Go Back   Team-BHP > Buckle Up > Travelogues


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 10th October 2008, 00:17   #1
Senior - BHPian
 
architect's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Ghaziabad, U. P
Posts: 1,271
Thanked: 443 Times
Arrow The Lakes - Nainital, Bhimtal, Naukuchiyatal, Sattal.

03, 04, 05 October, 2008
Fiat Palio Stile Multijet
689 kms, 16 hours 48 minutes of actual travel time
42 litres of HP normal diesel (PDF of trip log attached for details)

Purists will scoff at the idea of an itinerary like this.

We want to get away—from the air-conditioned spaces of our homes and offices. We are escapists and nature—pure, unspoilt nature—is the haven. Where does Nainital fit in? The other lakes are too popular, the terrain too tame. With two-and-half-days at hand, a sleepless week behind, I had no desire to spend the entire time driving and neither did I intend to test my night driving skills. So Binsar, Champawat, etc were out of the itinerary.
Read on…

Delhi-Nainital
Of milk-Pulsars and Parathas

An old saying in Architecture School—“No matter how hard you try, you are always late for the submission.” The previous night, I turned in early to get some quality sleep time. Stuff and Nonsense! Spent the entire night tossing and turning; the result was a delay in starting out.

There is a purity, a sharpness in the early morning air. Habitual late risers cherish those rare occasions when they can feel it on their faces—early morning flights and trains, late nights that do not end, college days of working through nights and the occasional friend’s wedding where you sit through the entire proceedings. No traffic, no music, windows rolled down a couple of inches and that immensely capable diesel motor gunning the mass of grey metal through NH-24. If this isn’t a motorists’ nirvana, then I don’t know a motorists’ nirvana when I feel one.

Indian motorists are deaf, and maybe blind as well. Being a generally sensitive driver, I rarely honk. At twenty kilometres an hour, in the middle or on the right lane, the scooterist, motorbiker, autowalla, or cyclist do not understand why you should be in such a hurry. Flashing the headlamps is usually pointless. (Nobody has working Rear view mirrors. If they do, they do not look at them.) Honking is equally fruitless. The worst can be the milk-bikes (those marvels of physics, of balance, of rustic ingenuity working on modern, occidental product design). After being challenged to a series of races on Pulsar milk-bikes (yes, there are Pulsar milk-bikes, too), I find myself bothered by a red coloured Santro driver from Delhi. He has a tremendous knack of driving up alongside even when there is no space to overtake.

It takes patience, self-restraint and a judicious use of the turbocharger to break away from the crowd. Between Hapur and Gajraula, the superior composure of the Palio over bad stretches helps. Before I am tired, perturbed or even impatient, I have reached the wonderful stretch that is the Moradabad by-pass. It is almost empty, the traffic is disciplined and I am comfortably doing 120 kph. The road is set considerably higher than the surrounding fields. There is a depressing haze around and the low visibility makes it almost surrealistic. There are dhabas ahead. It has taken three hours to do one hundred and eighty kilometres.

Chandra Dhaba is like any of those lakhs of dhabas dotting the Indian highways. However, I find that present day dhabas can be classified into two categories—those meant for tourists and other travellers and those meant for truckers. Chandra Dhaba is for the former category. It has a list of about fifty places along with the distance from Chandra Dhaba to that place written along side. It seems to be in vain. In India, kilometres are not enough. I ask the waiter “how long to Nainital?” He chats with me on the road, the conditions and various towns I will pass. He does not know how long it will take. The list stares me in the face, and seems to mock me: “Distances and milestones are useless, what man desires is interaction, even when he is trying to escape into the hills.”

I do not understand the North Indian obsession of having parathas for breakfast. It is not easy for me to stomach something so heavy for the first meal of the day. I am equally tired of waiters, dhaba boys, taxi drivers and even bus conductors suggesting parathas for breakfast during my (what used to be) extensive travelling to sites as part of my work. As I leave dhaba with butter and toast in my stomach, I contemplate the road ahead. Kronos quartet on the stereo and me singing alongside—an old habit of my Pulsar days when the helmet provides acoustics almost as good as a bathroom. Such enjoyable lack of company was, however, not to last for too long…

An unlikely companion

I never stop to give lifts to strangers on the highways. But when two guys in khaki uniforms wave you to a stop, you can bend your principles to prevent trouble up ahead. The senior guy (distinguishes entirely by the fact that the other guy is carrying the luggage) asks me if I am going up to Rudrapur. He is not carrying any arms, not even the lathi. Obviously going home on leave, I can see clothes in the bundle. He settles down on the front seat.

Everybody has heard stories of two strangers meeting on a long journey and sharing the story of their lives. Divide any of those stories into half and one can get what happened. The terrible stretch from Rampur to Rudrapur kept me busy—and the policeman talking.

I know quite a bit about him now. He was born and brought up in Baghpat, but had chosen to settle in Rudrapur. I know how he chose a wife for himself and why did he choose her. I know why she was the wrong person for him. I know what tragic events ensued. I know how much he built his house for (although he did not throw light on how he could afford to build a house like that on the salary of a head constable). I got a tremendous insight on the workings of the UP Police departments, as well as the workings of a woman’s mind. I will probably not him recognise him if I see him after some time, but I will recognise him when he talks. For the rest of the journey from Rudrapur onwards, I was missing his autobiographical drone in my left ear. Even Pink Floyd could not compensate.

More to come, watch this space......

Pictures:
Pic 1: The road to be Kilbury from Nainital, as seen from the pillion seat of a Hero Honda Hunk

Pic 2: Nainital at night, from the "school" side of the Lake. This is view that students from the famous boarding schools at Nainital, like Sherwood, have of the town.

Pic 3, 4, 5: Geese and boats at Bhimtal

Pic 6: Sat-tal, the most peaceful of these lakes with the most beautiful woods around it.
Attached Thumbnails
The Lakes - Nainital, Bhimtal, Naukuchiyatal, Sattal.-1.jpg  

The Lakes - Nainital, Bhimtal, Naukuchiyatal, Sattal.-2.jpg  

The Lakes - Nainital, Bhimtal, Naukuchiyatal, Sattal.-3.jpg  

The Lakes - Nainital, Bhimtal, Naukuchiyatal, Sattal.-4.jpg  

The Lakes - Nainital, Bhimtal, Naukuchiyatal, Sattal.-5.jpg  

The Lakes - Nainital, Bhimtal, Naukuchiyatal, Sattal.-6.jpg  

Attached Files
File Type: pdf Trip Log.pdf (106.6 KB, 696 views)
architect is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10th October 2008, 08:56   #2
Senior - BHPian
 
jaysmokesleaves's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Mostly Mumbai
Posts: 1,676
Thanked: 1,159 Times
Default

Hey wonderful pics... keep it coming.
jaysmokesleaves is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10th October 2008, 11:31   #3
Senior - BHPian
 
mjothi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 3,252
Thanked: 216 Times
Default

Very nice pics. The last one is cool.

Thats an interesting companion
mjothi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10th October 2008, 12:07   #4
Senior - BHPian
 
gd1418's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Gurgaon
Posts: 3,578
Thanked: 655 Times
Default

Architect: great pictures, specially the one of Nainitaal in night. I've been to this area so many times, but everytime pictures look different and enchanting wanting me to make one more trip..

You indeed are a brave man. Whether in Khaki or in mufti, I never give lift to strangers on the road. Too many horror stories abound..

Quote:
Originally Posted by architect View Post
An unlikely companion

I never stop to give lifts to strangers on the highways. But when two guys in khaki uniforms wave you to a stop, you can bend your principles to prevent trouble up ahead.
gd1418 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10th October 2008, 12:49   #5
BHPian
 
Rajesh Rawal's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: LKO MUM HYD
Posts: 374
Thanked: 149 Times
Default

Nice write up and amazing pics!

Waiting for more pics to be uploaded!
Rajesh Rawal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13th October 2008, 23:44   #6
Senior - BHPian
 
architect's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Ghaziabad, U. P
Posts: 1,271
Thanked: 443 Times
Default The Lakes - Part 2

Three Hunks to Kilbury, and espresso by the Mall.

Perhaps my oldest travel memories are the views from the bench seat of my father’s office transport, the 3-speed Petrol Mahindra CJ on the way to Shillong. Driving through hilly roads is another matter altogether. Besides, the challenge of driving, there is a feeling that you are missing something that your co-passenger is not—the views. You can only afford the shortest glimpse. The road is involving—honk, look; turn the wheel in that oh-so-smooth arc. Stick to the left for blind curves, but explore that racing lines when there’s visibility. Schumacher would test the understeer and oversteer for this car. For me, it’s just Steer.

The relatively lower Himalayas can also generate strong feelings, even for the hardened cynic. In this part of Uttarakhand, it is the dense forest cover on the slopes that captures you attention. The sight can soothe the eyes like a million green coloured lamp-shade covers, and it can transport you back to the childhood days of reading Corbett’s “The man-eater of Rudraprayag” in the fifth standard. So much so that you start fancying a tiger staring at you at the other end of the hairpin bend. You are jolted back to reality—it’s just another Scorpio. The monkeys are real enough, though, and their greed for food brings them close to you and the road. Jim Corbett was not a hunter, he was perhaps India’s first scientific wildlife specialist. The Corbett Museum at Kaladhungi tells us about Jim Corbett—a great man from the time when a great man was not a specialist, an entrepreneur or an expert. He was a great man because he understood the delicate harmony between man and beast, between nature and buildings, between cities and jungles. We think technology has a solution to everything—perhaps wiser men knew better and respected nature for its invincibility.

If you do not have a jacket and gloves, it’s a bad idea to venture out biking into the woods above Nainital. My friend and I set off on a brand new Hero Honda Hunk with barely 600 km on the odo. The “three hunks” went all the way to Panghut, about 15 km away from Nainital and came back literally frozen in the nippy evening air. The reward was panoramic views of Nainital town and the lake. A “ghodewala” pestered us to ride his horse. He was not amused about us asking him not to make donkeys ride horses, even though the joke was at our expense.

I learnt a few things about the HHH on that short ride. The pillion is too high for anybody who is 5’-6” tall. The bike’s suspension and ride quality are almost at par with the Pulsar 150, its closest competitor. I hate the design of its tank and front end but I love its rear end. But the smooth rumbling of the Honda motor is much quieter and refined as opposed the very vocal engines of all the Pulsar siblings.

Shades of evening fall like heavy woollen draperies on the slopes. The mall is the only active place in Nainital at this hour, like the flurry of fireflies hovering around a light. The “school” side of Nainital is too quiet, almost eerie at this hour, as experienced during my ride. In contrast, the Mall is buzzing.

One of my friends mentioned the atmosphere in Shimla to be full of “testosterone”. While that is an exaggeration, all destinations like these are absolutely full of romantic, honeymooning couples. The rest is full of tourists. The ears are accosted by a smattering of languages. Besides Hindi, Bengali is prominent. The waiters at the hotel are all Bengali and are contributing towards attracting Bengali clientele to the hotel.
The place is full of cars from Delhi, Gurgaon, Faridabad, Lucknow. There are lads on bikes who are racing through the mall. A huge bike passes by, but the sound betrays a modified Indian bike rather than a thoroughbred Superbike. I don’t take notice beyond classifying the sound. I have not come to Nainital to see fancy bikes—the Greater Noida expressway literally starts near my house with the DND flyway and I often go riding on Sunday Mornings.

Most of the restaurants and cafeterias on the mall have a great feature, an outdoor sit-out looking towards the lake. The people of Nainital have got together to achieve a few things that many other places should have done long ago. They have banned plastics within the city, the lake is being oxygenated and there is an entry tax of Rs 100/- to bring a car into the mall. It is pleasure to sit and stare at the lake, the activity on the road below enhances the placidity of the lake.

I have had a good drive from Delhi to Nainital, an amusing, blabbering cop as company. I have had a cold ride up the hills on a bike. And I have had a heavy dinner and I am sipping an espresso on the lakeside. The crowd below is thinning down. The weather has a hint of chill in it. A leisurely walk down the mall—from the statue of Govind Vallabh Pant to that of Mahatma Gandhi—one end to the other, and I am ready to sleep. Tomorrow has been planned.

Still more to come, just some more patience...
architect is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13th October 2008, 23:54   #7
Senior - BHPian
 
architect's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Ghaziabad, U. P
Posts: 1,271
Thanked: 443 Times
Default

Some more pictures:

1. Heavy rains and rising water levels take a toll on the strongest of trees.
2. Figurehead on a boat at Sattal, children oriented aesthetics become ludicrous.
3. The Palio Multijet at Ghodakhal
4,5. Temple of Golu Devta at Ghodakhal, with lakhs of bells and more being added by devotees.
Attached Thumbnails
The Lakes - Nainital, Bhimtal, Naukuchiyatal, Sattal.-7.jpg  

The Lakes - Nainital, Bhimtal, Naukuchiyatal, Sattal.-8.jpg  

The Lakes - Nainital, Bhimtal, Naukuchiyatal, Sattal.-9.jpg  

The Lakes - Nainital, Bhimtal, Naukuchiyatal, Sattal.-10.jpg  

The Lakes - Nainital, Bhimtal, Naukuchiyatal, Sattal.-11.jpg  

architect is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14th October 2008, 14:52   #8
Senior - BHPian
 
maddy42's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Phoenix, Coorg
Posts: 1,846
Thanked: 479 Times
Default

Beautiful writeup. So the first trip was on a car? Well was kinda confused so
maddy42 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14th October 2008, 16:12   #9
Senior - BHPian
 
architect's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Ghaziabad, U. P
Posts: 1,271
Thanked: 443 Times
Default

Oh... I didn't realise my writeup would make it confusin!!

Except for the 30 km ride Nainital-Panguth-Nainital on a Hero Honda Hunk, the rest of the trip was on the Palio MJD.
architect is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14th October 2008, 17:40   #10
Senior - BHPian
 
hellstar's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 1,071
Thanked: 17 Times
Default

Well worded travelogue ... and nice pictures .. i would not have taken on hitch hiker for the same reason as @gd1418 said .. be it uniformed or civilian .....
hellstar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 20th October 2008, 19:36   #11
BHPian
 
jazzy_2cool's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 277
Thanked: 0 Times
Default

Gr8 stuff dost,
someone really had a good time in his Jet.any update on FE
jazzy_2cool is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21st October 2008, 01:34   #12
Senior - BHPian
 
architect's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Ghaziabad, U. P
Posts: 1,271
Thanked: 443 Times
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by jazzy_2cool View Post
Gr8 stuff dost,
someone really had a good time in his Jet.any update on FE
42 litres of HP normal diesel for 688 kilometres... considering the roads I had to face, I am quite happy with that. I am not a champion like you when it come to FE.
architect is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21st October 2008, 08:18   #13
Distinguished - BHPian
 
sudev's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Gurgaon
Posts: 3,509
Thanked: 2,383 Times
Default

This is poetry man. Lovely narrative.
sudev is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21st October 2008, 23:59   #14
Senior - BHPian
 
architect's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Ghaziabad, U. P
Posts: 1,271
Thanked: 443 Times
Default Part - III Finally

Thank you everybody for the responses!

Here's the last bit of the travelogue and the last few pictures.....


A Temple full of Bells

That the pace of life on the hills is different was immediately apparent from the delay in setting out the next day. While I was up and about and ready by 8.30 AM, my friend, being a native of Nainital, took his own sweet time getting ready. It was 10.30 AM by the time we set off for the day.

Bhowali is a very important town, maybe even more important than Nainital for many people who are travelling further to Almora, Ranikhet etc. The HP petrol pump in Bhowali supplied me the most efficient tankful of diesel I have burned so far. There was hardly any sun. The thick clouds have created a grey pallor on all my photographs during the trip. The woods are thick, wherever you go. The crickets are louder than anywhere else except the North-East of India. I had left the faceplate of music system at the hotel. I don’t think I would need that, with all this music.

Animals on the hills behave differently from those in the plains, especially cities. The dogs are not scared of vehicles. Delhi dogs have a knack of staying away from traffic. The cows keep standing on the middle of the road, oblivious to the honking. The geese don’t dart away when your boat intrudes their swimming flock. They just honk your head off!! Only the behaviour of the monkeys remains the same. The closer you get to man in the animal kingdom, the instincts (primarily those of being insensitive, pestilential and a general nuisance) seem to be uniform from villages to cities!

A good road is one where you don’t notice the road. It is the smart alec drivers who can be painful at times. And almost every vehicle that was breaking the rules of hill driving had familiar big city registrations—DL, HR-26, HR-51, HR-55, UP-21, UP-32, UP-16, UP-14 etc. All local vehicles seemed to be driving very safe.

The beauty of Bhimtal is in the sheer size of the lake and its green waters. Naukuchiyatal can be admired for the quietness. But nothing beats Sattal for the lovely woods surrounding the lake and the shape of the lake that opens different views from different vantage points. The crowds do tend to get noisy at these places, especially around the afternoons, but otherwise these places are quiet, largely because the crowds retain their noise and garbage creation to a small part of the lakefront.

On the way back, we drove to Ghodakhal. One has to enter the Sainik School gates, and then continue on to Ghodakhal. The temple is unique only for the sheer number of bells. And in the foggy late afternoon, it looks even more unreal. We drove further to see some lemon farms and fruit farms. At the end of the day we had driven 100 kms or so.

Holidays, as a rule, seem to end too soon. There were high points and low points of this holiday, too. But perhaps the drive through the forest area near Kaladhungi is the one of the high points of this trip. The forests are so beautiful that the head and heart are at a tussle—the head asks you to speed up and save time on such a beautiful road. The heart asks you to stop. These forests, these hills, these animals may never remain so beautiful.


The End

The last few pictures...
1. Nainital sleeps early. This snap was taken at 6.30 PM
2. Horsepower, then and now.
3. The Capitol Cinema, no more shows here, though. Must have been quite a hot spot some decades ago!
4. Different shades of green at Sattal
Attached Thumbnails
The Lakes - Nainital, Bhimtal, Naukuchiyatal, Sattal.-12.jpg  

The Lakes - Nainital, Bhimtal, Naukuchiyatal, Sattal.-13.jpg  

The Lakes - Nainital, Bhimtal, Naukuchiyatal, Sattal.-14.jpg  

The Lakes - Nainital, Bhimtal, Naukuchiyatal, Sattal.-15.jpg  


Last edited by architect : 22nd October 2008 at 00:11.
architect is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22nd October 2008, 15:27   #15
Senior - BHPian
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Delhi
Posts: 2,175
Thanked: 128 Times
Default

Your travel date and time seems to coincides with mine. I also left Delhi (East) at 650AM on 3-10-08 and reached Nainital at 2 PM. On 4-10-08, I visited all the lakes (Bhimtal, Sattal, Naukichiya). Of course, I came home on 8-10-08.
vasudeva is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
route info to bhimtal/nainital naman Route / Travel Queries 15 6th March 2017 17:17
Exploring Kumaon: Nainital, Sattal, Almora, Bageshwar, Patal Bhuvaneshwar & Kausani v&v Travelogues 31 31st August 2014 12:51
Birding at Sattal, Pangoot, Vinayak and Corbett. SPARKled Travelogues 11 28th March 2012 21:39
Of Rains & Lakes..A Trip to Aquaserene Resort at Kollam, Kerala Mysticeyes Travelogues 35 21st April 2009 17:10
Noida to Nainital , Nainital to Dehradun best route rajneeesh Route / Travel Queries 31 30th June 2008 16:10


All times are GMT +5.5. The time now is 21:48.

Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Team-BHP.com
Proudly powered by E2E Networks