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Yamunotri, Temple and River Trek, Uttarkhand, India

(May 2012)

A herd of goats clinging to the hills to nibble the greenery.


The Kalinda Parvat mountain is the source of the Yamuna River and our destination. It's a shock to turn a corner and suddenly see a great big white mountain on the horizon.


Mountain streams meet the road. This is sometimes a muddy cross.


Some Babas we met walking the sacred Hindu pilgrimage route.  We grinded up the switchbacks and they cut the corners on the foot trails so we just traveled about the same speed and got to know them over several days


This gray pony with the moppish haircut seemed mighty interested in the Babas' meal. They were cooking up chappatis and dahl on a smoky fire.


Every afternoon, great piles of gray clouds started rolling down the valley. The rumbling thunder was alarming and often sent us scurrying for shelter, even though the storm didn't always arrive.


Big herds of ponies were on the move. Later we found out that the temple trek at Yamunotri was opening on the day of our arrival, the reason for the great migration of pack animals on the road.


Janki Chatti, the town at the base of the temple trek, had a real Wild West feel. The men sitting down here are chair porters. They carry pilgrims in chairs on their backs, up 5 kilometers and 700 meters up!


This village was at 2400 meters and very chilly in April.


The village roads were lined with small temporary shacks full of ramshackle businesses.


Another awesome waterfall. Ho-hum.


The trail up to the Yamunotri temple was crowded!


Porters and pilgrims and babas jostle down the path.




It would be fun to bike but the stair sections make it impossible.


The snowy mountains start moving in.


There is a small basic guesthouse near the temple if you want to stay for a night.


A wonderful basic guest house/hotel at the source of the Yamuna River, 3000 meters high in the Indian Himalaya. US$8/night and great views - but no hot water and limited electricity.

If you don't want to walk the entire route, there is always the option of hiring a small pony. They are colorfully decorated with bells and tassles.


Young pilgrim in skinny jeans dipping into the icy water at the source of the Yamuna River.


The Yamunotri temple was mobbed with pilgrims. Many Indians take family vacations to visit these holy spots.


Stalls near the temple sell offering kits. Often included is a plastic jug so visitors can collect pure water from its holy source.


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