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Reach early morning at Kathgodam station, the last railway station at the highest altitude for entering the Himalayan state from Kumaon. You would be picked by our effervescent driver guide. You will enjoy a 3-4 hour scenic drive down to 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. (Handy Notes: Gear up your energy and be at the Ranikhet golf course at night to watch the dense starry canopy. Trust me, it’s not worth a miss (esp. if its new moon or crescent-shaped). You would never get to such a glittering visual in the urban smogged sky. )
Your journey from here heads to Kausani, set at an altitude of over 6075 ft (1890 mt) above sea level. Kausani is surrounded by snow-capped 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 (Handy Notes: Wake up at six o\’clock to experience one of those magnificent Himalayan sunrises. You could ask your room attendant to be your morning alarm to doubly ensure not to miss this spectacular panorama)
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. Back to Resort. Bon Appetite. Time for bed.
After breakfast you head to Auli which is acclaimed as one of Asia\’s finest ski resorts, and has been credited with some of the finest powder in the world. The ropeway from Joshimath to Auli is one of the longest in India covering a distance of 4.15 km. . The view of Nanda Devi is magnificent from Auli with meadows all around..
You get a second experience of this magnificent, Kausani which is blessed with the towering presence of Trishul
After breakfast proceed to 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. In the shape of a horse saddle shaped hillock it is surrounded by thick forests of pine and fur trees, flowing alongside the city are rivers of Koshi (Kaushiki) and Suyal (salmale) and to top it all are the snow capped Himalayas in the background. 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. Post lunch and small rest set on your trail to Binsar Jungle…Your search for peace and solitude ends here. Invigorating air and glorious mountain views. Long ramble with the feel of brown leaves crunching underfoot. And savor the sunset as the sky is set in hues of red, orange and gold. Binsar is perched on top of the Jhandi Dhar hills and completely surrounded by dense forests. Oak, rhododendron, pine and deodar grow in amazing abundance. The mantle of green hangs all around – rocks covered with unusual moss and ferns, flowers and shrubs – foliage sprouting out of every conceivable nook and cranny of the hillside. Back to resort for soothing your appetite. Morning will begin with a spiritual pursuit as we set 35 kms from Almora to Jageshwar (an hour and a half drive). 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. Most of the shrines are located in the main temple complex, but a kilometer away is the Dandeshwar group of temples, seven or eight shrines dominated by a massive temple with a towering spire. Drive down to back to Kosi Valley Retreat.
After breakfast, you head to Nainital which 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. In Indian mythology, Nainital is regarded as one of the 64 \’Shakti Peeths\’. Legend has it that a grief stricken Lord Shiva was carrying Sati\’s body and one of her eyes fell here. The Nainital Lake is shaped like an eye and the town derived its name from the combination of Nain (eye) and Tal (lake). The Naina Devi temple is located at one end of the lake. Play hide and seek and be awed with wonderment when the whole lake disappears in a huge sheet of mist within seconds and then re-appears. Board the Ropeway cabin and enjoy the magnificent aerial view of the emerald Nainital. Or test your flexible as your grope your way through the winding contours of the Nainital caves. You could walk into the Nainital zoo which would give a close preview of the myriad variety of animals and birds in their habitat; snow leopards, Siberian tiger, ebony colored shiny bears, multi-colored peasants, grumpy faced wild Owl. Or you could simply pedal in the serene Nainital Lake and watch the cares of the modern world slip away. You could shop around at Mall Road. You get good 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 than Nainital & Bhimtal. Boating and the expansive serene beauty is the main attraction.
DEPARTURE TO DELHI FROM KATHGODAM
Its 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. Head to Delhi by train.