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Old 15th June 2015, 12:45   #16
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Default re: Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)

It would be a mistake to give you an impression that we spent all our time at the cottage, and did not venture out to town at all. We certainly visited the Mall Road and tried out a bit of the touristy things that all tourists indulge in - but we came back hating ourselves for it.

The trip simply reinforces our dislike for visiting hill stations in the peak of summer, fighting for space and facilities with too many others. For one, we want to ride on the ropeway. But the ropeway is overbooked, and they are taking bookings for the next day if we choose to wait a few hours (till 2:30 pm). It's just noontime at the time of clicking the pic below.
Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-nainitaltown_21k400.jpg

For another, I get into an argument with this garbage collection truck's driver, who insists on driving on a narrow pedestrians only walkway along the lake with the horn blowing, forcing people to jump to the side. Why the Nagar Palika Parishad cannot use a few wheelbarrows to cart the garbage to the main road or the parking lot, is completely beyond my limited intelligence.
Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-nainitaltown_16k400.jpg

The garbage that is generated, is often unmanageable, and there's more of it scattered haphazardly than going into designated bins. Even those stink! This one is located in the parking lot...
Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-nainitalcrowdk400.jpg

As to the touristy things, well, there are more touts than boats.
Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-nainitalcrowd_1k400.jpg

Disclaimer: We did take a boat ride, just so someone doesn't point a finger and tell us, you went all that way but didn't take a boat ride? What were you doing being so stingy?

Talking of idiotic tourists, one needs to be ultra-idiotic to lose one's child in a public space. This child was bawling his head off, unable to speak his own name or provide any details of his parents' whereabouts, and the young constable carries on valiantly in his attempts to babysit - while a huge crowd gathers around, cellphones at the ready. Maybe some wise minister in some government will get the brilliant idea of compulsorily making small kids wear ID tags around their necks when venturing out in public.
Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-nainitaltown_20k400.jpg

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Old 15th June 2015, 14:35   #17
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Default re: Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)

Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-nainitalbuildings_4k400.jpg

We visit the local market and the veggie shop there, only because it's empty - and we need the provisions for our dinner back at the Lodge.
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What were you doing being so stingy?
We eat out too. At The Sakley's. Right on the Mall, on the Mallital end. And of course, they need to flaunt their TripAdvisor rating in your face. They're the #2 restaurant in Nainital - and #1 and #3 are vegetarian joints...

Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-sakley-1.jpg

Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-sakley-4.jpg

Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-sakley-3.jpg

They are a pastry shop, after all, and the whole lot is on display right at the entrance. Diabetics would hopefully be prompted to perform an about-turn and flee. We don't.
Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-sakley-2.jpg

The interior is a little dim but not unappealing, though the music could have been turned down as much as the lights could have been turned up.
Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-sakley-5.jpg

Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-sakley-8.jpg

The menu cards are printed on faux-recycled paper, but have been around so long that these stand at risk of turning right back into trees themselves.
Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-sakley-7.jpg

Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-sakley-9.jpg

For the premium pricing this place asks for, I don't like my menu cards to be stained and dirty, and certainly not written in a style that Team-BHP moderators wouldn't approve of.
Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-nainitaltown_28k400.jpg

The sizzler is not quite sizzling, and the portion is not satisfyingly adequate for a hungry self-proclaimed foodie...
Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-sakleyss.jpg

...and the chicken-and-mushroom pizza is quite a poor imitation of what it should be, as far as the taste goes.
Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-sakleys.jpg

Bill please! Not sure why a Continental-style premium bakery cafe should present customers with dhaba-style saunf (fennel seeds) and sugar crystals at the end of a meal though. I'd have liked a few candies, but that's just me.
Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-sakley-6.jpg

But hey, the pastries were generally nice! The cheesecake, just average.

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Old 15th June 2015, 22:50   #18
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Default re: Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)

Nainital, like any other colonial-era town in the Himalayas, has its fair share of old buildings too. Only, one usually misses them because of the shops on the ground floor that attract too much attention.

Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-nainitalbuildings_5k400.jpg

Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-nainitalbuildings_6k400.jpg

Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-nainitalbuildingsk400.jpg

Here are a few post-colonial relics from 3 decades ago. I would have thought such stuff has already been relegated to museums, but I am glad some of these still exist and are functional at Nainital, to show our children what *gaming* meant when we were their age.
Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-nainitalbuildings_2k400.jpg

Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-nainitalbuildings_3k400.jpg

Of course, the Jama Masjid is as grand as ever - if anything, it appears to be more appealing with a fresh coat of paint from when I last remember seeing it.
Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-nainitalbuildings_1k400.jpg

Unfortunately, a large part of the waterfront is turning into a concrete jungle; understandably, the High Court has directed that quite a few of them (largely hotels), being unauthorized structures, be pulled down, before they come tumbling down on their own during an earthquake.
Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-nainitaltown_19k400.jpg

Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-nainitaltown_18k400.jpg

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Old 16th June 2015, 17:45   #19
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Default re: Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)

We are on a holiday, right? And a very relaxing one at that!

On this holiday, I switched off. My brain, I mean - not the cellphone!

Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-return_3k250.jpg

After the initial hour in the car, I found the driver, whose name is Dasarath, wasn't suicidal - I don't like death by truck anyway. The car wasn't about to fall apart on its own. The AC was cooling well. The sound system did not sound like a tortured cat. The tyres had enough tread. And the seats felt comfortable.

Never did I glance at the instrument cluster of the car.

Once we reach Nainital, Dasarath asks for 5,000 rupees - to be adjusted against the total bill of course.

- Tel bharake abhi aata hoon. (I'll fill up the tank and come back.)

- What? You didn't tank up from Delhi?


He returns and parks the car later. Oh, good, so we have a tankful of diesel.

The next morning, the car isn't there. Dasarath has gone out. Sightseeing?

He's back shortly. Kya hua?

Tel nahin milaa.
(I didn't get fuel.)

Late that morning, we head out to town. The amber low fuel light is glowing. And the only fuel pump in Mallital does not have any stock of diesel for the last 3 days.

Dasarath is confident that we can make it back to Kaladhungi to tank up. Kaladhungi is 35 km away. And I get nervous at the thought of pushing a car in the mountains, even if it is downhill. Especially if it is downhill!

On our third day there, fuel still hasn't arrived. There's another pump on the other side of the lake, at Tallital. We decide to take a trip along the Mall Road.

Sirf petrol hai.

The pump only stocks petrol. He doesn't even have a diesel outlet, he says.

I hail the cop at the Tallital crossing. Bhowali mein mil jaana chahiye, he says. Seems pretty confident too. Bhowali is about 15 km away.

Agar nahin milaa toh? (What if there's no fuel at Bhowali?)

That worries us all. But this is the Himalayas, and diesel is often dispensed from unlikely outlets. Jerrycans. Other vehicles' tanks. Buckets. Somebody's house. The Army. We have travelled in the Himalayas long enough to know that it only costs a little more - but no one runs out of fuel.

In the event, we had been worrying unnecessarily. There's enough diesel at Bhowali to fill 52+ litres into the car's tank. Q&Q issues? I've switched off again. My brain, I mean - not the cellphone.
Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-returnk250.jpg

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Old 16th June 2015, 22:03   #20
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Default re: Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)

Just a few more glimpses of Nainital, each with its own story.

There's plenty of fish in the lake. And plenty of signboards all over, asking not to feed the fish. Yet, a small-scale industry making and selling atta pellets thrives along the shore of the lake. Kids love feeding the fish (me, I love feeding them to myself). And obviously, the process of feeding them is not killing them - despite what the signs warn about. Oh, but we like breaking rules.
Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-nainitalfish.jpg

Pedalling and boating, combined together. Tempted me to rent one and make up for the lost exercise. On a holiday, certain temptations are not to be given in to.
Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-nainitaltown_17k400.jpg

Squash is a vegetable. Babuda loves squash. If someone made jams from squash, he'd buy a crate. Unfortunately, no such luck!
Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-nainitaltownk250.jpg

The Tallital side. For crossing back to Mallital, a toll of Rs.50 is payable. Between 6 pm and 9 pm, the toll is doubled. A Thar stops to pay the toll. A Ritz with an unmindful driver slams into the back of the Thar, flattening its nose. The Thar appears unharmed, pays the toll and drives away nonchalantly, the driver not even getting out to check whether he suffered any damage. The incensed Ritz driver gets out of his car and rages at the toll collector and a cop to stop the Thar. The cop and the toll collector are in mood to oblige. Justice has been done!
Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-return_1k250.jpg

The one time that Dasarath tests our anger threshold. This is on the way back. Just a few minutes before noon, he pulls over after crossing Haldwani and parks the car under a tree. Switches off, says khana khaake aata hoon, and proceeds to have a luxurious (by his standards) lunch / brunch while we cook in the heat. Grrr!! Why couldn't he do this in the hills, where the air was cooler?
Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-return_2k250.jpg

The Kathgodam-Haldwani bypass road. Very little traffic, pleasure to drive on in most parts, except the last few km while merging back onto the main road, where the surface is like this.
Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-return_7k250.jpg

Many, many years ago (in fact, some 35-40 years ago), Rudrapur was a little village in Uttar Pradesh that consisted of a few hutments and houses, that one missed while blinking when passing by in an Ambassador! There were numerous mango orchards in the area, and one in particular had the reputation of growing the juiciest, sweetest mangoes of them all. It was called Calcutta Farm. The family that owned it was our neighbor in Kolkata. The last I visited the farm was about 18 years ago. Today, Rudrapur is a flourishing city, with its own Municipal Corporation and Traffic Police force! I wonder if someone knows what happened to Calcutta Farm and its owners.
Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-return_9k250.jpg

Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-return_10k250.jpg

Garbage being burnt near Rampur. The NGT is on vacation.
Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-return_6k250.jpg

Rivers and streams along the way home.
Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-return_4k250.jpg

Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-return_5k250.jpg

The story of a roadtrip in India is never complete without having encountered at least one incident of irresponsible driving (I call them accidents waiting to happen), in which someone is injured. Here, a cyclist was sideswiped hard by a taxi, a typical hit-and-run incident. Locals carry the poor cyclist by his arms and legs to the shade of a tree, and dump him there unceremoniously. He's conscious, and does not appear to be bleeding or in great pain. The locals are just doing their good deed of the day.
Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-return_11k250.jpg

We return home. And wish we could go right back where we were the last few days.

:::::: T H E :: E N D ::::::


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Old 17th June 2015, 12:24   #21
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Default re: Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)

A travelogue with lots of food photos are always food for the soul - and add the entertaining commentary : it's just complete.

Nainital during off-season would be worth it?
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Old 17th June 2015, 14:21   #22
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Default re: Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)

Highly enjoyable travelogue, sir. A nice little cottage introduced, wonderful snaps, lots of appetizing food served on our screens, the beauty of the Hills, what else can one ask for ?
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Old 17th June 2015, 17:53   #23
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Default re: Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)

Nice travelogue - I was also in Nainital on 11th & 12th June while my way back to Jaipur after attending a function at my wife's village in Bhikiasain.

We stayed at Sattal in The Royal court as decent hotels in Nainital were too expensive. On 11th we went to see Sattal lake instead of Bhimtal which was a good decision as it was not crowded and we enjoyed 1 hour boat ride.

On 12th morning while driving through mall road we found that it was not worth the effort to find parking space near Jama masjid parking and stroll on mall road where there was literally no place to walk due to summer tourist crowd. So instead we opted for Cave garden (what a pleasure going through 6 caves), trek / horse riding to table top (which provides such a great view of nainital) and a small waterfall near a restored lake (couldn't remember the name).

Though we missed many places (due to tight schedule), we decided that we will come back once during little lean season for 4-5 days to cover all other places like china peak, kaladhungi waterfall, mall road, naukuchiatal etc.
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Old 17th June 2015, 19:59   #24
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Default re: Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)

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Nainital during off-season would be worth it?
That is the only time when visiting a any hill station is worth it, in my humble opinion.
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Old 17th June 2015, 20:54   #25
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Default re: Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)

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Nainital during off-season would be worth it?
Totally!
I love the cloud covered mountains during monsoon, bright sunny days and chilling nights in winters and absolutely pleasant weather rest of the year.

But be careful, if you plan to go during monsoon. The roads are usually blinded by heavy fog and there are chances of roadblocks due to landslides. The drizzle can last upto 25 days and heavy rains are too obstructive to go out.

For me, May end to July end is off season. The torture starts right from Delhi with unusually heavy traffic and it ends when you are back home.
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Old 28th June 2015, 20:36   #26
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Default re: Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)

I cannot believe you went on a hired taxi trip :-) Et tu SS? But I like your style of writing and photographing the normally un-photographed funny things.
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Old 1st July 2015, 20:34   #27
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Default re: Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)

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I cannot believe you went on a hired taxi trip :-) Et tu SS? But I like your style of writing and photographing the normally un-photographed funny things.
Thank you, Sudipto-S-Team.

Certainly embarrassing! This was the only occasion, if my memory serves me right, when I have embarked on a roadtrip ex-Delhi without me being at the wheel (at least a large part of the time).

As I said...
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Our two families - six of us - decided to travel together, instead of in two separate cars. The initial choice of taking the Scorpio was turned down due to lack of adequate cooling in the third row of seats. The journey through the plains in 45*C would be uncomfortable for the occupants of the last row.

We decided to rent a self-drive Innova from Zoomcar, but the trouble of paying border taxes for UP and Uttarakhand on one's own, as well as the headaches of parking in Nainital when we visit the town, made us decide to rent one with a driver. Surprisingly, the cost of renting an Innova with driver worked out to be a lot less than that of renting from Zoomcar.
The other options would have been:
1. To travel in 2 separate cars - but Babuda doesn't like to drive too much. He's the *driven* type - aren't you, Babuda? And then we'd have missed out on the in-car adda!
2. To take a self-drive 7-seater - but we'd have had to take the trouble of paying the state entry taxes ourselves, find a place to park at Nainital, as well as pay almost twice as much for the car as we did.
3. To buy ourselves an Innova - but naah, the Innova can't really replace the Scorpio, as far as my usage is concerned, at other times.
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This pair of journeys I would remember only for the number of times I have crossed the median to escape traffic jams - 4 times on the DEL-CCU journey, and twice for CCU-DEL. Not many cars (that I can afford) would do that so effortlessly as the Scorpio does, while providing sufficient driveability, passenger comfort and space.
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Old 1st July 2015, 20:40   #28
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Default re: Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)

Na na. I could quite understand the situation and would've done the same in your position. Just didn't want to miss an opportunity to pull your legs. You pull teeth. I pull legs :-)
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Old 2nd July 2015, 11:39   #29
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Default re: Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)

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I cannot believe you went on a hired taxi trip :-) Et tu SS? But I like your style of writing and photographing the normally un-photographed funny things.
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Originally Posted by Sudipto-S-Team View Post
Na na. I could quite understand the situation and would've done the same in your position. Just didn't want to miss an opportunity to pull your legs. You pull teeth. I pull legs :-)


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Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post
The other options would have been:
To travel in 2 separate cars - but Babuda doesn't like to drive too much. He's the *driven* type - aren't you, Babuda? And then we'd have missed out on the in-car adda!
No, it's not that I mind driving. In fact I do enjoy long drives, albeit at my slow but steady pace - but like you said we would have missed out on the adda!
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Old 17th August 2015, 13:32   #30
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Default re: Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)

Thank you such a detailed travelogue. Which of the two routes would you recommend as far as road conditions are concerned? It is amazing that both roads leading to such a major tourist spot are unsurfaced in some stretches in 2015!
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