The young Financial Consultant and travel enthusiast Surya Narayana Manoj Kotamarthi calls Bengaluru his home. He is a resident of the city's IT melting pot and is currently based there. Having already visited more than fifteen states, he wants to see every corner of our charming country. Whenever possible, he enjoys traveling, trekking, and experiencing the unexplored, engaging in adventure activities at places of historical significance and retaining a sense of exclusivity. During his travels, he often takes part in adventure sports.
He recounts his most recent excursion to the Valley of Flowers in the following passage. He states that out of all the trekking tours available in the Himalayan region, he chose this one because it has always been his dream to trek through this piece of heaven, which is widely acclaimed to be the world's most striking high-altitude trek. "In India, there is a wealth of diversity, and there is much more to explore that can be accomplished in a lifetime. Exploring for me involves the mountains, flowers, hiking, snow, outdoors, and forests. This trip checked off all of the items on my bucket list.
The Trip That Changed Everything!
You'll find details of the trip's itinerary on the linked website, including where we'd stay and hike. He responded emphatically when asked if this trip would be recommended to his family and friends, saying: "Oh yeah, of course, I would, and I may be the first one that not only makes the recommendation but also mentions Thrillophilia for making it work".
A Journey That Transformed Strangers Into Lifelong Friends!
His mind is replete with vivid memories of the entire trip. As if fresh from his trek, Surya recounts the entire journey in great detail. He met and greeted each of the 12 members in his group immediately, making them feel at ease.
“Among the people present was a renowned music teacher, a DRDO professional who was instrumental in the development of NETRA-the mini drone, a small group of employees from a start-up healthcare company, a couple getting married, and three young ladies from Maharashtra, one of whom was the youngest. There was also one traveling enthusiast double my age who shared the room with me for the duration of the trip".
At Last, The Sojourn Begins
Surya discusses his journey in great detail. From Haridwar, where everyone gathered, they trekked together to Joshimath where the actual trekking began. Despite an 11-hour road trip, he states that it was an enjoyable trip. We soon became good friends with an experienced driver and took a few breaks here and there during the long journey. Arrangements made in Joshimath were ideal for us to start the actual trek the next day. Another enthusiastic group of Bangladeshis joined us as well.
“Taking advantage of the perfect weather, we began our excursion with a bit of shopping in Phulna, where the trek actually began. It was an enjoyable trek, and there were several small waterfalls along the way. We covered the first 7 kilometers during the hike within four hours and then stopped for lunch. During the second leg of the trek, the incline was a bit steeper, with periods of rain at intervals. It was a pleasant journey, although some did not relish the rain. Following a good trek, the rest and food at base camp were a welcome relief."
It was the D day of the tour, and the weather played hide and seek, making the walk beautiful and covering everything in a fresh coat of rain. Greenery and flowers made this trek a pleasure, and the rain started pouring by the time we reached the center of the Valley, but I decided to do the trek alone until the end.
"The journey back from there was somewhat challenging because of the slippery conditions caused by heavy rains. People were taking their time so as not to slip. Eventually, the bridge became flooded by the rising water, so we had to wait for some time. The temperature had cooled to a cool 10 degrees by the time we arrived at the base camp. We took a refreshing bath and relaxed in the teahouse, before going to the local market. Afterwards, my roommate and I attended an auditorium to view a short educational film about the Valley and its flower varieties.”
"On the third day, too, the rain played peek-a-boo with us. Due to the heavy rainfall in Hemkund Sahib, many tour participants decided not to take part in the trek today. Several people chose to ride horses for the climbing so as to arrive early before the rain started. When we arrived at Hemkund Sahib, I realized that it was one of the most enchanting places I had ever seen. The Lakshman Mandir, the Glacier, the spectacular Brahma Kamal, a lake that was just about to freeze in front of the Hemkund Sahib and finally the Gurdwara which is located at one of the world's highest points, were some of the sights that bowled me over.
I was enchanted by everything there: the magnificent valley, the waterfalls, the holy shrine, the lake and the fresh, pure scent in the air. We attended the langar at the Gurdwara in the afternoon and then returned around 2 p.m.”
“Having descended to Govindghat/ Phulna, we enjoyed a different type of weather, with a cloud cover hanging low; it was like Heaven. Our journey to Badrinath began after reaching Govindghat, following several roadblocks, which were not open when we arrived in the afternoon. Consequently, we traveled to Maana, India's last village.
It was wonderful to see the flow and force of the Vyasa Guha River and the Saraswati River. We also visited the Vinayak Mandir, tea stalls and wool shops. Following our darshan at the Badrinath Temple, we began our journey back to camp.”
"Here we got stuck due to bad weather, which I had no problem with. The police declared it not safe for us to cross the river, so we had no other option but to either sleep in our vehicles overnight or traverse two peaks to reach the other side to safety. This unexplored adventure turned out to be pure bliss for us".
“Having reached the other side of the hill, special police forces helped us pick up another vehicle and returned to our hotel in Joshimath.”
"With our incredible driver, we departed early for Haridwar and en route paused at several places, including KarnaPrayag, Nanda Prayag Vishnu Prayag, DevPrayag, and RudraPrayag. Finally, we reached Haridwar Ghat in time for the Ganga Aarthi. I had a fabulous time on the trip, meeting interesting new people, seeing amazing places, and experiencing a great deal of unplanned joy. Overall, it was a wonderful experience.”
One of Surya's greatest achievements was when he was the only one in the group to reach the valley's dead end.
Word Of Advice By Surya
- Make sure you are prepared to deal with the weather conditions once you reach the summit.
- You will need two pairs of shoes if you are traveling in June or July.
- Carry just enough food and water in one bag.
- Extra sweatshirts are recommended in case of rain.
- Showtimes at the base camp auditorium.
- Take extra chargers and batteries with you.
- Detailed information on the timing and distance of the trip to Badrinath Temple and road and weather conditions.
- And a guide for hiking in Uttarakhand.
The Most Memorable Moment Of The Trip
He recalls a particularly memorable trip during which he and fellow traveler Ujwala initially called each other by another name, since they forgot their real names. From then on, they called each other by that name. “I also missed the people and the place immensely after my return.”
Surya mentioned undertaking Everest Base Camp soon when asked about his bucket list.
He has already bungee jumped twice, scuba dived once, rafted countless rivers, and visited over ten national parks in India.
A Favorite Quote Of His
“Exploring the unknown is the best way to learn.”
These are the words that describe our star traveler best.