Going to the char dham had to be with my sister. We decided that we would do this in 2019. But this required a lot of planning since a lot of variables had to be satisfied.
Let me first introduce you to all the players in this game.
- My elder daughter, D
- My younger daughter, S
- My sister, V
- My brother-in-law
- My elder nephew, K
- My younger nephew, C
All our time tables had to match precisely. Here are some of the constraints,
- Char dham shrines open only on the Akshay Trithiya, and in 2019, that date was 7th of May. So our travel could not be before that date
- D’s semester exams would start at the end of May, so our trip had to be complete by that date.
- S’s semester exams were to be in Apr-May. They were scheduled to be between mid Apr to first week of May, so the trip had to be after these exams
- K’s music exam was scheduled to be somewhere in May, but dates were not announced yet. But it was tentatively after 22nd. The trip must be over by that date
- C’s school would re-open at the end of May. So the trip could not be after May
- My sisters-in-law, who live in different cities agreed graciously to stay over at my house for the entire period of our trip to be with my mother-in-law when we were gone. But since they both are school teachers, they could come only during their summer holidays and not at any other time!
- This trip could not be postponed to the next year too, because D and K were going into higher studies and those timetables would be even more hectic.
So, it HAD to be now or never!
We wanted to book our tickets ahead of schedule to be able to reap the benefits of early booking discounts. So keeping all these constraints in mind, we decided that the trip would be best completed between 12th and 22nd May. The dates had to be that precise!
Anyway, we called up a few tour operators and went with Thomas Cook India Ltd. (This Thomas Cook is different from the one that went bankrupt later on). The tour would start and finish in Delhi. The tour operator was incharge of breakfast, accomodation, dinner and transport for the whole trip. Lunch would be on us.
We were hoping to be put in a bus/van that would be exclusive to us alone. But our tour operator did not promise anything. That did not bother us much, though.
Our trip was to start from Delhi. We booked our flight tickets to reach Delhi a day before the date of departure.
Everything was set!
Ooh, the excitement!