I’m still reeling from the super exciting journey around Uttarakhand’s Garhwal region with a bunch of travel bloggers from across the country. The first ever Bloggers Bus (or #BloggersBus on social media) went around five districts of the state with seven of us.
This post is my account of being a part of this crazy journey in revisiting my favourite Uttarakhand for the nth time.
What was the Bloggers Bus
The five-day road trip to Yamunotri and Gangotri was focussed on exploring these two as more than just Chardham destinations. The idea was to explore lesser known villages, towns and hamlets en route to these pilgrimage spots.
It was also a way to showcase that these two pilgrimages spots are not necessarily only for the old and seniors in the country. I, for one, pursued the journey solely because I wanted to go to Gangotri and witness the start of River Ganga, my favourite river in India.
I also thought that the Bloggers Bus was also a way to tell people how nature in Dev Bhoomi (another name for Uttarakhand) personifies many forms. Apart from the religious connotations, the mountains, forests, rivers and people have time and again made me belief in the prevalence of kindness in the world. It has also fascinated me to understand myths and legends of the land.
Who all were a part of this journey
Seven of us joined this journey with completely different aspirations and expectations. Upendra Swami, an avid trekker from Delhi, has visited Uttarakhand multiple times. He is familiar with the terrain, people, beliefs and culture. With 25 years of experience in journalism, Upendra now blogs at Vagabond Images and his Hindi monthly magazine, Awara Musafir, has eminent writers’ bylines.
Swati Jain blogs at Buoyant Feet and combines travel and transformation in her stories. Though I had known of Swati before this journey, the Bloggers Bus definitely helped me put a face and smile to her name (in this case, blog URL).
Like Swati, Radically Ever After’s Namita Kulkarni and I have been long acquainted in the virtual world. Namita is a yoga teacher and before this travel, she returned from Bali and Cuba, where she was a part of yoga retreats.
My companions from Kolkata were three travel bloggers: Anindya Sundar Basu, Subhadip Mukherjee and Rangan Datta—all of who I have met previously. Anindya blogs at Pikturenama and focusses on food and culture, while I feel his travel photography takes the cake. Subhadip has been blogging since 2006 and his blog, Indian Vagabond, documents stories of history and heritage, with very impressive photographs. And Rangan’s blog focusses on heritage and architecture he meets in his travels.
Where did the Bloggers Bus travel
Uttarakhand Tourism Development Board chose a few destinations en route to Yamunotri and Gangotri. Our journey begun at Rishikesh, heading onwards to Syana Chatti, Banas, Phool Chatti, Kharsali, Yamunotri, Uttarkashi, Harsil, Dharali, Gangotri and finally Raithal, before concluding in Rishikesh. Yes, we were on the road for an average of five hours every day!
How was the experience
I have travelled to Uttarakhand extensively and a majority of those were by myself. So I was initially apprehensive of the Bloggers Bus (travelling with company). No sooner we were introduced in Delhi and drove towards Rishikesh, I knew it was going to be a rewarding journey. Our sense of humour kept us going during really trying times. (We lost our way one day for about two hours and luckily none of us panicked or threw a tantrum.) When the group is as compatible as the one in Bloggers Bus, journeys become lifelong memories.
Also, adding perspective and learning collectively is something I miss in my solo travels. Travelling with this enthusiastic and humorous group added value to how I have been perceiving Uttarakhand. It also introduced me to nuances of myself that I was unaware of.
Since we were on the road for many hours in a day and spent a lot of time together, communication was extensive. This gave me an opportunity to know about things (in life and the world) that I was otherwise unaware of.
Would I do it again
With this group, definitely yes!
Note: I was on the Bloggers Bus on invitation from Uttarakhand Tourism Development Board. Of course, my love for the state is evident.