They said if you can walk up to the top and if your luck is in your favour, you might cross ways with a leopard or two. Now do I need to elucidate our second next plan? Oh yes!!! We ditched the idea of taking a car to reach the top of the Ayarpatta Hills, commonly known as ‘Tiffin Top’, and set off on feet to explore and experience the best that nature has to offer. It was a 6 km trek from our hotel room. Monsoon had already set in and keeping in mind the heavy downpour that was happening every now and then in Nainital, we were prepared for the worst (read best). After a savory breakfast of soft, hot aloo-parathas, we asked the localites about the route to take, in order to reach the top of the mountain and kept following it. A small detour from the main road, and we were away from the tourist-crowd that we were already sick of in the last one day. A glance of the road which we were about to take and follow for the next few hours had the innate ability to boost our heart and soul with positive vibes. I call it a pathway to heaven. If the journey is so beautiful, who cares about the destination? The moss filled stones made a rough way toward the top, quite evident that it was not the path generally taken. The wet green leaves and the hanging roots were gradually getting dense and as we kept on climbing, car honks got nullified by the sound of birds and insects. The mud was soft at places from the heavy rain that morning - so evidently we lurched at places. Our breath became heavy, but our determination got stronger. In that solitary boulevard a random passerby suddenly walked up to us and warned us against the leopards that frequent the area to drink water and asked us to move in groups. Eventually after three hours, we reached the top, at a height of 2290 meters and the view was breath-taking. Though we did not get to see leopards, but the sheer joy of achieving our goal can’t be expressed in words. From the top, one can get a panoramic view of the entire city. The Naini Lake, from where we started our journey looked prodigious from the Tiffin Top, surrounded by hills and clouds. The spot has the option for light refreshments. And after a small break for photography, we started our journey down the hill. Comparatively an easier descend, we reached our hotel in two hours. In between we halted at places like Land’s End, Lover’s Point and also found out a random spot for a small picnic in the woods. Thankfully we had packed some chapattis and curry, but trust me it was an experience beyond words.
(Horses are available for a ride to and fro Tiffin Top, but I would suggest you to trek till the top for a better experience and as a protest against animal abuse.)
And the best part…after such a hectic day, when we finally reached our room, we didn’t even feel the fatigue. We danced away the entire night in glory.
Next day, we were ready for another adventure – Corbett Waterfalls. An hour drive down the hill, the waterfall is a major tourist attraction. Wanna get some natural fish pedicure done? Get down into the water and enjoy the miracle of the nature. This place is also amazing for some nice photography. Once done with our interaction with the beauty of the nature, we drove uphill again for some nice pahari thali for lunch. You can enjoy lip-smacking local cuisines in any of the roadside stalls. Our next and last stop was the Himalayan View Point, for some mesmerising view of the Himalayan Mountain Range.
Also, we scooped out another evening to take a stroll down the Mall Road by the lake and enjoy some of the local snacks. Who wouldn’t relish some steamy momos and hot bhajis in such a pluvious weather? No? Then, how about sipping onto some hot chocolate from Chocolate Room? The tiny shops there offer a wide range of home decors varying from funky to traditional items. Famous for its candles, don’t forget to grab some for you home.
As we drove down the zig-zag roads while leaving, it felt like the way was very familiar to us. The city became our home in only a couple of days. But isn’t that what’s supposed to be? And that’s the beauty of traveling. We leave with a hope of coming back.
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