What no tourist guide will tell you about Nainitaal and Almora

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Photo of What no tourist guide will tell you about Nainitaal and Almora 1/7 by Vidisha Pandey
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How can one ever deny the pleasures of travelling in Uttarakhand? Those not so proportionate windows of the local buses letting rain kiss your face, drizzle stings so softly that one cannot help themselves but fall in love with the thought of not stopping. Our journey started from Dehradoon, the capital of Uttarakhand. All that we have gathered from exploring his abode of wonder is that you cannot sleep. With unimaginable glimpses you wouldn’t want to miss a single sight. The journey from Dehradoon to Hardwar was pious. People from around the world, families, friends, businessmen, saints and sadhus, all walking in the same band of concrete and grain with little to distinguish their identities. Our overnight journey proved to be a wise decision the moment we reached Bhimtaal. The lake radiated the night sky just like no poetry could ever define it. Bhimtaal was a five minute stop. Almora greeted us at five in the morning. With a sunrise every hill station flaunts, it was beautiful. Almora was once the capital of Uttarakhand. The place gets its name from a wild sorrel, Almora, which grew here in the past. This place is a fine example of baronial architecture and rich cultural history. Our market exploration was all about gazing the sunset. The following day we learnt how outdated the internet is. All that we had researched about Almora was transparent. It was once famous for nettle-weed crafting, Bhicchu booti shawls. “I don’t know what happened to them, no one does it anymore”, the old man in the cigarette shop told us. The copper craft was also extinct. The last wood craftsman died a few weeks before our visit and the local traditional floor painting called Aipan is now on the verge of extinction due to its commercialization. People now buy Aipan stickers. It was sad to see all the crafts dying. Almora did not end on a sad note. We saw a tree clad with pink flowers. It was a pink bougainvillea tree with no leaves on it. The next destination was Nainitaal. I had a funny feeling about this place since I was a child. It happens to be my home town and I had never been there. We roamed the town for seventeen hours till we found an accommodation. It was June, the whole world lands in Nainitaal for their summer escape, I wasn’t surprised. Nainitaal was the dessert of our Project. We discovered some amazing candle and wood craftsmen. It was the perfect place to breathe, relax and work. The streets were filled with thousands of people coming like ripples from the parking area. The street market was dazzling. And one should never worry about food in this lake town. It’s a candy for non- vegetarians. Apart from tourism there’s much more to Nainitaal. People making candles at home, carving wood for a living, children inheriting their father’s fate, tourists racing boats in the lake, every glimpse floods with stories. Uttarakhand is different; you’ll find solace in crowd.

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