I think I’ve finally come to love the monsoon season in India. I’m mesmerized by the way the rains paint the mountains an emerald green, and provide relief to the parched desert. The way the clouds playfully flirt with the moon at night. The way the monsoon mist descends on lakes and waterfalls. The cool breeze, the raindrops on my skin, the smell of the earth, they are all subtle reminders of how travelling makes me feel – liberated. Read more
Posts from the ‘Uttarakhand’ Category
Two weeks ago, I rekindled my love affair with Kumaon. From my attic at Te Aroha (Read: Te Aroha: Under The Yellow Rooftops), in the charming little village of Dhanachuli, I witnessed the majesty of the Himalayas. And so did some of you, through my blog, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You said you couldn’t wait to stay here yourself, so I managed to score it for you! Here’s your chance to win a stay at Te Aroha, and experience its poetic love in person. Read more
Every stone in Kumaon has a story. It speaks of the fierce spirit of the Kumaoni people during India’s freedom struggle. It carries the whiff of tea gardens that once flourished on this land. It looks humbly upon mighty Himalayan peaks that sit in the distance. This is the story of some such stones, stones that were erected by Sumant Batra back in the nineties, stones that became my abode for a weekend this July. Read more
With temperatures rising mercilessly this summer, weekend getaways near Delhi are the best way to beat the heat. Bhimtal, a hill station near Delhi, is perfectly placed for a quick escape in the hills of Kumaon, without the crowds of its neighbor, Nainital.
I’ve crossed Bhimtal several times while making my way into the higher reaches of Kumaon. Most of these times, I’ve looked away from the Bhimtal Lake, which though surrounded by colorful trees, looks only as clean as you can expect an easily accessible lake in India to be. Read more
We Indians have a strange way of showing our respect to the things (places) we worship. In the name of religion, we build cemented structures in our rivers to install large idols of gods & goddesses. In the name of devotion, we clean our feet, dispose off ashes and run mechanized boats in the same water that we regard as the purest to drink. Such is our relationship with the River Ganga in Rishikesh, and while the river continues to be a timeless beauty, it’s hard to say how long it can sustain our ‘religious’ offerings. From an evening spent in the land that I remember to be almost magical 12 years ago, a photo essay on how our prayers show both love & hate for this magnanimous river. Read more
Loud Hindi music blares through the silence of the valley, carrying the wind with it. Women dressed in their most pink and jazzy attires walk down the path to a village hut below, big smiles pasted on their faces, their eyes fixed on their toddlers who keep running faster than their fancy heels can take them. This is not your usual day in Peora, a small village quietly tucked away in the forests of Kumaon in Uttarakhand. It’s the day before a wedding, and the entire village seems to be rejoicing, dressing up, laughing, singing, dancing, feasting and celebrating. Read more
The coals are slowly burning out, making the stars glow brighter. “We live in the mountains,” he conclusively says, “we can’t not believe.” We are just ending a session of spooky, even gruesome stories about the creatures of the wild and those beyond the natural; from tales of leopards picking up dogs in the vicinity of where we are, to white carcasses haunting the jungle path we trekked up in the dark, a few hours ago. Some real experiences, some figments of imagination. As our newfound friend says, living in this jungle for the last 20 years, he has seen everything and nothing at all. Read more
This post was originally written for & published in the Hindustan Times.
As our jeep manoeuvres through the broken forest trail, a gale of wind blows off the hood of my jacket and whispers in my ear. Suddenly, I’ve forgotten that I’m cold and sleepy at an hour when even the sun is tucked in. I’ve been to Corbett before, but only on a tiger chase. Today, I want to unearth the mysteries of its wilderness. Read more
Sitting across the Kosi River, I watch the sunlight dancing in the river, the water splashing over the rocks. Surrounding me is the Jim Corbett National Park, part in Uttarakhand and part in Uttar Pradesh. This Corbett adventure is part of Club Mahindra‘s travel blogging trips across India, and I feel privileged to be part of it this year. Three days ago, six of us bloggers arrived at the Club Mahindra Safari Resort, with dreams of looking a tiger eye-to-eye in India’s oldest tiger reserve. Read more
Perched in the cradle made by the Himalayan foothills to the north and the Shivalik range to the south, Dehradun is that small valley where you can tell the season by looking at the flowers in your garden.
You can see your flight hovering over mountain tops when landing in Dehradun, and you are gradually lowered into a misty land where green is the predominant color.
Often shadowed in the eyes of visitors by the hill-station of Mussoorie, the valley is what glitters with sunrise, sunset & Mussoorie’s night lights after dusk, everyday.
This valley is what I call my home town. It’s what you dream about when fast city life stops beckoning, where you don’t have to rich or successful to be popular, where everyone lives in a house and doesn’t call it a bungalow, where there’s a leechee tree in every backyard, where you don’t go out late in the night because you love tucking away at home, where you look forward to the chilly winter so you can bask under the day sun. Everyone has a relative, a grandmother, an aunt in Dehradun. Yet you can cover the entire town within 3 degrees of separation.
Like everything beautiful, Dehradun fell victim to commercialization in becoming the capital of the state of Uttarakhand. While that meant increased development, it also meant more commercial establishments, people & traffic. A lot of the town’s beauty is now confined to its outskirts, where clouds still grace rooftops, where the sunset still makes passers-by look up in wonder, where green is still the dominant color.
In the transition phase of this once sleepy town lie a basket of experiences you don’t want to miss