Dalhousie: the Lap of Nature

Friday, November 4, 2011

In our previous article we brought you near  the elegance of Dalhousie city and we are sure you have already planned your trip to Dalhousie.
There are many beautiful places near Dalhousie and if you miss them you will surely going to miss the real magnetism of Dalhousie.
In this article we will cover some of the most splendid places around Dalhousie which are gems of this beautiful hill resort.






Dainkund or Dayankund:
At the height of around 2,750 meters , this is one of the most beautiful peaks around Dalhousie. The place offers panoramic view of the  valley. The clouds touching and passing from your side give you the  most sensational and charming feeling. This is the perfect place to realize how it feels when you are on top of the world.
Snow capped peaks, thick green carpet of grass, soul refreshing air and scenic view will make you want to stay at this place.
On a very clear day one can see all the three rivers - Beas, Ravi and Chenab surrounding the place. We found this place as one of the most beautiful place around Dalhousie.
Lovely landscapes, beautiful valley painted by the light and shadow of the sun is something you always want to keep in your memories.




Track to Dainkund offers you a ever refreshing experience, fresh air, new colors of nature at every turn begin to mix the beauty of your inner heart with the elegance of nature.
One of the most memorable experience while following the track is the feeling of clouds touching you.

Being near to Defence Establishment no one is allowed to enter the place after 5 PM in the evening so while you are preparing yourself for the trek keep this point in mind.


Kalatop

Kalatop provides a beautiful ever pleasant panoramic view of the surrounding landscapes. This place provides never ending eye catching view over hills and valley, fields and lush green forests. At the height of around 2,400 meters it provides a beautiful view of mountains covered with a white sheet of snow.






Khajjiar:
A beautiful lush green place about 25 km away from Dalhousie. Covered by the green forests from all around gives you an impression that nature itself protects the beauty of this place.
Charming retreat of this place makes it a perfect place for a day trip. We believe if you are a lover of nature beauty, this is the place to spend a night, watching the stars in a clear sky, feeling the music of air pass through the dense forests, morning wake up music of birds' chirping and beautiful shades of sun rise filtering out from tree branches is something everyone wants to live through.



The best thing about Khajjiar is the drive which leads you to this beautiful place. This road itself drives you near  the nature, surrounded by the lush green thick forest, water streams, small springs and a beautiful view of the Valley that add charm to the journey.


Khajjiar has a  green ground with a small lake on the center of it, on which is a floating land. Local people have their spiritual beliefs associated with this place, it is associated with Khajjinag.
This place is often called  Mini Switzerland of Himachal Pradesh.



Stay at Khajjiar:
For all those who want to spend some time at this beautiful place, there are few options, HPTDC has hotel at this place and one can go for online booking, beside this there are a few other options such as limited number of cottages with limited accommodation so plan your trip accordingly.

How To Reach Khajjiar
Best way to reach Khajjiar is to hire a taxi from Dalhousie, bus service to and from Khajjiar is limited and timings change according to local demands.


With this we have covered all the beautiful places around Dalhousie which we think as a traveller you should not miss.
In the previous article we did not mention few recommendations like best time to visit, precautions etc, so while concluding this travel series, we will try to cover these remaining points.


Best Time to Visit
For every traveller this is the prime and first question coming to the mind. We believe that the best time can only be defined by individual perspective. For all those who want to experience the white sheet of snow around there winter is the best time as Dalhousie and its surroundings experience a heavy snow fall during this time.
Hill places always looks so charming with the first ray of sun light after the rain: reflection of lights from the water drops on tree leaves, groups of small black clouds flying around over the blue sky and unpredictable coming and going of sun make the whole picture so colorful and charming, and if you love all this, rainy season (July-mid September) is you best bet.
In general summer is regarded as the best time to visit Dalhousie due to the beautiful weather, when most part of the country is suffering high temperatures this is the place which gives a refreshing and cool warmth.
Summer is also regarded as the most crowded time in Dalhousie with full hotel packing and high prices so plan accordingly.

Precautions
For summer one needs not to think much but for all those who are travelling during rainy season be ready to get struck in traffic jams due to landslides and continued rain for several days.
In winter temperature can dip below freezing point so carry woolen clothes with yourself.
In short these are some tips:

1. Carry your first aid medical box.
2. If you are on medication do carry them and in buffer you will not get any good medical shop there.
3. Carry some light woolen clothes if you are going in summers/monsoon and heavy clothes for winters.
4. In monsoon time consult locals  about the road condition as well about any road blockage, in the rainy season it's common to have landslides or road blocks in this area.
5. If you are not comfortable or experienced with hill driving, it is good to hire a local taxi especially in the monsoon when the roads become slippery.



We hope that we have provides a inspiration ground for your trip to Dalhousie, so why to wait - start your planning.
Travellingrants team wishes you a happy and safe journey in advance. We are waiting for you valuable feedback.

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Charming Beauty of Dalhousie

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Dhauladar range in Himachal Pradesh is the home to many beautiful places and Dalhousie is one of them, a small hill station established in 1854 by British Empire.

Surrounded by the snow-capped peaks,  thick green cover of forests, refreshing ambiance makes Dalhousie a perfect place where one can relax, retreat himself physically and mentally.

Not only it's a place which makes you realize you how beautiful nature is in itself but also gives you a feel of Scottish and Victorian architecture in its buildings and churches.

Dalhousie's natural beauty, refreshing air, sunshine and nature's blessed surroundings add charm to its treks and walks over the dense forests. Thick forests look like beautiful green carpets covering the surrounding hills.

In this first part of our article series we will cover Dalhousie city  and in the follow-up articles will take a closer look at some of the beautiful surroundings of Dalhousie which make it a must visit places of every traveller.

Dalhousie is situated approximately 2,100 Meters above the sea level. Spread over an area of 14 sq km, Dalhousie is build on five hills.

What to Do

Best things to do at Dalhousie is to go for a walk around the city. The place in itself is blessed with nature and its  pleasant beauty so one needs not to think much where to go, all we need is to start walking and feel refresh-full air touching you, sound of wind passing through the forest, hide-and-seek of the sun, and magnificent snow-capped hills.

We strongly believe that such beautiful places are there for us to spend some time leaving away all our worries, admire beauty of nature, realize how much nature has to offer to us.

How may times  have we seen the sun going down and  how many times  have we heard whistles of wind when it is passing through the trees - this is the perfect place to feel all of this.



Gandhi chowk (GPO) is the center of activities, shopping and restaurants, this is also the starting point of most treks. If you love to do shopping or trekking this is your area so don't wait just get set and go.
On the western side of Dalhousie there is Subash chowk, starting point for a walk around Potrein Hill. One of the place namely Alla offers mesmerizing scenic landscape.
  • St. Andrew's Church
  • St. Patrick's Church
  • St. Francis' Church 
are some of the places for all those who love to admire architectural work.


Places To Visit

Beside the walks along the treks there are many places to visit at Dalhousie and in this article we will only cover the places in and near to the city.

Bakrota Hills: At the height of around 2,085 meters it offers tourists brisk walk and the snow-clad peaks. Every turn around Bakrota hills offers its traveller a new view and the unpredictable hide and seek of the sun along the path will add ever refreshing memories to your journey. Journey to Dalhousie is incomplete if you miss this magnificent walk through the hills.

Panchphulla: A place associated with one of the great freedom fighter in Indian independence "Sardar Ajit Singh", a scenic place. While on the way to Panchphulla one can also get a view of Satdhara spring



How to Reach

Dalhousie is connected with all the major places within Himachal as well with other major cities in India.

By Air: The nearest Airport to Dalhousie is Gaggle (Kangra) which is around 125 Km away from Dalhousie. One has the option to hire a taxi from the airport or can go for public transport (Bus). Please note that bus service to Dalhousie from Kangra will be time based, being a hill place and unpredictable weather flights can be delayed on canceled.
Kingfisher is the only airline providing its services on this route from Delhi.
 
By Train: Nearest broad gauge railway station is at Pathankot which is around 80 Km. One has the option to hire taxi from the  Pathankot or Himachal Roadway and other players operate frequently between this route.

By Road: Dalhousie is well connected with all major cities within Himachal and other states. Himachal Roadways and some other state Roadways as well private players  operate buses from all major cities to Dalhousie. For the detailed time table of Himachal Roadways buses refer to their website Himachal Roadways. In case of lack of direct buses we advise you to take a bus up to Banikhet. Dalhousie is about 6 Km away from this place. Buses that go to Chamba will pass through Banikhet.

Distances

Delhi :              560 Km
Chandigarh  :   300Km
Jammu :           170Km
Manali:            350Km
Dharmshala;    170Km
Amritsar          180 Km
Pathankot       80 Km

Road Condition

Since it is a hilly area and there are unpredictable weather conditions one can not expect smooth road conditions but  excluding some bad patches under land slides zones, road connecting to Dalhousie be it from Pathankot or from Dharmshala/Manali side are in good conditions.
If you are driving with your own vehicle and are not comfortable with hill driving we advise you not to go for the night driving.
The drive towards Dalhousie gives you some panoramic eye-catching views. Driving along rivers, under the hills, zig-zag roads with beautiful greenery surrounding you will not let you feel tired.


Communication

All major mobile service providers are operating in this area so you will not face any communication problem, though during our stay in Dalhousie we faced some network issue in out Hotel room but we believe that it was because of the Hotel location.

Where To Stay

Being a popular hill station one can find a plenty of hotels/guest houses to stay in. If you are not planning to go there during peak season (April-June and New year time), chances are high to get a good accommodation at reasonable prices and during peak season our advise is to book a room in advance in order to avoid  any heart-breaking price quotes.

Medical Facilities

First level medical facilities will be available at Dalhousie for any major problem, either Chamba District Hospital or Pathankot are the best places to get help. In case of any emergency don't forget to dial 108 - an emergency medical support service (First Aid and an Ambulance)  provided by Himachal Pradesh Government.

Weather Conditions

Dalhousie experiences winter like cold climate conditions throughout the year. Heavy rains occur often with land slides and road closing during July-Mid September. During summers (May-July) it's a bit warm in the day time but cold in the mornings and in the night. In winter time (October-February) weather becomes quite cold, during December-January you can enjoy the snow here. Dalhousie is famous for its healthy climate.

In the subsequent article(s), we will cover some of the most beautiful places around Dalhousie as well will provide our suggestion about the best time to go and other things to do at this beautiful place.

We hope that you have made up your mind to explore this beautiful destination, so start your preparations from today.

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Mukteshwar

Monday, May 23, 2011

When we start traveling nature starts showing us its many different colors and it's really beautiful to see these changes.
Over the time I have learned one thing: the more we travel and explore, the more chances we get  to see the different colors of nature.
This time we planned to head towards a small hill station in the state of Uttarakhand named Mukteshwa. It is around 51Km from Nainital.

Mukteshwar
Mukteshwar is at the altitude of 2286 meters and is one of the highest point in  Kumaon Hills.At a distance of about 395KM from Delhi Mukteshwar is a destination for all those travelers who are in search of peace, a place which is not a typical hill station.
On reaching Mukteshwar I felt that this is the place where I want to spend some time close to myself to think about myself.

Mukteshwar is not a big hill station, it's a small hill station covered with green forests.
This is not the place for those who expect a big market or quality eating places or a walk on the Mall road. This is the place to enjoy the nature, to listen to the air passing you, to watch birds, the colors of sunset and sunrise. This is the place for all those who are seeking peace and want some closure with their soul.





What to Do
This is not a very big hill station where one has a lots of activities to pursue, but still in Mukteshwar there are many things which can be done.

Muktashwer Dham:
This is a 350 years old temple of lord Shiva, this place has driven its name from this temple. The Temple is situated at the highest point in the town. It  gives an eye catching view of the Valley and the surroundings.
Our recommendation is to spend some time in the temple.



Chauli ki Jali:
This is one of the main attraction points of  Mukteshwar, an overhanging cliffs, used for rock climbing and rappelling. This place in itself gives a panoramic view of the Valley. We found it hard to stand on the rocks due to the intensity of the wind.
Chauli means rock and Jali means a hole, so it all means a hole in the rock.There is one point in these rocks where there is a hole in the rock, as per locals, women who are not able to conceive tend to cross this hole on Maha_Shivaratri and it is believed that after crossing this they will be blessed with a child.

Rock climbing charges were ranging from 150 INR to 350 INR based on the height one is opting.



Walk:
Mukteshwar is a gift of the nature and the best thing to do here is to go for a walk. Just go anywhere in this area and you will find yourself close to nature

Sunset/Sunrise
Being one of the top point in Kumaon Hills this place provides an ever refreshing view of sunrise and sunset. Just stand and watch the colors of the sun and you will realize how beautiful nature is for you, we have seen one of the most beautiful sunset here in Mukteshwar.



Night Safari:
For all those who love a little adventure you can go for a night safari, ask the person of the hotel/resorts about the details.
Note: This is not a typical Night Safari, all they will arrange you to have a night walk in the forests. So get all details before going for it.

IVRI campus:
One can have a walk around IVRI campus.

Where to Stay:
One can find a lot of options to stay at Muktashwer and all these options are available in a very budgeted manner.There is IVRI hostel as well rest house.
KMVN also provides a guest house at Muktashwer which can be booked online or over phone.
Beside these there are many hotels/resorts available in Muktashwer.
Since it is not such a popular hill station one will not find any problem in getting accommodation.
Our recommendation is to book hotel in Muktashwer  itself after looking at the location and view.

Best Time :
Some people prefer to go to Hill station in the summer to get some relief from the heat. We believe that the best time to go to Muktashwer is during winters when the surroundings will be covered by the white sheet of the snow or at the monsoon time when one will be able to see how the drops of the rain will enhance the beauty of this place.

Communication:
All major network operators works well here.

Road Condition:
Road up to Muktashwer is over all in good condition, due to the hilly area roads are small and if you are not much comfortable with the hill driving, we recommend you to avoid self driving, hire a locale vehicle and enjoy the nature and its beauty.

How to Reach:
Only way to reach Muktashwer is by road.
Nearest railway station to Muktashwer is Kathgodam which is about 65KM from Muktashwer, one can hire a taxi from Kathgodam .
For those who want to choose air way, the nearest airport is Pantnagar which is around 85KM away.

Medical Help:
Only first level medical help will be available at Muktashwer, one has to go to Kathgodam or Nanitaal for detailed help.
In case of any emergency dial 108, this is an emergency help service being operated by the Uttrakhand government and you will get quick help by them, so keep handy this number.



Precautions:
While going to Muktashwer we have certain recommendations for you
1. Carry your first aid medical box.
2. If you are on medication do carry them and in buffer you will not get any good medical shop there.
3. Carry some light woollen clothes if you are going in summers/monsoon and heavy clothes for winters.
4. In Monsoon time consult locals in Bhimtaal about the road condition as well about any road blockage, in the rainy season it's common to have landslides or road blocks in this area.
5. If you are not comfortable or experienced with hill driving, it is good to hire a local taxi especially in the monsoon when the roads become slippery.

We will suggest you to go for Muktashwer and we found this place really really good. Avoid this place if you are city-addicted since the solitude and nature will bore you.

We hope that soon you will start packing you bag for this beautiful place and we wish you the best of journey in advance.
If you still have any question about this place do write to us and we will be happy to assist you to make your trip a memorable and a long lasting memory.





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Mansar - Soothing Tranquility of Nature

Monday, April 4, 2011

It has been quite a long time since we wrote anything on Travellingrants, life has become a bit busy for us and just to share the inside story with our readers, we at Travellingrants are working on a complete Travelling Guide which will try to provide us all with complete information about various destinations within INDIA and we will require all your help and co-ordination to make this a better platform.This time our wheels started to move towards a  beautiful lake fringed by forest-covered hills Mansar Lake. The place is situated in the state of Jammu and Kashmir and at a distance of around 62 km from Jammu.Mansar is a place away from hectic life and it's a perfect destination for someone who wants to spend some time in a quiet place near to nature. A place where there is no busy schedule, no hectic crowd, it a place to live close to yourself and to rediscover yourself.

Mansar is not only a popular destination of excursions but also is a holy place with history linked to Mahabharta.

History
Mansar lake is believed to be the place where Sheshnag resides and people used to worship this lake in respect of
Sheshnag
Mansar is histrorically linked with the Mahabharta time,  it is believed that Arun was killed by his son Babar Vahan and in order to make Arjun alive again mani (It is believe that  Sheshnag has a very brightning thing at the top of his head which is called mani) was needed, so after defeating SheshNag Babar Vahan came out at Mani Sar (sar means head, so Mani Sar means at the head of Mani) which later was named as Mansar

About the Lake
Mansar Lake is not only a place of historical importance, it's also a place of many rare water species. Lake has around 207 species of algae,7 species of fish, 15 species of waterfowl.
Lake also has two important species of turtules,viz, lissemys punctata, teionxy gangeticus.
Mansarialla lacustris is one of the rarest madusae found in the lake.

Lake encompasses an area of 329.4 hact. with the circumference of 3.29 Kms, in the center lake is 37 meters deep.
  What to Do:
There are number of things one can do at Mansar.
  1. If you love boating this is aperfect place to enjoy boating in a beautiful and calm place.
  2. Walk close to the nature, there is a track around the lake and if you love to walk and want to see how beautiful the nature is around this lovely place, this is a perfect way to go.
  3. Enjoy a trip to Mansar Wild life sanctuary situated on one side of the lake.
  4. One which we liked the most is to spend sometime close to nature and above all be close to yourself


Where to Stay:
Mansar is in itself a day visit place for most of the people so one can find only limited number of places to stay. JKTDC runs their  tourist huts and rooms situated in Mansar along with few other guest houses, Mansar is not an over crowded place so one can find the place to stay easily.
Recommendation: We suggest you to go for JKTDC, since they are being operated by the State government itself and besides the location of their guest houses is generally good which will give you the best view of the lake.
Eating Places:
There are numerous eating places around the lake, besides JKTDC is also running their restaurants on the Eastern bank of the lake.


How To Reach:
Mansar is around 65 KM from Jammu, Mansar is located on the bypass road which connects Udhampur with Sambha.
There are many ways to reach Mansar and here are few of them.
  1. If you are going from Jammu then start towards Pathankot, at Sambha (District under which Mansar lake is situated) take a left turn, Mansar is around 15KM from Sambha.
  2. For all who are coming from Udhampur side (Coming from Patnitop,Sri-Nagar), Take Dhar Road from Udhampur which act as by Pass to connect Udhampur and Sambha. Mansar lake is situated on the side of this road.Approx distance from Udhampur 35 KM.
  3. If you are coming from Vaishno Devi once can take the route of  by Kishanpur to reach Mansar. While coming from Vaishno Devi one has to change the route around 17 Km away from Vaishno Devi where road merges with Jammu-Sri-Nagar highway.

Road Conditions:
Mansar lake is located on the road whcih connects Sambha to Udhampur and this road leads to Srinagar so overall this road is in good condition.
There is some few bad patches but in overall  road is in good condition.

Best Time:
Except summer (May-June), this lake is good to visit, due to high temperature (43-45C) in summer we recommend to avoid this place.

Communication:
All major cellular service providers are operating in the state of Jammu and Kashmir so one will not face any problem with respect to the connectivity.
Due to the security reasons there are certain restrictions on the Pre-paid mobile services and they might not operate in the state, but post paid services will remain to work excluding some services (sms etc).
One can find good number of Prepaid telephone booths in and around Mansar Lake to connect themseves.

Medical Facilities:
For any medical emergency, there are various options available.
  1. Udhampur district Hospital (30-45 minutes).
  2. Sambha District Hospital (30-35 minutes).
  3. Jammu Medical College (1 hour)
  4. Private hospitals available in Jammu.
At Mansar one can get only first level medical assistance and has to go for one of the option as mentioned above.

We really hope that you will soon plan your visit to this beautiful, cool and not much explored destination. We are looking forward for your valuable feedback/suggestion to improve our guides.

So keep travelling and exploring... and keep sharing...

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Nainital - City of lakes. (Part 2)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

We reached Nainital approx. at 10 am. As we entered the town, we found a beautiful green lake in front of us with some boats sailing in it  and the whole town surrounded by hills. At one side of the lake there is a mall road, hotels and shops and another side there is a temple and tibbitian market. As we were to spent only one day there so without wasting time we first booked a room in a hotel at a rent of Rs. 900/day. Took minimum time in refreshing ourselves and proceeded towards one side of the lake, via mall road, where we booked a boat. In one boat at the most four people are allowed excluding sailor. Sailor provided us the life saving jackets and started sailing, we were proceeding towards other side of the like. We saw there were some water filters were installed in the lake and the depth of lake was almost 120 feet (as per sailor).



We clicked some pics and enjoyed the boating. After reaching other side we found the temple there but we didn’t entered there and bypassed it (just prayed from outside). Now we were in a tibbitian market where there were number of small shops selling warm clothes, bags, caps etc. Some restaurants and dhabas were also there. This market was also linked to mall road by a narrow road. After crossing and wandering through market we were again on the mall road.



Just next to that market there was a big play ground where a Volley ball match was happening with commentary on loudspeaker. We found that there is also a rope way from that place to top of a hill, which is known as snow view point. We decided to go there by bikes so Umesh and Mannu went to hotel and came on bikes. We got directions from locals in reaching that place. It was really at a good height from where we can see the whole town and lake. After reaching the snow view point we found an appu ghar (a small playing hub for children), some shops and above all these a telescope installed to see the Himalayan ranges. Actually from that point we can have a view of Himalayan ranges clearly, most of the times those are covered with snow. 


Spending not more than half hour there we returned back to the town. As we reached the market there occurred some technical problem in Mannu’s bike. After trying our hands for some minutes we consulted a local for a mechanic. We got one but around two kilometers away from that point so Mannu brought him there by other bike and then we all moved to the garage and got the bike repaired there temporarily. During this time we took tea twice as the climate was too cool and time was around 5 pm. Now we proceeded towards the hotel after buying hot pakodas, aalu tiki and some dry non-veg for Mannu from some famous shops. But as we tasted it in the room we found all the things were not tasty. After sitting for some moments in the room we again went to mall road. We came to know that between 6 to 8 pm no vehicle is allowed on mall road so we found lot of tourists, visitors and couples were shopping and wondering on the road side. Nainital is also famous for beautiful candles so we found a big candle shop and Mannu purchased one. As the temperature was too low our mind prompted us to again try hot & fresh aalu-tiki and so ordered for two. Till preparation it was looking good but when we tasted it was again same. There were lot of small shops on read side selling warm clothes, caps, gloves, mufflers leather items etc. As Umesh lost his glove in Moradabad he purchased a woolan glove and Mannu purchased a cap. 


We also found a Café Coffee Day shop at one point and decided to sit there which returning to hotel. As we entered the CCD it was warm so we sat there for almost 45 minutes and then left for the hotel. Now it was around 9 pm and we were in a mood to have some snacks. As it was chilling climate we wrapped ourselves with blankets, switched on the TV and took snacks with tea. When we dialed for dinner’s order we got the response that the dinner can not be served as that hotel brings it from other restaurants which were closed by then. So we slept one by one while watching “Spider-man – 2”. In the morning we ordered tea fleshed ourselves, packed our bag and checked out the hotel room by 9 am. And now started the return journey. I sat behind Mannu, Umesh held the bag on his back and we left Nainital saying good-bye to it. The distance from Nainital to Ghaziabad is almost 305 km but while coming to Nainital we covered almost 400 km as we came via Muzzafarnagar J. This time we took less time to reach Ghaziabad. Stopped at “Amritsarian da Punjabi Dhaba” for breakfast in Bilaspur. This was the same place where we stopped last day. A school bus also arrived there which was returning from Nainital to Delhi. I will again appreciate UP govt. for making such a good highway (I think they have read our earlier blog post of Trip2Badrinath in which we criticized the UP roads)J so most of the time bikes were running at 100+ km/hr. speed. We stopped at Garhmukteshwar over the bridge over Ganga river and clicked some pics. It’s a sort of religious place. We found there big crowed and lot of boats in the river but the water was polluted. At that place the road was not good and very rough. From there we reached Hapur and then Ghaziabad approx. at 2 pm. Before getting refreshed and taking rest we booked tickets online (evening show) for Hollywood movie “Narnia”. Next morning Mannu woke up at around 4:30 am started his bike and left for Chandigarh, which is 250 km from Delhi. He reached there by 8:40 and phoned to us whereas we were still sleeping. J So Mannu covered 500 kilometers extra!!…what a crazy traveller?

For You Important:
Route we followed (long/wrong one):
Ghaziabad         ------   Muzaffarnagar (100 km - NH58)
Muzaffarnagar – Bijnor -- Noorpur -- Moradabad (150 km)
Moradabad – Rampur (NH 24) – Rudrapur -- Pantnagar (90 km – NH 87)
Pantnagar – Haldwani – Kathgodam -- Nainital (69 km – NH 87)

Actual rount (the straight one):
Ghaziabad    --   Hapur  -- Moradabad (150 km - NH 24)
Moradabad – Rampur (NH 24) – Rudrapur -- Pantnagar (90 km – NH 87)
Pantnagar – Haldwani – Kathgodam -- Nainital (69 km – NH 87)

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Nainital - City of lakes. (Part 1)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

As it is so long that we went on a trip because of busy schedule and other reasons, so Mannu started calling us (Umesh and myself) to plan some kind of outing/trip. He confirmed that he will arrive Delhi on 16th of December’s night from Chandigarh, by bike. Umesh was positive to him regarding trip but every time he asked me I said that my project manager is arriving from U.S. for the first time on same day and on weekend I have to go to doctor. So I asked them that I have no chance to go with them. BUT as Mannu arrived on Thursday’s night and we three were together again after big interval, my mind started changing and traveling germs woke up. I started thinking that I have already missed Sangla valley trip with them so will not miss the next one, which was not planned yet. Mannu said if I will join them then we will go to Nainital, so despite very important day in office I decided to leave after first half, by any means, and postponed the appointment with doctor to next weekend. So after lying to my manager I left office after first half, Umesh came to pick me. We had lunch at home, Mannu had a look on Google maps regarding route to Nainital and we packed the required clothes in one bag.
We left around 2 p.m. from home and first went to a tyre puncture/repairing shop and got serviced the bikes. Approx. at 2:30 p.m. we actually left from Vasundhara (Ghaziabad, UP) to Nainital. We decided if we will be late then we will stop at Moradabad which is 140 km away from Ghaziabad. Right from beginning till 90+ km of journey Mannu remained insisting that we are on a wrong route/direction but Umesh was confident enough that we were following the right route. Actually at home Mannu had a look at Google maps and found that we have to follow National highway 24 but we were running on NH 58.  This time I will appreciate the U.P. govt. for making such a good highway that we covered 90+ km in just 2 hours. So, after covering around 95 km, from where Muzaffarnagar was just 5 to 6 km away, Umesh also realized that we are on the wrong track so at last we stopped on a flyover and called to few of our friends who belong to nearby places but they were not aware of any route from Muzaffarnagar to Moradabad. Then I presented an idea that we should consult the truck driver who is always well informed about routs. So we found a truck standing almost 200 mtrs. away from us. Its driver and conductor were lying below the truck and were doing some repairing. When we told them our problem, first they laughed at us and then told that there is a road from that place to Moradabad via Bijnor and Noorpur and it is around 150 km. We had no other option so followed their direction. Initially road was narrow but good but after few kilometers it was too rough to drive. In the way Umesh got a call from his manager asking for status of his passport application. Actually Umesh took leave from his office giving reason that he had to fill and submit the passport application form at his home town in Himachal Pradesh and so he replied him accordingly. In the way there were number of small villages with small markets, tractor-trolleys carrying sugar canes and dry grass, running slowly on the road. We stopped at a place from where Bijnor was about 10 km away. There we had tea and some sweets (gaajar ka halwa), it was very yummy. From that place to Noorpur the road condition was such that I was feeling like sitting on a hot iron plate. By now it was totally dark, climate was chilled and we were rarely finding any vehicle on the road except for each other’s bikes. After crossing Noorpur we stopped at a dhaba which was almost closed and the owner was watching the climax of a hindi movie, in which hero was beating dozens of villains in the end. We had tea and biscuits there. In the way we were also getting directions from local people. After all we reached Moradabad, it was a well developed city with good market place. Actually Moradabad is 140 km from Ghaziabad but via Muzzaffarnagr its almost 250 km. We proceeded towards Railway station in search of hotels. We booked a room in a hotel named “India Hotel” as per our budget & requirement. Parked our bikes in Railway station’s parking as the hotel do not provided the same. The climate was too cold and we were shivering so we ordered for some hot water and refreshed ourselves with it as there were black spots on our faces due to dust and traveling. Then we sat on the bed, covered ourselves in blankets and  placed order for dinner. Mannu slept early whereas myself and Umesh kept watching hollywood movie “Face Off”. We also slept after watching most of the movie and setting alarm for 5:30 in the morning. 

                                           A view of Sun rise from Kosi river bridge.

In morning we woke up early, refreshed and left the hotel at 6:00 a.m. as Nainital was about 160 k.m from here. Bikes were wet due to due drops and fog in the night, we found a piece of cloth on a scooter and cleaned the bike’s seats. Meanwhile Umesh told that he had lost one of his gloves, we searched it in hotel room and near bike but not found. So he rolled my handkerchief on  his right hand. Now we were riding on NH 24 and after few minutes we reached a railway crossing where we waited for 15 to 20 minutes for the train to cross. Normally the road was good but at some places there were holes in the road which could be very dangerous if you are riding at a great speed. Sitting behind Mannu is really an adventure in itself specially when he turns his face 180 degree backward while riding at a speed of 100+ km/hr and will narrate your some incident or story, now I am habitual of this. We stopped on for 15-20 minutes on Kosi river bridge near Rampur to see and click some pics of rising sun in the fog. From Rampur we followed NH 87 and then stopped at a dhaba named “Amritsarian da Punjabi Dhaba” in the outskirts of Bilaspur for breakfast. There we had heavy breakfast of aaloo-pyaz ka pranthas, tea and Mannu also ate egg omelet (myself and Umesh are vegetarian). We spent there almost 40 minutes and left for further journey. Then came in the way Rudrapur city, Pantnagar and Haldwani. Till now bikes were running in the plains and then started the hills/mountains where the road was comparatively narrow, of snake like shape/style with deep and narrow turns and upward. On these kinds of roads one need to ride with much patience and care.

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