Home > Totternama > Pauri – Demure Virgin of Garhwal

Pauri – Demure Virgin of Garhwal

I rate the journey to Pauri as a milestone in our travel escapades. Pauri was 1814 meters above mean sea level on the slope of Kandoliya hills in the Pauri Garhwal ranges of Uttarakhand, over 400 kilometers from Gurgaon.

I was deeply apprehensive about driving in the hills and my wife had a hard time allaying fears and prodding me into action. However, upon hitting the road, all fears evaporated and we thoroughly enjoyed the visit.

Khoh River

We started off early morning from Gurgaon, touched Ghaziabad in an hour, took the meticulously hidden turn to Meerut, climbed a flyover, got on to GT Road and raced down NH58. Meerut was chaotic – pathetic roads, lumbering tractors, baffling signage. Sympathetic passersby helped us to negotiate the labyrinthine streets and guided us till Mawana/ Bijnor road.

Chir Pines

Where the road bifurcated to Muzaffarnagar and Bijnor, we stopped for tea and a quick bite at Monty Million restaurant. Beyond Bijnor, we passed several small towns, Kiratpur, Najibabad, crowded with people and cattle. Soon the straight roads lined with paddy and maize fields gave way to winding roads. Far ahead, the Garhwal Himalayas swung into view and formed a constant back drop to the panorama.

We entered Kotdwara hungry, expectant and anxious of the mountain terrain. ‘Eats’ restaurant where we lunched served us Parantha, special Dal and tea along with detailed directions for the onward journey. We filled fuel at Kotdwara and climbed along the milky white Khoh River for a while with eyes riveted to the road dodging speeding jeeps and skirting potholes. At Dugadda a branch road led to Landsdowne. The majestic splendour Shivalik mountains unfolded over a hazy grey horizon, rolling hills and terraces of paddy as we edged past Gumkhal village and gently descended to Satpuli town.

Bad news! The regular route was closed for repair. We crossed a bridge, went past the toll gate at Banghat and took the alternate route via Kanskhet. Bilkhet, Banekh, Ghandiyal, Banjkhal, went milesstones announcing roadside villages. The silver trickle of a river meandered through the valley to our left, flanked by fields in varying shades of green and yellow. Distant peaks shimmied in a play of light and shadow under the slanting afternoon sun.


Evening advanced upon us sooner than expected. Nervous, we eagerly watched each milestone, counting the remaining distance to Pauri. As we emerged from the forest into the faint crimson afterglow of the setting sun, the town sprung upon us. We breathed a huge sigh of relief as we reached the GMVN guest house overlooking the valley at quarter to seven.

Kyunkaleshwar Mandir

 A spectacular daybreak! I lazily watched snow bound peaks of Neelkanth and Chaukhamba floating over cotton ball clouds through diaphanous curtains. The morning air was crisp, fresh, exhilarating. After breakfast we set out for Khirsu, driving through a breathtakingly picturesque vista of oak and deodar. After lunch we visited Kandoliya Mandir, the temple of the local mountain goddess located high-up on the mountain with amazing views of the town and valley and Kyunkaleshwar Mandir, an 8th century temple complex with splendid vernacular architecture.

Alakananda River

Next day, we went to Srinagar located downhill of Pauri, by the river Alakananda. Being on the pilgrim trail, the town was busy, noisy and hot. After a brief visit to the river we returned to Pauri.

Pauri has been spared the inevitable tourist commotion and associated distractions since it doesn’t figure prominently in the tourist circuit. The forests are still pristine, unmolested by tourist litter. People are hospitable and sport a ready smile and an eager helping hand.

With our recollections flavoured with a sense of adventure, achievement, elation and serenity, we departed from Pauri early morning retracing the trail to our wound up, preoccupied lives.

Contact Details
GMVN Tourist Rest House, Pauri 01368-222359, Mr. Joshi

For GMVN Rest House booking contact main office at Rishikesh: 0135-2431793
Email: yatraoffice@gmvnl.com/ yatraoffice@sancharnet.in

Photo Courtesy: Subha Varma

Categories: Totternama
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