By Sanjeev Nayyar Sanjeev@esamskriti.com | 2012

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I was walking in the Dharchula market looking for kids to click when met these two adorable ones. The one on the right is such a sweetheart while the boy on the left is very sweet in his own way.

We left Pithoragarh at about 4pm to reach Dharchula at 8pm. It is a tough and long drive during which you move to a much higher level. It is the only drive we did at night during the 18 day Yatra. About an hour after we left Pithoragarh is this temple. Everyone stops by, says a small prayer and applies tikka on the forhead.

A few kms before Dharchula is the army area. U see the bridge that connects the Indian side of Dharchula with the Nepali one. Dharchula has many schools and quite a big market. Before Dharchula is Jauljibi ie 76kms from Pithoragarh. It is an important trading centre.

Police exist on either side of the bridge but one can cross over. Early morning saw children from Nepal come to their schools in the Indian side of Dharchula. I walked across to the Nepali side. Number of shops selling shoes, blankets and imported items. Pretty expensive though. U see pic of a Nepali shopkeeper.

A view of the river Kali from atop the bridge. Pic taken about 7.30am. Stayed at the Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam hotel - very good room for Rs 500/. For food go to the market. Found a very good vegetarian rest run by wife and husband duo. During yatra always searched for wife hubby duo restaurants. They serve very homely food.

A Nepali lady with her baby. Pic taken around 8 am. Nepalis run many restaurants on the Indian side of Dharchula. The Indo Nepal Friendship Treaty of 1950 allows that.

Found a large number of shops in the main market selling mutton and chicken saw some 6 of them. Was a bit surprised. My driver, a Pahadi, told me that people in the hills eat a lot of non-veg. As I walked around the market saw this Masjid. The few locals I spoke to were ok with the masjid but did not like azaan blaring from loudspeakers. They said it disturbed the peace and tranquility of the hills.

This board gives the timing for Azaan. This mosque seems to be connected to one in Pithoragarh and Haldwani thereafter. One part of the market (where more Muslim shops) is called Anwar road and other is Swami Vivekanda road. A number of barber shops were run by Muslims.

Left Dharchula about 9am for Narayan Ashram. On road to Tawaghat is TAPOVAN ie famous for its Taptkund. It is quite a walk downhill to reach this hot water spring. At starting is a small rest cum shop run by Prem Vallabh Bhatt. Interesting person. He was happy with development but concerned about destruction of local culture. Next pic has board that expresses his concern.

Board is self explanatory. Prem Bhatt said Uttaranchal Dev Bhoomi. It''s sanctity must be retained for the sake and benefit of all Indians. He has a LG TV dish so TV keeps him abreast of latest happenings all over the country.

After a 10 minute walk reached the Kund. U see river Kali flowing at great speed. Wish I were river rafting on this river - great rapids. One side of the river is India and other Nepal.

This is the hot water spring. There is a hydro-electric power plant close buy, this area has become the colony of NHPC (national hydro-electric power corporation) employees. Was told the area was different before the colony was made.

An overview of the mountains from Taptkund. Great place to have a colony - must be very cold in the winters. Since Dharchula is on the Kailash Mansrovar Yatra route attracts a lot of devotees during yatra season.

Enroute to Narayan Ashram we saw this lady. Grass is first cut, tied and then the ladies load it on to their backs. Quite something. Driver said grass weighs atleast 50 kgs.

Two ladies carrying grass. Once loaded on to their backs the ladies walked quite effortlessly.

Pic of the river that is used to generate power at the hydro-electric power plant. Water color looks divine na.

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