Haridwar - the Gateway to Char Dham Yatra

Blog MTR-2014 The 13 Runs
December 26, 2014

- by Brijeh Gajera (From the 19032:HW ADI MAIL)

The train was almost on time. Just a little more than two hours late! The famous North Indian winter fog has been playing havoc with our schedule the past a few days, but it showed some mercy today. May be it knew that we had to catch a train to Jaipur quite early at 3:10 PM later in the day. The cold was not equally merciful though. The temperature was 5 degrees Celsius for the records. The Sun did not show up at all in the morning.

Warming up in Haridwar

Aftab, our local coordinator, picked us up from the railway station and dropped us to our hotel. We could afford the luxury of checking in, dropping our luggage there and getting ready in a clean bathroom. We did some warmup outside the hotel. Aftab explained the route to us. At around 9:40, we started our run after flag off by Aftab and Vinit. From Shankar Ashram Chowk, we ran towards a ghat on the Ganga. It was unlike any other Ganga Ghats, away from the bustle of the town and devoid of the crowd.

The Ganga

Har Har Gange- Our first glimpse of the Ganges. We headed towards Ranipur Industrial Area to avoid running in the narrow and busy streets of the temple town. The roads were quite wide and there was not much traffic. We passed by BHEL, HUL, ITC, Havells and other industrial plants. The weather got colder and our hands were numb due to near-freezing cold.

PuriBhhaji

After halfway, we took U-turn towards our start/finish point. A few onlookers applauded us on the way. Lots of colorful shared autos(called Vikram) moved in either direction on the roads. As we entered the town, the cycle rickshaws filled the roads. Meandering thru the traffic in the last km, we finished our half marathon in Haridwar right in front of our hotel. How could one leave Haridwar without eating the famous Puri-Halwa? We had our brunch at the famous Mohanji Puriwale, incidentally our hotel itself. In between Ashwin managed to visit Har Ki Podi and get the glimpse of the Ganga Snan on the Ghat. Haridwar is the gateway to the Char Dham Yatra. The pilgrims come to Haridwar before heading to Yamunotri, Badrinath, Gangotri and Kedarnath. For the MeraTerahRRRun yatris though, a different Char Dham Yatra beckons - to Jaipur, Amdavad, Mumbai and Goa. With chants of Har Har Gange, the yatris set on their Char Dham Run.

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Asima meets the Tatris at Secunderabad Station Asima with Runner @Sec Station There was definite chill in the air. The temperature was 12 degrees, forecasting the colder times ahead in our journey. The jackets came out. “There you all are. I have finally found you” -, beamed the ever energetic Asima and all the thoughts of the 75 minutes late train vanished from our minds. She performed the role of a perfect traffic cop at 6-45 in the morning to help us wade thru the bumper to bumper traffic in Secunderabad station’s parking area.

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Day 2: The first thing you notice about Cochin after getting down at the Railway station is the humidity, even at 5 in the morning. We started worrying about hydration. The enerzal packets were emptied into water bottles. The first of the out-stations run of the MeraTerahRRRun looked daunting. We got out of our hotel, a little anxious. That’s when we were welcomed by the Soles of Cochin runners. They had been waiting for us for more than 15 minutes.

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The Delhi chapter of MeraTerahRRRun “Delhi 6” -by Priya Vaidyanathan started on a cold wintry morning around 11:45 AM thanks to the delay in the train from Bhopal due to a thick fog engulfing the city early morning for the past few days. In fact it turned out to be a blessing since the enthusiastic team of runners reached Lodhi Gardens they brought beautiful sunshine along with them and the sun smiled upon us and it was mid-morning run which all of us welcome.

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Many of us dream of changing the world. And some go about working on those dreams to bring it to fruition. Bengaluru Runners with Dr. H. Sudarshan This morning 18th December, circa 2014, a bunch of enthusiasts committed to a cause, assembled at a stadium in Bangalore called the Kanteerava Stadium to flag off Mera Terah RRRun. It was truly an assemblage of yours, mine and ours. People directly connected to the cause through a common network and those separated by 6 degrees of separation came together to run for a cause.