How to reach : The way to experience real India is to be away from the chaotic tourist towns and pages of the usual guide books. This real India : inspires and humbles, is artistic yet genuine, simultaneously incredible and heartbreaking and surely takes a little effort to find. One such place is the quaint little town of Pithoragarh. It is located in the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand and is a seven hours tortuous journey from Nainital, passing through the picturesque hills of Almora.
The typical ‘Indian’ tourist, who once wanted to visit every place given in a travel guide, is now evolving. It is not about ticking off things in a list anymore, but to find a place where you can get some much needed “me” time and places like Pithoragarh are perfect for that.
Here is a glimpse of this beautiful town followed by snapshots of two of the must see places :
Kamakshya Temple : Sun-kissed peaks and a panoramic view of the entire city is what you get from here. The temple has a unique history and was set up by a soldier of the Indian Army and it is still being looked after by his family.
On The Rocks Cafe : This mountain cafe surprised us as we did not expect such quirky decor in a small town eatery. Loved gorging on the delectable chinese food with views of the valley.
So this was part one of our Pithoragarh itineary, more to come in the second part! Remember it is only when you go off the beaten path that you encounter such uninterrupted views of Nature. Cherish every bit of it.
I never tire of the hills. The wide open spaces and star-filled skies inspire me, define me. In the mountains, there’s always something to learn, and I feel like I am capable of so much more than I imagined. This was me reminiscing about my trip to Nainital, here’s the link. Then we did another blogpost on The Naini Retreat , a great place to stay in Nainital.
About the property : This post is about Shervani Hilltop, a boutique hotel located in Mallital. The wooden interiors, manicured lawns and lush green surroundings give an old world charm to the place. If you want to escape the crowd and have some time to yourself, it is an excellent option. You get a panoramic view of the mountains from any place in the property, but the Naini Lake isn’t visible from the hotel.
Dining options : Coming to the dining options, there’s the Courtyard bar which serves cocktails and mock tails and a restaurant for all day dining. Both these places have been done up in Victorian style and are very much in sync with the overall decor of the place. Though the view and the food options at The Naini Retreat are much better.
Recommendation : For people who are visiting Nainital for the first time, Naini Retreat is a better option as it is a beautiful heritage property located close to the Naini Lake and the Mall Road. For those seeking tranquility and an escape from the mundane city life, Shervani Hilltop is a good choice.
Travel Tip : Get your bookings done online as pricing is lower than what you will get at the hotel and this applies to almost all the good hotels in Nainital.
The artificial lake in Auli is perched at an astounding elevation and is one of the world’s highest man made lakes. It was created to help in providing artificial snow on the ski slopes in event of scanty rainfall. This also helps in extending the skiing season in Auli. The lake is located right next to Clifftop Club and we did cover some of its pictures in our very first blogpost on Auli.
The snow-clad mountains, skiing slopes and azure-blue water make for the most amazing scenery. The fact that it is a man- made lake does not dampen the magic and beauty of the place in any manner. Nature truly holds the key to our aesthetic, intellectual, cognitive and even spiritual satisfaction.
The rope way connecting Joshimath to Auli is 4 kms long and offers magnificent views of the Himalayan landscape. If you really want to have a rendezvous with nature, the chair lift is the best available option. It starts from near the ITBP base camp and goes up till the lake. The fact that the chair lift is completely open and runs just a few feet above the ground adds to the thrill.
How to reach : A good traveler takes only memories and leaves no tracks. The same cannot be said about Nainital, a popular hill station located in the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand. Nainital is ensconced around an emerald lake surrounded by lush green mountains, but the amount of trash being emptied into the lake is ruining the beauty of this serene place. If we keep throwing garbage like this, there will be no mountains. All we will have are mountains of garbage.
Places to visit/Staying options : The place is great for a small rejuvenating break from the routine. Almost all the good hotels in Nainital offer a panoramic view of the mountains and the lake. The three best hotels to stay are : The Naini Retreat, Shervani Hilltop, The Manu Maharani. One can choose to just relax and enjoy the surroundings. For the more touristy ones, there are several options like : boating in the Naini lake, shopping and eating at the Mall Road or Tibetan market, Naina Devi Temple, Cable car ride to the snow view point and visiting the zoo.
Every blogpost that urges travellers to switch to eco friendly alternative counts. Every less plastic bottle used and disposed counts. Every voice discouraging their usage counts. Everything we do as individuals counts. Every responsible travel choice counts.
There aren’t any renowned hotel chains in Nainital, we would be covering the best hotels to stay in Nainital in subsequent blogposts. Here are the pictures from our trip :
Hope you enjoyed this sneak peek into Nainital, do like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram for more such stuff ❤️❤️
Head over to the first part of this blogpost here. This post has pictures of the same location after the snowfall, where in everything was engulfed in white. The very fact of snow is such an amazement. There’s just something beautiful about walking in snow that nobody else has walked on. It makes you believe you’re special. Silently, like thoughts that come and go, the snowflakes fall, each one a gem.
I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says, “Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.”
These are some photographs from our travels in and around Auli, you can have a look at our previous blogposts on Auli here. These pictures were taken before the snowfall happened, after which the entire area seemed like a white paradise. In Auli, there is no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather. Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces up, and snow is exhilarating.
Witnessing your first snowfall is a magical feeling and Auli is a place where Mother Nature rules supreme in all her glory. All good things may not be free, but all the best things of life are definitely free.
Auli – A place I had never heard of till 2010, it was the final year of our engineering and continuing the college tradition of a farewell trip, our batch decided to ditch Goa and go for something more adventurous. White river rafting and camping in Rishikesh followed by skiing at Auli, this was the first time I came to know that a place by this name existed in India and is close to Joshimath in Uttarakhand.
How to reach : After a two day camping stay at Rishikesh, we left for Auli in our sturdy mini bus ;). It was then we realised that the distance of 265 kms ,which we had hoped to cover in a time span of five-six hours, is a journey amidst tortuous roads and ever increasing altitude. Auli is located at an altitude of ten thousand feet above sea level and is barely at a distance of 55kms from the Badrinath Shrine. It is a breathtaking journey with river Ganga flowing in the steep valley parallel to the route. Many people from our group suffered from nausea, I recommend taking a very light meal and keeping some medications handy as the serpentine roads can easily trigger motion sickness.
The route passes through a number of small pilgrimages like Devprayag, Rudraprayag, Vishnuprayag, Chamoli-Gopeshwar etc, each of which holds a special value in the Hindu mythology. It took us about 10 hours to reach Joshimath which is the nodal point for Kedarnath/Badrinath. It is one of the most spectacular road journeys that one can encounter, a must visit for photography enthusiasts. The climb from Joshimath to Auli is very steep so night driving is not recommended, so we decided to take a halt in Joshimath where basic lodging options are available.
Staying Options : Early morning we started our journey, it took us about 45mins to traverse the 15km distance from Joshimath to Auli. There is a cable car rope way which connects Joshimath to Auli and is one of the longest rope ways in Asia. An administrative body called Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam Ltd (GMVNL), managed by Uttarakhand government, runs skiing courses for mountaineers and travellers and also provides lodging facilities, which is where we stayed. It was a wonderful stay at a very affordable price. For those seeking luxury, Cliff Top Club is the best available option.
Skiing Guide : Enclosed by snow clad mountains of Garhwal Himalayan Range, Auli is a paradise for skiing lovers. Even as beginners we could ski through the gentle slopes meant for novices, GMVN provides instructors and all skiing equipment at very reasonable costs. Walking through the misty slopes provides one with the imposing spectacle of some of the lofty mountain ranges like the beautiful Nanda-Devi, Mana Parvat, Kamet etc. It also has the highest man made lake in the world, which is used for skiing. The scenery is surreal, as if you are a part of a beautiful painting sketched by a dexterous painter.
Auli is a must visit place for all the nature lovers and of course for all those who are passionate for skiing.
Hope the pictures inspired you to plan a trip to Auli soon, Do like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram to get a glimpse of all the action we are upto 🙂