Sunday, June 5, 2016

kumaon - The unforgettable summer vacation @ Himalayas

Uttarakhand - The Land of Gods

Day 0 (Friday)-27-May-2016 (Howrah – Lalkuan)- Train


The trip started with we reaching at Howrah station, the train started from Howrah at the scheduled time... the morning was fine. but travelling in sleeper berth during summer.. it was a nightmare. As the day go on the mercury starts to boil... the train was like a pressure cooker ready to blast. at the afternoon there was a heavy rain which relived us a bit but was still hot... 

Day 1 (Saturday)-28-May-2016 (Lalkuan – Nanital) – Nanital



We reached lalkuan at the scheduled time the plan was to take a taxi to nanital, but when we got down at lalkuan the train to katgodham was about to reach lalkuan so we  waited for some time and took the Train to katgodham. we reached katgodham at 11am. from where we took a taxi to nanital(800).

We reached nanital around 3 PM. thanks to the traffic jam that was about 15 kms long. Now here was the biggest mistake of my planning the trip to nanital. There were no hotels where rooms were available... I had to look almost for 1 hour to find a room... for which I had to go top to.bottom many times..

I never faced such a problem in any of my trips... but at last I got a room at Punjab hotel. which were having only it's best room available. even though I was not having such a budget for hotel rooms we stayed there. the room was good from where the Nani lake was visible.

Nanital - Misty lakes and mountains

We git freshened up quick and rush out. as we were hungry like something by 4 we were at Nani lake. Naini Lake is set amidst seven mountains...we took some snaps and had our lunch at an hotel, food was very good or we were so hungry that we are like something.. after late lunch we started wondering around the lake. Here one thing is worth to mention is that the lake consist of lots of fishes which you can feed by your own hand if you wish to do so... Our little princess was jumping in joy on seeing the fishes.. 

Naini lake – Boating in Naini Lake is a must. Paddle boats can be hired by the hour. You can also hire a yacht from the Nainital Boat Club, which costs ₹160 per hour and comes with a boatman, you can also have a self paddle boat(rowing boat is Rs 210 per boat for a 30-minute ride.)

The Mall Road offers the opportunity to walk among the local people. you get a scope to know the people and culture outright. Besides, it offers a scope for a good walk and shopping simultaneously

By the time we reached the end of the lake, we were felling the cold winds so we shopped for some warm dresses and in no time it starts drizzling, it started with few drops to heavy rain and to snow rain... and the temp drops further... it was 47 in Kolkata to 10 in Nanital. It kept raining for more than 3 hours.. after that when the rain finally starts to recede, it felt as if a festival of umbrellas... the umbrellas were every where and in many colors.. here we India we have festivals of almost everything.. why not make a umbrella festival.

By the time we reached back to the hotel, it was already late to find a taxi for next 6 days of the trip, so after lots of negotiation with the hotel manager a taxi was booked @2500 Alto. we had a light dinner and went to sleep.

Places we Missed
Mountain ropeway - Snow View Point (10AM to 4 PM)– Tickets – Rs 150 per head – 1 hour HIMALAYAN DARSHAN - HIMALAYAN VIEW POINT- 5 kms
Nanina Devi Temple – Shakti peeth
Hanuman Garhi Temple - Sun-set point - 5 Kms (5AM-12 AM, 4PM to 9PM)
Nanda Devi Temple
Haji Ali Mosque at Naini Tal
Ashram at Naini Tal
Tibetan market (Bhotia Market)
Kilbury (15 km Nainital – for excellent view)
Himalay Darshan(Himalay View Point)
Pangot (for nature walk)
Raj Bhawan
Naini Tal Village
Naina Peak or Cheena Peak – 6 Kms Trek
Tiffin top is a short trek of about 4 kms

Night: Nanital

Day 2 (Sunday)-29-May-2016 (Nanital  - Ranikhet – Kausani) – Kausani – 116 KMs

Day 2 began early morning.. I came out to see nothing but fog everywhere.. so again went back to sleep as sunrise at nanital is not so famous... we wanted to leave early... so that we can see few things in Nanital before going forward.

Our first stop was Cave Garden, we saw haji Ali enrout to the Garden. The Garden was was having few caves which were given names based on their sizes. It also consist of few view points from where the town is visible. Also the ropeway is displayed in the backdrop.

Cave garden (crawl through man-made caves) - 3+

We made another stop in between to see the Neeb Karrori Kainchi Dham the location of the temple is awesome with hills on all sides and a water stream. the ambience of the temple was very good. Also the monkeys flanking around makes this place more religious.

Neeb Karrori Kainchi Dham


The next stop was Ranikhet, which is also the command centre of army. we saw not so famous three army jawans stachue, golf course and the temple.
Ranikhet with its cool climate and simple natural beauty can freshen up your senses to the very core. It is also popular as the Headquarters of the Kumaon Regiment of the Indian Army and has the Kumaon Regimental Centre Museum. The museum has a splendid display of weapons, photo etc. to introduce you the grandness and significance of military and its various historical instances. Ranikhet is popular for its views of the Nanda Devi Peak, trekking ranges, mountainous climbs, golf courses, orchards and temples.

Mankameshwar Temple - Built by the Kumaon Regiment of the Indian Army, this temple located near Narsingh Maidan at Pithoragarh is often visited by the family members of the Regiment.

Ranikhet - Golf course - 55 Kms+
Ranikhet - Choubatia Gardens+
Ranikhet - Army statue of the Kumaon regiment- 5 Kms+


We reached kasuani around 3 PM . Took a hotel freshened up and went to see the Girias Tea Garden. we spend much of time there as this Tea garden was walk able distance from our hotel and nothing else to do... kausani is a scenic beauty.. the tea gardens the loneliness and yes the mountain range makes this place a world class destination.

Kausani Tea garden - 55 Kms

The clouds were everywhere so we were unable to see the mountain range, in no time it started raining and once the rain stopped the clouds started to clear its way to see the Himalayan mountain range for the first time. It was a awesome feeling which can not be described in words.

Nanda Devi is the 2nd highest mountain peak in India and overall 23rd in the world. It stands as tall as 7,816 m above the sea level. This mountain peak is clearly visible from Mukteswar and tourists visiting Mukteswar must have a clear look at this mesmerizing beauty.

Nanda Devi (25,646fts.) Nanda Kot (6926mtr.) Nandaghunti (6380mtrs.) Trishul, Panchachuli and Chaukhamba

As we were staying in a HomeStay which is run by local people, we tried some local dishes which were grown on their own farm. Food was good. we slept early to start the next day early.


Places we missed
Anashakti Ashram. Gandhiji stayed in Kausani for 2 weeks in this ashram

Day 3 (Monday)-30-May-2016 (Kausani – Baijnath- Bageshwar– choukori) – Choukori-88KMs

Day 3, we woke up early to see the sunrise within the mountains but the weather was cloudy so we were unable to see the Himalayas again.... within no time we started our day...

· Baijnath Temples -

The first stop was baijnath, which is an old temple with water streaming beside the temple. also still the rituals going on...
A beautiful ancient town tucked in the eastern half of the Garhwal Himalayas, Baijnath is popular for the Baijnath Temple and other ancient temples, a lot of which are now in ruins. Situated in the easternmost corner of Uttarakhand on the banks of River Gomti Baijnath is a wonderful little town with rich history and heritage. The famous capital of the Katyuri Kingdom in the medieval era of Indian history, Baijnath today is full of ruins belonging to that by gone era with the crowning jewel being the Baijnath Temple.

The temple which is the heartbeat of the town and its most glorious possession. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva and was built around the 12th century. The temple has stood the test of time remarkably well and is well preserved till date. It makes for an excellent excursion trip for people staying at Kausani and Almora

· Bageshwar -20 km +

The next stop was bageswar, it was in-between town where there is sangam of  2 rivers...The Bagnath Temple in the middle of the town of Bageshwar derives its name from the incident of the celebrated sage Markandeya being visited Lord Shiva in the form of a tiger.

Bagnath, literally translates to The Tiger Lord, made from joining the hindi words, 'bagh' meaning tiger, and 'nath', the hindi word for a higher celestial being. The temple was constructed in 1450, by the then ruler of Kumaon, Laxmi Chand, and stands at the breathtaking point where the river Gomati and Sarayu converge. Every year in the memory of the sage being visited by the god, a fair is held in the Hindu calendar month of Shravan, thronged by thousands of people who come to take a dip in the holy waters. The entrance is head lined by huge bells, which reverberate throughout the day, owing to the wish granting ability of the tiger-god.

· Choukori-55 km +

The next stop was Chaukori, it is a small town with very good view of the Himalayas which can be seen from all of the town.

Chaukori is tucked away in the mountains, and if you're daunted by buggers like travel sickness, you may want to strike it off your list of vacation probables. Our advice' Don't. Chaukori is one of those places that can become a part of your yearly escapades and detox your mind and body of the alienating metropolitan experiences. Imagine waking up to the Himalayan scenery, every morning out your window, with days of exploring the wilderness, bird watching and walks in the lush meadows. Or planning a day out, visiting the spiritual retreats that are the helm of the town. Chaukori lets you sit back and lets its scenery and hospitality do the talking. The advantage of escaping to this place, which gets its maximum influx from Kolkata and Delhi, is that business is not the throbbing centre of everyone's existence. Life here, is something you take as it comes, with a cup of tea every morning, gazing at the snowcapped peaks and the unadulterated natural bounty.

Night: Choukori


Day 4 (Tuesday)-31-May-2016 (Choukori – Munsiyari) - Munsiyari -80KMs

·         Get up early morning and see the morning sun lighting up the snow peaks from the observation tower at the KMVN hotel.

· Birthi Water Fall - 59 Kms+

Falling from the height of 126m, Birthi falls offers an extremely refreshing experience. With lush green surroundings blooming in various colors, it makes for an ideal place to sit and enjoy tea and lunch.

· Kalamuni Top view- 16 Kms+

Located at a distance of 15 km from Munsiyari on the way from Birthi, Kalamuni Top is 9500 feet tall. The place is famous for its Kali Temple dedicated to Naga God.

The fantastic view of Panchachuli peak from there flanked by the sprawling pine forest is a place must visit.

MUNSIYARI - Little Kashmir

A small village with an awe-inspiring panorama of snow capped Himalayan Range; Munsiyari is located in the Pithoragarh District. Offering splendors of naturea??s beauty in their most captivating form, this place is famous for its some highly adventurous and nerve wrecking trekking trails.
Perched between the borders of India, Tibet and Nepal, Munsiyari is a base for three glaciers namely Namik, Milam and Ralam Glaciers. Located at a height of 2298 m above the sea level, this quaint little village is often seen romancing with brilliant weather throughout the year and the stunning backdrop of Panchachuli among the other treasured peaks and mountains. Visit this place to experience the panoramic vistas of virgin nature and adrenaline rushing activities.

·         Nanda Devi Mandir,Pithoragharh
·         Tribal Heritage Museum
·         Helipad+

Night: Munsiyari

Day 5 (Wednesday)-01-June-2016 (Munsiyari – Choukori - Patal Bhuwaneshwar)– Patal Bhuwaneshwar – 120 Kms

Panchachuli Range

A prominent peak which is visible from all the main points of Pithoragarh district, Panchachuli peak looks majestic from Munsiyari. The beauty of the five peaks lying in the Johar Valley is so captivating; it adds charm to this already delightful place.

The Panchchuli peaks are a group of five snow-capped Himalayan peaks lying at the end of the eastern Kumaon region, near Munsiyari, in Pithoragarh district, Uttarakhand state, India. The peaks have altitudes ranging from 6,334 metres (20,781 ft) to 6,904 metres (22,651 ft). They form the watershed between the Gori and the Darmaganga valleys. Panchchuli is also located on the Gori Ganga-Lassar Yankti divide. The group lies 138 km (86 mi) from Pithoragarh.

The five peaks on the Panchchuli massif are numbered from northwest to southeast. The highest peak is Panchchuli II, which was first scaled by an Indo-Tibetan Border Police expedition, led by Mahendra Singh, on 26 May 1973. The group's name is derived from the legendary Pandavas's "Five Chulis" (cooking hearths), where they cooked their last meal before proceeding toward their heavenly abode.
Panchchuli-1 (6,355 m)
Panchchuli-2 (6,904 m)
Panchchuli-3 (6,312 m)
Panchchuli-4 (6,334 m)
Panchchuli-5 (6,437 m)

Nagmandir, Berinag

Berinag, about 10 km from Chaukori, houses this temple dedicated to Sheshnag, the serpent with multitude heads, holding the Earth stable and also forms the bed of Lord Vishnu of the Hindu mythology, often incarnating with him for the wellbeing of mankind.

The Sheshnag Temple is said to have been constructed py the Pants (the Hindu Brahmins of Maharashtra), who found a lot of different colored snakes coiled up at a point and at the spot of this natural marvel and constructed this temple to behold the glory of the serpent god Sheshnagm who left his quarelling family, and observed a strict penance to achieve higher bliss. The temple, constructed in the 14th century, sees devotess who worship the lesser known Hindu deities.

· Patal Bhuwaneshwar,- 36 Kms+

Patal Bhubaneshwari, for many tourists, remains one of their most memorable experiences in the district, which is about 37 km from Chaukori. The myth behind this cave cum sanctuary is that, the Pandavas with their wife Draupadi stayed for a while here while on their final journey to salvation in the Himalayas.

While crawling into the cave, the entrance feels extremely restrictive, and patients of chronic heart ailments are discouraged from venturing in here. However, once inside, there is an unprecedented rush of relief and peace, and the cave itself has a whole water body located inside it. The cave itself is not a single cavity, but a series of caves within caves, made completely out of limestone, and by the safekeeping of the authorities is very well preserved, and electrically illuminated. The cave becomes a spiritual spot for many who come seeking peace and fulfillment in Chaukori.

One of the most mystical places, Patal Bhuvaneshwar Caves is a mesh of limestone in form of stalactites and stalagmites. These natural wonders resemble the tongue of Kali Bhairav, hairs of Lord Shiva, Aravati or Indra and many others.

In fact it is believed that every god resides in this fascinating cave, you have ever heard of. Worshipping at this place is considered equivalent to going on all Char Dham of the Uttarakhand.

Night: Patal Bhuwaneshwar

Day 6 (Thursday)-02-June-2016 (Patal Bhuwaneshwar – Jageshwar - Almora) – Almora – 170 kms

· Jageshwar, -94 Kms+

Jageshwar is believed to be the home of one among the twelve Jyothirlingas. Surabhi and Nandini rivers flow through this place that has 124 temples built in medieval architectural style, and heavily influenced by Buddhist style craftsmanship.

Mrityunjaya is the oldest temple and Dindeshwara the biggest. Jageshwar temple complex built between 8th and 18th centuries consists of 108 temples.

· Lakhudiyar Rock Painting – 20 kms

· Chitai Golu Devta Mandir - 10 Kms+

A famous temple of Lord Gollu, another name for Lord Shiva, the Chitai temple was built during the Chand regime.You will love the soft tinkle of the many bells caressed by the winds, hung by devotees as an act of offerings, wishing or thanksgiving can be heard far and wide. The temple is also called the temple of a million bells.

·         Almora-15 kms

Almora - A cozy heritage town nestled in the Himalayas

Famous for its rich cultural heritage, unique handicrafts, sumptuous cuisine and magnificent wildlife, coupled with an easy accessibility, Almora promises its tourists a visit full of fun and unforgettable moments. This agrarian town has two major rivers- Koshi (Kaushaki) and Suyal (Salmali) flowing through it. "The enchanting beauties of the Himalayas, their bracing climate and the soothing green that envelopes you leaves nothing more to be desired. I wonder whether the scenery of these hills and the climate are to be surpassed, if equaled, by any of the beauty spots of the world. After having been nearly three weeks in Almora Hills, I am more than ever amazed why our people need go in Europe in search of health. " - Mahatma Gandhi

Night: Almora

Places Missed
Katarmal Sun Temple


Day 7 (Friday)-03-June-2016 (Almora – Mukteshwar- Bhimtal) – Bhimtal -100 kms

· Kasar Devi Temple 14+

The famous Kasar devi temple is situated at the 5 km away from the Almora village at the top of mountain .It is the temple of Durga goddess . It was built back in 2nd centuary . As the temple is located at the top of the mountain it provides a beautiful view of the area . also its fame can be identified as in the second chapter of Skanda Purana one can find the evidence of the temple . Every year Kasar devi fair is celebrated on a gallant level . The festival is celebrated on the occassion of Kartika poornima . The area is well known for the dedore and pine forests. The place is largely visited by the foreigners for the peace and nature provided by the area .

Kasar devi is one of the famous temple perched on the hill Kashya. It is a village situated near Almora i.e in Uttarakhand. Village got its name after the ancient and historical temple Kasar devi temple. It is believed that Swami Vivekanand visited Kasar devi in 1890's. Every year Kasardevi fair is celebrated on a huge level.

Kasar devi is a village perched on the hill named Kashyap . It is a village situated near Almora i.e in Uattrakhand. Village got its name after the ancient and historical temple Kasar devi temple. It is believed that Swami Vivekanand visited Kasar devi in 1890's and many other western famous people. Also its fame can be identified as in the second chapter of Skanda Purana one can find the evidence of the temple. Every year Kasar devi fair is celebrated on a gallant level. The festival is celebrated on the occassion of Kartika Poornima. The village is home to the deodar and pine forests . As the village is on the hill so it provides a view of area of Almora and near by places. One km away from this village is another famous village among the visitors Kalimath.

MUKTESHWAR- The Apple Country

This place is situated at an altitude of 2286m and 7500 ft above the hills of Kumain, Mukteshwar is considered as the nearest weekend gateways from Nainital and Delhi. Though, this region is well-known for is Lord Mahadeva temple, the scenic and mesmerizing beauty of this place is the main attraction. You will witness some breathtaking views of Himalayas and the natural environment from the premises of temple is an unforgettable experience. Chauli-ki-Jali is famous for its hanging cliffs where adventurous people can enjoy rappelling and rock climbing. You should have a glare of the amazing view of valley below. Trekking is done by people who want to experience their adventure side in the woods early morning. Ramgarh has some of the beautiful and amazing orchards while Sital is recognized for its garrulous waterfalls.

· Chauthi Ki Jaali

Next to Mukteshwar temple is Chauthi Jaali, and area where it is believed that a Demon and a Goddess fought a battle. The place is marked with what is believed to be faint outlines of a sword, a shield and a trunk of an elephant.

People also hold it as a belief that women unable to bear children will be blessed with children when touched by the natural lattice around the rock.

Mukteswar Temple

Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the hilltop temple with white marble Shiva Linga and Copper Yoni is surrounded by idols of Brahma, Vishnu, Parvati, Hanuman, Ganesh and Nandi. You have to climb a series of winding steep stone stairs to reach the sanctum.

BHOWALI- The Orchard Country

Ghorakhal Tea Factory (Bhowali)

Tea Garden and Apple orchards,
At a close proximity of Ghorakhal temple is the place known as Shyamkhet, which has lush green Tea gardens. These tea gardens has always attracted the tourist fond of green tea. A tea factory is also situated there where Orthodox tea is manufactured. The tea is popularly known by the name of Uttaranchal Tea not only in India but also in abroad. One must visit the place and enjoy its uniqueness.

· Ghorakhal temple- Golu Devta Temple(ghanti wala temple)

One of the famous attractions in Ghorakhal is Golu Devta Temple, always in news for the unique rituals performed here. One such ritual is that devotees make petitions at the Ghorakhal temple, using stamp papers, to seek desired decree in litigations. On accomplishment of their wish, the deity is shown gratitude by hanging bells or making animal sacrifice.
The Ghorakhal temple is characterized by the large number of bells hanging in the premises. These bells are hung by the devotees as offerings making a wish or in thanksgiving on the fulfillment of one’s wish.
Sacrifices of goats are offered to the deity which was, at one time, a sort-of law court, that decided several pleas received from the distressed people of the region.
People from all over the region consider Golu Devta, the presiding deity of the temple, to be an incarnation of Lord Shiva and ‘The God of Justice’.

Lakes -45 kms

·         Bhimtal (with the small island in the middle of the lake)

Night: Bhimtal

Day 8 (Saturday)-04-June-2016 (Bhimtal – Lalkuan) – 100 Kms

Hanuman Temple/ Vaishno Devi Temple 

This temple is a fascinating place for Lord Hanuman devotees where on the entrance the visitors will be enthralled with the 52 ft high statue of the God.

The splendiferous backdrop of mountains and valley adds charm to the already bewitching environment. The artificially made caves further lead to the famous Vaishno Devi Shrine which surrounds the temple and gives way to different parts. The temple complex consists of many sections like three temples in main complex, the meditation room, Shani Temple, Ram Darbar Temple and the resting area for pilgrims.

· Naukuchiyatal (Lake with 9 corners) Tal Lake

Naukuchiatal, a small picturesque lake village is a destination for those who seek quietude and tranquility beneath the shade of pure nature. As the name of the place suggests, this place is mainly known for its nine cornered lake which measures up to 1 km in length and 40 m deep.

Lying at some distance from bustling hill station of Nainital, this place is also attached to a legend. It is said that one glimpse of all nine corners of lake with both feet on the earth can make the viewer disappear into smoke to achieve nirvana. With ample opportunities to rejuvenate your body and soul, Naukuchiatal is blessed with panoramically splendid surroundings and captivating lake. The beautiful weather throughout the year and several attractions like lakes and temples makes sure to make your trip a beguiling experience.

· Bhimtal (with the small island in the middle of the lake)

The place is a must visit and considered as one of the best destination for excursion. Situated 19 km from Naukuchiatal and 1375 m above the sea level, Bhimtal is most famous for its Bhimtal Lake and a small island in the middle.
This place has also a legend attached to it which says that Bhimtal is an ancient place where Bhim from Mahabharata, after whom the area is named, spent time during the exile period of Pandavas.

Places Missed
· Kamal Taal
· Sattal (there are 7 lakes in this area) - Panna Tal or Garud Tal,Nal-Damyanti Tal,Purna Tal,Sita Tal,Ram Tal,Laxman Tal, Sukha Tal or Khurdariya Tal.
· Khurpatal (the hoof-shaped lake)

Train from Lalkuan @ 6 PM

Day 9 (Sunday)-05-June-2016 - Kolkata

Reach Kolkata


Hotel details
Nanital - Hotel Punjab - Not Recommended
Kausani - Home Tak Home Stay - 9456376074 - Starting from 1000 (after negotiation)- OK
Chaukori - Hotel Himshikhar - 94120 57808 - Starting from 1200 (after negotiation) - OK
Patal Bhuvaneshwar - Parwati Resort - 9152477340/9536864793 - Starting from Rs. 1100 (after negotiation)- Highly Recommended
Munsyari - Hotel Pandey Lodge - 9411130316/9411130373 - Starting from 1200 (after negotiation)- Highly Recommended

Transport Details
Kathgodham to Nanital - Rs 800
Rajendra Taxi Service - 9012817004/7579227360 - 2600 per day - Not Recommended - Need to plan in details with the agency
Driver name Mahavir - 7895084471 - Not Recommended - Was not aware of the routes, i need to use my GPS the complete time, also was arrogant

Log Details
Information taken from


Anonymous said...

Hey Nice pics. How did you travel between the places. Any reference for a taxi driver in this region as I am going to this region soon.

Unknown said...

Ujjal, how did you travel so much with baby !! In India Mike your last plan was different. Could you please share the transport and hotel details here please ?

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