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|25th March 2008, 21:10||#1|
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: San Jose, CA
Thanked: 17,164 Times
A crazy crazy weekend... to UK
Holi weekend meant 3 holidays, so what better than a leisurly 7 hour drive to Binsar. Well the trip was anything but leisurly.......!
Instead of the planned 7am, we started at 8am. In hindsight, it was good. Because even if we had started at 5am, we would have reached at the same time.
For those of you not in the know, UK is the closest place to Delhi when it comes to summer gateways. UK is not United Kingdom. Even though its a very nice place to be in the Summers, its not really close and not really cheap to fly there. UK means UttarKhand. Formerly Uttaranchal, formerly Uttar Pradesh.
Nestled in the hills of UK is the beautiful hill town of Nainital. We had been to Nainital, we decided to go to binsar, which is supposedly a bird sanctury, and supposedly has excellent views of himalays, and is supposedly away from the maddening crowds. We had booking for the second day, and decided to try our luck on day 1
Day 1 : Pedal(s) to the Metal on the Highway through Hell
So we start, and very soon its high speed driving on the Hapur road. UP celebrates holi for a whole week, so not much traffic on the roads, and I thought wow. What a nice short drive it will be. Binsar will be conquered by 2pm, 4 hours before the gates close.
Somewhere fate was grinning. The beautiful highway soon turned into a nightmare. Last time I did this highway was last year, and I expected to have some more four laning. But NHAI competence has reduced four laning from what it was.
Trucks parked on side of the road blocking an entire lane, long jams, it was now turn of the clutch pedal to be on the metal. But what did I know then, the nightmare was going to get worse.
5kms before Garmukteshwar, I see traffic come to a standstill. all the lanes are blocked with traffic going towards Moradabad. This can mean two things. Police has made the NH24 one way(like death, no coming back), or there is a traffic jam.
Stop and wait. wait some more, as traffic piles up behind me. Ask a shopkeeper how long will this continue. He grins and says "Do din se jyada to kabhi nahi hota". After about 30 minutes people start turning back, trying to navigate through the pilup behind. Still no sign of traffic coming.
Suddenly hope. A policeman is walking, clearing traffic, and a Maruti Omni is coming filled with some very sullen looking gents.
I ask them what happened, and they informed me what is the problem. They spoke chaste hindi, and I will translate it for your benefit
Q. What happened? How long is the Jam
A. We are struck since 5am(it was past 10am then)
Q. Why the Jam, some accident?
A. What *beep* *beep* *beep* accident. Today is Holi *beep* *beep*. Pilgrims *beep* beep* *beep* want to *beep* *beep* take dip in Ganga. *Beep* *Beeb* may then all drown.
So I had my answer, in colorful details. Some of the abuses I could not understand.
But an answer is useless on the road. It told me the why, but didn't tell me how.
Out comes the map, and I am trying to chalk alternate ways.
Turn back, head off to the villages, and try to proceed east on village roads, and soon I am at Garmukteshwar bridge, and cross it too.
But again Jam!
Its been piling up since early morning.
After lots of off the road driving, I am tearing past the Moradabad bypass at around 2pm.
6 hours to Moradabad, and Binsar is still very far away.
Few kms from Moradabad, I take the excellend Tanda-Bazpur-Kaladunghi-Nainital road.
Till Bazpur there is some traffic, but the road is great.
After Bazpur its all forest with well paved road, straight in most places.
Its Pedal to the metal time, and I am doing around 90 when I see a bike on the left hand side, going very slowly. I slow down to 80 and start honking . When I am near the idiots, they decide to take a U turn and stop in the middle of the road.
Hit the brakes hard. Now its time for the Brake pedal to the metal. Lots of sound and fury as I skid arrow straight towards the bike, (which is a CBZ with two kids) and stop 2 inches away from it. The stop is followed by lots of smoke, which is courtesy burning rubber.
The kids are actually grinning! I glare at them 2 stunned to speak, and pray they try a U turn in front of a UP roadways Vatanakulit bus.
The rest of the drive is uneventful, all thanks to UK govt which is made an amazing piece of twisty tarmac from Kaladunghi to Nainital.
Little before 4pm, we enter nainital checkpost, and tank up at the Indian oil fuel station.
There is no time to enjoy the scenery as Binsar is still 90kms away(Almore is 65 -70 from the Petrol pump. I hope there are no jams on the Mall road, and head towards Bhowali highway.
Its NH 87E and the first few kms are horrid, but thankfully soon we have a very smooth well paved road, with gentle curves along some river.
Try to make time, and at one place have to pay 10rs "hafta" to holi players who have put tires on road.
Come across another barricade like this, made of Homo sapiens and no tires. sharp honks move them to the side, and I give them the black color(which they were missing in their Gulal) through the tailpipe.
with all the drama etc., its 6pm when I pull up in front of the Binsar checkpost.
Its closed with nobody manning the gates.
Get down, look up the hillside to see some drunk forest guards dancing.
20 rs extra is what they wanted, to open the checkpost(correct charge was 130)
Give them the money, they open the checkpost, and we go ahead. Now I understand why there is so much poaching in India. The forest guards are drunk all the time.
anways, reach the KMVN hotel to find lots of cars and taxi's there.
The guest house is full and they won't give us a room since our booking is for the next day. Ask us to try Forest Rest house half a km beyond. No luck there as they do not give any rooms without prior permission from the forest officer.
come back to KMVN and tell them we will sleep in car and take room tomorrow.
A room materializes and we shift in
We are informed that we should take dinner before 9, as all lights off after that. Its a "No power area" and candles are in our rooms.
Evening gets 2 hours of solar lighting.
Well we stroll around, enjoy the non existent scenery and take a couple of pictures before sleeping. It was all hazy and nothing was visible.
Day 2 : Run away
Second day morning we got up and decided to enjoy some views and bird watching. No birds in the forest and no views either. This place was booooring
We spoke to the kind gentlemen at the counter, that can our booking be converted to previous days booking?
They agree, and at 2pm we are out on the road. Decide to go to Nainital(one of our favorite hill stations), with no bookings.
After pedal to the metal, its 4pm when I'm talking to the caretaker of KMVN heritage hotel at snow point(Cable car) Nainital. there are no rooms.
So we come down the steep narrow road, and see a nice hotel called Hotel Welcome Palace. Its nice and they have just one room. And as per their policy we will get 40% off!
Wow a swell deal. 1350 for such a nice room with amazing views
Room with a view:
Take a stroll on the Mall, have nice food. Its refreshing!
Head back to the room and take a few pics
Day 3 - Back to reality
First we decide to do some boating.
Plan to see Zoo also, but its noon and we don't know whats NH24 planning.
So we head back again on the amazing roads
Its an uneventful Journey(and the highway sucks).
Double lane becomes single without any warning, mad traffic, roads vanish at some points. Now I understand why smashed cars litter the NH24 at regular intervals. Saw 4 fresh accidents in 50kms stretch!
And one more thing. Food at reliance A1 Plaza sucks and their service is very poor.
At 6:30pm we are home in Noida, and then we watch Race to finish the day
Thanks all folks.
|26th March 2008, 00:25||#9|
Senior - BHPian
Join Date: Jun 2006
Thanked: 236 Times
I am surprised you found Binsar boring and not scenic, and found Nainital the other way round. Like all big hill stations, Naintal is pretty messed up, dirty and usually full of crowds and honking vehicles. Binsar is serene, and you have most enchanting view of the snow peaks if visibility is fine.
BTW, near Nainital, its much better to visit Bhimtal, Gagar or Mukteshwar...
|26th March 2008, 00:40||#10|
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: San Jose, CA
Thanked: 17,164 Times
Thanks for you comments guys!
As for Nainital, it may be crowded blah blah, but that lake is special, and at night the charm of Nainital is special.
I myself like off beat places, and hate crowded hill stations, but Nainital is special. Its the only place I really really like in UK
|26th March 2008, 09:50||#15|
Senior - BHPian
Join Date: Feb 2008
Thanked: 339 Times
Tanveer nice pics dude!!! Seems like you had a blast !! Actually when i saw the thread i thought United Kingdom...i straight away went to the pics and only when i saw the pic with Indica i realised it was India .
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