Sunday, October 26, 2008

Trip to Nainital/Mukteswar and more

Nainital and more..

Until the last day I was not sure whether the trip would happen, but finally it did. Abhinav, Jagan and I were joined by Ankit (kaka) for a fun filled ride of 5 days and 1000kms+ and atleast 5 cities :P. We were not trying for a record or anything. But so it happened.

We had two dusshera holidays and Sourabh's brothers wedding was on wednesday so we started early wednesday morning on Abhinav's car and reached Rudrapur by afternoon. The wedding was in the evening but by the way we were sitting idly in the hotel at 8ish doing nothing (ahem!) it looked like we had no intention of attending the wedding we came for :P. Finally we got ready and went to the venue which was more lively than any wedding I would have attended. The gathering was just huge and dance floor was never empty. It started raining heavily around 1 and we left just before 'feras' started at 2 AM.

After saying the final goodbyes, we left Rudrapur around 12:00 to go to Nainital.
From Nainital trip...
It took us hardly 2 hours to reach Nainital and atleast another 1hr to find a hotel. Though there are enough hotels, most are overpriced and badly placed with all the stairs you need to climb everytime. Finally after checking in etc we thought of starting our sightseeing and our first destination was Cave Garden. The caves were good and interesting, surely worth a try.
From Nainital trip...
It was getting late so we went to our second destination which happened to be a 6km long trek covering few points. We were told that its impossible for us to walk all the way and we should take horses but most of us were scared of horses or found trekking a better option so we went by foot.
From Nainital trip...

The trek started from bara pathar which is a spot for rock climbing (could not see any such thing though). We had hardly started and we lost our way. After walking for sometime in the woods we found one guy who said he comes there often to 'chill out' and asked him where we were heading. He stated the obvious fact that we had lost our way and if we go down the hill (atleast 70 degree slope) for 10 mins we will reach the right track. We thought of trying it rather than going back and it turned out ok. The first spot of the trek was 'land's end' which gave a decent view of the hills ahead. There was just one shop here which happened to be closed so we had no reason to stay longer. We started for the next spot - 'tiffin top' but after walking and more walking we reached nowhere. The path was endless and we had no snacks, juice or anything, just a bottle of water. It was getting darker and we had seen nobody on the way since an hour or so. The only thing that was motivating us to move further was the fear of going back :D. We had already skipped lunch and were more hungry than ever and we were getting ready to kill a wild boar for dinner too. Finally we reached a small garden type area on the hill where there was a small cricket ground too, a local boy was roaming around and told us that tiffin top is not very far and we would find food there. Just the thought of food was enough to push us further. We reached tiffin top in no time and stopped at the first shop (there were only 2-3).
From Nainital trip...


The view from the shop itself was awesome, we sat at the back of the shop and could see all those schools from which Danny, Amitabh and god knows who passed out. We were so hungry that we ate 4 biscuit packets, 4 maggis and 3 bread omlettes, the best part was the local made juice can which we felt had wine in it :P. After filling our stomachs to limits, we bought chocolate bars for our way down and got a free torch from the shopkeeper too. Whole Nainital was visible from the tiffin top and the wind here was very chilly. It was dark already when we started our way back.
From Nainital trip...
My knees and ankles were totally gone now. It was totally dark on the way and everything looked creepy coz of the trees around.
From Nainital trip...
After reaching the road we didnt know which way to go so we started waving at cars to stop and obviously nobody stopped. Ankit was totally in support of car-valas for not stopping and we got all whacky ideas for stopping cars - from pretending to be ghosts to dacoits :P. Finally after somebody helped, we reached our starting point and were very happy to see the car not stolen :P.

It was Dushera on that day and the 3 guys - ravana et al were supposed to be burnt in the ground so we stopped our car on the mall road and stood at the corner to get a good view of it. We must have waited and chatted an hour before they blasted them. I had never seen ravana burning live before so it was a good experience. The gathering was huge. There were people all over the place and the mall road was over crowded after the stuff ended.

It was time for dinner and we couldnt see a single place in any restaurant. Finally we managed to find a place in a good looking restaurant which served us good soup, but the chilly paneer was horrible. It looked so bad that Ankit didnt even touch it. We left this place and went to a punjabi restaurant after this for dinner and the chicken tikka tasted anything but chicken. I didnt understand how Nainital didnt have good eatries. Jagan gave lots of fundas like 'we should go to a restaurant that specializes in something and has lotsa ppl' but nothing worked for us :P. Food was always bad.

The next morning was no different. We ordered 4 dosas at some place and they were equally bad. We thought of seeing snow view after breakfast but at 12:00 PM we were getting a slot for 2:00 so we skipped it. We didnt know where to go next. Our two options were Sattal and Nakuchiatal.
From Nainital trip...
Finally we decided that Sattal will be no different from Nainital so lets go to Nakuchiatal for Paragliding.

The best part was not the way, or the paragliding experience. It was the first time we saw the glider go over our car while we were driving. It was so scary and gave us all a oh-i-cant-do-it feeling that for once we felt that coming here was a waste.
From Nainital trip...
Seeing a glider so high in air was really too scary and I would recommend not to jump to 'no i cant do it' decision just by seeing that. After reaching the actual starting point and seeing 2-3 people go up in air it stopped looking so scary. Finally, Jagan and I did it for 1200 bucks (slightly expensive I would say) to glide for 3-10minutes. It was bliss. The best part was leaving the hill with your feet hanging and suddenly everything becomes so small below your feet. The sound of wind was scary and exciting both. The realization that if something silly happens I would go to ground in less than a second was terffifying and made the experience all the more thrilling.
From Nainital trip...


After such strenous activity :P we were hungry again so we searched for restaurants. There are not many places to stay/eat in Nakuchiatal and KMVN's resort is the best bet. Cheap, and great food. We ate like pigs and started working on our next task - deciding what next. We crossed all limits of wackiness here. Everyone was supposed to give 2/1 ideas each and we would put them in no order from 1 - 7. Then when our bill comes, we would divide the bill with 8 and get a remainder, which would decide our destination :D. We were in so funny mood that we put one option as 'Boating in Nakuchiatal and then ditch Jagan and leave' :D.

Finally the option that came out was 'Boating in Nakuchiatal and then go to Almora' so we took a paddle boat and paddled for 30-40 mins while eating pakoras that we had got packed from the Resto. We left for Almora and the best comedy of life happened with us there. We got a decent room in KMVN's guest house but we left it thinking of finding another room in main area. After searching and skipping more and more rooms finally every hotel got booked thanks to the Durga puja festival's holidays in which Bengalis flock to these places. We had checked all hotels and we got nothing. Finally around 10 (after 2 hours of searching) we found place in a very shady hotel and we took it coz there was no other option. All the dining places had closed by now so we got some chips etc and sat in the stupid room and all of us were feeling like leaving it asap :P.

Darbari opened his outlook traveller book and told about a Jageswar Temple some 30kms from Almora and there were 2 hotels listed in the book in Jageswar. We saw each others faces and called up the hotel and rooms were available, so we booked one and left our shady hotel at 12:00 telling the manager that we are going to buy medicine. Little did he know that we had no plans of coming back :P. We drove and drove in the dark and the woods and finally reached Jageswar Temple at 1:30.
From Nainital trip...
Now it was pitch dark and the Jungle around was much more dense and we could not find the hotel we had booked anywhere. The best part was that there was no Airtel/Hutch network whatsoever and all the sane people were sleeping so no STDs open in the area :( . We roamed around the area to find any human presence but no luck. Finally two of us climbed few stairs and knocked some hotel's door and they welcomed us with a good room. The best part was when the guy told us the rent Darbari said 'jyada bol rahe ho' :P. We were like 'what the @#$$' its 2 in the night lets take the damn room, but good that the guy actually reduced the rent :D and what a good sleep we got.

The morning was very pleasant with good aloo paranthas and Tea served in the hotel itself. We visited the temple also coz we felt that God himself had invited us to visit him (bulava aaya). The temple complex has 100+ temples with the only maha-mrityunjay temple in the world. Our next destination was Mukteswar which was 40kms away. We were enjoying so much while driving that when we asked someone if we were on the right way we were already 18kms off route. Huh! $hit happens. The worst part was there was not much fuel in the car and we had to go 10kms further offroute to get fuel. Life can be tough. Our new plan was to get fuel and go back but the petrol pump that was 10kms away had no petrol :D. Now our new plan was to take a different route, fill the tank and go to mukteswar which was now again 40kms away :D. We finally reached around 4:30ish and took a cottage in the British Retreat hotel. The place was pretty good and we got a very good deal. We had the best and simplest lunch here and went to the main mukteswar which was surprisingly desolated at 7ish. We kept walking around for a while and came back to our hotel around 8.

We were watching two and a half men which Ankit had recommended in the lawn with snacks and time just flew. It was chilly and nice. After a while we had dinner and we went to bed in no time. We got up at 5:30ish to see the sunrise and what a quest it was. Locals had no clue where the sunrise is visible from and we kept roaming from place to place to get a glimpse of the rising sun.
From Nainital trip...
Finally after trying 2-3 different places ranging from the terrace of a school to GMVN's guest house we just followed our intiution and reached a place where sunrise was visible.
From Nainital trip...
After seeing this we went back to the GMVN's guest house from where the beautiful snow clad 20000+ feet high peaks were visible.
From Nainital trip...
We also went to see Chauli ki Jhali which is a plateau with a steep fall of 500 feet and awesome views. Standing at the corner of the rock was very scary with the steep drop visible right in front of us.
From Nainital trip...


We went back to the hotel and slept for sometime before starting for our way back and after a heavy and delicious breakfast we left around 11:30 AM for Rudrapur. On the way back we felt like trying our last random idea of boating in nainital so we went to nainital for boating. We will always remember this trip as 5 days/6 hotels/6 cities :)).

7 comments:

Sangfroid said...

Great adventure!
Paragliding is on my 2Do list :-)

Food being a problem in north India (Nainital) is a lil surprising. Next time onwards, you could prolly carry a small kitchen too in the car.

Cooking in the jungle shall be fun :-D

diver said...

@sangfroid: lol..paragliding was just awesome...ya i was surprised with food prob too..shit happens!! :P kitchen carrying is nice idea.. :D

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Arjun shinde said...

Lovely post.....! I have really enjoyed while reading your blog. Thank you for sharing this post with us. Keep continue to share this sort of post. Nainital is the nice place in Uttarakhand. If you visit at here, Nainital paragliding will definitely be adventurous and enjoyable.