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Old 10th June 2015, 22:27   #1
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Default Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)

Summer holidays used to be the time to head for the hills, to escape the extreme heat of the plains. Until we got a little tired of the hordes of unruly holidaymakers who crowded into every single hill station for the same purpose. We have avoided driving to the hills in summer the last few years, mainly because we hate the crowds, the traffic jams, the hotels that overcharge mercilessly, the incompetent drivers racing up and down the hill roads, and a host of other headaches.

Then a long-lost friend (and now BHPian) Babuda came visiting, 30+ years after we last met when leaving school. It was an enthusiastic reunion, and there was a lot of catching up to do. And what better place to have a tête-à-tête...

Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-teteatetek250.jpg

...than this beautiful hideaway that very few have heard of before?

Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-hideawayk250.jpg
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Old 11th June 2015, 15:51   #2
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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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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.

Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-ridek250.jpg

A neighbour who runs a taxi service provided us the car, with an experienced driver in his mid-50s. He had been warned that a young and rash driver and / or a rattly car would certainly not be tolerated! I am going to be in the car, and be on holiday - there's no way I am teaching a bad driver to unlearn his habits for the sake of our safety - I'd prefer to chuck him out on the road somewhere and drive myself!

We leave Delhi around 7:30 AM on 4th June. The driver is reasonably good, except for his occasional tendency to tailgate. The Innova has clocked 241k km, but is well-maintained - more importantly, the AC works well. Paying for our UP tax on the Nizamuddin Bridge takes a good 20 minutes, but it's the driver's job. The traffic through Ghaziabad and Hapur crawls with the office rush. I do not remember the last time I have been on a roadtrip ex-Delhi without my being at the wheel. Time to sit back and listen to our own kind of music, which we have carried on CDs and a pendrive. And talk.

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Old 11th June 2015, 16:42   #3
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Default re: Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)

There are two main routes to take, while going to Nainital from Delhi. One is via Kaladhungi, and it brings one to the Mallital side of the lake.
https://goo.gl/maps/41GtX

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

We take this route on the outward journey, since our accommodation is on that side, and we don't need to cross the Mall Road at Nainital during peak evening hours.

The other route is via Kathgodam and Haldwani, and the road ends / begins on the other (i.e. Tallital) side of the lake. We would take this route on our way back. The bypass to avoid the traffic inside Kathgodam and Haldwani is operational, except for a few km of unsealed surface.
https://goo.gl/maps/Xdbz6

Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-viahaldwani.jpg
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Old 11th June 2015, 17:32   #4
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Default re: Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)

We are in no rush whatsoever. The driver understands our requirements, and keeps to a self-determined speed limit of 90 kmph. Late morning, we stop for some coffee and *PAPCI* at the Bikanervala at Gajraula.
Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-bikanervalak250.jpg

Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-papcik250.jpg

Screw place - twice. Then lead sanitary field, enjoy colorful life. There's even inductive distance regulation for your convenience. English is obviously whirled wide in UP!
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We spend a bit of time watching a bunch of banknotes on its way to getting wedded. Don't have much of a choice though, the road is jammed by folks dancing to cacophony.
Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-notewed.jpg

We circumnavigate our way around the Gandhi Samadhi at Rampur.
Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-gandhi-samadhi-rampur.jpg

And then, at an ignominiously named little town called Suar, the road becomes like this. (I'd hate to be a kid from this place).
Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-suarkarasta-1k250.jpg

Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-suarkarasta-3k250.jpg

Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-suarkarasta-2k250.jpg

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Old 11th June 2015, 20:35   #5
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Default re: Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)

Blacktop at last.

Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-1k250.jpg

The rock-and-rolling ride of the last 10-12 km has left us quite hungry (and yes, this is a trip related to food as well - which one of ours isn't? ), and we stop at the first decent place we find. Decent = air-conditioned.
Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-4k250.jpg

Ouch! It's perhaps hot enough outside to cook without a fire - and it feels worse when stepping out of the car.
Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-2k250.jpg

At least we don't need to walk in the sun...
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Now to order for a substantial quantity of food for ourselves.

Oh, but their butter chicken is so amazingly tasty, everyone is licking their fingers before I can keep bits of the bird on photographic record for posterity. Never mind, folks, there's plenty more food coming up to keep you satisfied!

Onward on a lovely stretch of a wide and smooth highway, much different from my memories of this road from yesteryears.

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Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-6k250.jpg

Always loved a particular gentleman and his lifestyle, it had been a pleasure reading what he wrote, and now it's quite an honour to drop in at his residence.
Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-7k250.jpg
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Old 11th June 2015, 21:46   #6
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Default re: Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)

The gentleman in question was Colonel Edward James 'Jim' Corbett, and his residence in Kaladhungi is now a museum. The photographs from there are largely self-explanatory.

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Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-corbettmuseum-20k250.jpg

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Old 11th June 2015, 22:43   #7
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Default re: Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)

The grounds outside the Corbett Museum are full of lychee and mango trees laden with fruit. Visitors are warned of a Rs.50 penalty for plucking them.
Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-corbettmuseum-21k250.jpg

Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-corbettmuseum-4k250.jpg

Whoever has taken the contract for collecting the fruit, has his people, including small kids, busy with the task of sorting and packing the plucked fruit. The price they ask is more than what we would pay for the best quality stuff in our neighbourhood market at Delhi.
Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-corbettmuseum-18k250.jpg

Outside, we realise that there are many other such orchards nearby, and a fruit seller with a pair of of cute rabbits sells us some at a reasonable price.
Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-corbettmuseum-1k250.jpg

Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-corbettmuseum-27k250.jpg

They turn out to be really juicy and delicious.
Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-corbettlychees.jpg

Time to head uphill towards Nainital from here.
Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-corbettmuseum-25k250.jpg

A wonderful experience awaits us there, but little do we know to what extent. Our accommodation for the next 3 nights, here we come!
Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-corbettmuseum-28k250.jpg


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Old 11th June 2015, 23:26   #8
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Default re: Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)

The controversy over Maggi ought to blow over soon, or so hopes everyone in the hills. The livelihood of a lot of restaurateurs depends on this one brand name, of course!
Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-tonainital_1k250.jpg


Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-tonainital_3k250.jpg

The road curves and winds its way upwards for 32 km...
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Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-tonainital_4k250.jpg

...and soon we are at this beautiful place. No other guests, no traffic, no noise other than the chirping of birds, and cosier than Colonel Corbett's home that we were visiting just a while ago.
Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-tonainital_7k250.jpg

Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-tonainital_5k250.jpg

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Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-tonainital_8k250.jpg
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Old 12th June 2015, 12:34   #9
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Default re: Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Travelogues Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 12th June 2015, 18:03   #10
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Default re: Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)

The little retreat we arrive at in the late afternoon is... well - much more than we expected.

A curved rough pathway leads up to the front of the cottage, painted in brilliant white and sparkling in the afternoon sun.
Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-1vienna.jpg


Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-2vienna.jpg


Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-corbettmuseum-28k250.jpg

We proceed to step up to the balcony, and are immediately captivated by the view from there. So much so, that we spend a majority of the time over the next three days, lounging on the balcony and terrace itself. The crisp, cool weather undoubtedly provides encouragement for us to do so.
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Morning tea on the terrace, and the wrought iron furniture
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Some exterior views of the place...
Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-8vienna-3.jpg

Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-8vienna-4.jpg

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

...and the cosy interiors. There are 3 bedrooms, all with flat-screen cable TV and attached bathrooms & toilets, a drawing room, a dining room with a table for 8, and a very well-equipped kitchen (RO filter, microwave oven, gas burner, chimney, electric kettle, fridge, rice cooker, mixer-grinder, pots and pans, crockery and cutlery, some condiments, and an in-house cook that one can hire on a daily basis).
Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-12vienna-2.jpg

Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-12vienna-3.jpg

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After the sun sets...
Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-11vienna.jpg

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Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-14vienna.jpg

...these winged visitors want to join us inside the house. A strategically placed fly-killing light that has been thoughtfully provided, does the job of keeping them at bay.
Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-15vienna-2.jpg

Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-15vienna-1.jpg

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Old 13th June 2015, 17:17   #11
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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)-aroundvienna_4k400.jpg

Time to let everyone in on the secret...

Our little hideaway in the hills around Nainital is called the Vienna Lodge - Cottage by The Woods.
Quote:
About the Cottage

The Cottage by the Woods of Vienna Lodgewas built in 1930; it has been expanded and renovated over the years. The property had been named Vienna Lodge as the original owners of the property were from Vienna, Austria back in the 1870’s. The property was then bought by the royal family of Sherkot in 1901 and has been in the family ever since.

Located on the Ayarpatta Hill of Nainital, the beautiful and enchanting Vienna Lodge is at 6800 ft. (2100 m) above sea level and is home to the guests looking forward to life in the Himalayas. The Ayarpatta forest, right behind the cottage is home to a lot of wildlife such as leopards, deer, wild boars, langurs, and a wide variety of birds. It also has an excellent view of the town of Nainital and the greenery of mountains such as the Naina peak, the highest peak in Nainital, the Camel’s back mountain and Bara Pathar.

The exceptional feature about the Cottage is that it is not very far away from town and at the same time is peaceful and secluded from the traffic and people. The forest has a small trail that allows you to explore the allurement of nature in its true and enticing form.

The Cottage gives you a conception of how life in the Himalayas can be, from the austerity of winter to the exultation of spring and summer. The rooms hold ‘Bukharis’ which are an ancient way of warming the cottages using sawdust. In the cottage you will find antique furniture, which was personally rescued and restored by the owner from old colonial houses of the Almora district that were being torn down to give way to new age houses.
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Old 13th June 2015, 18:10   #12
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Default re: Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)

Our ideal kind of relaxing holiday as a family, is one where we can do just two things: CLICK, and EAT! One might say I left out the third activity - DRIVE - but that item was not on the agenda on this trip!

I would not bore you with the tens of gigabytes of photographs and selfies from a multitude of cameras and mobile phones, but here's a selection of the somewhat decent ones around the Vienna Lodge.

The green-backed tit (Parus monticolus) came visiting us
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Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-aroundviennak400.jpg

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The Himalayan Bulbul (Pycnonotus leucogenys) also dropped in to say hello
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The Rufous Sibia (Malacias capistratus) was too fast to get a good shot
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The shy pet cat almost disappeared from sight before I could point the camera at it
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Flowers from the garden at the Lodge
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It would now be time to EAT, and these gentlemen are in action to help us do so
Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-aroundvienna_3k400.jpg




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Old 13th June 2015, 20:47   #13
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Default re: Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)

And eat we do!

With quite a few accomplished chefs as guests in their domain, the two fellows provided by the Lodge are of hardly any use.

Let's start with the first evening's dinner...

There's rice and pork vindaloo on the menu, along with a uniquely delicious dish called the mixed vegetable bai - a delicacy from Mizoram, which turns out to be far more delicious than it seems in the photograph.

Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-foodatnainital_1k400.jpg

The pork vindaloo is spiced up with a bit of mustard seeds. Incidentally, we had carried the raw materials in an ice box from home.
Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-foodatnainital_3k400.jpg

Later on, however, we discover this shop inside the main market at Nainital, which, apart from pork and salami, also sells hem, beaken, sauces and collar!
Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-foodatnainital.jpg

The mixed vegetable bai is characterised by the addition of rice and cooking soda, and would taste different depending on the combination of vegetables used. Check out this link for a general idea of the recipe, though the one we had is not similar to the one described there.
Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-foodatnainital_2k400.jpg

All this with - what else but - rice. Always rhymes with *nice*.
Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-foodatnainital_10k400.jpg


Breakfast is not too varied, aloo parathas on one day (which are very good), and eggs-as-you-like with toast on the others. The masala omelettes served by the in-house cook are not quite how we like them.
Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-foodatnainital_7k400.jpg

Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-foodatnainital_12k400.jpg

Fried rice and chili chicken on the menu for another dinner...
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Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-foodatnainital_5k400.jpg

...and a mixed vegetable dish & a mutton dish, both cooked in Kumaoni style.
Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-foodatnainital_9k400.jpg

Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-foodatnainital_8k400.jpg

Second helpings, anyone?
Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)-foodatnainital_11k400.jpg

Last edited by SS-Traveller : 13th June 2015 at 20:51.
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Old 13th June 2015, 23:23   #14
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Default re: Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)

The beaken will surely lead me to discover what the 'collar' is all about, what say 'dok saab'
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Old 14th June 2015, 20:38   #15
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Default re: Summer Trip to Nainital : A Relaxed Perspective | And once again, in winter (from page 3)

Awesome! Could not have been a more apt time when I am planning a trip to Nainital in mid July. Looks just like my kind of place around. The other one is the PWD rest house in Mukteshwar where I am a regular and always ditch the KMVN TRH next door. Would PM you for contact details of the Vienna lodge and how to get a reservation.

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