Uttaranchal – A Road Less Traveled

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A vacation always mean searching and booking for well-known tourist places and asking the opinions of friends and acquaintances who visited those places. For most of the tourist spots are well connected with logistics and have a good network of boarding facilities, it is less painstaking going to such places. But a trip to Uttaranchal last year changed my perception of traveling altogether.
After which I find that most of the popular tourist spots are overcrowded, polluted and most important commercialized by the locals.
My Itinerary for the trip: Corbett National Park was zeroed in after a quick search on Google. I found it a perfect place for vacation, wherein the whole family can relax and enjoy.
The planning started quite early, as it requires 3 months of advance booking for the jungle resorts inside the CNP (Corbett National Park) There are many staying options available outside the CNP, but you loose on the adventures of being in the real jungle with the wild.
The U-Turn: The actual plan was for a 3 days stay in CNP, proceed to Nainital and then visit a few near by places.
When a phone call from my childhood friend from Uttaranchal made me change it little. She invited me to her place in Uttaranchal called ‘Didihat’!
“Where on Earth is this Didihat located?” my exhausted hubby murmured digging deep in the map of India. He was a bit apprehensive traveling to an unknown place with small kids.
“You just book the tickets and come till Haldwani, and the I will take care of the rest” the call from my friend gave us some respite.
All Aboard: Arrived at Delhi as per plan, and boarded Ranikhet Express to go to Haldwani. Ranikhet Express starts in night from Delhi and goes till Kathgodam, the last point where Uttaranchal is connected by rail. Buses and jeeps are the only form of available logistics to travel to these mountain areas.
Reached Haldwani in the early morning and waited with bated breadth for our jeep driver, arranged by my friend. A small Pahari man greeted us with a smile and asked us to take seat in the jeep.
Natures Bounty: Picture perfect scenes, lush green mountains and cool breeze made us forget the tiredness of the journey.
Was it a bad decision? The situation changed the equation when our jeep started to go higher in the mountain. Steep roads, hairpin bends and the low pressure of air made all of us dizzy and nauseate.
Suddenly the whole trip was looking as a bad decision, and I was blaming myself for accepting the request of my friend. Anyway our misery found an end and we saw my friend on the doorsteps of her house greeting with a big smile.
Heaven on the Highlands: My friend, who was a bit upset by the happenings, woke us up the next day with a hot cup of tea. Night sleep made us fresh again, felt very cold (in May) and asked her for a sweater.
It was foggy and the Sky was covered with a thick smoke.
Jungle fire and fog is a normal phenomenon in mountains, which often mar the visibility in these hilly areas. Most of the pictures came out blurred because of the same.
My eyes opened wide when I came out in the balcony. I was sitting and sipping tea with the majestic Himalayas in front of me!
‘”There is lot in store to see” informed my friend, who asked us to take a day’s rest before starting to unravel the beauties of mountain. We would not have asked for more from this vacation.

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