When we started from Kathgodam on the curves of the beautiful mountains, it was a breathtaking view. Looking down in the valley made some butterflies dance in my stomach! A never ending smile automatically came on my face and eyes were getting such a delightful view that I was not ready to miss out a single moment!!
Enclosed by fruit orchards and thick coniferous forest, Mukteshwar was developed by the British as research and education institute (IVRI) in 1893. It owes much of its current day standing to the Indian Veterinary Research Institute, which possesses a large part of the land and most of the deep forests that surround Mukteshwar.
Getting there: Mukteshwar is 350 km from Delhi,India, a drive of about 8-9 hours via Nainital, 53 km or Haldwani, 49 km. The nearest railhead is at Kathgodam, 72 km, from where buses and taxis are available for Mukteshwar.
Best time: Mukteshwar is a year-round holiday destination. Rainy months can be avoided.
Accommodation: KMVN has a tourist bungalow and there is a District Board guesthouse midway to Nainital where you can stay with permits. Other than this, deluxe cottages, luxury tents and rooms are available at an up-market resort – tariffs start at Rs1550 to Rs3800 for a double room (this rate is few years back when we went). Mukteshwar Himalayan Restort is in collabration with KMVN and GMVN (deluxe double room – 1400/-)
Route:Delhi – Moradabad – Haldwani – Bhimtal – Bhowali – Ramgarh – Mukteshwar.
Rail: Kathgodam (72 km).
Air: Pantnagar (95 km).
Places of interest:
Nainital (46 km), Bhimtal (38 km), Naukuchiatal (43 km), Ranikhet (85 km), Binsar (85 km).
Bheemtal, Side view of Nanital, Pine tress, wild flowers and there magical fregrance. All welcomed us to the Mountians with open arms!! As if saying – come and embarase me with all your strenght, take a dip in my beauty and get refreshed and relaxed!
After a one hour drive we reached Mukteshwar Himalayan Resort. Frankly speaking after depositing the advance amount online without seeing or having any idea of the resort we were a bit skeptical, but a single view of the place made us relaxed! The green hills, a view of the valley down and the high mountains, somewhere behind them was the mighty Himalaya peaks but were not visible in this season.
It’s said that this gives a divine view of the Himalayas, the 6596 m high Neelkantha (Blue-throated Shiva), the 7120 m Trishul (Shiva’s Trident), Nanadadevi, 7817 m (Goddess of Bliss), Nanadaghunti 6310 m (the Veil of the Goddess) and the five-pronged chimneys of the Panchuli peaks
Resort rooms were very comfortable, some people started with the TT round, the food area, balcony from our room, a small temple, play area, beautiful trees loaded with apple and regional fruits were creating a magical feeling.
After having breakfast we discussed with the management of the options available, one was to get in touch with Camp Purple guys who will take us for tracking (450/- per person), rock climbing, and some water activities. Other option was that this guy here will take us for site seeing and forest walk. We settled for the second option. Ordered a cab which would take us to Mukteshwar Mahadev temple which was 7 km (cab took 400/- for this) from here and we could explore other things around.
Till then we were escorted for a forest walk to the near by hill, as soon as we started climbing, the enchanting music of pine trees created by high wind gave us a feeling of – “If there is heaven, it’s here and here alone!” From the top we could see the small wooden and stone houses and the huge potato plantations with other orchids. After spending some time with mother nature we came to the waiting cab.
With all due respect to old music, I prefer fast tracks. But the driver had put typical mountain songs which actually mixed well with the situation at that time, speedy curves and deep down valley. Finally in 20 min we reached the temple. The entire region and mountain ranges are known as “Mukteshwar” after “Mukteshwar Mahadev”. Pilgrims and tourist alike in order to have breath taking view of the valley and stunning view of snow capped Himalayan peaks, make it a point to visit the temple. A few seconds spent in and around temple premises gives a divine spiritual peace and at the same time exotic view of lush green forests
After having some conversion with Shiva, I started admiring the bells there of all the prayers people come with …praying silently to HIM! From there we got a good view of the Chauthi Jali, our next destination.
A school on the way to Chauthi Jali …….
It was a small walk to the rocks,Chauthi Jali, awesome! Rocks were cutting out at a bizarre angle, as if every step trying to peep down to the breathtaking view of the valley. There were some group of people trying the ROCK Climbing exercise, which was a very interesting view. They were taken to a very small distance but I think that would be good way down for a starter, I couldn’t try my hands on it due to back problem, but could feel the adventure in those who were going up and down with the rope tied around them.
We stayed there and watched some good rockers!! Then we had a good walk to the KVM guest house where our guide had promised for lunch. Again set out for a curved ride from temple to the resort, in between stopping at a Chocolate Coffee shop buying some yummy chocolates for my son. After having grand lunch n tea, it was 6.30 pm and our guide friend tried to cajole us to go for the waterfall walk next morning. We insisted of going for the 4km (total 8) right that moment. So they took two torches with them and we started departing down the slop crossing the potato and paddy plantations taking a short cut rather then a simple walk on the road. The small apples, khumani, and other fruits gave a wonderful view, specially the green, brown, golden shades of Pine trees are beyond explanation.
The walk was a great experience in itself and we were told beforehand that it was a small waterfall (the larger one was 9km away, not making it possible for a walk that day), after going up and down the area, crossing a small stream of water, the road was hardly visible and we came to a point where he told us to walk down to the waterfall.I had to get rid of my shoes cauz they were slippery on the in between soil …with the help of tresses and strong grips… we finally could hear the music of water falling on stones….the small local kid with us who was carrying a torch …jumped on the rocks to a point where he fixed the light in such a way that it created a magical effect on the falling water over the stones….he demonstrated us a beautiful lighting show……in the moonlight where all the stars were really twinkling (not like our cities) and we could hear the unadulterated melody of wind water n rocks….it was a moment to be cherished….clicked forever in the memory lane.
We were reminded of the walk back …and so started the battle again, don’t know about others but I was worn out …took 4-5 stops on the road and instead of the danger of night and no lighting, we took the shortcut only to stay away from the loooooong walk….njoying antakshari on the route back ….oldies …which made it difficult for a friend to join in cauz of her limited knowledge of Bollywood music.
Finally when we climbed the last rock to land on the road near our resort, we were so exhausted that we lied down on the road itself,watching the stars. A beep from a coming vehicle forced us to go back to the garden where we were treated with a local fruit juice – Burans! It is a State flower of Uttaranchal state. It grows at a height of 6-7 thousand feet. In Uttaranchal and Himanchal Pradesh, BURANSH QUASHES is a popular drink, whereas in Darjeeling it”s dried flower are used to prepare Roksy, a traditional wine. Fresh BURANSH is an eatable item for local people. Medical Science now accepts the fact that BURANSH SQUASHES is useful in treatment of Cardiac-problems, High blood Pressure, Asthma etc. BURANSH SQUASHES is an effective cold drink. It is a unique gift of the Himalayas. (Red Flower in the middle in these pictures)
After a yummy dinner we all settled for indoor games and then finally dropped dead to sleep . Next morning we had plans to explore Nanital.
Morning views of Mukteshwar before leaving for Nanital. A a promise in the heart to come and spend more time in next visit!!!
Miles to go!!!