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Kumaon Dec 2011

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Kumaon Dec 2011

Postby agnimitra.chowdhuri » Wed Mar 07, 2012 11:06 am

Kumaon is a land of snow capped mountains and glaciers, valleys, verdant forests and alpine meadows, lakes and streams, birds and animals, all combine to make a beautiful and scenic place elsewhere.

Kumaon is a part of Uttarakhand state. It comprises of only six districts Almora, Bageshwar, Champawat, Nainital, Pithoragarh and Udham Singh Nagar.

We have started our journey for this beautiful land from Kolkata on 9th, December, 2011. We got into Poorva Express (Train no. 12303) from Howrah for New Delhi. The train departed at its schedule time at 08:10 hours. We reached New Delhi next day (10th, December, 2011) afternoon around 3:30 PM, but it was terribly late, almost 7 hours. Our next train Ranikhet Express (Train no. 15013) to Kathgodam was from Old Delhi at 22:40. We took an auto to move from New Delhi to Old Delhi. The fare was 150 rupees. We had a plan to move around Old Delhi but due late arrival of the train that was not possible. We booked our baggage in cloak room and had a very short walk around of Red Fort.
Day 1 (11th, December, 2011) Kathgodam - Binsar:
We reached Kathgodam early in the morning around 5 AM. We (Kaustav, me and my wife) hired an alto at rupees 1500 per day including fooding and lodging of the driver for 7 days. The rent may be double if you hire a Tata Sumo. We started for Binsar at 5.30 AM. The main route to Binsar was blocked due to landslide; we took another route via Bhimtal, Ramgarh.
When we started our journey it was still dark. We took a short break at Bhimtal. It’s a natural lake in Nainital district. It was very cold almost 2-3 degree Celsius. We enjoyed sunrise on Bhimtal Lake.
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We saw the Himalayan peaks for the first time from Ramgarh. It’s an amazing feeling which I cannot express in words. We got down from the car spend around half an hour. We took our breakfast at Ramgarh bazzar.
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We reached Binsar Sanctuary police check post around 12:30 PM. Entry fees to the sanctuary are 150 rupees per head and 250 for car. Binsar KMVN rest house is 12 KM from police check post. It is an amazing journey through the dense forest.
Binsar (2412 meter) is almost 130 KM from Kathgodam. It is situated on top of Jhandidhar hills. Binsar is under Binsar Sanctuary in Almora district. It’s very quiet place and surrounded with Himalayan flora. The main attraction of Binsar is that here one can see wide range (almost 300 KM) of panoramic, majestic snow capped famous Himalayan peaks like Nandaghunti, Trishul, Mrigthumi, Maiktoli, Nandadevi, Nandakot, Panchachuli.
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We kept our baggage in KMVN resort and moved quickly to the view point adjacent to the resort. It’s an awesome view of Himalayas. We spent around an hour there. We returned to room and had a very short bath. It’s very cold. There is no electricity in the sanctuary. Even there is no market or shops. You can get 1 bucket of hot water in the morning. The resort has its own generator but they run it in the evening from 5 to 8 PM for dinner. You can charge batteries at that time only. Bed tea, breakfast and dinner are included with the room rent. You can take lunch buffet at rupees 225 per head.
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After having lunch we started walking to zero point. It is 2 KM from KMVN resort. It is very nice feelings walking through green dense quiet forest of Oak, Far, Pine, Deodar trees with the flutter of birds rather than horns. You can see moss, hanging from trees. We went to the sunset point. Here you cannot see peaks because it’s in other side of the hill. The point is sourrened with very dense forest. The sunset point is almost 1 KM from the KMVN resort.
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We returned from the sunset point to enjoy sunset on Himalayas from resort’s view point but the peaks were covered with clouds. At the evening we spent sometimes almost 2-3 hours in the view point. It was next day of full moon. I cannot express my feelings to see forest and hills in moon light. You can see an excellent view of Almora town from the view point. We had our dinner at 7:30 PM and spent sometimes at view point. We went to sleep around 9 PM.
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Key points: There is no electricity, shops or market at the Binsar Sanctuary. The generator runs from 5 to 8 PM. You can charge batteries at that time only. If you want to view peaks probably KMVN resort is the best place. Bed tea, break fast and dinner are included with the room rent at Binsar KMVN resort. There is no discount on room rent. Since there is not much hotel options it is better to book the resort in advance. Entry fees to the sanctuary are 150 rupees per head and 250 for car.
Day 2 (12th, December, 2011) Binsar - Choukari:
We wake up early in morning around 6 AM. The morning was very cold. We went to the view point to see sunrise. The Sun usually rises up around 7 AM. The weather was clear. The room service brought the bed tea at the view point. We were having tea and waiting for the Sun to rise up. It’s a great feelling to see the Sun rises up through the wide Himalayan valley. After the Sun is up we returned to the room and asked room service to give hot water to bath.
After having breakfast we strated exploring the forest. We went to the sunset point and from there we took a narrow walking route going down. The route was full of dry leaves. We had heard that the sanctuary is full of fauna mainly Leopard, Himalayan black beer, Ghoral, Barking deer, Seraw, Wild Boar, Langur, Monkey, Musk deer, Pheasant, Black eagle, Owl. But fortunately or unfortunately we have seen only monkeys and some birds.
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We came back to the resort almost at 11 AM and packed our baggage. We spent sometimes again at the view point watching Himalayas. We left Binsar for Choukari at 12:30 PM. The distance to Choukari via short cut to Paleo Bend, Dhaul China is almost 105 KM.
We planned to reach Choukari via Patal Bhubneswar (1350 meter). Again, the road is very beautiful between the hills sourrened by mainly Pines trees. We took our launch at Sheraghat. It is situated near the bank of Saryu river. The river was looking very beautiful.
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We reached Patal Bhubneswar around 4:30 PM via Raiagarh. The distance from Binsar is almost 110 KM. The road condition from Raiagarh to Patal Bhubneswar was very bad. It took some more time to reach Patal Bhubeswar. It’s a natural limestone cave of 160 meter long and 90 meter deep situated in Pithoragarh district . The cave entrance is 10 minutes of walk from the parking zone. It usually remains open from 9 AM to 5 PM. But due to cold weather the cave was closed when we reached there. Our driver found the guide and requested him to open the cave for sometimes saying that we came from a long distance and it might not be possible to come next day. The guide agreed and we reached to the cave entrance. There was only five people. Our driver remained outside and we four people entered into the cave. The entrance was very narrow. We entered into the cave by crowling and holding a chain. The cave has created various spectacular stalactite and stalagmite figures of various forms. The original cave leads to the different caves through different tunnels. The cave was created by flow of water. There are lots of beatiful figures in side the caves and in its wall and it looks like that an artist has created it. The guid charge is 50 rupees. Photography was not allowed inside the cave. You can also see Himalayas from Patal Bhubneswar. But there was heavy mist and the peaks were almost covered by it. After having tea at Bhubneswar market we left for Choukari. The distance is almost 40 KM. We reached Choukari KMVN resort around 7:30 PM. We booked a cottage here.
Day 3 (13th, December, 2011) Choukari:
Choukari (2010 meter) is a small, peaceful, beautiful, hill station in the Pithoragarh district. The famous peaks like Mrigthumi, Maiktoli, Nandadevi, Nandakot and Panchachuli are distinctly visible from here. We wake up early in the morning. We went to the watch tower and had some tea and waited for the Sun.
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The weather was very clear. We expected an awesome sunrise. The peaks gradually became red and then white when the Sun was fully up. It was an fantastic sunrise I ever had.
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Some of peaks like Mrigthumi, Maiktoli were not fully visible because a nearby hill was covering them. We decided to go to the hill top to get full view of the Himalayas. We got a fantastic view of Himalayas through a wide green Himalayan valley. They seem to us very close and just in front of our eyes. We spent almost 2 hours there.
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After having bath and breakfast, we decided to go the Musk Deer Research Center. The distance of the center from the KMVN resort is 4 KM. You can go 2 KM by car and then two KM of walk to go to the hill top. It was a splendid walk through the narrow walking road sorrounded by trees and keeping eyes on Himalayas.
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It took almost an hour to reach to the research center. There are 14 musk deer in the center. We have seen only one of them. Photography was not allowed in the center. While returning from the center, we found a spot where we got full view of Himalayas. We spent sometimes there. We returned back to the car. Me and my wife got into the car but Kaustav decided to return by foot.
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We came back to the resort and sat on the open ground in the resort and watching the beauty of the Himalayas. After 45 minutes later Kaustav joined us.
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After having lunch at 1:30 PM, we decided to walk around Choukari. We have seen that childern were returning from the school. We took that route to see the school. It was Himalaya Public School. The students were studying in open air outside the class room in sun light due to winter season. We went to a valley. The Himalayas were looking heavenly from here and the place was quiet, lone and sourrened with Pine, Oak, Rhododendron trees. It was an marvellous feeling far away from hectic city life. We returned to the resort after the sunset.
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Key points: Bed tea and breakfast are included with the room rent at Choukari KMVN resort. You can get 20% discount on room rent in off season. The resort offers great view of Himalayas. You can enjoy sunrise and sunset from KMVN resort or from near by hill top. However you can book other hotels as well.
Day 4 (14th, December, 2011) Choukari - Munshiyari:
We wake up early in the morning again to enjoy sunrise. We left Choukari towards Munshiyari around 9:30 AM after having breakfast. The distance to Munshiyari is almost 100 KM. An another beautiful journey started by the side of Ramganga river. The sun light was reflecting on the river and made the river more beautiful. We took a short break at Tejam.
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We reached Birthi Falls around 12:00 noon. You have to ride 125 meter slope to get full view of the falls. The falls was creating rainbow on the wall of rock where it was breaking out. We spent sometimes beneath the falls.
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We reached Kalamuni top (2895 meter) around 1 PM. This is the highest point in the route. A stunning view of the Panchchuli peaks greeted us. We took a break there and had some tea. There is a temple at the Kalamuni top. Every turn from Kalamuni top brings a fresh view of Panchachuli, often better than the previous. It’s amazing that a slightest change in the angle alters the view completely.
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We reached Munshiyari (2200 meter) around 2:30 PM. Munshiyari is situated in a valley on the banks of Goriganga river. Munsiyari falls on the ancient salt route from Tibet and is at the entrance of the Johar Valley. The main attraction of Munshiyari is Panchachuli peaks. In winter skiing becomes a very good sport here. Munshiyari is the base for treks to Milam, Namik and Ralam Glaciers.
We had our lunch at Pandey lodge and moved to KMVN resort. We kept our baggage in the resort and went to the market place. Munshiyari town seemed little bit crowed and dirty to us. The view of Panchachuli was getting interrupted by the trees or electric cables or buildings in the market place and also in KMVN resort. We went to the college where we get an uninterrupted view of Panchachuli peaks. The sunset on Panchachuli looked simply awesome.
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Day 5 (15th, December, 2011) Munshiyari:
The sunrise here is not so enjoyable since the Sun rises from the back side. We started for Khalia top at 7:30 AM. Though me and my wife went upto the KMVN resort under constraction on the way to Khalia top. Kaustav completed the trek. In the afternoon we went to the Nandadevi temple. We did not enter in the temple premises because we already had a non-veg lunch (rice and lamb meet). After that we went to the heritage museum. Here you can find cloths, utensils etc. used in ancient times. We returned to the resort and enjoyed sunset from there with coffe and veg pakora.
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Key points: Bed tea and breakfast are included with the room rent at Munshiyari KMVN resort. You can get 20% discount on room rent in off season. The view of Panchachuli is interuptted by trees from KMVN resort. However you can book other hotels as well. Pandey lodge may be the best option in terms of rent and view. Room conditions also quite good at Pandey lodge. You can do one day trek to Khalia top from Munshiyari. You can ask your hotel authority for this. Guide charge is 500 rupees.
Day 6 (16th, December, 2011) Munshiyari - Kousani:
We started for Kousani early in the morning at 8:30 AM. We took the route via Tejam – Sama – Kapkot – Bageswar – Baijnath. It was a very long journey of almost 160 KM.
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The road condition from Tejam to Kapkot was not so good. Some portion of the road was broken due to land slide and people were working on it. But that did not make any trouble because of scenic beauty of the route.
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We had our lunch near Bageswar. Bageswar is a town situated on the bank of Gomati river. It is the headquater of Bageswar district. The town looks very good from the top. The green hills and valley made it more beautiful. We spent sometimes at Baijnath temple. It ‘s situated near the Baijnath town on the bank of Gomati river. There were lots of fishes (local name Rohu fish) in the river under the temple campus. But the fishing is strictly prohibited inside the campus.
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We reached Kousani in the afternoon around 4:30 PM. Kousani is a crowed hill station situated at the altitude of 1890 meter in Bageswar district. You can see snow capped Choukhamba, Nandaghunti, Trishul, Nandadevi, Nandakot from here. We visited Ghandi asram established by Gandhiji. You can see the beauty of the Himalayas from the asram also.
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The sunset on Himalayas from Kousani is amazing especially on Trishul. There is a swal factory at Kousani beside a tea garden. We bought three swals from there. We reached KMVN resort at the evening.
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Key points: Bed tea and breakfast are included with the room rent at Kousani KMVN resort. You can get 20% discount on room rent in off season. The resort offers great view of Himalayas. You can enjoy sunrise and sunset from KMVN resort. However you can book other hotels as well.
Day 7 (17th, December, 2011) Kousani – Nainital - Kathgodam:
We wake up early in the morning and enjoyed sunrise on the Himalayas from the resort. Here the elevation and the angles are different. The entire Himalayan range were looking very beatiful.
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After the sun was fully up we started for Nainital via Almora. The distance of Nainital from Kousani is alomost 117 KM. The bank of Kosi river and trees like Pine, Deodar made our journey beautiful. We took a break at Almora. We were delayed by the work after land slide (for which we took Ramgarh route to reach Binsar).
We reached Nainital around 1 PM. Nainital town is very famous and crowed. Lots of cars, rickshaw are there on the road. But the town and Nainital lake is beautiful. The town is on the slope of the hills.
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Lots of people were enjoying boat ride on the lake. There is Nainadevi temple beside the lake near Bhutia market. We bought some woolen cloths from the Bhutia market. We reached Kathgodam by 5:30 PM in the evening. The distance from Nainital to Kathgodam is around 35 KM. Our train (Bagh Express Train no. 13020) to Howrah was on 9:55 PM.
You can call Jiban Shah (09412351525) or Manoj Kumar (09759244102) for car.
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Re: Kumaon Dec 2011

Postby suryajit » Sun Mar 11, 2012 11:00 pm

Really Agni, too informative write-up.
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Re: Kumaon Dec 2011

Postby kaustav.ganguly » Tue Apr 17, 2012 5:28 pm

Those days are really unforgettable. Thanks to Agni for making those moments immortal. That was the second time I went to Kumaon more or less the same locations I visited and I was even more mesmerized than the first time. I personally believe that is the one of the best places on earth to spend your vacations. Local people are very cordial and honest, tourism infrastructure is good (thanks to KMVN). I love it.


You can also take a look

http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set= ... d2bc740a7f
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