Considering the tourist traffic to the Garhwal Himalayas, and specially to the Char-Dham pilgrimage circuit, it is surprising how little information is available in the public domain about how to travel from Haridwar to Joshimath by public transport. The Haridwar-Joshimath-Badrinath route is the most travelled route in this sector and we keep getting telephonic calls seeking advice on travelling on this route by public transport. Hence the idea for this blog-post.
Travelling by your own vehicle
If you are travelling by your own vehicle, all you need to do is be aware of road conditions, specially during the monsoons. Ordinarily one should be able to cover the distance from Delhi to Haridwar in about 5 hours, and the Haridwar to Joshimath trip in another 8 to 9 hours. The other precaution to be taken is to try to reach your destination by 8pm, because sometime the police do not allow traffic at night for safety reasons. This more so during the monsoons. Otherwise you are free to travel according to your own convenience.
Travelling by public transport
For the person planning to travel by public transport things are not so simple. A particular regime or time-table needs to be followed to reach Joshimath conveniently, as we shall explain below.
First and foremost, it must be kept in mind that almost all the public transport vehicles for Joshimath leave between 5am to 6am from Haridwar, Rishikesh and Dehradun. This is true for both buses and shared taxis. Thus all your planning must be focused on ensuring that you are in place at the correct bus station to catch these early morning buses and taxis.
So, the best way is to arrive in Haridwar early morning by 5 am. This is possible by rail as well as by some of the regular night-bus services from Delhi. Schedules are available on the internet.
Where to find the public transport
Very near to the Haridwar railway station is the Rishikul Chowk from where the buses and shared taxis for Joshimath and Badrinath usually depart. There is the “Vishwanath” bus service which operates from there. Shared taxis also operate from here.
If you are in Rishikesh, there are the Uttarakhand transport Corporation buses which leave for Joshimath from the main bus station at 6.10 and 6.30am. Shared taxis will also be available here.