After that grueling, bone breaking bus journey sleep would not come early and when it came, it was difficult to get up early in the morning.
We were told at Joshimath that share-taxis start as early as 6 AM for Govindghat and Badrinath and they are frequent.
We got up as planned, packed and had tea at the only roadside tea cart. It helped us to recover from over groggy state somewhat. We walked to the shared taxi stand that would take us further north and further up.
A view from the taxi stand at Joshimath. I hate those electric wires.
On reaching the place we found that there were four taxis but none of them had any passengers in them and we were by far the first. The driver of the first vehicle had not yet turned up. Reason… same old lean period (oh! not again!! ).
Apparently, for lack of passengers they don’t start that early. We were guided to a taxi for Govindghat. It was regular 9 seater SUMO / Bolero type MUV but the driver wanted to cram 12 passengers (can you beat that?) before starting its journey. Lean season the culprit… to make as much money as possible on the only trip they can make every day. Hiring a cab all to ourselves would cost minimum of Rs 800 for a distance of 20 KM!
Sign board at the taxi stand.
And the wait started. Soon it was 8 AM and we were still just two of us waiting for our vehicle to fill up. We had started wondering if the decision to travel in this lean period was right.
There was another taxi with 2 passengers going to Badrinath. Slowly that taxi had started filling up. V immediately suggested that we take that taxi, pay full fare up to Badrinath and get down at Govindghat and that is what we did. Had it not been V’s quick thinking, we would have stuck at Joshimath for a few more hours!
Wait & wait…no passenger in sight.
After a brisk 45 minutes journey we had our sumptuous breakfast of parathas at the entry point of Govindghat near the Helipad. After enjoying the confluence of Alaknanada and Lakshman Ganga and disregarding all porters and ponies and touts we started walking towards the Gurudwara, the entry point for the long hike. We wanted to hire a porter for our stuff so that we could walk unhindered. The rates are prominently displayed on the board. INR 605 for porter and INR 720 for a pony. A very Nepali porter was attached to us, the same one who had attached himself to us at the helipad. 🙂
Next stop. Ghangharia. The story continues.
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