Editorial, News, Travel

Hopscotching in prismatic Uttarakhand

Dhanaulti

Dhanaulti

Uttarakhand, it is said, is the land of the gods. That’s not very difficult to believe given that it’s magical enough to hypnotize the most powerful angels in heaven. In this article, we cover some of the uncommon places of this heavenly abode. These aren’t exactly your run-of-the-mill’tourist destinations’; I like to call them ‘traveller’s paradise’. These places are beautiful, calm and serene. My excursions to all of them were nothing short of amazing.

CHAKRATA:
Dreamy, thy name is Chakrata! It really is the most extraordinary ordinary hill station. The kind which fills you with peace and comfort, the kind which is beautiful and decadent, making it difficult for you to leave.

Chakrata is located in the north west part of Uttarakhand, near Vikasnagar.

There is much to explore here, amongst the alpine forests that fill the entire area up in the hues of rhododendrons and oaks.

It even has a pleasant surprise for hikers called, Tiger Falls or Keraao Pachad.This 312-foot-high aquatic glory, is 16kms from Chakrata.

Tiger Falls, Chakrata

Tiger Falls, Chakrata

But wait, there’s more; if your fervour for trekking is not satisfied, then do pay a visit to Moila Danda, which is about 20ks from Chakrata.

Apart from the hiking and trekking destination, you should definitely visit Deoband while in Chakrata; 16 Kms away from here, the breath-taking view of the Himalayan ranges will render you speechless. There is also the Chilmiri Neck at the military quarters waiting to woo you with its exotic view.

Do pay a visit to the Chinta-Haran Mahadev Mandir, and the Mahasu Temple at Hanol, which apparently, has borne witness to the Mahabharat.

You will also find an Ashoka rock pillar edict at Kalsi that dates back to the5th century BC, and adds a sense of quaint charm to Chakrata.

You can also arrange for a little picnic at the Ram Tall Horticulture Garden in the midst of the gorgeous apple orchards or organize an exploration camp at Kanasar, a forest that has Deodars supported by the most massive trunks in all of Asia.

PEORA:
This is the kind of place that would have immensely pleased Ruskin Bond. Lost deep in slumber, untouched, and extremely stunning.

Peora is easily approachable by road and is only a taxi ride away from Kathgodam.

Nestled in the lap of the Shivaliks, Peora, situated at a height of 6600 feet is an artist’s dream and a nature lover’s retreat.

It is only 10ks away from Mukteshwar, but while the latter is really lovely too, Peora is in a league of its own. It is excellent spot for unwinding and taking long walks. Poets, this is probably the place you had been looking for.

There is also a local herbal factory nearby, so you can also indulge in some retail therapy.

Peora looks almost like a black forest cake, during winters; experiencing snowfall in this sleepy hamlet is just like living a dream. The impressive Hotel Sequester and the government run Dak Bunglow are the only stay options here, but are extremely comfortable.

St. Mary's Church, Lansdowne

St. Mary’s Church, Lansdowne

LANDSDOWNE:
This is the perfect anyone who wants to reconnect with them selves. Urban lives have a way of consuming usand places like Lansdowne exist so we can rediscover ourselves.

While in Lansdowne, explore and sightsee, but also set aside time to just sit down and read a book.

Originally called Kaludanda, ‘Lansdowne’ came into being as we know it, in 1887. It was named after the viceroy of the time.

While visiting Lansdowne, do make it a point to see the glittering waters of Bhulla Taal which stands as a testimony to the toils of all those who built it. Don’t forget to click pictures when you’re boating, hanging out at the children’s park or at the bamboo machan.

On the ridge near the lovely St Mary’s Church, stands the exquisite view point, Tip-In-Top. Painters, keep your colours handy, because this is a spot you would not want to miss. St Mary’s Church, with its colonial past, the church is a timeless piece of history located in this small town.

Apart from the church, you can also pay a visit to the Regimental Museum, circa1983 which presents a most astonishing collection of Garhwal rifles.

And, I would say that you are in luck if your visit coincides with the town’s annual ‘Sharadotsav’. It’s a fun experience, sure to add colour to your trip.

Bhimtal Lake

Bhimtal Lake

BHIMTAL:
Bhimtal is the kind of place that monks visited in their astral journeys. This is the kind of natural beauty to which a photographer may not be able to do justice. Located in the Nainital district and situated at a height of 1370 metres, this lake defines tranquillity.

After the great Indian warrior, Bheem, legend has it that the Bhimeshwar Mahadev temple was erected by Bheem himself when the Pandavas were in exile. It was renovated by Baz Bahadur in the 1600s.

Nestled in the midst of the green Himalayas, Bhimtal’s waters resemble a thousand glittering alexandrite stones. You get to see innumerable migratory birds here and can boat to your heart’s content. Moreover, the weather here is beautiful throughout the year.

While at Bhimtal, do pay a visit to Sattal and Subhash Dhara. The former is a magnificent collection of 7 interconnected lakes and the latter is a gorgeous fresh water spring.

The Satvik Sadan and the Sat Tal Mission estate besides the Vankhadi Ashram on Hidimba Hill are beautiful Ashrams that standas an extension of the spirit of the lake.

Bhimtal offers endless opportunities to an explorer. You could visitthe Naukuchiatal and the Nal-Damayanti tal as well but please do not forget to pay a visit to the Butterfly Museum at Jones Estate for its unique vibrancy.

DHANAULTI:
Dhanaulti is a must visit, especially with a group of friends who share a mutual love for travelling. Located at a distance of 24kms from Mussoorie and 29 kms from Chamba, Dhanaulti is perched on the mountainsat a height of 2286 meters.

Dhanaulti is a dreamland and houses endless treasures for photographers. Lush meadows, alpine forests and an exotic variety of flora and fauna is bound to make a lasting impression on your mind.

The Eco-Park here is a grand creation indeed. The 2 parks, ‘Amber’ and ‘Dhara’ have been recently constructed by the forest department of Uttarakhand. About 60 local youngsters are responsible for looking after this place.

There are several opportunities for interesting adventure sports activities as well. You may walk over a flying fox and even ride horses. To leave apart of yourself here, you must plant a sapling in the memory of some body you love. It’s a lovely tradition, isn’t it?

The Surkanda Devi temple is located at a distance of only 8 kms from Dhanaulti. It forms a part of the triangle along with the temples of Chandrabadni and Kunjapuri. Lastly, the government potato farm here serves as a sunrise point. Isn’t that unique, but then again, this is Dhanaulti for you.

Uttarakhand is an integral part of Incredible India. Living here and witnessing the raw beauty of nature gives one immense pleasure. Here, everything is unique and unparalleled.

December 6, 2016

About Author

Mrs Wordsmith The girl with golden wings. A graduate in Home Science, but a writer by passion.


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