We commenced our road journey from Haridwar at 8.00 in the morning by a hired Maruti van. Although it was almost a rain-less day, we encountered first landslide near Byasi on way to Devprayag. After about an hour or so, the debris were cleared and traffic resumed. The next landslide was somewhere between Pipalkoti and Joshimath resulting in the partial road block and slow movement of traffic to and fro Joshimath. We reached Joshimath at around 6.00 p.m. by which time the last gate for the road beyond Joshimath was closed for the day. We had to stay overnight at Joshimath [Kamet Hotel @70/-].
After crossing the glacier, the climb became steeper which was obvious as we were to gain altitude by more about 1300m in a 6 kms trek. The steep climb forced us to take rest quite often to regain our normal breathing. Even the mules carrying pilgrims and other supplies were breathing fast as seen from the foam accumulated around their nostrils. On this stretch also, we came across some of the wild-flowers we saw in VOF. As we gained altitude, the wild flowers were replaced by a series of brahm kamal plants. As we were close to our destination, the weather turned cloudy and in some places we were virtually walking in cloud and mist making our progress slow. Fortunately, it did not rain much. We reached Hemkund at around 11.00 a.m. At first, the constant movement of cloud and mist around the lake did not give us any idea of the topography of the area. After taking a quick dip in the ice-cold water of the lake, we took a round of the lake starting with Lakshaman (Lokpal) temple and ending with a visit to Gurudwara with star-shaped roof which was under renovation .
we had an 'exclusive' darshan at Kedarnath temple since there was not a single pilgrim inside the temple. This encouraged Jambukeswaran to go for some special puja. After taking the receipt for the said puja, we again went inside the temple, sat in front of the hump-shaped shivling, chanted the mantras with priest and bathe the shivling with water, milk and ghee. It took about half an hour to cokmplete the ceremony.