Wednesday, June 19, 2019

The Dream Kumaon Tour

June 2019 I found myself free enough to think about travel. It had been some time and I was sort of losing hope and before actually wanting to see my travel dreams crash I decided to make a trip I had been wanting to since a few years now.

#1 @Kainchi Dham, nestled in the Kumaon range. went by the Shatabdi Express to Kathgodam from New Delhi station. From Kathgodam it's about 45 Kms to the Kainchi Dham. We crossed the beautifully scenic Bhimtal Lake and Bhowali. Our stay there was for a day. The peaceful atmosphere and the kirtan that goes on all day is what I was looking for. We had visited this place about 13 years ago and I knew then that I would be back. It took me so many years to revisit this amazing place. We spent the evening there, were present for the evening Aarti and the bhajans that they sing in praise of the deities. It was a unique experience for me. Immersed in a feeling of peace made me feel good about this clean and simple place that allows devotees to meditate or stay there for as long as they want. I bow my head in thanks to the lord, to  Babaji's grace that allowed me this extraordinary experience. I sat there in front of Baba's (Neem Karoli Baba) statue for as long as I could. Next morning I was there for the aarti again and sat in front of Babaji's bed where he would sit and is now in a room that allows people to go in and sit in meditation. We enjoyed the prasad as dinner, where volunteers serve all those who are partaking the prasad. I would like to go to Kainchi Dhaam every year.
#2 Mukteshwar: @The Chirping Orchards. From Kainchi we went way high up to Mukteshwar, the beauty. It sits at 7500ft above sea level and gives me the goosebumps watching the mountains in the distance. The lush green mountains, the clean and pure air, cool breeze, chirping birds of so many varieties and the treks gave me a high. The sunrise which we could view right from our balcony made me ecstatic and gave a purpose to wake up at 5am and step out. What a delight to watch the sunrise bit by bit spreading its light all around. It was summertime so the peaks were not that visible, but the ranges could be seen and that was enough for me. The evening temperatures dipped to 10 degrees centigrade and we had to wear light jackets. The Chirping Orchards, the place we put up for the three days was very hospitable, a home away from home, food was good and so were the people. My children fell in love with the dog there. A friendly and a happy, contented, peaceful dog. We went for long walks here. I must say that I do need practice trekking in hilly terrain. It leaves me all breathless and panting. But I did not let that deter me in any way. A visit to The Bhalugaarh waterfalls and the Mukteshwar Temple were the wonderful activities we indulged in. We went to the Chatola village in Shitala district a few kilometers away from Mukteshwar where my uncle has made his abode for a few years now. He seems so content far away from the madding crowd and city life. One becomes one with nature and enjoys what it gives. Respect for all things that are provided by nature increases. The fruit trees there are in abundance and one can never stay hungry. I am sure people do not fall sick often like they do in the cities. In between, we stopped by at @The Chirping Tales Cafe and enjoyed a meal there. The high point of our visit there was the trek to a Kumaoni village called the Nyal Village. We went to a house too where the lady of the house Jashodha was extremely hospitable. I was taken up by her wit and humour during our conversations. She gave us food to feed their goats and cows. She served us with rhododendron juice and gave us fresh plums, apricots, and peaches, which we kept having in the rest of our visit in the hills. She does farming of potatoes, cabbage, cauliflower, and greens. The fruits from the trees of apricots, peaches, Rhododendrons (flower), and others are also plucked and sold in the Haldwani market. We went to the source of a water stream and had the clear clean water too. On the way, we plucked blueberries and ate them, we saw walnut trees. The enchanting walk in the forest was alluring enough to make me want to go back there again and again.
#3 @Abbotsford Heritage Hotel Nainital: A Victorian-era heritage home owned by the Prasada family, called The Prasada Bhawan is a very British place. Our room at the Wordsworth home of the Bhawan was a beautiful suite overlooking a forest on one side and trees of the property on the other. In the background the captivating hills. It was much cooler than the main Nainital mall area close to the Naini lake. It's so much quieter than the very touristy Mall Road. But we did go there every day to eat in a cafe called Sakhley's. We woke up every day to the melodious chirps of the innumerable variety of birds. The food served here is great. We enjoyed the breakfasts the most. We went to the Tibetan Market here and enjoyed some street food too. The momos sauce was hot and blew our brains out.
Walking uphill and downhill came to an end as we drove to the Pantnagar airport from here. We left the hills, happy, rejuvenated and content that I could now tick off the Kumaon hills from my list of travels. But that's not gonna happen  .... as I shall return to complete my Uttarakhand travels <3
The Bhalu Garh Waterfalls

On one of our treks Mukteshwar

Apple Trees abound there in the Uttarakhand region-Mukteshwar

Enjoying the act of the husk flying away in the breeze. Mukteswar. Trek

The Hills Mukteshwar

The walk up and down to the BhaluGarh Waterfalls was an arduous trek. We enjoyed it.

The Ashram, Temple a place of peace Kainchi 

Sunset at Mukteshwar

Sunrise visible from our room Mukteshwar 

The hills

The BhaluGarh Waterfall

Kainchi Temple

Fruit trees in abundance

The maggie eating ritual in the hills

Kishan Nyal showing us the potato crop in his field

Kisha Nyal's wife Jasodha does all the farming. Hard work and dedication there.

Kishan Nyal's family. Humble, hospitable and friendly
Mukteshwar Temple

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