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Old 19th May 2010, 12:28   #1
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Wink Searching for Nirvana @ Naukuciatal & Majestic Mukteshwar!

It had been many days since I'd been to the mountains and the mercury in Noida was going only one way, UP! So I decided it was time to head for some cool place and spend 2-3 days in there. Gave the proposal to approving authority, read the wifey, and it was instantly rejected as her highness wanted to visit Jim Corbett. Being a loyal & docile, read smart, hubby I instantly concurred but she never knew what was really going in my mind! After a day, while we're chillin' at our place, I told her that I've checked with many hotels/resorts in Corbett area and am getting very pricey quotes. Furthermore, it's gonna be pretty warm in there (+1 to the mountains). This made her a bit doubtful about her plans.

So off we went on the 10th of April, our destination being the Corbett park. But I was still determined to go to the mountains, so kept telling my wife in very carefully chosen words that we'll spend too much money, it'll be warm and there's no conformity of spotting a tiger. Three cheers to the summers of the north, my wifey changed her mind as soon as we took the U-turn from the Moradabad bypass. It was too warm for her comfort and instantly it was decided that we're heading to the mountains. I instantly proposed Binsar as I was dying to view the tall peaks again. I'd been there last year during April, and had the pleasure of enjoying clear view of those mighty snow clad peaks for 3 days straight. Fortunately (of course this was realized later), wifey warned me that you might not be lucky this time around. Now I have this habit of heeding to her instincts as they're mostly right. So we stopped at the T-point, from which the left takes your towards Nainital, to discuss the options ahead and also to enjoy some nice & spicy pakoras. There we saw this board advertising a Wincliff Resorts near Mukteshwar. Mukteshwar's been a place where I'd the desire to go for sometime now, and the advertisement seemed quite inviting. So off went a call to the cell no. on the board and the reply that a deluxe room is available and the quote is Rs. 2000/night with all three meals + snacks came back. We rarely go to hotels about which we don't know zilch, but decided to wing it this time.

We also decided to go via Kathgodam and check out Naukuchiatal, as it's probably the most serene of all the lakes in that area. We passed Bhimtal along the way, but it was somewhat crowded and from there we took the road less traveled. Reached the lake with nine corners after a short drive and the first thing that struck us was the calmness in there. No sounds other than that of the ducks in the lake and the insects around it. We had the whole lake to ourselves! After feeding a few biscuits to the screaming ducks it was decided to go for a short boat ride of about 30 minutes. It is said about Naukuchiatal that if a person can see all the nine corners of the lake in a single view, she/he will attain Nirvana. We tried doing that but I guess it didn't work cause I am still sitting at my desk, writing this log. Here are a few views of the tranquil lake.


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A plea from nature!


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Soon it was time to move ahead towards Mukteshwar via Bhowali. At Bhowali, we took the turn towards Ramgarh with dusk settling in. The roads were pretty decent making the drive a pleasure. After Ramgarh, it turned dark and population kept getting sparser. We called up the Wincliff people to confirm our bearings and were told that we're a short distance away. Driving in the night, with a cool mountain breeze sweeping through and the noise of crickets telling us that we're in wilderness made it all the more fun. Suddenly we saw this road snaking upwards from the main road flooded with street lights. It was quite an interesting sight with the darkness all around. We stopped there to check, full of hope, if that was the Wincliff Resorts but alas, it wasn't. But whatever it was, it looked mighty nice. Tried clicking it but since it was pretty dark and I was in no mood to take out the tripod, the result was poor.


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In a few minutes we saw a well lit place, which turned out to be our stay for the next two days. The only catch was, it was build along a mountain slope and our room was in the topmost wing. So began the arduous climb, first towards the office for registration and then commencing to our room. We met the owner, a chap from Delhi, and had a conversation with him sipping on warm tea. It felt great to be sitting so high, overlooking the towns of Almora 'n Ranikhet. The heat of Noida was gone, replaced by the chill in the air of Mukteshwar. I was craning my neck and looking around to check if I can spot any peak in the moonlight, but the owner told me that it's pretty hazy these days as there's been a forest fire and the view of the peaks was completely blocked. Good for me that I was half expecting that, therefore, I didn't feel sad. Just hoped that maybe tomorrow things would change.
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Old 19th May 2010, 13:10   #2
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It seems one more destination gets added to my list of must visit locations in North India

Thanks for sharing, I will read this in the evening today.
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Old 19th May 2010, 13:14   #3
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I have been saying again & again !!!
These r my one of the fav places in India.

Nice photos !
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Old 19th May 2010, 13:32   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neo45007 View Post
I have been saying again & again !!!
These r my one of the fav places in India.

Nice photos !
Absolutely agree!

Been to Sattal and Mukteshwar four times in the last four years and still can't get enough. Although the landscape has changed due to the increasing construction activity, it is still very serene. God knows for how long though!

A great place to stay at Mukteshwar is the Mountain Trail Resort (a little pricey at close to 4.5k per night including all meals but well worth it for family visits).

Waiting for more pics lordofgondor!
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Old 19th May 2010, 13:39   #5
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Looks like you had an exciting trip. Nicely composed snaps of lake. Waiting for more.
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Old 19th May 2010, 13:46   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StarVegabond View Post
It seems one more destination gets added to my list of must visit locations in North India

Thanks for sharing, I will read this in the evening today.
You're welcome SVB. Yup you must visit this area.

Quote:
Originally Posted by neo45007 View Post
I have been saying again & again !!!
These r my one of the fav places in India.

Nice photos !
Thanks bro! I can understand what you mean.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nkapoor777 View Post
Absolutely agree!

Been to Sattal and Mukteshwar four times in the last four years and still can't get enough. Although the landscape has changed due to the increasing construction activity, it is still very serene. God knows for how long though!

A great place to stay at Mukteshwar is the Mountain Trail Resort (a little pricey at close to 4.5k per night including all meals but well worth it for family visits).

Waiting for more pics lordofgondor!
Yeah man, the construction work is getting pretty rapid around Mukteshwar these days. New hotels/apartments are under construction everywhere and wherever there's no construction, there's a board saying "Land for Sale". During the time a local (hitcher) was riding with us, he told is how, giving examples, the pull of money is damaging the nature and corrupting the local population.

More pics coming up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LongDrive lover View Post
Looks like you had an exciting trip. Nicely composed snaps of lake. Waiting for more.
Thanks bro! It sure was an exciting, freewheeling trip.

Last edited by lordofgondor : 19th May 2010 at 13:47.
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Old 19th May 2010, 14:01   #7
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Talking Day 2: Lazy & relaxed!

I woke up next morning a bit earlier than usual, owing to the frantic moo's of a cow! Walked lazily into the balcony and settled myself on a comfy chair, feet resting on a tabletop, to take in the views in front of me. The peaks were still dodging my eyes and were lost behind a smoke screen. The resort was build along a slope of Apple orchards but it was a long time from when the fruits would be ready for plucking. I was surrounded by the sounds of bird calls and nice breeze. The weather was pretty cool with the sun beginning to warm things up.

The views from the balcony.

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The tall glass!

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The Apple orchards.


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Yours truly engrossed in a thriller as the cook prepares breakfast!

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The jungle!

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An hour later, wifey was up. It was time to have breakfast, get ready and move out. We made a plan of action to visit the temple of lord Shiva, known as Mukteshwar Dham, situated atop the highest point in Mukteshwar. There are two ways to reach the temple once you've parked your vehicle. First is climbing the stairs and the other is a longer stroll through the woods that takes you to the overhanging cliffs, locally known as Chauli-ki-Jali, used for rock climbing and rappelling. A local told us that a large fair is held near the cliffs every year where thousands of people come and offer their prayers. It's also said that any woman, having infertility problems, when passes through a hole in a cliff rock, gets the boon of having a child. Chauli-ki-Jali also had an excellent view of the valleys below. We spent some time in there, mesmerized by the stories of women passing through the hole and the record that none of them has ever had a tumble. Well, if one does slip, there's no way but down into the valley! The place also had other nicknames like Sunset Point & Suicide Point (though there's never been an attempt).

The valleys below!


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Hole through which the women pass through!


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Newly coined lover's point!



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We moved ahead into the jungle, inside the campus of IVRI, which contained a lot of trees having various medicinal purposes. I was thinking that if a person lives in such a clean environment, how could that person get ill at all! A short walk brought us to the temple and we went inside to offer our prayers and respects. We came to know that the head priest has been meditating here since he was 14 and it never struck me as a wonder. The temple grounds were a perfect place to meditate, if you can afford to!

Next thing on the agenda was visiting a waterfall which the hotel guys had recommended. After asking a few times from the locals, we reached a spot from where we could hear the falls, but not see them. Suddenly, wifey pointed towards a well shaded spot and I saw a small waterfall in there. It was quite smaller than what we're expecting, so decided to move back.
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Old 19th May 2010, 16:00   #8
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Hole through which women pass is very scary.
I think it requires the skills of rock climbing?
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Old 19th May 2010, 16:07   #9
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Hole through which women pass is very scary.
I think it requires the skills of rock climbing?
Very scary indeed! A local fellow told us that the Kumaon women do that without any rock climbing stuff. I guess the skills are already honed in them. He told us that it ain't something for city women to do.
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Old 19th May 2010, 16:20   #10
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Spectacular views. Spectacular indeed. Off late I'm seeing an improvement in the resorts! They are building at places where panoramic views are mind-boggling. Before your photos, I vividly remember Srikanthpotluri's post on views from his balcony in Munnar! Way to go!
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Old 19th May 2010, 16:45   #11
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Spectacular views. Spectacular indeed. Off late I'm seeing an improvement in the resorts! They are building at places where panoramic views are mind-boggling. Before your photos, I vividly remember Srikanthpotluri's post on views from his balcony in Munnar! Way to go!
I wish the view of the peaks wasn't blocked. Then the view would have been spectacularly fantastic! Something like this:

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Yeah, having a place with good views is definitely lucrative as the rooms draw better rent. In UK, the hotels of KMVN & GMVN take the cake when it comes to views.
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Old 19th May 2010, 17:54   #12
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Really lovely pics and narration. I will be in that area next week (plan is Kausani, Ranikhet and Corbett with just a night stop at Nainital ).
Only thing is I wish I was driving my vehicle there.
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Old 19th May 2010, 18:19   #13
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Really lovely pics and narration. I will be in that area next week (plan is Kausani, Ranikhet and Corbett with just a night stop at Nainital ).
Only thing is I wish I was driving my vehicle there.
Thanks mate! Your plan sounds good as both Kausani & Ranikhet are lovely places. Nainital is worth only for night stops anyways. I hope you find clear weather during your trip and catch the amazing views of the Himalayas.
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Old 20th May 2010, 12:58   #14
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Cool

The roads in the area are build on mountains covered with forests. It was like driving through a jungle, except on great roads. The sun was strong, but we're inside a canopy of Oak, Rhododendron and other species of trees. The sounds of crickets and other insects was overwhelming when we stopped the car and decided to spend some time taking a walk in the shade. The locals near the temple had told us that after 8 PM, no one moves out in Mukteshwar as leopards, beers and other predators come out in the dark. Though it was around 2PM, I was half expecting a leopard to pop out and give us the pleasure of watching it. Of course, it should have fed just before meeting us and be in a nice mood. But no signs of wildlife, other than some birds and the two of us.

Treading through the jungle!

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Poofed and ready to go!

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A walk in the hills has many effects on you. It rejuvenates you, makes you realize how bad a shape you are in, shows you how beautiful nature is and makes you darn hungry! So off we went in search for food. The hardcore non-veg lover that I am, Mukteshwar proved to be disappointing. I couldn't find a single decent place serving non-veg. I was hopeful of getting some at our resort, but that wasn't to be. So ended up fretting eating just a mouthful of Kadhi-chawal, which incidentally wifey loved. I asked the chef to get me some real scrumptious chicken dish for dinner as compensation. The evening was spent lazing around, catching up on a novel sitting in the balcony, lounging under the apple trees on a hammock and playing table tennis.

It's a wonderful life!

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The battle arena!

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Before we knew it, it was dinner time and the chef made a true attempt to satisfy my demanding taste buds. The masala chicken that was served for dinner was truly amazing. Full of spices, it was hot & yummy. Adding to my joy was the fact that I'd been given a double serving, which I devoured being famished as I was. Post dinner, wifey dozed off and I spent sometime looking at the lights twinkling all around me. The heavens & the stars above and the lights of towns below. As I smoked the last ciggarette, my mind kept creating illusions of us spening months at a go in places like Mukteshwar, leading a tranquil life. A life away from daily grind that many of us are in. With these happy thoughts and the sad ones that this is the last night I'm spending here, I went to sleep.
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Old 20th May 2010, 18:50   #15
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Another wonderful travelogue by the Lord of Gondor.
Beautiful pictures of the Lake and the forests and the mountains. Though not so lucky this time for the mountain views!

Quote:
With these happy thoughts and the sad ones that this is the last night I'm spending here, I went to sleep.
And don't tell me that it's already over!
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