A Weeklong Escapade In The Midst of Nature

Day 0: Flight to Delhi

Take a pre-paid taxi to OLD Delhi Station. Have your dinner and board Ranikhet Express at 10.30 p.m. It will reach next day early morning at 6 a.m. at Kathgodam station.
At Kathgodham Walk to Himalaya’s representative will greet you at the station and bring you to the Kosi Valley Retreat which is approximately 4-hour drive.

Day 1 and 2: Almora

Almora is located at an altitude of 1638 meters (5,500 feet), on a ridge at the southern edge of the Kumaon Hills of the Himalaya range. With snow clad plumed peaks, majestic peaks, variegated flora and fauna, wildlife and lakes as well as nature’s benignity at the fullest at every step in Almora, you can romance the powdery snow here on the hills. Cleanse your soul on the enviable peaks of Almora. The world has been bewitched by its beauty so much so that Franco-Australian-India Bollywood star Almora Davie was named after this hill station (Almora) followed by another popular film star, Uma Thurman, also resided in the same hill station.

Set 35 kms from Almora to Jageshwar temple.
Jageshwar Temple is believed to be the adobe of twelve Jyotirling’s. It is situated in a verdant narrow valley surrounded by magnificent Deodar trees. These temples range in the period from 8th century and are estimated to be about 2500 yrs old. There is a small museum where statues of artistic value, removed from the various shrines, have been preserved by the archaeological department.
Located about 6km from Almora, is the 12th century Chitai temple dedicated to Gollu Devta with its unique collection of brass bells of all sizes. These bells are hung by the devotees as offerings making a wish or in thanksgiving on the fulfillment of one’s wish. One such ritual is that devotees make their wish by writing letters to Gollu Devta. Stacks of letter are pinned all over the temple along with bells.
Also visit Binsar Jungle Forest which is located 30 kms from Almora, is an epitome of serenity and tranquillity with perched on top of a hill with a spectacular view of the snowcapped peaks and the Almora valley. The chief attraction of Binsar is the majestic view of the Himalayas – a 300 km, stretch on famous peaks which includes Kedarnath, Chaukhamba, Trishul, Nanda Devi, Nanda Kot and Panchchuli.
Drive back to KVR. Retire. Relax to set for a fresh beginning next day.

Day 3: Ranikhet

A quaint little hill station conceived by the British tucked away in the Kumaon Himalayas. An old army cantonment from British time. Charmingly unspoilt natural beauty…Serene and quiet. This is Ranikhet for you on your 1st day of your voyage.
It is a haven for bird watchers and visitors who wish to spend their holidays in solitude, Ranikhet is a place which has preserved its virginity and pristine charm. The sweep of Himalayan range visible from here is arguably the largest available from any place.
Ranikhet’s golf course is a natural nine-hole course and is one of the prime attractions of Ranikhet. The Ranikhet Golf Course is one of the highest golf courses in the world and it is a sought-after tourist’s attraction within Ranikhet.

Chaubatia garden, 10 km from Ranikhet, is a fruit lover’s haunt, boasting of an assortment of fruit plantations and terraced gardens.

Hairakhan Temple- 4 Kms from Ranikhet Town at Chiliyanaula is the Hairakhan Temple which was established by Shri Hairakhan Maharaj who is said to be incarnation of lord Shiva. Tranquility, Peace, Serenity with a spellbound Himalayan backdrop makes this temple a place worth visiting even if you are not very religious! The `aarti’ is from 7 to 8, both morning and evening which is worth attending. There is a feel to the place, an ambience … wonderful vibes.

Return back to KVR. Retire for the day.

Day 4: Kausani

Your journey from here heads to Kausani, set at an altitude of over 6075 ft (1890 mt) above sea level. Kausani is surrounded by snowcapped mountains and imagination-stirring scenic beauty, which has earned it the moniker the ‘Switzerland of India’. Kausani offers a quite a vantage view of Himalayas mountain range – Nanda Devi and Trishul. At 7817 meters, Nanda Devi is the second highest peak in India.
Apart from the spectacular views of the hills, the place is famous for Anashakti Ashram. Mahatma Gandhi spent some days at this ashram. The ashram is now converted into a research centre and a library. There is a memorial of ‘Sarlaben’ original name Katherine Heileman, who spent her life at this place as a social worker. The sunrise and sunset rays soaking Trishul peak in golden yellow and other distant peaks in bright orange makes the vista simply exhilarating.
Kausani is also a treasure trove of picturesque tea gardens, a real feast to the eye. This estate is placed 1200 to 1800 mts above sea level. This tea yield is unique as it is produced in foggy and chill weather and at such a high altitude.
Lying in the Katyuri valley, 19 kms away from Kausani and 26 kms from Bageshwar, is the small but ancient town of Baijnath. In Kumaun socio cultural region, Baijnath is one among remote antiquity and of historical importance. The remnants of those glorious days lie at the bank of the Gomti River in the form of a group of temples. The water is crystal clear and there are lots of fish that abound. One can feed fishes here.
After enjoying the serene Kausani, head back to KVR.

Day 5: Mukhteshwar

Mukteshwar literally means ‘Abode of Shiva’ and at 7290 ft. is one of the highest ridges in central Himalayas. An hour’s drive ahead of Nainital and set amidst the conifer forests and orchards, Mukteshwar offers the most enchanting view of the Himalaya and its snow bound peaks. Away from the popular hill station environ, Mukteshwar is a pure magic. Abundant with apple, plum, peach, and apricot trees, this place is a hidden beauty, mostly unexplored. Among the major peaks visible from here are Nanda Devi (25,646fts.) Nanda Kot (6926mtr.) Nandaghunti (6380mtrs.) Trishul and Panchachuli. Mukteshwar is an ideal hill station if you want to admire the panoramic beauty of the Himalayas and leisurely walks through the winding paths of the the hills.
Mukteshwar is a walker’s paradise, here unlike the more popular hill stations, you could wake up with the chirping birds and sun rays kissing the cliffs and enjoy short treks in the woods.
Mukteshwar temple is at an altitude of 2,315 m and can be approached by stone stairs. The temple is dedicated to Shiva and has a lingam made of white marbles.
Next to the temple is Chauli ki Jali. It is a natural latticework on the rock. It is belief that barren women are blessed with a child if they touch this jali.
The local market place is a treasure trove of souvenirs and knick knacks. The local sell trinkets made out of pine cones. You can buy delicious apple jams, or perhaps the never tasted Rhododendro squash.

Day 6: Repose in the Resort

Get to know the place where you staying better. Simply relax and amble around. What you’ll find here, are mountains, trees, lakes, stars, birds, fishes, conifer-scented air, the friendly villager or an odd leopard ?. And, if you’re not content to simply sit around surrounded by all of the above, there’s trekking, Burma bridge crossing, bouldering, rock climbing and rappelling and day dreaming.
From walking down the meandering roads amongst the tall pine and deodhar trees or trekking behind the resort or cycling in the village lanes or feeling the rush as you rappel down a cliff or river crossing or simply angling; the options are plenty around Kosi Valley Retreat to create a vacation to cherish.

Day 7: Nainital

Post breakfast Depart from Kosi Valley Retreat
Sightseeing at Nainital. And nearby places.
Nainital has earned the epithet of ‘Lake District’ of India. It is said that the left eye (Nain) of Sati fell here and formed the emerald eye-shaped lake. You could simply pedal in the serene Nainital Lake and watch the cares of the modern world slip away.
Well, keeping the best for the last, you could shop till you drop. Options are plenty; smart sneakers, Tibetan artifacts, Tibetan junk jewelry, woolens, trek bags, shapely candles.
There are quite a few offbeat places around Nainital like Saat tal. There are three lakes (of the original seven Sat), named after the epic personages Ram, Sita and Lakshman.
Naukuchiatal – A lake with 9 corners. It is bigger and more beautiful lake then Nainital & Bhimtal, boating are main attraction.
It’s time to wish adios to the royal forest of Deodhar trees, the blissfully undiluted silence, the crisp air laden with the scent of pines, and finally the enthralling ambiance of the Himalayan range and retrace your path back home. Take the evening train from Kathgodam to Delhi.
Reach Delhi at 5 a.m in the morning.

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