We had spent three nights in Kumaon but did not have the opportunity to behold the snow capped mountain ranges till we reached Kausani (at 1890 metres above sea level). The distance from Ranikhet was about 70 kilometres and when we checked in to the hotel in Kausani it was past noon. The KMVN rest house in Kausani was situated at an exquisite location. After we moved up the winding road, the KMVN rest house was where the road ended.
Good news was awaiting us at Kausani. The sky was more on the clearer side and the snow clad mountain ranges were visible, at last. From the hotel, a wide range of peaks are visible in general but back then we were able to see only two peaks out of them. They were Trishul and Nanda Ghunti respectively. The others were partially covered by cloud.
After we checked in and had our lunch, we made ourselves comfortable on the deck chairs that were put up in front of every room. We had no plan to go out for the rest of the day and spent the entire afternoon and evening just relaxing and observing the many moods of the mountains. Sometimes the cloud covers were moving away and parts of some other peak were peeping through the clouds and then again the peaks which were very much visible till then were engulfed by new cloud cover.
As the sun was setting in the evening the reflection of the sun light brought about a golden orange tinge to the mountain peaks and they looked majestic.
As it became dark after sunset, there was nothing to do. We grouped together and did some planning for where we could go for the next trip. But then again this trip itself was only half way through. There was a television box in my room which came to life after much trying but then it went off again after some time. A chill wind was blowing outside, so I was confined within my room alone and the light was not bright enough to read any book either. So I just went to bed after dinner and hoped to be asleep soon.
In the evening earlier, a wasp (bolta in Bengali) entered my sister’s room and it was not getting out even after our meek attempts to throw it out. We were not going too near though for the fear that its bite may sting badly. A hotel bearer was passing by our rooms and I tried to call him to help us out but could not make him understand the problem properly due to my poor Hindi speaking skills. It reminded me of the joke “Hum bangla mein bolta ko bolta bolta, tum hindi mein bolta ko kya bolta?” Finally Runa could catch the insect with a glass just like Feluda captured a scorpion in the Ray flick “Sonar Kella”. Salute to her for her bravery!
Although I am a late riser by habit, I woke up real early the next day before sunrise. It was such two days in a row now. But unlike Ranikhet, Kausani did not disappoint us. In fact the sky was clearer than the previous day and some more peaks were visible as well. Apart from Trishul and Nanda Ghunti, Maiktoli and the Mrigathuni ranges were very clear. Parts of Nanda Devi and Nanda Kot were also visible. Someone pointed at another peak and said it was Chaukhamba, but I doubted it very much.
The hotel was divided into several different buildings. For example, one of them housed the reception and the dining room. Adjacent to it were the deluxe rooms which we stayed at. The road continued still further up a bit and after a bend, the cottages were located. After morning tea, I took my camera and started going up the road till it ended abruptly. The vision of the mountain ranges was grander from that place. I took some quick snaps and more importantly captured the beauty of the royal Himalayas with my inner eye. It was a different sensation altogether, to just stand alone and absorb the splendor of nature into oneself. Some stray monkeys were roaming around freely and looking inquiringly at my camera. I did not consider it safe to spend any more time there alone, pocketed the camera and returned to the hotel.
After breakfast, there was some drama that I would mention in my next post. After that we checked out of the hotel and took a tour of the few tourist spots that are there in Kausani apart from the stunning view of the Himalayas. First we stopped by Anasakti Ashram which is popularly known as Gandhi Ashram. Mahatma Gandhi stayed at the ashram for some days. There was a prayer hall with many photographs of Gandhi from different phases of his life. We were told that Bhajans are performed in the prayer hall every evening. One can also stay at the ashram with the condition that one must attend the Bhajan session everyday. The ashram has a good view of the mountain ranges but then they were not much visible.
After some time, we moved on from the ashram. Puran took us to a tea garden next, the only tea garden in entire Uttarakhand. It was named Girias Uttaranchal Tea. There was a factory as well adjacent to it where we were shown how tea is processed. We also took some sip of their tea. The tea was without milk and sugar. The factory staff advised us that that way we would get the actual flavour of the tea. But that is not how I like my tea and all I felt was some mild hot water with some flavour going down my throat and it cost us fifty bucks per cup. We came to know that most of the tea produced there is exported to countries like Germany and Japan. I prayed for their prosperity and hoped to be content with the kind of tea I like and drink.
Without wasting any more time there we continued our journey to Binsar. But before that we had a nice little surprise. To know that, read my next post.