Beautiful views of the Great Himalayas await you at Kausani, a tiny hill station secluded in the Kumaon Hills of the Uttarakhand.
Northern state of Uttarakhand is known for its panoramic exquisiteness. Also known as Abode of Gods, Uttarakhand is home to majestic views of Himalayas, spiritual centres, cascading waterfalls, wildlife counties and the effervescent sacred river – Ganges. Whenever I am in desperate need of a weekend getaway, I head to Uttarakhand, situated at a close distance from my home in Delhi. Bundled with tranquil beauty, Uttarakhand is divided into two regions – Kumaon and Garhwal.
Words fall short to describe the scenic splendor of Uttarakhand. The beautiful region of Garwal is home to snow capped mountains, adventure sport centres like Auli, spiritual hamlets like the Char Dhams – Badrinath, Kedarnath, Yamunotri and Gangotri and numerous hill stations. On the other hand Kumaon is snuggled amidst lofty Himalayas, icy glaciers, sprawling river valleys, sparkling meadows, serene and mystical lakes, splendid combination of flora and fauna and much more.
Uttrakhand offers me with something new whenever I am looking for a perfect choice for a weekend getaway. After going through numerous websites and travel blogs, I chalked out a plan to visit Kumaon. For a mountain lover like me, Kumaon has all the ingredients for a breathtaking vacation. Making an impromptu holiday plan is always bundled with fun. Without making train and hotel bookings, I along with a couple of got into a car and swept past the humdrum of the city life. Summers are harsh in Delhi, so it becomes an absolute necessity to head towards a hill destination.
As we passed through the National Highway 24, busy towns of Hapur and Moradabad fell on the way. It was only after we reached Rampur, the roads started clearing and we saw telephoto view of the mountains. Hot and humid air kept its torture fell hard on us every time we got off the car to feed the system of the car and ourselves. The camera lens kept zooming in to see the clear view of the upcoming mountains on the route.
Fresh mountain air greeted us only after we reached Kathgodam. Since our final destination was still undecided, we prompted some localites who in turn suggested we conclude our journey at Kausani. We decided on Kausani, going by the local choice. On our way to Kausani, we stopped at beautiful lakes of Bhimtal and Nainital. We bought some fresh from orchard apples, peaches and cherries from the fruit market of Nainital.
Kausani was still about 110 km away from Nainital. The road journey became a little jerky since roads had suffered from the fresh landslide. Vast expanse of thick forests and verdant step farms welcomed us. High altitude, separated from the trees falling in line, clouds kissing the verdant hills made the landscape beautiful. The spectacular panorama of Kumaon introduced us to a different world.
After crossing the cantonment area of Ranikhet, the hill station famous for its apple orchards and the Jhoola Devi temple, we continued our journey to Kausani. Flirtatious charm of sparkling jacaranda, breathtaking view of pine forests, somberness of the Deodars, myriad moods of the nature informed us we have reached Kausani. The first view of the lofty Himalayan peaks –Trishul, Om Parvat and Nanda Devi – left us awestruck. The setting was straight out of storybook. Snuggled amidst the striking Kumaon hills, Kausani is situated 6075 feet above the sea level. Set atop a ridge of thick woods, overlooking the spectacular Someshwar and Gaur valleys on either of its sides, Kausani is a charming little hill station.
We checked into Kausani Best Inn, a beautiful hotel that overlooks the three prime Himalayan peaks. Complete with wooden flooring and stairs, the hotel offers state of the art amenities and authentic Kumaoni food. We had checked in around 3 pm in the afternoon. As we prepared for the check-in procedure, the waiter served us an authentic Kumaoni meal – piping hot Gehet Daal, Bajra roti and Aloo sabji. After eating to our heart’s content, we simply sat in the balcony of our rooms and saw the tranquil beauty of the Himalayas. As we watched the splendor of the Himalayas, the waiter told us Kausani offers the best view of the Trishul and Nandadevi and the Panchuli group of mountains.
After a quick meal, we ventured out in the woods. The hotel manager assigned us with a guide, who took us on a trekking tour. Kausani is a perfect for those looking for bird watching and trekking. With specially designed trekking trails that will take you through the interiors of the villages, the place is a perfect trekker’s paradise. Tourists here can get into their trekking gear and enjoy an adrenaline pumping scaling of the mountains. Kausani turns even greener and brighter with the downpour from the skies.
Kausani is one of those places in Uttarakhand that present the unforgettable view of the Himalayas. Life here revolves around the beauty of the mountains. Tourism is one of the major businesses in the region and people get employment through tourism. While on our trekking tour, we stopped at one of the chai shops and tasted the local tea, coming from one of the tea gardens in the area. Interestingly, people were eating omelets with bun. I asked the chai vendor for the reason to which he said Kausani is located at a high altitude and bread supply is limited in the region. I thought it is a vague combination, but it tasted well.
Nature lover’s paradise
Giving a halt to our trekking tour we returned to our hotel around 7 pm. The sky grew paler, covering the peaks in a dark blanket. Woolens were brought out and tea was served as we sat in the balcony to see the night view of the valley, twinkling with thousands of lights. In the morning, as the sun appeared, the mountains changed colour. The first ray of sunlight hit the snow-covered peaks and coloured them red. The sun rose and turned the peaks into shades of orange, gold and then finally white. It was the most beautiful sunrise I had ever seen in my life.
After an early breakfast, we went to Anasakti Ashram, where Mahatma Gandhi stayed for a short while. The highly revered ashram in the region, is located against the scenic background of the Himalayas. People throng here to meditate in the calm of the valley. Our next stop was at Lakshmi ashram, run by women to socially empower themselves. The ashram is situated in a private area in the impenetrable pine forest.
Our next stop was 17 km away from Kausani at Baijnath, a place famous for its temple complex that was built thousands of years ago. Located on the banks or river Gomti, Baijnath temple is known for its carvings and sculptures. On our way back from the Baijnath, we stopped at Someshwar. Situated at a distance from 15 km from Kausani, Someshwar is one of the famous valleys of Uttrakhand and is known for its Shiva temple. Our next stop was at the Giria Uttakhand tea factory, which is situated at Kausani tea estate. Known for its subtle flavour, the tea is perfect for the cool and foggy weather of the region.
For a discerning traveller, shopping at Kausani can be delightful experience. Once in the Himalayan countryside, it is rarely possible to go home barehanded. From woollens, tweeds, shawls and rugs are some of the most sought after souvenirs from here. The self-help groups of women make most of these items from different pockets in hills including those in interiors. A variety of sweaters, cardigans, caps and shawls in exquisite designs and brilliant colors would arrest your eyes. Like all hill stations, beautiful wood-carved objets are also huge hits for shopping in Kausani. It felt great to bring home some litchi juice, strawberry crush, Giria tea, apricot oil, apricot scrub and the list goes on.
Pinakeshwar: It is a famous trekking area, 20 kms away from Kausani. A holy temple of Shiva is located here. You can also see several valleys from Pinakeshwar.
Pant Museum : Little far from Kausani is a museum named after the legendry Hindi poet Sumitra Nandan Pant. The house which has the museum; it was the poet’s house of his early days days. His daily use articles, drafts of his poems, letters, his awards etc. are displayed here.
Photo courtesy: Nitika Bajpayee (copyright)