Not without reason they say that Himalayas have a way of claiming your soul. You could stay in its foothills, or miles away from it, and yet be drawn to it as if bound by a spell. This, we discovered, when we drove through the hills of Uttarakhand in the summer of 2015. Like over-excited children, we had hoped for a glimpse of the Himalayas right from the time we touched ground at the Pantnagar airport (Read: How is the Pantnagar airport?). That, of course, was not to be. We didn’t see them from Jeolikote (Read: Sight-seeing in Jeolikote)too – Aunty, the owner of Jeolikote Cottage consoled us saying that we were far below….no Himalayas at that altitude. But imagine our disappointment when we couldn’t see the coveted peaks from Abbot Mount as well. The housekeeper, Chachaji, pointed towards the eastern sky, covered in a veil of fog, and claimed that the Himalayas were right behind, visible on a good, clear day. We met the same fate at Jhaltola. Not until did we climb up to Munsiyari, that we got a glimpse. And was caught in its spell. From there onwards, we came down to Chakori, once again, to ‘no view’ owing to fog; ‘no view’ at Binsar too – Shikha-Sindhu, charming couple-owners of Binsar’s famous Grand Oak Manor)showed us the skyline where the Himalayas are resplendent from the months after the rains. By now, we had been drunk by the stories of the majestic ranges. The sighting at Munsiyari helped strengthen the resolve. We have to come back!
Which we did last Christmas, December 2016. This time round though, we charted a different route — Delhi to Haldwani to Kausani to Pokhari to Auli to Hrishikesh and back over an eight-day trip, for an intense romance with the Himalayas. Charted 1260 kms and saw the Himalayas from various altitudes. Needless to mention, our love deepened. We will go back again, another time, to get closer. With the Himalayas….
For now though, sharing the stories and pictures from this winter romance, so that you can plan one for yourself too….
3-nights halt in Kasauni:
- Drive from Haldwani to Kausani
- Where to stay in Kausani – Review of Ashritha in Kausani
- Things to do in Kausani
2-nights halt in Auli
(P.S: We have chronicled the summer road-trip in Uttarakhand in a separate series. Should you want to plan a similar trip, here’s help with itinerary, stay suggestions, shopping tips and food tips! Read — An Uttarakhand Road-trip This Summer)