Following our successful Himalayan jaunt in January 2010.We embarked on our next sojourn in October 2010 for Himalayas. We had our itinerary drawn in for kedarnath and Badrinath. However, we carefully planned our trip to include our standard Babaji cave visit as we did last time.
I started with my customary Newsletter to keep the group informed with interesting information to spark their interest. I landed in New Delhi on the 22nd October 2010. 3.30 pm when everyone was fervently waiting for our arrival in the luxury tempo traveller. Loud Greetings with smiling countenance from K.T, Bobby, Prabhu and Ram made my tiredness from the journey to vanish.
As it was already 3.30pm and we where slightly behind the schedule we decided to press on our journey to Haridwar as planned earlier.
Delhi traffic was worse than ever, giving us the greatest gift for the mankind the “frustration”. But, we managed with our usual chit chats and K.T‘s charming quick witted response to keep everyone in focus helped us to reach Haridwar as our first day destination around 2.00A.M on Saturday. We stayed in ……hotel for a few hours rest. As there is a long day journey a head for Gaurikund the following day.
We found the rooms were not of great standards, but we were tired and could not be bothered anymore. Reading the psychology of the group, K.T and I decided to stay there.
Oasis Hotel Haridwar
Saturday 23rd October 2010.
Whatever the impediments are during these spiritual journeys like bad roads, improper foods, adverse weathers, long non-stop journeys, hotels below standards etc. few hours of sleep and a nice showers followed by Indian “Garam Chai” brings back everything to life and puts us back in track on our odyssey.
We were all ready at 8.00 AM and found a hotel next door for our usual breakfast and started our long journey for the day to Gaurikund.
We where hoping to reach Gaurikund before 6.00 PM. We went through Rishikesh, Devaprayag, and only reached Rudraprayag at 5.30 PM. Due to natural delays like uprooted tress across the Ghats road and landslides. I was Anxious to reach Rudraprayag before dusk to photograph the famous Mango tree from which the “Man Eating leopard of Rudraprayag” was shot by the Irish hunter Jim Corbett. We missed that during our last trip as it was dark, when we reached Rudraprayag last time. At last this time, Luck was in my favour. I had 10 min of daylight when we reached that place so I rushed to capture the famous spot known to the locals as “Corbett point”
Road Blocks before Devaprayag
Mango tree from where Jim Corbett Shot the Leopard
We had 15 min stop over in Rudraprayag before we left for Gaurikund. Between Rudraprayag and Gaurikund we could see the damage the monsoon has caused this year through landslides. Although, the maintenance works were still been carried out. Fixing the roads that was completely washed away in some areas seemed an arduous task . Roads between Agastiyamuni and Rudraprayag suffered the worst damage by landslides.
The driver was a local man from Pauri Gharwal and was really an expert in driving through that hazardous road condition.
We were unsure of the place for our stay for that night until we reached Phata at 8.00 PM. We briefly stopped there to gather details of Helicopter flight to kedarnath. In case, should this become necessary due to any unexpected delays in kedarnath! So we are not left behind schedule and finally we reached Rampur just 5 km short of Gaurikund.
I would recommend a stay in Rampur. A very good GMVN guest House and few hotels like J.P Palace. (Shown in photograph) The night stay in GMVN was exceptional with warm hearted staff, hot foods to our standards, Rooms and beds in immaculate condition with clean toilets. This accommodation in GMVN was of really high quality and a value for money undoubtedly appeared very much essential. It was a long tiring journey certainly necessitates a good break before next challenge.
GMVN Rest House Rampur near Gaurikund
Hotels in Rampur GMVN & J.P PALACE
Sunday 24th October 2010
We got up at 5.00 am and were ready at 7.00 AM for breakfast. Prabhu the internal affairs minister (we all have Nick names in Divyodaya) is always the first one to get up regardless of the physical and mental condition of the whole group. Ram and Vicky with thier Humour and contributing performances from others forms some of the important attributes of Divyodaya. The morale was very good, which I always felt the key to success of our spiritual journey.Whilst having breakfast we discussed our plans for the day and briefed every one of the roles and responsibility for the trip before we boarded our tempo traveller to Gaurikund.
We reached Gaurikund 9.30 AM. We hired a Sherpa (Narender Singh) to carry our back packs. As everyone seemed energised and showed the excitement on their face. We decided to trek the 14 km climb to kedarnath. It was warm in Gaurikund with temp 12 degree C. as we climbed we had to take off our warm gears as everyone was glowing with sweat. Vicky the youngest seemed to be the weakest link within one hour of climb started to be meek during conversation and showed signs of low endurance. I decided to get him on mule. He was slowing down very much with frequent rest. I feared, this might jeopardise the plans to reach kedarnath before 6.00PM for the Aarthi. So he was the first one to climb on to mule. The rest of us carried on our trek before we reached Rambala which is 7 km from Gaurikund around 1.30 PM (Altitude 2300 m) At this point overall endurance of the team members was going down with altitude having its effect, so we decided to stop for lunch, Maggi (Noodles) and Rotti served hot for the climate was heavenly.
We started our walk again at 2.00PM from Rambala. Within 20 min I had realised It was me who was slowing down the group a lot. My bad knee started to play up and was progressively getting worse, I started to feel the altitude with mild headache and my heart began to pound whilst my legs refused to move. I took few minutes rest only to realize that i had distanced myself from the group. So Bharathy and I decided to hire a mule whilst the rest of the members continued on foot. We realised this was a good decision later when we reached kedarnath.
Although it was not as comfortable as we expected, the mules were of great help to get us there to kedarnath at 4.30 PM.which was well before the start of the Aarthi at 6.00 PM. We found Vicky sitting despondently by the mule station, nearly requiring treatment for hypothermia, as he had taken off his warm gears at lower altitude. However, by the time he reached kedarnath it was 1-2 degree and there was a lot of snow fall. He had curled himself into minimal clothing for 4 hours forlornly before Bharathy and I reached there. He appeared very muddled up and unfortunately my medical kit that had thermal blanket was with the Sherpa who is climbing with other members by foot. We used some our jackets to provide extra layers to make Vicky comfortable and sat him by the fire with few other locals. Whilst Bharathy was taking care of him with a warm drink, I went to find a hotel to stay in.
There where couple of people who introduced themselves as priest of kedarnath and showed me the hotel “JAIPUR HOUSE”. It was small but substantial for that circumstance that we were in. So we got Vicky into hotel to rest and Bharathy to look after him whilst I went back to horse station to receive the others as it was getting dark.
First to turn up by foot was Prabhu, luckily we had mobile phone signal so we had managed to call K.T and inform him on the current situation and to meet us in the temple for the Aarathi. It was a great moment when we all heard the Aarthi Chimes together following the treacherous conditions during the journey when we were all never sure of reaching kedarnath before Aarathi. (I have recorded and have included in this write up)We finished off the day with the Aarthi chimes and prayers that were treat to the ears, souls and mind. Finally, had good dinner in jaipur house and went to bed.
Monday 25th October 2010.
I had restless night despite being tired I couldn’t sleep due to altitude sickness that was in fact only mild; I found later that nearly everyone had the same symptoms of headache and uncomfortable feeling of hyperventilation. It was bitterly cold during night with no heating. I regretted for leaving my portable heater in Rampur GMVN. Unwillingly, I got out of my sleeping bag twice to reach for my portable oxygen that gave me some respite for my hyperventilation. Although, this is not mandatory for mild hyperventilation due to altitude sickness it helps to relieve some of the symptoms. the other option is to take Diamox 250mg at least 24 hrs before reaching high altitude.
Prabhu was the first one to wake up and get ready for the special pooja that we had organised the previous day. Prabhu continued to persevere to get everyone organised for pooja at 6.30 AM. It was the most auspicious occasion for everyone in the group.
After we finished and fully satisfied with our special pooja we left the sanctum sanctorium and reached our hotel. We packed up all our gears and while everyone was getting ready for the breakfast. K.T and I discussed our plans for the day for our descent. As, lesson learnt from the enormous tribulation from the previous day when our assemblage split due to different level of endurance and altitude. Although, astonishingly Nadia showed remarkable fortitude throughout the trekking. We decided to get everyone on mule so that we keep up our schedule, which was very important to get K.T on time to Delhi as I was worried about any further delays due to adverse conditions.
We took up mules at 9.00 AM and with little unaccustomed hiccough due to badly selected mules for some in the group we reached Gaurikund at 12.30 Noon and reached our hotel in Rampur at 1.00 pm. We left almost immediately without delay to Rudraprayag. That we eventually reached at 5.30 PM when K.T left to Delhi the rest of us stayed for the night in a lovely hotel in Rudraprayag “Hotel Tulsi”
Hotel Tulsi in Rudraprayag
Tuesday 26th October
We were all exhausted following our journey to Kedarnath; I decided to give the team a good rest so they could recover before we could continue on with our journey towards Badrinath. So when we reached Rudraprayag and bid farewell to K.T. we decided to spend the evening in the hotel where we spent the remainder of the day relaxing in our rooms and chatting about everyone’s experience in kedarnath. After a nice dinner at Hotel Tulsi we all decided to go to bed at 8.00 P.M.
We woke up late after a good slumber in an area with low altitude, warm weather, nice food it felt certainly better compared to the weather and discomfort in Kedarnath situated at 3600 Metres.
It was a bright sunny morning with some clouds clearing over the western Horizon; everyone was getting ready for the long journey slothfully. I was alerted by the thoughtful driver about the gate system in operation between Josimath and Badrinath. It was already 8.00 AM in Rudraprayag it would be difficult to reach josimath before noon, so I hurried everyone so we can leave at 9.00 to reach josimath for the gates at 2.00 pm otherwise it will be too late for 4.00 pm gate particularly with bad weather and poor roads.
We left Rudraprayag at 9.00 AM and reached Karnaprayag at 10.30 am. Everyone showed an interest to get down for a little break in Karnaprayag but I insisted we continue our travel towards josimath due to uncertainty; we finally reached at 2.00pm when the gates were about to open for traffic towards Badrinath.
From Josimath we reached Badrinath at 7.30 pm due to badly affected road which had nearly appeared almost washed away in some places from the monsoon earlier this year threatening our safety at some places.
We stayed in a nice hotel just opposite to GMVN; accommodations in Badrinath are very good and varied to suit the budget for anyone ranging from bedsits to star hotels with central heating.
We felt comfortable in a newly built hotel, after freshening up we went to have south Indian dinner whilst some of the group went to see the priest (Rawal) of Badrinath.
Rawal was a wonderful man with stunning interpersonal skills and was very accommodative. He speaks quite a few languages and welcomed us with warm coffee. We stayed for a while and enjoyed the conversation with him and others who where there at the same time.
He courteously enquired about our travels and Accommodation and helped us very much for the rituals that we performed the following day in Brahma kapal.
MANA VILLAGE VIEW FROM BADRINATH SIDE
Wednesday 27th October 2010
We reached temple at 7.00 am and had bath in the hot spring (TAPAKUND) in front of the temple complex. While others were roaming around, Prabhu and I did our rituals for the departed souls in our family the ceremony finished around noon. We then had our lunch and set out to MANA Village.
From Badrinath you can drive up to MANA village from where one has to walk to see Vyasa Gufa, Ganesh Gufa, origin of river Saraswathi.
From MANA VILLAGE if you proceed further east you will hit a V junction follow the path on the right takes you to Ganesh Gufa, which is 5-minute walk, uphill. Then the path further leads to Vyasa Gufa although it is only 10 min walk from Ganesh Gufa it is very steep that would necessitate frequent rest. We spent sometime in Vyasa Gufa when my memory scrolled backwards. If you can imagine yourself sitting in a GUFA mentioned in Puranas, the place where Vyasa lived sometime, the places where Adisankara meditated, the place where Vyasa met Adisankara slowly I was beginning to feel a chill in my spine, it was a strange feeling I had got, a feeling that can only be described when felt first hand. Reluctantly we left Vyasa Gufa and started to walk downhill back to the V junction to follow the path on the left to visit the origin of river Saraswathi.
Again it was a 10-minute walk with beautiful views to admire along the way, before you can hear the gush of river Saraswathi.
Just before the little bridge (big boulder) known as Beempul. We saw a Baba in a small cave we took his blessings and he gave me a Rudracha bead and mumbled few words that I could not make out but Vicky recorded the whole event in the video camera.
I must give a brief note on river Saraswathi mentioned in all the four Vedas.
River Saraswathi according to Vedas forms an important aspect of civilisation that flourished in India centuries ago. There are plenty of legendary stories related to river Saraswathi that was dismissed by western scientist until recently when Archaeological exploration and scientific data’s revealed so much of mystical aspects of the river.
The triveni sangamam in Allahabad is the conjunction of three rivers namely Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswathi (from Vedas and puranas). However, at the conjunction one can only see Ganga and Yamuna. Where is river Saraswathi? Has it disappeared mystically or just a myth until proved otherwise with gratuitous validation from western science that is believed by most to be the tool for corroborating contents of Vedas.
Ganga that meets Yamuna at the junction is 4 feet depth. Whereas the Yamuna is 40 feet depth with a recent evidence indicating a different water current at a depth unlike the one in the surface and this with other scientific data’s has confirmed a the existence of river Saraswathi.
At the point we were standing further away from MANA village in Badrinath was the origin of river Saraswathi which runs a short course before it merges with river Alakananda. People say the river although appears as a short course before it joins Alakananda most of the water runs below the surface of the earth before it takes part in the conjunction of triveni Sangamam in Allahabad. To substantiate this hypothesis satellite images and Archaeological exploration have indicated water tables in the course of river Saraswathi mentioned in Vedas earlier.
When we reached the place of river Saraswathi we were stunned by the flow undoubtedly the noise from this once mighty river was telling us ‘I am not infinitesimal as you people believe’.
We stayed there for a while some meditated some who were adventures like Prabhu claimed up the boulders over the river to take a closer look and some busy buying water of river Saraswathi collected and sold in the small corner shop nearby. It was late evening with only a few minutes of daylight remaining we decided to leave but very reluctantly making our way to Badrinath.
By the time we reached Badrinath it was dark already but the sky appeared resplendent with full moon, with our minds still lingering on our sojourn throwing flashes of dazzling river Saraswathi and divine Vyasa Gufa. we all certainly felt an unprecedented feeling inside as this was a lifetime trip for all of us.
We went back to see Rawal again to thank him for all his help before we had our dinner and went back to hotel to get some good rest as we had a long travel the next day towards Dunagiri for Mahavatar Babaji cave.
1. Alakananda in Badrinath near Brahma kapal
2. Nara Narayana Mountains, Naran Mountain is otherwise known as Kuber Mountain. lot of precious and semi-precious stones are found here.
3. Tea with Rawal in Badrinath
4. MANA Village
5. Walkway leading to River Saraswathi and Bheempul (a big Boulder that Bheema placed over river Saraswathi for Draupadi to cross the river)
6. Pournami (Fullmoon) in Badrinath
Mahavatar Babaji CAVE visit in October 2010
Kukuchina Thursday 28th October 2010
After good rest the previous night we left Badrinath at 5.45 AM as gates open at 6.00 am in Badrinath for travel towards josimath. We reached Garuda Ganga at 9.00 AM. Short breaks at this place where there is a small temple for Vishnu’s Garuda Vahana.
Garuda and snakes the natural enemies are largely seen around this place. the villagers of Kedarkhanda devoid of modern medicines for snake bites believe the stones and water from this fraction of the river were Garuda did the penance (to void his sins on killing the snakes) would deters the snakes away. This garuda Ganga that runs through Pakhi village passes close to the Garuda Mandir before it merges with Alakananda downstream. This village is also popular for fresh fruits that are harvested during seasons.
Route between Badrinath to Dunagiri was very scenic. Mountains and valleys that were visual treat with breathtaking hairpin bends. As our journey towards Dunagiri was a long one everyone was comforting themselves in the luxury tempo traveller and was trying to catch up with their remaining sleep. But my mind appeared protracted on those days backwards on those holy lands that could formulate the mind to recognize life beyond evolution and can provide us an opportunity to distinguish science and spiritualism.
How far one has to travel to reach or feel the absolute in his lifetime?
Knowledge on these intellectual subjects becomes imperative before one feels the absolute. Science and other subjects give us Apara vidhya but spiritualism gives us Para vidhya. Ancient schools included logical reasoning as main subject besides mathematics and science. But, as modern day science evolved with evidence based studies, logical reasoning reshaped into philosophy requiring validation.
The immense pleasure of perpetuity that remains when we visualize those places that were once inhabited by great sages who had acquired those divine knowledge through introspection makes these holy places the land of infinity, were the immeasurable quantities of Anger, Greed, Jealous, Lust and Ego will burn to give the eternal spark that light up the soul, and this can be apparent when wandering in this great mountains that is austerely elegant.
It is not uncommon for people to discern the relativity between materialism and spiritualism. The knowledge (Apara Vidhya) from modern world of materialism is greatly vital to complete the karmic obligations before embarking the long journey of spiritualism. However, the desires in materialism clouds the inner conscience but, the borders of the materialistic and the spiritual world is visibly distinguished in these places and can be perceived beyond history, science and religions from the congregation of people in those mountainous land of tranquillity.
After leaving Garuda Ganga we followed the high way towards Dunagiri via pipalkote, chamoli, Karnaprayag, and reached Adi Badri at 1.00 pm. and had a short break visiting the temple ADI BADRI.
And ‘gharam chaai’ we left Adi Badri at 1.30pm.
We reached Dwarahat at 5.30pm and arrived at kukuchina at 6.30pm. Welcomed by our friend Josiji’s son with ‘Gharam chaai’ and smiling continence gave us instant recovery from long journey of 12 hours drive.
After a short exchange of usual greetings and formal enquiries, he showed us our rooms to stay those were very beautiful (see pictures).
We had hot shower that brought our spirit back to life. Soon we were served warm dinner with Uttarkhand hospitality. Whilst having dinner we discussed our plans for the next day trek to Babaji cave and other local places and finally went to bed at 10.00pm.
Friday 29th October 2010
The long journey from Badrinath to Dunagiri certainly compelled us for a good rest. We woke up on a beautiful morning, it was 5.45 am and was beginning to dawn. My room was facing east towards the Dunagiri Mountain, the darkness of the mountain filled up the sky in front and the sun rays were beginning to appear in the Horizon on the background of the mountain. It was a perfect time and spot for a beautiful view from Joshi’s lodge.
I started to film the sunrise. My thoughts were protracted in the beautiful poem Divya wrote last time when we visited Babaji cave.
Plastered across the crust are the winding roads of wisdom
Stream with the sweet opium of desire
Blind devotion shadows the sight
The cosmic sound envolopes the ears
And the divine engulfs the body whole
The feet staggers across the astral realm yearning
Only for the divine.
………………………..Sree Divya Bharathi Nagarjan
With the sun lighting up the sky over the horizon, land warming up, birds cooing to start their day, we started to get ready on our schedule for Babaji cave. With Prabhu celebrating his birthday in Dunagiri it became a more propitious time for all in the group and the boys had good fun chasing Prabhu with party crackers that boomed and cakes splattered all over Prabhu’s face.
Finally, we were ready to start the trek at 9.00 am. Whilst having breakfast Nadia mentioned her mum was not well. So she would stay in her room while we head for Babaji cave. But, I felt someone needs to be with her whilst we were away. My mind vacillated between hope and despair to delegate someone for this task of looking after Nadia’s mother.
Although, everyone in the team offered to help, I couldn’t count on anyone other than me. So I decided to stay when the rest can visit Babaji cave as planned earlier.
The decisions in these circumstances are best made in realm of Dharma. There is enough in ancient Indian literature and epics.
Dharma is a shield against karmic predicament but there is always a constant attempt to breach at the weakest point of vulnerability. Because the uniqueness of the humankind is in the ‘thought process’ (i.e. Humans are different from other species in their ability to think different not just during dire circumstances but also when there is no necessity)
This is due to components of materialism that clouds the inner conscience (Anger, greed, jealous, lust and Ego)
These components can be at different ratio in any given human that is merely referred as Rajja, Tama and Sattva. That could balance one’s life between materialism and spiritualism.
Sattva is purity of knowledge makes one worldly wise, mind becomes balanced and can recognize the changes in the affairs related to universe. One starts to become detached from materialistic affairs and recognise it as mere illusions that prevails around them and starts making progress towards the absolute.
Rajja is based on action and passion towards achievements for personal gains but the subject has some knowledge on spiritualism but looks for evidence on this spiritual matters also uses this lack of evidence as a excuse to indulge themselves into such issues and oscillates between Tama and Rajja.
Tama is complete ignorance very much of attached person with too much greed and compromise everything and anything for personal gain. They are nothing more than a parasite that can dwell on anything for survival and a clear example for evidence that man was a beast before complete evolution.
Most of the people in the world fall between the groups of Rajja and Tama. The path towards Sattva or Tama (WISDOM and GREED) is circumstantial and social. People brought up with faith on god with well learned religious, spiritual information with wisdom from their experience will advance towards Sattva.
Less informed people with other confounded social issues particularly when has successful materialistic acumen that can cloud their wisdom of Sattva and will incline towards tama.
Sometimes repeated failure can lead a person to extremes of Tama or Sattva depending on physical and mental endurance with influence from other social facets (like the faith in which they brought up or a guru who leads them in the right direction)
During our journey we met many people with similar interest in spiritualism. However, lot of them appeared less informed with the concepts of God and spiritual practices from Vedas. These people can be easy target for those with corrupt mind to distort Vedic philosophies for personal gain. So I felt compelled to write this expedient article that of course, became mandatory alongside scripting our journey.
Recently, someone I know from a website contact; took few people to Babaji cave at their request and as soon as they reached the Dunagiri they left to Babaji cave independently leaving this person behind. When he was wandering himself around Babaji cave desolately, he saw a celebrity fundamentalist initiating kriya for a boy in Smirthi Bhavan surreptitiously. While, other visitors were forbidden entering Smirthi Bhavan until the ritual was completed.
Needless to say, they achieve nothing with this attitude that is nothing but shear greed.
Spiritualism is about giving, and not about triumph over tragedies.
There is no god waiting in the temple for us to proffer for our needs. When we go to temple or a prayer place with whatever objective the same intentions are brought back home. The notion of taking pooja materials to the temple and bringing it back as prasadam is exactly the same concept above.
So, we have to kill our greed before we go to temple and other divine places. Otherwise, it is futile and waste of time.
It is mentioned in puranas the karmic merits are assigned to planets. However, when things go beyond the control of planets then god takes the avatar to restore Dharma. So there is no escape from bad deeds.
Concept of Dharma from Vedas needs better understanding. Plenty of people go to temple to pray god asking for more wealth. How many people go to temple to pray god to ask for their own wealth to be distributed squarely to others in need!!
What our mind cannot see our eyes will not see!
We have to get our intentions right before any worship and prayers. Because thoughts are followed by actions and the actions becomes our habits.
The children in India are taught Dharma at tender age to enhance the Sattva component in their mind the dharma is instigated into the mind of young ones with a Nursery Rhyme referred as Aathichoodi by a great saint and poet Avaiyyar.
We were having conversation about the spiritual conception mentioned above whilst waiting for our guide to turn up. Josiji’s son introduced us a foreigner a regular visitor to Babaji cave. This lady from France comes every year and stays for a month does charity works. She offered to look after Nadia’s mother whilst we were away. Nadia felt very comfortable as her mother speaks French and German.
I saw the passion of religious faith in Nadia’s face when she muttered ‘’its Babaji work’’. This is what we get from god when we have our intentions right.
We set out happily to Babaji cave. When, we reached Raatkhal we were greeted by the local villager who offered us all flowers for Babaji with exchange of smiles and greets we headed towards Babaji cave that we reached at 12.00 noon.
Everyone sat down in Babaji cave for a prayer. I took a little stroll around the place and found the small cave is now shut due to the works from greed’s and the enthusiast (YSS in Dwarahat had no choice other than to close it).At least can be preserved for posterity.
When Ramkumar and Prabhu left to Pandukoli ashram I sat down inside the cave and soon fell asleep. I had a very strange dream and feeling while I was sleep! Very strange experience!!
We then walked back to kukuchina, on the way we stopped at the local villager and had cup of tea before we finally reached to Josiji’s shop at 4.00 pm.
Bharathy had money to be donated to YSS so we all went to Dwarahat town. Whilst Bharathy spend time in YSS the rest wandered around for a while before we finally reached kukuchina at 7.00 pm.
We were joined by our French friend for the dinner. We were informed at that point that a man-eater leopard is on parole and that had killed 11 people in the last year. So we were warned not to go gallivanting in the darkness.
We went to bed at 9.00 pm for we had a long journey back to Delhi the next day.
Kedarnath useful Tips
1. Hotels are good in Rampur which is only 15 min away from Gaurikund.
2. Hire a Sherpa in Gaurikund need not haggle they work hard for less money.(£15.00)for 2 days
3. If you have enough time to spend walk slowly and even take good rest in Rambala that is 7 km from Gaurikund as the tough trek starts from Rambala.
4. If you have time constraints mules are great but be careful in choosing them. Check for a good mule with all gears on it there may be missing gear like saddle extension that can rub your thighs badly.
5. Small iron grill support over the saddle should be big enough for to hold.
6. Cushion should be adequate.
7. Novice people make sure the (Goda wala) the mule owner walks with the mule.
8. A helmet and knee guard would really come in handy as the pony trail is very narrow and many people sustain knee injury.
9. Always carry your warm gear with you in case you are separated from your team.
10. If you are planning a trip to Chorabari glacier the same day your best bet is to start climbing in a mule before 8.00 AM. (as the standard time to reach kedarnath on a mule is 4 hrs. This would be sufficient to reach Chorabari the same day with proper guide)
11. Oxygen canister would be useful if you are heading for Chorabari the same day as you are nearly reaching 4000 metres without acclimatisation.
12. Helicopter service operates from Phata near Rampur and Agastiyamuni 15 km from Rudraprayag. If money is not a constraint then take chopper from Agastiyamuni as you can save a day.
13. Watch out for ground frost in the early hours of the day in September/October time ice walker or simple crampons can be useful
14. Finally use your common sense and instincts