Kumaon Journals

Kumaon: A Slice of Heaven

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A September 2003 trip to Kumaon by phileasfogg

The Temples of Jageshwar Photo, Kumaon, India More Photos
Quote: Lakes, mountains, temples, and dense woods are all part of Kumaon, a tiny region tucked away in Uttaranchal. A ten-day tour, and we came back completely besotted by the absolutely enchanting beauty of this place!

Kumaon: A Slice of Heaven

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Overview

On the road in Kumaon Photo, Kumaon, India
Quote:
Kumaon’s USP is its landscape- a panorama of hills covered with woods of pine, oak, cedar and rhododendron (the latter a flamboyant display of crimson during spring). Many of India’s highest peaks, including Trishul, Nandadevi, Nandakot and Panchchuli, snow-capped even in summer, can be seen from much of Kumaon- especially Mukteshwar and Binsar.Check out the `Lake District’- a series of lakes, of which the best-known is Naini Tal, which lends its name to the largest town in Kumaon. Within a 25 km radius of Nainital are more lakes: Bhimtaal, Naukuchiataal and Saat Taal, all worth a look.For a peek at Kumaon’s flora and fauna, fit in a so...Read More

KMVN Tourist Resthouses

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Hotel

KMVN Tourist Resthouses Photo, Kumaon, India
Quote:
We were on a tight budget, and headed for some of the less touristy places in Kumaon, where the likelihood of decent accommodation was in many cases pretty dim. The obvious choice, therefore, was KMVN and its Tourist Resthouses.KMVN, or to give it its full form, Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam, is the main body in charge of promoting tourism in Kumaon. KMVN has its headquarters in Nainital, and a veritable horde of Tourist Resthouses--they call them TRHs--all across Kumaon, even in places you wouldn’t think any tourist would ever stop at. What makes them a good bet is the fact that they’re invariably clean and comfortable, always inexpensive, and there’s bound to be one literally wherever you might want ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 11, 2003

KMVN Tourist Resthouses
All across Kumaon
Kumaon, India

The Temples of Jageshwar

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Attraction

The Temples of Jageshwar Photo, Kumaon, India
Quote:
We’d not originally planned to go to Jageshwar, but the discovery that it was just 35km from Almora, where we were staying, made us do a rethink. The trip could be done in half a day, and I remembered having read that the ancient stone temples were worth a look. So after breakfast at Almora, we drove off northwards to Jageshwar, which is considered the eighth of the 12 "jyotirlingas," specially sanctified shrines to the Hindu deity Shiva (the Destroyer, in the Hindu Trinity). The grey stone temples at Jageshwar date back to the 10th century and were built by the rulers of the Chand dynasty in the heart of a dense deodar forest, beside a rushing mountain stream. What comes as a pleasant surprise...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 11, 2003

The Temples of Jageshwar
35 km from Almora
Kumaon, India

The Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary

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Story/Tip

Binsar morning Photo, Kumaon, India
Quote:
This guy’s diminutive. And when I say diminutive, I mean it with a capital D. He’s wearing khaki trousers and a camouflage jacket- a subdued medley of olive green, tan and brown. His name’s Raju, he’s a guide, and he’s come to take us on a morning walk through the Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary. Doesn’t look much, but boy, can he climb (this is between 8,000 and 9,000 ft above sea level and he’s keeping up a running commentary while striding up a steep incline- all without running out of breath)! And does he know this place: each pugmark, each leaf, each inch of humus upturned by a boar’s tusk . . . Raju comes knocking at our door seven o’clock in the morning, punctual to the minute. This is when the...Read More

The Lake District of Kumaon

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Story/Tip

Nainital Photo, Kumaon, India
Quote:
Who first referred to the area around Nainital as the `Lake District’ is not actually recorded, but it’s an apt sobriquet. This region, contained within a barely 25 km radius of the central town of Nainital, is really one of lakes- there’s literally one lurking around every corner, encircled by rolling hills covered with pine and oak forests. The lakes around here are a dime a dozen, and with names that are exotic even to Indian ears: Naukuchiataal, Lokhamtaal, Khurpataal . . . a taal is a lake, and there are many taals here, each lovelier than the last. Our trip to Kumaon was not long enough to cover all the lakes (we left out the smaller ones, which include Khurpataal, ...Read More

The Route We Followed

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Story/Tip

Quote:
We’d planned a ten-day trip to and from Delhi, which is southwest of Kumaon, and driving all the way there and through the area was one of the things we were looking forward to - everybody had been telling us how very scenic it all was. Although we covered a large number of places (Nainital, Bhimtal, Naukuchiatal, Saat Taal, Mukteshwar, Almora, Binsar, Ranikhet, and Bhowali), the actual driving was strenuous only on the first and the last day, when we had to cover the 300-odd kilometers between Delhi and the hills.Roughly, our trail was:Day 1: Delhi-Nainital (314km): The road is National Highway (NH) all the way (which, in terms of Indian roads, means it’s better maintained than the o...Read More