Uttarakhand Journals

Garhwal: A Glimpse of the Ganges

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A March 2005 trip to Uttarakhand by phileasfogg

FRI Photo, Uttarakhand, India More Photos
Quote: Garhwal lies in Uttaranchal, nestling prettily in the foothills of the Himalayas, one of the most revered stretches of land in India. For here, through forests and fields, along towns and temples, flows the sacred Ganges, the eternal river, the ultimate in holiness for millions of Hindus.

Garhwal: A Glimpse of the Ganges

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Overview

Road to Dehradun Photo, Uttarakhand, India
Quote:
Garhwal has wildlife sanctuaries, temple towns, river camps, and spa resorts, and what we covered was a fragment of what the region offers. Hindu pilgrims would probably tour the Char Dhams (the "four sacred sites"- Kedarnath, Badrinath, Yamunotri, and Gangotri), or follow the trail of the Ganges through the Panch Prayag (the "five confluences"- Rudraprayag, Karnaprayag, Vishnuprayag, Devprayag, and Nandprayag). We decided to treat ourselves to a somewhat more materialistic holiday.We began with a quick trip to the quaint old town of Dehradun in the Doon Valley, a lovely, laid-back town with a distinctly colonial air about it. Dehradun’s best known f...Read More

Glasshouse on the Ganges

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Hotel

A room at Glasshouse Photo, Uttarakhand, India
Quote:
The Neemrana Group of Hotels typically runs heritage hotels: medieval forts, palaces, and mansions that are elegant, comfortable, and homely. The only hotel (or non-hotel, as they refer to it) that isn’t old but still evokes a sense of history is the 21st-century Glasshouse on the Ganges.Not that it really looks 21st century. The red-tiled verandahs, the sloping roofs, the elegant central drawing room… all have a distinctly old-fashioned aura about them. The upholstery’s bright, beautiful block prints; there are fireplaces (winters are chilly up here in the Himalayan foothills); and the large glass windows offer awesome views across the surrounding hills, forests, and river.We’d asked for a ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 18, 2005

The Forest Research Institute Museum

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Attraction

FRI Photo, Uttarakhand, India
Quote:
A childhood visit to the FRI left behind memories of parquet floors and greenery, memories to merit a revisit en route to Garhwal.Founded as the Forest School in 1878, the institute was later named the Imperial Forest Research Institute. It acquired its present name in 1906 and stretches across 450 hectares of parkland, bamboo groves, tree-lined avenues, and imposing colonial buildings. The FRI’s six museums lie in a huge building of brown-red brick, cream-coloured domes, and massive columns surrounding grassy courtyards with weeping willows. We first went to the Pathology Museum, which was (literally!) rot: dry rot, fungus, horrid growths eating away at the heart and surface of...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 18, 2005

Rajaji National Park

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Attraction

Rajaji National Park Photo, Uttarakhand, India
Quote:
The Rajaji National Park, an 820km stretch in the Shivalik hill ranges, was created in 1983, when the Rajaji, Motichur, and Chilla wildlife sanctuaries were combined. Rajaji’s never quite managed to top the lists, partly because the nearby Corbett National Park is everybody's favourite. Also partly because Rajaji’s been plagued with problems- encroachments, poaching, and elephants getting hit by a passing train. This isn’t an exemplary sanctuary; a highway and a major railway track run through part of it, and there are thousands of visitors, not very keen on animals, who come because they happen to be in the vicinity, paying tribute to the Ganga at one of the nearby pilgrim towns.Despite all that, ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 18, 2005

Rajaji National Park
Garhwal
Garhwal, India

Mystic River

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Story/Tip

The Ganga at Rishikesh Photo, Uttarakhand, India
Quote:
Hindu mythology never seems to think below thousands. And the birth of Hinduism’s most sacred river too lies in an unbelievable number of myths and legends. Some believe that the holy waters of the Ganga were born of the goddess Parvati, consort of the destroyer Shiva. Others believe that the river came to earth as Jahnavi, or "of Jahnu," the sage who swallowed the river in his rage at being disturbed by the roar of its waters. That he then let the waters flow out of his ear allows for the fact that the river still flows, deep and broad and beautiful.But most well-known is the story of Bhagirath and his long penance to save the souls of his ancestors. The legend goes that the ruler of Ayodhya, Saga...Read More

Birds on my Brain

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Story/Tip

White throated laughing thrushes Photo, Uttarakhand, India
Quote:
It’s past 6 in the evening. We’ve had our tea at the Glasshouse on the Ganges, and the obvious sequel to that is to wander down to the river to trail our feet in the water. My husband tries it for a while, and when his toes start freezing, he moves off and stretches out on the silvery sand. While he’s busy reading the Collected Short Stories of Roald Dahl, I sit on a rock and swing my feet about in the swirling waves of the Ganga.And it’s then that I notice the bird across the river. It’s a large black bird, with a distinctively curved neck and big wings that stick out idiotically on either side of its slender body. It looks rather as if the bird had been all geared up to fly off when it dec...Read More