visit some cool place nearby, presented a perfect opportunity to one, make myself happy, and secondly to make my spouse happy, by entertaining her brother. So I applied for couple of days leave and set out for the ambitious three cities trip on my old Wagon R, which has eached an age where it deserves more respect than affection. Scanning through the net, and doing R&D on the best way to reach and not to reach Haridwar, we decided to leave early by six in the morning, expecting to cover the entire distance of 206 kms by two O’ clock, with half an hour halt for the breakfast thrown in. Little did we count about the numerous diversions coming across our way especially between Meerut and Mujaffarnagar. The way was uncharacteristically clean in the morning across the Nizamuddin bridge as we reached Ghaziabad, Via Anand Vihaar. Crossing Vasundhara and Vaishali, it was a smooth flow, in fact so smooth, that I forgot to get the petrol, and by the time I remembered the need for fuel, we were deep in GZB and all petrol pumps for some reason were on the other side of the road. So after taking right turn from Hindon T point, had to take a U-turn to get the petrol filled. And as I was soaring with the satisfaction and secutiry of having a tank full, I almost missed the absolutely unnoticeable left turn around 1.5-2 kms from the hindon T point, which was to take me towards Meerut. Took the bypass from Meerut, with a distant nod of head to the memories of first set of freedom-fighters, before entering Meerut, to enter into a maze of diversions. Work in progress everywhere…Jidhar dekhta hoon, Khuda hi Khuda hai….Aur Jahaan nahin khuda, whaan khudne waala hai. Reached midway, at Grand Chital, a very nice place, very beautiful but wrong place to halt on the way up.
Moolchand which was around 10 kms further, would be better choice. However, we ended up doing it other way round. Braving the heat, finally reached crossing Roorkie in a Whiff, reached Haridwar at around 2.30 and looking at Ganga, was really great. I have seen it in Kanpur, in Benaras and in Patna, with calmness and patience and wisdom gained across its travel. It was really charming to see it full of life, vigour and energy for the first time. My little one, Sanskriti, or Nonu, had been incredibly patient all along the travel. Checked in at Ginger, in spite of some confusion on account of change of date of arrival. Hotel was no-frills, not that you would notice it, but with bright colour of orange and red, and neat, although with bad A/c. For winters, it should be nice. There were places to eat around, I guess, Dana Paani, with very nice food, brimming with guests. Having rested for couple of hours we went to Har-ki-pauri, by Tempo for evening aarti.
Must say, having seen Aarti at Benaras, this was quite dissappointing, with parody bhajan CD playing at full blast in the background with Jhankar beat. Redeeming feature was the cold water of Ganga against the skin and one very beautiful idol of lord Shiva. Strange thing is that the lonely figure on the banks of the Ganges, did not convey any feeling of forlornness or loneliness, but rather of peace and calmness. Day 1 ended with the aarti, Day 2 started little late as we came out at around 12.30 moving towards Har-ki-Pauri to take a dip. Came across the mother of all traffic jams, a perennial problem in Haridwar, so we dropped the idea in between, and decided to take the dip in at the swaroopanand ghat, on the way. The ghat was very well made, with less number of people and good plance to take a dip. Nonu, surprisingly, enjoyed the dip, angel swimmer in a diaper. By the time we finished having fun in the water, traffic opened up, it was already four thirty. we moved to Har-ki-Pauri after visiting Bharat Mata Mandir, which is close to hotel, to visit Mans Devi. There is a good mechanism of package ticket covering Mansa devi and the other Sati mandir on the other hillock, both on cable car, transport between the two by bus covered in package ticket. But we were too late to cover two mandirs, so went to Mansa Devi. Came back to have food and prepare for early morning departure to Rishikesh. Before we left for Rishikesh, the City of Shiva blessed Nonu with her first tooth, one little one on the upper gums. The road to Rishikesh was quite picturesque, lined with forests. Reached there, went straight upto Lakshman Jhula, came back to take a dip on Triveni ghat, before starting to Mussorie.
The road was total visual treat. Took Sahatradhara byepass from outside Dehradoon, determined not enter the city limit, we took off to Mussorie. Took a small break to visit Mussorie Lake on the way for boating. Reached Mussorie by 7.00 PM to check in at Green and Breeze hotel, hidden on the side of Jaypee Manor. Very good view from the hotel but very bad beds. Next morning, drove to Kempti Falls, again in water was great fun, although some self awareness of increased midriff. Came back happy with a resolve to reduce the waistline. The resolve faded but happiness remains. While coming back from Kempti, visited company garden, a must visit especially if kids are part of entourage. Parked the car near the mall and went for a walk on the mall. There had the first casulty of the trip, as we lost the handicam, stolen from the parking lot. Started back the next day, around one O clock. Took rest at Shiv temple on the way down, Then went on to Delhi, this time via Dehradoon. Took the road directly to Roorkee, avoiding both Rishikesh and Haridwar, via, Chutmalpur and Saharanpur, the roads are very pleasant with very scarce traffic, going through rajaji National park which falls in Saharanpur. From Roorkee, it was again the same dusty road via Meerut to Delhi.