Village home-stay was planned by a local friend – Double.
We started our journey by Royal Enfield Thunderbird Twinspark motorbike at 3:30 pm. After crossing Laxman Jhula and left turn we were on Rishkesh Neelkanth road. On the way we stop our motorbike had a look at rafting guys jumping from the cliff on the other side of the Ganga river. Interesting to watch. Neer Gaddu – The location said Double.
After driving almost empty road covering approx. 17 km picturesque route we reached the band of Neelkanth Mahadev temple. We don’t have to turn right – said Double. Continue driving straight passing via Diyuli village we stop at Naltura village to purchase chicken. The former gram pradhan (village head) is running a small chicken farm (right hand side) at the basement of shops.
One kg for Rs. 180/-. Paid.
In between Double enhanced knowledge by showing Rajma plantation. Though I have eaten Rajma many times but it was the first time I was watching its plantation.
We were offered tea and a query – whether we are interested in getting it cooked?
We said yes, but not at this moment.
Few more km drive we reached Pokharkhal.
Total distance covered from Laxman Jhula, Rishikesh to Pokharkhal was 27 km approx. – Two hours journey. Road condition OK if not good. The heavy rainy season just finished few days back.
Pokharkhal is a tiny village having 10-12 village homes situated in Pauri Garhwal district of Uttarakhand. An inter-college nearby and only two grocery shops. Less homes, less population, No traffic and mountains and greenery all around. Far on the other side of the mountains you can watch few more tiny villages and a beautiful temple on top of the hill which was very picturesque during night time due to lights installed. I am very much sure during full moon night Pokharkhal is more interesting to visit and stay.
Very very quiet place in short though it is on State Highway 9 connecting Lansdowne another beautiful hill station.
I saw a vegetable never saw before – Iskus. It is made as similar as Bottle Gourd or Lauki – Knowledge enhanced by the grocery shopkeeper.
Satendra Singh Rawat is the owner of the grocery shop and the village home and is a friend of Double. Upon query about room availability the reply was – Yes. We walk close to his shop to have a look of the room. He is having only one room for guest stay.
Two cots – one is made of wood, one blanket, one bulb, one small wooden window, one wooden door, wooden ceiling and enough space to park motorbike outside the room. Thats it.
Fantastic – said I.
Toilet room is there but outside. And for water use hand-pump install outside the inter-college.
We requested Satendra Singh Rawat for chicken preparation. He asked – with Roti or Rice?
Roti we said with few sliced onions.
It was time for tea after the journey and talks with the villagers and roaming around.
Around 8 pm Satendra closed his grocery shop and requested us to visit his home where he stays with his family.
Dinner was served. Excellently prepared along with roti, onions and pahari kheera (cucumber). He said he added cherry tomatoes into chicken. It is said cherry tomatoes are good for kidney.
What I like the most having dinner with villagers, atmosphere and surroundings. Cool breeze blowing.
After dinner we again went outside and at that time a baba – Ram Giri was there also preparing falahari food on wood fire as Navratri days is going on. He prepared Aate ke Meethe Gulgule, boiled potatoes and tea.
We were total six person had talks, bhajans till midnight and then sleep at our respective homes. Baba stayed outside the shop only.
We didn’t locked our room doors. Just a push to close the wooden doors. After switching off the lights it was complete dark.
4:30 morning hours we were awake. Complete sound sleep. No sound of vehicles, people or anything was there. Just complete silence. Thoroughly enjoyed. I was not interested to leave the bed as it was so relaxing.
Early morning it was little raining. After two cups of tea and payment we started our journey back towards Rishikesh.
You know how much we paid?
Rs. 220 was the total bill amount because Satendra is Double friend. Thank you Satendra and family. Maybe we will come some time again soon because Yamkeshwar Mahadev is not too far from Pokharkhal and a thought to visit to offer prayers.
Thanks again. It was relaxing, peaceful indeed.
Upon query about various modes of travel I was told there are numerous sharing jeep available in the morning for Rishikesh. And from Sabzi Mandi, Koyal Ghati, Rishikesh there are sharing jeeps available for Pokharkhal. Fare Rs. 60 per person. There is bus also but only one though sharing jeeps are many.