I awoke, as I'd fallen asleep, to the soothing sounds of the rushing Yamuna waters. With the bracing wind keeping us alert to appreciate the breath taking views, we traveled onward through the now familiar winding roads. Familiar, yet unfamiliar because of the now dense evergreen vegetation lining it. Firs, Pines and Deodar trees were now abundant. The roads got steeper, narrower and rockier as we neared our destination. Scary signs depicting narrow roads (as if they could get any narrower!), landslides and cars running off the road into the river, now greeted us. Numerous waterfalls cascaded down the craggy faces of the mountains to one side of the road and in places, the water ran in streams, right across the road.
As we neared Ranachetti, a nasty surprise awaited us.. A portion of the road had sunk and crumbled off. We had to leave our vehicle on one side of the damaged section of the road , walk very gingerly on the part that had collapsed and hire another vehicle on the other side- quite an adventure. Reaching the base of the path to Yamunotri marked the beginning of yet another adventure- my first time on a horse- or rather a crossbreed of the horse and the donkey. It was a fun experience but not a very comfortable one. My pony, Chetak, took me safely up to the temple of Yamunotri. What was a revelation in the temple premises (having neglected to read up on it) was the presence of hot water springs. Many devotees dip cloth bags of uncooked rice into the springs and by the time they are done with their Darshan (viewing God's idol), the rice is cooked and ready to be consumed.
Having warmed our hands and feet in the springs, we began the journey downwards. Tired, cold and ravenously hungry, visions of hot, soupy Maggi began dancing in my head. Thankfully, everyone in my family suffers from Maggi mania. After having some spicy, Masala Maggi, thrilled to have had so many adventures yet thankful that there were no more to be had today, we turned our steps homeward or rather, hotelward..