Friday, 26 June 2015

Kausani : Where silence speaks , the sun rises and the peaks shine

A friend of mine and me were planning since some time to drive to and explore some part of the Himalayas since a long time. I was at my internship in Gajraula and Gaurav called me to ask if I was in for a drive. It was Thursday, around 10 pm and I had no second thoughts. A drive through the Kumaon hills covering Almora, Kausani and Binsar was the tentative plan.

I called another friend of mine and he was convinced, although it took some efforts. Rajat, who was at the internship with me, also agreed to join us.
So, Gaurav and Shaishav drove from Okhla around 6:30 pm. Jostling through the heavy traffic till Pilkhuva, they reached our place Friday night around 9:45 pm.  

Saturday, we started early morning around 4:40 am with the sun beginning to show up shyly.

As we began the journey, it started raining and the fields around the Moradabad road looked beautiful. In a short while, the rain stopped and the weather was cool and pleasant.  The road upto Rampur is butter smooth and the stretch till Bilaspur is also not bad. Then , again the Road is smooth. The recommended route is Rampur-Bilaspur-Haldwani-Kathgodam-Bhowali-Khairna-Almora.. 

As we enter the state of Uttrakhand ..

Heavy rains welcoming us :D 

We had our breakfast break at a dhaba just after we started ascending the hills crossing Kathgodam. 

As we moved further, the traffic kept reducing as the Nainital traffic was cut off. On our way, we passed through Bhimtal lake. 

Smooth road towards Almora.. a treat for drivers

The first chill and photo break was just before reaching Almora. Entering the Almora town wasn't a good idea and we decided to move further. 

 The Kausani and Binsar roads separate after a few kilometres from Almora on the Almora-Gopeshwar Road. After some discussions and disagreements, we finally decided to take the road to Kausani, through Kosi, and it turned out to be a good decision....maybe :) . 

The Almora traffic was also cut out and further up, the ones going to Ranikhet were also cleared off from the road, and it was a calm and thrilling drive in the Kumaon hills. The roads were beyond my expectations. The smooth and wide roads were quite a surprise. 

We reached Kausani and looked for some stay options. I didn't want to stay in the market area but some guest house at a nice altitude with a clear view of the Himalayan Peaks and a nice terrace for star gazing. 
We headed straight to the KMVN Tourist rest house which is at the end of the road, but no availability. Then we looked for some other options. Some of them were full or didn't even offer what we were looking for. 
We went to the State rest house, the best stay option around there, but limited to government officials. We went and requested the manager, Munna Prasad ji to provide us a room. He agreed to give us a room, if no government official turned up till the evening. 

In the meanwhile, we started exploring around and casually kept on asking for accommodation too.

The Forest Rest House is also a great place to stay, but once again, it was full.

We drove to the Baijnath temple on the Kausani-Bageshwar road, and strolled at the Tea gardens on the way. It was a beautiful road surrounded by a rich growth of Deodar trees. A cool and calm weather . It was a great time to be in Kausani. 

Road from kausani to bageshwar 

Near the Baijnath Temple

As we were driving around, the confirmation of availability came from the State Rest House. As my experience has been , it's better not to book in advance but be aware of the options. In the end, it all turns out good. 

The State rest house at Kausani

The homely dinner at the Rest House

Our luck wasn’t with us as the towering peaks were hidden behind the clouds. The ideal time to see the beautiful peaks is post mid-November.

The evening was nicely spent at the guest house, talking and the enjoying the view of the valley Almora town from the rest house terrace. 

The Rudradhari Waterfall and the Saint

The next morning, we went to the Rudradhari waterfall, which is a heavenly drive, followed by a short 30-40 minute trek. 

On the way to the Rudradhari falls

Lost in the beauty of the mountains

The lovely trek towards the Rudradhari temple and waterfall

On reaching, we found that it was a Shiv Temple with a small waterfall. Never had I imagined that I would meet one of the most knowledgeable man I had ever met, at this place in the middle of the jungle. We talked to him for around half an hour, on a variety of topics, including education, Yoga, meditation, technology.

The saint had been living here for 19 years, and my respect grew for him when we asked him about his path. He had completed his college, worked, traveled a lot in India, and as he told us, he became clear about the goal of his life and made a decision to come and stay here. 

He told us how he kept his focus on his ultimate goal and all his activities, routine and thoughts were directed towards it. He talked a bit about Yogic techniques which help him stay normal in the cold weather conditions. It was happiness talking to him. We also had a cup of tea with him. 

After spending some quality time at the temple, we walked back and the mind felt free of thoughts and completely aware of the present moment. 

A sense of satisfaction filled me. The air on the return trek felt even more oxygenated and a sense of positive disinterestedness filled me. 
What i felt and realized at that moment is that it's all about keeping focus and living in the present. It fills you with thrill, what i like to call disinterested thrill. You feel inner happiness, and we can do it every moment. 

The return journey was as good as ever, with a bit of jam near the plains and the car needing some repair in Haldwani. We had dinner just after crossing Haldwani and reached back around 1am. 

Binsar was left out for another day. 

Kausani is for you if want to come back to the present.  The goodbye won't last long.