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Old 17th April 2009, 20:15   #1
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Wink Chapters 1 and 2...

The following posts are a direct copy-paste job from a (hard-copy) journal I had the good sense of keeping with me on my most memorable vacation, to date. This is the story of Ramgarh and Godog meeting for the first time.

(All attempts have been made to retain the puntuation, and spelling/grammatical mistakes of the original, in the spirit of preservation; Although some indicators are pointed out in the interest of basic comrehension.)

Ramgarh
(Distt. Nainital)

The Quintessential "off-the-beaten-track" destination. Tourists are still the major population of the village-town which sees hospitable weather almost all year-round.

Height ranges from six-thousand to eight thousand feet above the sea, and the two-thousand feet difference can be, and should be, felt on foot. An aching and tired foot after-wards.
(Not) As crowded as Nainital, the major tourist attraction that is now a ruckus of the typical delhi-ite, Ramgarh is not entirely secluded and still manages to be serene.



Ramgarh- A Travelogue Overdue-nainital-bank-ramgarh.jpg




The charm of Ramgarh lies in the hub-bub of inactivity. When at a late hour of the early-night, all you can hear are rain-drops, or a leaky-shower, one is constantly reminded of the omniscience of silence. This silence, for a change, comes in on account of the (sullen) stillness and calm of the aforementioned inactivity instead of resulting from the lull of a broken-quarrel and/or a deadlock.

Ramgarh- A Travelogue Overdue-serene-ramgarh.jpg

I always knew I loved silence. It was probably why I would keep awake till late at night every chance that I got, and then some. It was the best part of staying up anyway.
A city-dweller all my life of 20 years, I can feel my ears ringing in the silence. For the first time in a long time, they have nothing to do. Someone ought to teach them teen-patti.




Ramgarh- A Travelogue Overdue-3.jpg






The best part of the silence in Ramgarh is the peace. Some genius might be studying is some quaint lab, by what quantity silence can be raised if multiplied by peace. CHAYNN. Part of it must have something to do with being alone. I'm alone. I'm not lonely.
Being single has afforded me so-much luxury lately, I must reconsider hooking up, getting hitched, or getting serious.
Attached Thumbnails
Ramgarh- A Travelogue Overdue-dscf5150.jpg  


Last edited by Zappo : 18th April 2009 at 02:35. Reason: No back to back posts please
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Old 18th April 2009, 02:01   #2
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Default Chapter 3

The Ramgarh Bungalows, Ramgarh- A Neemrana 'Non-Hotel'

Old is not gold. It is Sheesham. The would (wood) they used to build this place. 'They' being the British Babus of early-mid nineteenth century. That is what 'Harish', our guide for a day, and a half, told me anyways-Ramgarh- A Travelogue Overdue-rbungalows.jpg In this town, with the small-from-a-distance hills, I choose to believe what I hear, for I've been greeted with pleasant ear-to-ear and eye-to-eye smiles that are genuine and heart warming. After twenty years of Delhi, I should be able to tell them from the fakes.






To believe that the staff are paid to smile when they serve, is hard. There are countless other hotels and "non-hotels" which make one feel their respective birthright is to not be served well. The Ramgarh Bungalows don't seem to be one of them.
This is peak season.
Five-Star Staff Serving you.
Four-Star Amenities.
Three-star Dinner
Hopefully Better Breakfast tomorrow.
Add it all up, and what do you get? A damn cheap (economical ), inimitably well-appointed charming room with 'colonial-era' splashed all over it.
The bed-room, after you enter through two sets of opposing doors, leaves no words for a road weary journey-man to even describe it to himself.
A king size bed flanked by a side-table with a lamp-shade on both sides hogs your attention after the initial shock-of-awe subsides, though it is not as special as the rest of the furniture in the room.

Ramgarh- A Travelogue Overdue-1br.jpg



A wooden cup-board right out of a "period-movie" is not only handsome, but well built as well.

A coffee table and two chairs, all three again woden, again very old, sit and wait for you to place the morning-tea-tray on them, which you will.
But you don't drink the tea here. For that there is a 'deewan' and hammock-ish deck-chairs with tables outside, in the 'verandah-with-a-view'. Ramgarh- A Travelogue Overdue-coffee-godog.jpg
Coffee with Godog?



A writing table and chair accompany the deewan and chairs, at one end of the porch. The writing table and its high-back chair form a magnificient picture of solitude. Solitude unaccompanied by loneliness.
Like an elderly couple with stiff knees, still in deep love with each other.


Hammock-ish chairs, and the Suave ol' Writing Table (left)
Ramgarh- A Travelogue Overdue-hammockdeckchairs-writingtable.jpg


The 'Verandah' minus the view. The 'Deewan' covered in green (Right)
Ramgarh- A Travelogue Overdue-porch.jpg


Looking Out from The Verandah
Ramgarh- A Travelogue Overdue-verandahview.jpg

Last edited by godog : 18th April 2009 at 02:14.
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Old 18th April 2009, 02:16   #3
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Coming out pretty well mate, waiting for the rest of it.
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Old 18th April 2009, 02:19   #4
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The daylight beckons me to wander, amble, and explore the hills. I do so dutifully.

Ramgarh- A Travelogue Overdue-30062008010.jpg

Ramgarh- A Travelogue Overdue-30062008012.jpg


The night-time gently lulls me to sleep. I rebel. It may be dark out, but my kind has developed "electricity". So I sit by a night-lamp on the reading/writing table (cane with glass top; shelves) and write about the bungalow-rest-house they try to call "Heritage".
Ramgarh- A Travelogue Overdue-30062008016.jpg



In them, I finally see my heritage. We all inherited most of our lives from the british. The rest is american; that which came from too-much Television, which is absent from the room and absolutely not missed.
There is a fireplace instead. In winters, a pile of smouldering charcoal or wood is bound to be more entertaining than prime-time you-know-what.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WanderNomad View Post
Coming out pretty well mate, waiting for the rest of it.
Thanks. I'm working on it. Best part of my day is at night .


Chapter 5

My room they've branded 'English'. It is a double-bed room sandwiched between 'Kumaon' and 'Kashmir', two suites with space for four, in two rooms one larger than the other.
Ramgarh- A Travelogue Overdue-kashmirenglishkumaon.jpg


Bathrooms attached to each room are thoroughly modern, aside from the old-world-wooden doors and windows.


English is a fine room for a one-person-family. Or two individuals who really understand each other.

A cliche that would aptly describe the room is old-world-charm. 'Old' it better be, for this bungalow (split into the two suites and a room), they say was built in 1830 A.D.

Didn't feel the need to ratify that claim, the furniture was rackety enough. But strong. While the two nights I have been here, nothing has creaked under the inexcruciating load that I may have sometimes unexpectedly put on them.

The doors and windows don't fit perfectly, but I'll take them over the Iron-frames anyday.



*Everything is talking to me; I had a long chat with the shower-head (wall-mounted) over practical ways to plumbing more reactive and sharp response shower systems that mix hot and cold instantaneously.

*The cane table is a thing though.
That, or it is a terrible recluse.

Last edited by Zappo : 18th April 2009 at 02:38. Reason: No back to back posts please. You are breaking up the posts far too frequently.
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Old 18th April 2009, 03:57   #5
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Default Chapter 6

Getting There


... is arduous. At least the first time.


I started at 0100 hrs on saturday night (29/6/8) from Ghaziabad. The preponement of schedule worked out to be the best thing against traffic which swelled exponentially after 0700 hrs.
By this time we had:
  • Crossed log-jam upon jam at Garh-Mukteshwar, the point at which one crosses the sacred Ganges.
  • Continued to ride hard to Moradabad, where we found ourselves darting around to find the end of the 'bypass'. I consider having the ego-maniac driver well (some thoughts missing :P).
  • Found the Moradabad by-pass with assistance from locals and A-GPS, and crossed it. Turned a left U-turn, took the right turn and continued to Sirsawa-Doraha.
  • Turned right towards Bazpur and reached a bridge that had collapsed long-ago. Long enough that it had prompted the authorities to wake up from slumber and construct a wall to not let any traffic pass (through). Whether or not repairs are under way is a subject of peeking beyond that wall.
  • Swing around backwards after being guided, by intuition and locals, to turn right from sirsawa-doraha.
  • So back to sirsawa-doraha to turn towards 'Kashipur'. A small town. On to Haldwani (managed somehow), Bhowali, Nainital, with stops along the way for the boys to pee and at others for everyone to drink tea.
[We'd stopped earlier at a shack-dhaba for the driver, so he could eat his late dinner. So late, we saw the sun-rise while he broke the bread and dipped it in Dal. I caught one of the best moments in my life from one of the dingiest, smelliest urinal cabins, possibly in the whole world. It was the typical sun-rise in the plains with a partly cloudy sky, But seeing it in flesh is different than setting it as a wallpaper on the desktop.]
  • The road after the Moradabad bypass is lined by trees on both sides, and is itself rough on some patches. I sometimes wondered if I was on the right path.
Ramgarh- A Travelogue Overdue-treelinedbrokenhighways.jpg
Ramgarh- A Travelogue Overdue-treelined2.jpg
Pot-holed roads no match for ATW: All Terrain Wheelchair (All Terrain Will?)
Ramgarh- A Travelogue Overdue-goingbackalready.jpg
  • Haldwani was crowded. Partly because we were there at 10 a.m. which in turn was entirely due to the fallen-bridge fiasco.
  • Nainital (after Haldwani), is the new Shimla. Theres a "Koutons" showroom to cap all the haphazard madness.
  • Past Jim-Corbett the climb starts, and the expletives flew fast from all directions. They were hurled by people who were, part amazed, part awe-struck, and entirely thrilled. Very peasant-like.
  • After the euphoria of a climbing road cools down, another wave erupts" over the views of the himalayas in the distance. They alternate between each other and sometimes couple together, sometimes resulting in an orgasmic abundance of notes of a visual orchestra that command your attention. A good driver and excellent company are essential.

Chapter 7
  • Once you've found Ramgarh, it is easy to get to the Ramgarh Malla Bus-Stand [Malla being the higher altitude code-word as opposed to Talla, or lower]. Just before the market starts, and as soon as the 'Safal'/'Mother-Dairy' outlets come into view, a left hairpin turn takes you to the cluster of bungalows uncreatively called 'The Ramgarh Bungalows', as also a host of other cottages available for hire, a few private (permanent) residences and an equal number of villas of the rich and famous, including the Scindia estate, with its own helipad.
Ramgarh- A Travelogue Overdue-dscf5228.jpg
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Old 18th April 2009, 04:31   #6
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Default Finale.

Ramgarh is a unique town in that you can sense there is a lot of civilisation and yet you see only so many people. The "main roads" which serve as highways see a car or truck every five minutes. In peak season.

Ramgarh- A Travelogue Overdue-dscf5219.jpg

Living in all this luxury and splendour has, umm, left us, a little short of change. This means we may be running home sooner than we expected. Which is much sooner than I had planned to; way to soon for me to have wanted to.

You can come here, and not care about death, for you live every moment worth a lifetime.

Two Days and Three Nights have seemed like two days and three nights. Not longer, not shorter. And its been a rush of a different kind; and nearly two hours since I started writing. Thats how long the rain had stopped for; but I really can't be sure, I stopped following the clock the moment I left home.



Tomorrow: The world's tastiest Samosa, and "prasad" at the shiv-mandir.
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Old 18th April 2009, 07:33   #7
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Beautiful, now I regret skipping it on my all nainital trips
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Old 18th April 2009, 07:36   #8
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Very nicely written and quite some inactivity there!
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Old 18th April 2009, 08:49   #9
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Default Basic question?

This looks like one of the places I like. Please can you let us know where exactly this place is ? . Is there a Air access to this place. If yes, what is the nearest airport. Thanks in advance.
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Old 18th April 2009, 09:53   #10
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Nice writeup.
Nice review of Neemrana property. It reminded my stay at VERANDAH IN FOREST -a Neemrana property at Matheran last year.
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Old 18th April 2009, 12:22   #11
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Me too. Went for summer vacations to Bhowali a few years back and visited Nainital, Ranikhet, Almora but skipped Ramgarh. Now regretting..

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Beautiful, now I regret skipping it on my all nainital trips
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Old 18th April 2009, 15:13   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rkbharat View Post
Beautiful, now I regret skipping it on my all Nainital trips
So another one is in the pipeline now?

Quote:
Originally Posted by phamilyman View Post
Very nicely written and quite some inactivity there!
Thankyou! [The inactivity was SHOCKKING!! ]

Quote:
Originally Posted by skmami View Post
This looks like one of the places I like. Please can you let us know where exactly this place is ? . Is there a Air access to this place. If yes, what is the nearest airport. Thanks in advance.
If you read through the journal, you will find that there are well paved highways and helipads at your disposal. For more economical ways to get about, take the train from Delhi to Kathgodam, and the hotel will send a pick-up vehicle. That has to be the easiest, yet most uneventful way of getting there.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ASHISHPALLOD View Post
Nice writeup.
Nice review of Neemrana property.
Thankyou Ashish. Yes, this is as much about Ramgarh as it is about the un-hotel.



Quote:
Originally Posted by gd1418 View Post
Me too. Went for summer vacations to Bhowali a few years back and visited Nainital, Ranikhet, Almora but skipped Ramgarh. Now regretting..
Well, go while you still can, while its still there!



Thank you for your kind words. The previous posts (not including the captions) were written sitting on the cane-table with glass top, in Ramgarh. The following is going to be written in the searing heat of Delhi. Undoubtedly, my frazzled mind will work below par, but sharing this experience is close to reliving it, so I'm going to attempt it anyways...
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Old 19th April 2009, 15:56   #13
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Great pics and nice narration. I like the the green vegetation around there. I feel this place is not knowsn much otherwise, it would hve been commercialized by now. BTW, is it same Ramgad as that of Sholay?
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Old 19th April 2009, 22:47   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snaronikar View Post
Great pics and nice narration. I like the the green vegetation around there. I feel this place is not knowsn much otherwise, it would hve been commercialized by now. BTW, is it same Ramgad as that of Sholay?
The drive after Jim Corbett, when the climb starts, is like sitting in a space shuttle. A different world altogether. The flora there is different, more dense.

Ramgarh.... hmmm... maybe we'll have to look out for Gabbar's son Dabbar Singh.
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Old 20th April 2009, 22:35   #15
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The air of lush green mountains, distilled by monsoon showers.
The burden of clouds in your nostrils.
The sight of white on green. A hillside disappearing into a rain-cloud.


It was either a sum of these that made every morsel subliminal, or it was an expert chef having the time of his life preparing simple, yet extraordinarily finger licking good food. Sample this:

Ramgarh- A Travelogue Overdue-heaven-wrapped-samosa.jpg

and let me know if this samosa actually looks any different from a regular one, or was it all in my head? For I haven't had any samosa, or any thing, this good since then.
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