Things to do in Jeolikote? Well, nothing much. Remember you decided to beat the crowd and cacophony by going off the beaten track? That’s why you chose Jeolikote – away from the fabled madding crowd, with pretty much nothing to do….
We were stationed in Jeolikote for one day and two nights. Bhuvan Kumari, the owner of the Cottage Jeolikote where we were staying, while warning us that Jeolikote was not the usual ‘sight-seeing circuit’ did go on to tempt us with options of walking up to the river “down there” and paying the horticulture department a visit. Perfect, we said in unison. The horticulture department of the hills is the most attractive place for lovers of flowers, fruits and veggies like us. We promised her and ourselves the sortie…..
The next morning, after a scrumptious breakfast of stuffed paranthas with curd and pickles and butter (!!!) at the Cottage, we set out with our binoculars, hats (for, it was a sunny day) and camera to ‘explore’ Jeolikote. Aunty, Ms Bhuvan Kumari, had instructed us to simply walk down the hillock that housed the Cottage. Taking her advice, we ‘trekked’ down, wearing the right shoes and taking walking sticks (lying in the woods) for support. The beginner’s euphoria showed on our faces. This, after all, was the official beginning of the innumerable treks in this Uttarakhand road-trip.
And didn’t realize how the next three hours passed us by. We –
- Walked up to the Apiary, and marveled at the scores of bee-boxes sitting pretty in the woods with wild pink lilies. The quiet of the place was broken by gang war of a troop of monkeys in the not-so-distant trees. Their screeching stopped when they were shooed away by a few dominating baboons. We took the opportunity and ran to the apiary office to buy some honey. Sadly, it was the day off for the team that sold honey. We left. Disappointed. But not before enquiring the price at which they sold the honey– Rs 300 for a kilogram, they said. Sigh!
- Turn of the Jeolikote river now. Although we had heard it gush by during the still of the night, Aunty had warned us that it would be a ‘trickle’ owing to the dry summer months. About a kilometer or little more from the Apiary, we sauntered down towards the river cooing with the Koel, plucking dried wild flowers for the garden back home and looking for some nice stones from the river bed. The river had indeed dried…but you could tell that the rains would soon bring it back to life. After the few customary photographs, we sauntered back, cooing with the Koel and chasing some butterflies…
- Time now for Jeolikote’s Horticulture Department. We asked around for locations and found that all of them lay on the same road, the apiary, the horticulture division and the river. A building dating back to the British time; a huge garden that had a sea of the red and yellow tiger lilies; a complete section of fruit trees such as avocado, pear; strawberries growing in the greenhouse; a couple of officials loitering around without much aim or purpose was all that the horticulture division had to offer. I was a tad disappointed. For, I had expected to see something like what we had back in Shillong – a huge place with so much flowers and fruit trees, where I’d often spend a good part of the day.
With that, we were ready to climb back the hillock to our Cottage, wash up and line up for lunch. Aunty had rotis, vegetables and chicken waiting for us. The morning’s Paranthas digested and the butter, hopefully, burned, we were famished….Curious, how hills can get you hungry so easily…it’s the air, I tell you….
For the complete Uttarakhand itinerary, where to stay, what to see and what to buy, read — An Uttarakhand Roadtrip This Summer