Travel | VOL. 10 , ISSUE 59, March-April 2010 |

Gandhi Sarovar Through Kedarnath

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We worked backwards – decided to reach as early as possible, by at least 8 in the morning. The 3.5 km long route from Kedarnath is not very steep, so were sure that 2 hours would be fine for a comfortable well paced trek to Gandhi Sarovar. Next morning we ripped off our warm blankets at 5, drank a quick cup of hot tea and were off by 5.45. The Sarovar is a small glacial lake in Uttarakhand, (the origin of Mandakini, a major tributary of Ganga), at an elevation of about 3900 m. According to Hindu mythology Yudhishthir, the eldest of the Pandavas is said to have departed to heaven from here. The Mahatma’s ashes were immersed in this Lake. Since then it has been renamed Gandhi Sarovar. Swathed in heavy woolens, barely recognisable Ratan, my brother in law, reverently rang the bell of the Kedarnath Temple and prayed for a safe journey.We crossed the river Mandakini, followed the right angled turn from the powerhouse, and at 6.10, saw the first rays of the sun enveloping Mt Kedar in a glassy golden glow, proclaiming the start of another mesmeric day in the Himalayas. The bite of the cold became less penetrating as we puffed along, breaking free from the cobbled roads to ascend the bare rocky surface. In the last 500 meters or so, there was no distinct roadways, and we had to trek through a boulder zone.

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