A hot cup of tea, misty morning and the picturesque Himalayas in front, mornings could never be better than this. A good night sleep did cast its magic on us. It is lovely to see morning hours with a different view.
“Blessed are those who are close to nature” The serene and unpolluted environment fills the people of mountain with exuberance and a life time gift of sparkle & innocence on their faces.Their expectations and needs are very limited which in turn makes them content & cheerful.
Living on the edges: Most of the houses are constructed by cutting the mountains. When my friend told to us that their backyard opens in the mountain, my son couldn’t believe till he saw the rocks and muddy piles by himself.
It is amazing to see people climbing up and down the mountain several times in a day, as if they are climbing stairs in an apartment. Children walking up the hill with the school bags, cow boys taking their cattle for grazing and pahari women climbing with huge baskets on their back for collecting fodder.
Didihat: Situated at 1.725 mt. above sea levels in Pithoragargh district of Uttaranchal is a small village hardly seen on the map of India. It is situated on the pilgrimage route to Kailash Mansarovar, and is very close to Nepal border. The culture and language of the people here resembles to people of Nepal.
It is best advised to explore this pristine beauty on your own, a cab or a personal vehicle is helpful. My friend made the plan for our trip of 3 days in the place, and her husband sportingly accepted to take us in his car to all these places.
First day of our trip was planned for Munshiyari, a place famous for trekking and as a starting point to the Kailash Mansarovar. We avoided trekking to the glaciers with small kids and opted to see the natural beauties on the land instead.
Munshiyari: It is a hub of activity for people opting for trekking and exploring glaciers such as Pindari glaciers. From Munshiyari the mountain ranges of Himalayas are much clearly visible, especially Panchachuli the five famous mountain rangers of Himalayas. The place has abundance of natural beauties to enjoy.
A friend indeed: As per plan we slept early, as we decided to start our trip to nearby places at around 6 am. To our surprise a big travel bag with home cooked lunch and other eatable was ready. Which my friend and her husband prepared in the wee hours of morning! They did not want us to eat outside when traveling with kids.
This heart felt welcome extended to us was indeed moment to be cherished for life.
Time for a break: We found a good place to sit and enjoy our home cooked food with nature. The place was an under construction botanical garden and gave an ample opportunity for the kids to explore nature, looking out for butterflies and wild flowers. The food was excellent with a pahari touch to it and the hot cup of coffee refreshed all of us.
Betuli Dhar: All ready and set to go, we started our trip at 6 am in the morning. A panoramic view of sun captured our eyes, as the sky was sprinkled with orange, yellow and red hues. Sunrise is difficult to see on mountain due to misty mornings and jungle fire. Birds flying away in search of food, farmers getting ready for a hard days work and the gentle and cold breeze. Life is bliss!
Betuli dhar is a waterfall and is one of the major attractions in Uttaranchal. To reach the waterfall there are 200-300 steps to climb and a rough terrain to cross. We climbed the steps but could not get the courage to cross the rocky terrain with the kids. It was a beautiful experience, similar to trekking at a small level.
A quick trip to another Country: Kali river was accompanying us throughout our trip; it becomes more vibrant as we reach near the Jhulaghat, the bridge that connects Uttaranchal to Nepal.
The bridge is a marvelous architect structure. It was a bit scary to walk on the bridge, which has no support in the middle and shakes vigorously when one walks on it.
My son wanted to cross the bridge and touch Nepal. With the permission of the Indian security guards we crossed the bridge and stepped into Nepal a foreign terrain without any penny spent. Had a talk with Nepalese people and took a few snaps.
The trip took the whole day and we were exhausted. Reached home and had a typical pahari meal of rice, rajma and a salad of Timur seeds powder.
Shirakote Temple: The next day was reserved for visiting this exquisite temple, which is built on mountain. It is dedicated to lord Shiva. Many community festivals are held here at regular intervals. Visiting the temple is a great experience in itself. Though the way to temple is quite steep and rough with over 500 steps to climb, a walk along the nature never let us feel the tiredness.
After reaching the temple and the summit of the mountain, we were transformed altogether to a different world. Gusty cold winds and the leaves dancing making a beautiful music. It was as if the world has stopped for those moments, with no noise pollution and strains of the city life.
The temple has an array of huge bells in copper, which when hit with force, makes a loud sound audible even on the plains in the city. From the temple one can see a panoramic view of whole Didihat. We did prayers and stayed there for a while.
Exploring the local areas: The last day was reserved for visiting Didihat. The markets in Didihat are bustling with activities and goods that have made their way from Nepal. Purchased a few nick knacks from the local market.
My friend gifted me a natural flower drink, which I found out has anti oxidant properties and is very beneficial for overall health.
It is made with a flower similar to Hibiscus and is called Barose flower in local language.Since the natural drink is not patented by any company, we had to make do with the empty wine bottles, which were used to fill the concentrate.
Evening was spent in a walk down the valley to my friend’s farmhouse. Exploring the wild fruits and flowers on the way was quite an experience for my kids, who were amazed and confused as to how anyone could stay without television and computers!
With a heavy heart we bid good-bye to my friend and left the place with the warm generosity extended to us etched in our memories forever. The trip made us realize that traveling is more than just seeing a few places and visiting monuments. It is all about exploring nature and being one with it.