Kunjapuri is famous Temple at around 5400ft near Rishikesh, Although it can also be reached by road, but there is also a hiking trail starting from village Tapovan opposite to Lakshman jhulla.
It had been around 10 days in Rishikesh, a weekend was coming and I thought what better way than to explore the hills and forest of the near by areas, after inquiring a bit I came to know about this place and planned for a day hike to this place.
The total hiking distance would be between 12-15 kms one side and passes through the forest areas, small waterfalls and agricultural fields.
The trail from Tapovan is through the forest area, a nature’s paradise with different varieties of flora and fauna, different species of birds as well and small but refreshing water falls.
As one moves along and passes through the forest area, the whole valley opens up, since this trail is not used much, so one will find very few people on the way, ideal for solo hikers or for people looking out for “me” time. There are two small waterfalls as we move along through the forest. At the end of the second waterfall the upward trail starts and its a hour long ascend till the road construction site.
The trail is not marked therefore at some places it becomes difficult, however on the way we find fellow villagers who can guide, otherwise there is this water pipe which guides you till the top.
As the forest area clears up, the valley and the town of Rishikesh opens up in the background, a spectacular site from the top as one looks back.
The ascend was difficult however these sites made the climb worthwhile, in about one and half hour i reached the road construction area from where we need to take a diversion. I missed the diversion since there was no signboard. however with the help of two elderly gentlemen I was able to find my way back to the trail and finally could see the temple. The last part of the hike was particularly wonderful cause into went through farm lands and small villages, cows grazing, village people involved in their regular activities and me just as an observer passing through it all.
Finally with all the mishaps and ascends and descends I reached the temple top, I was surprised to see the snow covered peaks in the far distance, a reward for the hard day labor. After a brief prayer at the temple, I had to eat something, there is a small tea stall near the temple, the tea stall owner prepared hot vegetable maggi and ginger garlic tea with somewhat satiated my hunger. It was getting late and I could not use the trail back to Tapovan therefore I decided to take a taxi to Rishikesh, however the place to get the taxi was around a kilometer away.
The Sun was setting and within half an hour i would be dark, i discussed this with the tea stall owner, he said that there is a short cut route to the junction, i asked if anyone can guide me through that road, readily one gentleman agreed, we started walking downhill and general talk of who we are, were we are from and all that. Finally I reached the place where i got a taxi for Rishikesh, I was full of gratitude for this incredible person who guided me all the way here, he truely epitomised the saying in our country ” Athithi devo bhava “. He helped a stranger without any desire to get anything back.
Finally I was able to accomplish what I planned at my guesthouse, in between there was a time when I thought it would not be able to accomplish it(When i lost my way), however when one is determined a way always comes out, this hike being one example for me, at the end it was a satisfying experience as well as filled with lot of gratitude.