Today we are in Nainital. Before coming to Nainital I have done a small research on what are the places that I will have to see here. I could list out the below places:
Snow View – This offers an excellent view of the northern Himalayan ranges. We also have a rope car available here from which we can see snow capped Nanda Devi.
Naini Peak – This also gives a stunning view of the Himalayas including Nanda Devi and the mountains on the Tibetan border.
Dorothy’s Seat which is also called as Tiffin Top.
Land’s End – From here we can see one more lake called Khurpa Tal.
I was excited about all these places. I didn’t knew that there was “IF ONLY CLAUSE” in between me and these places. I can have a great view of all this if only the weather is friendly. On Saturday I had discussion with dad about these places and I wanted a separate vehicle to be arranged to see these places. Dad was convinced and said he would talk to the tour organizer (Subhash).
I guess because of the excitement to see the snow capped mountains I woke up very early at 5.30AM. By that time nobody in my room was awake. When I came out of the room I saw that there was lot of light already and Sheshagiri Rao uncle was awake and doing yoga. Meanwhile I thought I will take a walk around Nainital and do some photography. So I took my camera and came out of the hotel.
My experience at Naini Lake
I started off through the steep slopes and headed towards the Naini Lake. On the way to Naini Lake I saw Flatts which is a play ground in Nainital for the kids. I took some photographs of the kids playing around there even at 5.30 in the morning. I can see the beautiful view of Naini Lake from there. I thought I will take a round trip of Naini Lake which would come around 3 to 4KM.
Firstly I saw the view point of the lake from where people normally take pictures which even I did. Just besides that I saw the Naina Devi temple. I couldn’t go in as I didn’t take bath and also the temple was closed. May be it was too early for the pundits there to open the temple. There is a small route just besides the temple going along the hill. The route was really nice. The temperature was slightly less and the sun was about to come and the cool breeze around. It was a great experience. I could see people walking and jogging around through that route. If the same would have existed in Singapore then I wouldn’t have put on weight. I took some pics of the people walking around.
Naina Devi Temple
I have always heard about Nainital since childhood as a lovely hill-station surrounded by mountains. Now I am actually seeing it. It is known that there were once many lakes and it was called the ‘city of 60 lakes’ or ‘Nanital Chakta’. But today’s life of Nainital revolves around this lake of Naini and I guess others have disappeared with the time. There are few other lakes around Nainital which are equally beautiful and attractive as the Naini lake. One of which we saw on the way up to Nainital. I have seen people speaking Hindi, English and Kumaoni. I guess enough about Nainital.
So I walked further through that hilly route and saw a Hanuman temple on the rocks of the mountain. Even this temple was closed but still people passing through this route were stopping there and taking blessings of Hanuman. At this point when I just crossed Hanuman temple I could see the Sun coming out of the mountains. It was a beautiful view. The mountain with full of trees and houses and above that comes the sun. I was lucky to get some pics of the sunrise. After taking those pics I went further and reached a bridge across the Naini Lake.
From here I could see the total view of Naini Lake from the other side. I crossed over the bridge and reached the main road of the Nainital Town. I guess the time was just past 6 and people were already awake and on their toes for their work and business. There was a main road for the cars and other vehicles and a small road which would give a view of the Naini Lake. I saw some rickshaws there taking people on this road. People pay Rs.15 for a rickshaw ride from one end to other of Naini Lake. Though I didn’t take this ride I was able to experience it by just walking through the road. Also saw some people in boats with their life jackets on. They were taking a boat ride in the Naini Lake in midst of three mountains surrounding the whole lake. On the way I could also see the hotels, cottages, business houses, schools etc on the other side of the road. I finished this whole trip and took as many pictures as possible and started back home once again climbing the steep road to the hotel.
By the time I reached hotel room almost everybody took bath. I was ready for bath but only concern was if it was very cold water. I saw that there was some Luke warm water available and I couldn’t demand more than that. After bath it is pleasant had a great feeling. Krishna the travels guy came up to our room and called us breakfast. From the last nights dinner I could expect what it could be in for breakfast. There was no much surprise and we had upma for breakfast.
Meanwhile I was bugging dad for a separate vehicle so that I could go around and see those places. Dad enquired with Subash and he said the weather was not good and clouds would not allow us to get a great view from those points. I asked atleast for the rope car. But even that was booked for 2 days so we didn’t really have a chance for that. Finally Subash convinced me saying that there are much better view points going forward. We wanted a tempo traveler to be arranged for our 9 member group from here. But Subash said as its hilly region and road are not so good Qualis or Sumo would be fine. Finally we got convinced to get divided into two vehicles. The other 29 member group was coming in a mini bus.
We were lucky to get good drivers through out the journey. This time the driver of Sumo in which I was sitting was Shekar. He was so friendly and had more enthu than what we had in the trip. He showed us some real good places around and some nice view points for photography. He speaks real good English with some nice phrases in between. The best I liked was “My life is more precious than yours, so I will drive safely”. Ha-ha that’s called a statement.
Journey to Jageshwar
So we started from Nainital in a Sumo and Qualis. We were supposed to reach Jageshwar by evening which was our second destination. The vehicle took a different route from that of yesterday’s arrival route. We were seeing some real tough road ahead and also some very good valley and hills view. Just after driving for some distance we stopped at Kaichidham Temple. This was Param pujyu Sri Neem karote Baba temple in which we had temples for Goddess Sri Vaishnavi, Hanuman, Sri Venugopal Swamy, Radha and Ammavaru.
The temple had some colorful flowers. As the photography was not allowed we couldn’t take either photos or video of this. There were two watchmen always watching people if anybody is taking the pictures. After the darshan we came out and took some pictures out side the temple premises. Between the road and the temple there was a river flowing in between. It was a peaceful and serene atmosphere. The temple is located in middle of hills in a valley adjacent. After the photography we went near the vehicles.
Our sumo vehicle was having some problem. The drivers were looking into the issue and meanwhile we thought we will have some Jaljeera which was available there. The lemons that were used to prepare Jaljeera were 3 or 4 times the ordinary lemon we see in Hyderabad. Firstly we ordered 1 and as it was really good we ordered for 3 more. We had the drink and the vehicle was also ready temporarily. So we started off again. We were supposed to stop once again after some distance to get the vehicle set right. After some distance we again stopped to get the vehicle right. Meanwhile Urmila aunt wanted to take some comfortable slippers to walk on these mountains. She did some shopping and with in 15 minutes we again continued our journey.
From here for some distance we could see Kosi River. Though most of the river was dry but the view was beautiful. We also came across a vehicle which was kept aside symbolically for an accident. Ha-ha and my driver wanted me to take the pic of that accident vehicle. We saw the roads being repaired. For almost every rain these routes get damaged because of the land slides. We crossed some small bridges here and there. The route is was very challenging with sharp curves and narrow roads. The whole journey was a single road and there were some vehicles coming in opposite direction also. After going some distance we could see some water in Kosi River and a bridge connecting 2 mountains. It was a great view.
On the way we saw several villages with houses constructed on the hill slopes. There were no plane lands for construction and human habitation or agriculture in the whole Uttaranchal. Even the agriculture was done on these slopes with a method called Step Cultivation. The view of the land would be like steps from top. They cut the land in form of steps to get some flat land to do the cultivation. We also came across some huge trees and valley which looked very nice. We stopped there and took some pics.
After crossing about 60 kms on this high attitude of mountains we came across a diversion. One would take us to Almora and the other to Jageshwar. So took the road for Jageshwar. Almora is a very beautiful hill station in the Kumaon Himalayas and one of the few places that was not founded and established by the British. It is the district capital with all the amenities for tourists. It was the ancient capital of the Chand dynasty that ruled the region about 400 year ago. It is very famous amongst the Indians as well as tourists from abroad for its great view of the snow covered Himalayas, temples, cottages in lovely surroundings and thickly wooded forests with streams, rivers & lakes. It is also known for the trekking routes around the region.
Apart from having beautiful scenery and views of the surrounding Himalayas, Almora is also known for its temples. Some of the temple in and around Almora area are Doonagiri Temple and Jageshwar (34KM from Almora)
Goli Matha Mandir
Our next stop was Chitan where we had darshan at Sri Goli Mata Temple. The specialty of this temple is that the devotees offer bells to goddess. So right from the entrance till the main temple you see hundreds of bells hanging. It was wonderful to see so many bells at a single place. We took some pics inside the temple. After darshan we traveled for about 2KM and stopped for lunch break.
The place where we stopped for lunch has a wonderful view of valleys and hills. We went up to top of the hill and waited there until the lunch is served. This was the best time of the day. The day was very windy and cool breeze was coming. We took many pictures and did some videography here. I jumped ran down the hill did some time pass stunts. Meanwhile all the elders started Vishnu Sahasranamam. We had to wait for a long time for lunch here. It was almost 2 hours that we sat there on the top. Just then rain started and we had to come down the hill. As the lunch was so delayed dad scolded the cook saying that we were not there for food and we didn’t want to waste so much time on cooking and food. Finally at around 3PM the food was served. The lunch menu included Dal, sambar and curd .
From this lunch place Jageshwar was just 1hr drive away. At 4 PM everybody finished their lunch and we started for Jageshwar. In the middle we stopped at a beautiful scenic place for photography. It had just rained there and we could see the remainings of ice formation. That was the reason why we were feeling very cold at that point. After seeing the ice we were all excited as we thought we will be coming face to face with snow capped mountains very soon. Now everybody other than me was wearing a shawl or sweater or Jerkin.
We reached Jageshwar at around 5.30 PM. it is located in a valley surrounded by deodar trees which were very tall and straight. There was a small stream passing behind our hotel. It was a simple hotel with the name “Rudraksha Guest House”. We took two double beds and one 4 beds rooms in the 1st floor. It was very cool and I guess the temperature could be less that 10. The water from the bathroom tap were also very cool. As it is very cold, I served Dad, Sheshagiri Rao uncle and Gopal uncle 2 pegs of McDowell whisky. After sometime in the night we had our dinner and went out for a walk and drink tea. We saw that dad and uncles were invited to join the other group for a dinner in order to have better acquaintance and understanding.
Meanwhile I, mom, aunt and bhabhi had a tea. I went out and searched for a telephone booth to call Nandu and Kirthi and tell the whereabouts of uncle and aunt. But I couldn’t find one. On the way back to room a young pundit met me and asked to come and have a special darshan the next day. That night we were all tired once again and we went to bed. We were given thick razais which become warm in half an hour after use. We slept well. The next day we were supposed to do the darshan at Jageshwar.