Thursday, 5 July 2012

Travelling to Garhwal Himalayas has never been easier

Over the past Year, the Uttarakhand government along with the help from the centre has been quietly revolutionizing the travel options, speed and efficiency to the perptually transport starved, Garhwal region of the Himalayas. Here is what has happened over the past couple of years.

BY ROAD:

What was for a long time a pipe dream, an express highway to Haridwar/Rishikesh/Dehradun, is finally taking shape. The 220 Kms to Haridwar used to take a mind numbing 6-10 hours depending upon your luck, the alignment of the stars, Sugarcane season, Yatra Season, Kavad season, Kumbh season, Summer season and so on. It now takes a respectable 4-6 hours depending upon the time of the day, and is bound to improve when the express way, which is completed till Muzzaffar nagar reaches Dehradun. This will reduce travel times, increase tourist comfort, travel options and break many mental blocks and barriers.

VOLVO SERVICE IS BACK!

The Volvo service ( The generic for deluxe bus travel between citties) was started a few years ago with much fanfare has stopped thanks the heavy toll the buses used to take on the bad roads filled with Sugarcane laden bullock carts and tractors who didn't give a damn about the other vehicles on the road.
Thanks to the improved Highway from Delhi to Dehradun ( work completed till Roorkee) this service is back, much to the relief and comfort of uttarakhandis going back home or tourists heading out to the mountains or places of pilgirmage.
Go to www.upsrtc.com for book bus tickets online. It is a great option for plans made in a hurry and a good alternative to Trains.

BY TRAIN

With the introduction of the super fast New Delhi Dehradun A/C Express a new chapter in comfortable travel to the Uttarakhand has opened. Earlier the only option was the Mussoorie express which must have broken all records for the railways in terms of how to reach from point A to Point B by the longest route possible in the slowest time.

Apart from this, there are several new trains from all parts of the country now, direct to Haridwar & Dehradun making it by far the most well connected rail head into the Himalayas in the country.

BY FLIGHT

Dehradun & Pantnagar have borught in a completely new dimension to travel and access for people, especially from other cities ( than Delhi) to the Mountains. Dehradun with its new airport and 4 flights a day from Delhi and now a direct flight from Mumbai as well has now made it so easy for people to get to this parts that people are making extended weekend plans for either tourism, spiritual or religious visits and so on by completely skipping Delhi which saves them enormous amount of time and money. Recently a few friends of mine joined me for a "bike hike raft" trip in the HImalayas from Singapore and HOngkong. Each left their home early one morning and were sipping chai and hogging on Pakoras with me late afternoon in one of our mountain lodges by just taking a hoping flight to Dehradun. This is truly disruptive.

I now only hope the decade old air strips at Gauchar ( nearly Rudraprayag) and Naini Saini ( near Pithoragarh) are opened up soon to make this truly remarkable landacape accesible to all to enjoy.

Ony request, please take your pet bottles and chips packets back with you!!