A story of Kumayun Himalayas

Tripoto
26th Dec 2017
Day 1

Our trip started from Delhi where we reached by the morning flight from Kolkata. We had to catch the night train to Ramnagar from Delhi. We had the entire day with us which we utilized to visit some of the quick tourist attractions like, India Gate, Parliament House, Red Fort etc. Red Fort was the one I liked the most and it was a time travel to the Mughal era especially for people like me who loves to visit the Historical monuments and listen to the stories that the local guides had to tell.

We went back and had our Dinner early and got ready to catch the night train. Ranikhet express started at 10:05 pm and we reached Ramnagar on the scheduled time of 4:50 am the next day.

Tree line at Delhi Red Fort

Photo of A story of Kumayun Himalayas by Joydeep Bhattacharyya
Photo of A story of Kumayun Himalayas by Joydeep Bhattacharyya
Day 2

It was an immensely cold December morning and one needs to be equipped with nice Woolens at Ramnagar. We had a Safari car booked for our entire 3 days stay at Jim Corbett National Park, which was there at the Ramnagar station at those early hours, thanks to the driver for his responsible arrival, otherwise we could have been stranded at the spot during those cold hours of the day. The Jeepsy carried us to a hotel near the station, for a temporary 3-4 hours of stay to complete the rest of the sleep. 

We freshen up and got ready in the morning at 9 am and started from Ramnagar to our Dhikala resort inside Jim Corbett. To enjoy the ambience of the forest it is a mandatory recommendation or a personal opinion to book the Dhikala forest bungalow in advance if you are planning to visit Jim Corbett.

We reached at Dhikala at 12 noon had our lunch at the nice cafeteria there which serves tasty and fresh lunch. Dhikala resort is just beside the Ramganga River, which is the grazing spot for wild animals like Elephant, Tigers, Deer and various species of birds. Don't ask me the name of these avian species as I am a last bencher in terms of remembering their names. I just enjoyed their color and chirping.

Lucky enough as we were to be greeted with the site of wild elephants grazing the river banks. Already mesmerized, we were not quite ready for the immediate Jeep Safari that was scheduled at 2 pm. In all we had 2 safaris booked at Dhikala of which the second was scheduled the next morning at 6 am. Both the safaris were 3 to 3.5 hours long and you know what, we were gifted with his majesty's site, yes we saw the two tiger cubs crossing the road, though not sure where the mother was.

Dhikala being a successful and a life time experience for us we continued our tiger hunting, but this time at the Bijrani zone.

Photo of A story of Kumayun Himalayas by Joydeep Bhattacharyya
Photo of A story of Kumayun Himalayas by Joydeep Bhattacharyya
Photo of A story of Kumayun Himalayas by Joydeep Bhattacharyya
Photo of A story of Kumayun Himalayas by Joydeep Bhattacharyya
Photo of A story of Kumayun Himalayas by Joydeep Bhattacharyya
Photo of A story of Kumayun Himalayas by Joydeep Bhattacharyya
Photo of A story of Kumayun Himalayas by Joydeep Bhattacharyya
Photo of A story of Kumayun Himalayas by Joydeep Bhattacharyya
Photo of A story of Kumayun Himalayas by Joydeep Bhattacharyya
Day 3

Right after the first safari trip today morning we had lunch at Dhikala and started for Bijrani zone, post lunch. The route to Bijrani was around the forest through Ramnagar.

We reached Bijrani early evening the same day and completed a late lunch with instant noodles as at those hours the standard lunch served was not available. The Safari started at 3 pm and we were all around the forest one more time in search of the magnificent beast. We were blessed enough to caught sight of him this time as well and I could successfully capture the magnificent sight with my 100-400 mm lens. Returned at 5:30 pm we were resting at the corridor in front of the room we were occupying at the Bijrani Forest Bungalow. As the evening grow old and the sun was completely immersed beneath the Western horizon, darkness grasped us completely. The bungalow doesn't have a 24 hour electricity connection and the temporary arrangement the hotel staffs will provide you is an emergency light and few candles. This may sound a bit of an infrastructure issue, but this should not stop us from staying at the Bijrani Forest Bungalow.

This was in fact a blessing in disguise and helped us to enjoy the forest ambience even more.

At around 8 pm as I came out of the room, I suddenly saw a lot many fireflies occupying the garden within the bungalow premises. Yes, fireflies, that was the feeling you will have at the first glance, but they are not actually fireflies, they later revealed themselves to be the glittering rod cells of the eyes of a herd of a deer. They crouched themselves in to the garden through the electric fence that protect us from the wild world around. Amazing, as the sight was so are we, amazed, and this is a spot that worth visit a 100 times.

Bijrani Bungalow

Photo of A story of Kumayun Himalayas by Joydeep Bhattacharyya
Day 4

After the morning safari next morning we were back at our bungalow, had lunch there and started for Nainital, our next destination. We had a different car booked for the rest of our journey and we were lucky enough as the chauffer had been a brother to us with his kind words and helpful suggestions for the rest of the trip.

The initial roads were through the plains as we approached the mountains on our way to Nainital. Suddenly the landscape changed as the winding roads started and we suddenly found ourselves at least 300 meters above the ground just after crossing one of the random hairpin bends. A nice view, the terrace cultivations soothes the eyes with its green texture, the blue sky above us, a rare sight as it happened to be in cities of Delhi and Kolkata, the pine forest at the both sides of the curved roads created a black and white Rangoli on the roads throughout the way to Nainital.

We had our lunch on the way and eventually reached Naintal after multiple halts at different viewpoints on the way. Nainital, a city developed around the lake, locally termed as Tal beside the temple of Naini Devi, hence the name of the place is determined as Nainital.

Naini Devi Temple was just beside the Nainital Lake and a serene place to be at. One should definitely not miss visiting the place. After we are done there the time only allowed us to visit the adjacent market which mainly had woolens and candles and candle stand to display. Candles are a local production over there and there is a significant display of nice candle stands which are cheap and a trademark there. We shopped at the candle stores and once satisfied, returned to our hotel for the nights rest.

Photo of A story of Kumayun Himalayas by Joydeep Bhattacharyya
Day 5

We had two days at Nainital and the next day was passed by the standard tourist activities of site seeing the different lakes around Nainital like Sattal, Sariyatal, Khurpatal to name a few. After our return to Nainital the rest of the day kept us busy with boating, ropeway rides and some more shopping.

I thought my text should be informative and beneficial to the tourist who are planning the same trip and hence sharing a personal opinion with you. The ropeway ride was not that awesome as it was at Darjeeling in Nainital and one should spend more time on Paragliding which will be a whole new experience for people who are not yet experienced with the Sport.

Photo of A story of Kumayun Himalayas by Joydeep Bhattacharyya
Photo of A story of Kumayun Himalayas by Joydeep Bhattacharyya
Day 6

We tried Paragliding the next day on our way to Binsar from Nainital. You will be taken to the top of the hill in bikes from where the parachute gliding will commence. To share the experience in short, it was initially a trauma when you stand write at the edge of the cliff with parachute installed in your body. Post jump, it was only fun, fun and more fun during the entire flight time of 8-10 mins.

After the adventure we completed the rest of the journey to Binsar and as the altitude increased the scenery around will only demand one adjective, the most superlative degree of beauty, beauty and more beauty. I really don’t have that strong a vocab to do the justice and hence not trying my hands on the job. The Rhododendron trees made the forest colorful and the slanting rays of the evening sun saturated the color of the red flowers and the skyline even more. The snowcapped peaks of Trishul and Nanda Devi got the color of Gold, Orange and Crimson Red at different stages as the Sun was making its journey towards the western horizon. Post Sunset, you don’t have any major activity to do outdoors at Binsar, as it was amid forest and you have to spend rest of the evening chatting with your trip members.

Photo of A story of Kumayun Himalayas by Joydeep Bhattacharyya
Photo of A story of Kumayun Himalayas by Joydeep Bhattacharyya
Day 7

We had only a solitary day stay at Binsar, which was not enough considering the beauty of the place and certainly one would need more time to explore the place.

Next day we started for Munsiyari a spot which was at even a higher altitude than Binsar. We reached Munsiyari just before sunset visiting some “not so famous” waterfalls on the way and enjoying the beauty of the Mountain roads.

Panchachulli, the 5 mountain peaks, which resembles the 5 ovens of heaven and hence the name, were now actively burning red in the last rays of the day. At some special moments of my life I take some time out to thank God to gift me with a pair of eyes. This was one of those moments and it was hard to control the tears that rolled down my cheeks after seeing the beauty of his creation.

The day ended shortly and we were inside our hotel rooms to escape the hostile cold that was outside.

Photo of A story of Kumayun Himalayas by Joydeep Bhattacharyya
Photo of A story of Kumayun Himalayas by Joydeep Bhattacharyya
Day 8

At day break, we went as per plan to a short trek to Khaliya top. We were promised by the locals an extraordinary view the Panchachulli Peaks and Milam glacier. It was a nice short trek and ideal for us who were not on a trekking trip. One will get the feel of the trekking and also will be gifted with an extraordinary view of Panchachulli if you can reach Khaliya top, as promised by the locals. We carried our food to Khaliya top, had our brief lunch there, enjoyed the snowcapped Annapurna range that provided a panaromic view from Khaliya top and came back just before sundown.

It was cold by then and without wasting too much time we were back to the comfort of our hotel rooms. The hotels here can arrange bonfires for you at the lawn side on request and our day ended with some happy mood.

Photo of A story of Kumayun Himalayas by Joydeep Bhattacharyya
Photo of A story of Kumayun Himalayas by Joydeep Bhattacharyya
Photo of A story of Kumayun Himalayas by Joydeep Bhattacharyya
Day 9

Next morning we started for Chakauri and the only major traffic we faced on the roads were long herds of sheep. This was also a nice experience for us and we framed it well with our lenses. We reached Chakauri by late evening. It almost provided the same view of Panchachulli peak and also the Trishul and Nandadevi peaks as provided from Binsar and Munsiyari. It was a lovely village amidst towering Himalayan peaks and one of very few places in Uttarakhand which has tea estates.

We only had a single day stay planned here which I will not recommend other tourist to follow. Stay here for at least 2 evenings to do the minimum justice to the place. The second point of caution from my experience of the trip would be to try and book the government accommodation here, Chakauri being a remote place and lot many hotels coming up in recent years does not have a proper infrastructure to provide you the coziness you deserve in the cold of Chakauri.

Photo of A story of Kumayun Himalayas by Joydeep Bhattacharyya
Photo of A story of Kumayun Himalayas by Joydeep Bhattacharyya
Photo of A story of Kumayun Himalayas by Joydeep Bhattacharyya
Day 10

With this our trip was almost towards the verge of completion and next we are going to Kathgodam by road and from there caught the nightly train to Lucknow, our last and final destination.

Day 11

We are at Lucknow today and quickly found a local cab to visit the historical monuments of Bhulbhulaya, Bada Imambara, Chota Imambara to name a few. Also the driver took us to taste the local delicacy of Lucknow, Galauti Kabab. As the name suggest, the food will melt in your mouth as soon as it touches your lips. To mention the lease the taste and the fragnance of the thing was out of the world. I became a fan of the dish and managed finding a substitute at my home town Kolkata. Oudh – 1590 will provide you with an equivalent dish, if readers of my block from Kolkata have an instant urge to get the taste. The day at Lucknow ended with some shopping of Lucknow Chikon, a pure cotton dressing material and a trademark of the place. An ideal garment to beat the summer heat.

Photo of A story of Kumayun Himalayas by Joydeep Bhattacharyya
Day 12

We had an afternoon flight the next day to Kolkata and we are back home after collecting a bank of magnificent memories. Memories that will not fade in a lifetime.

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