Saturday, May 13, 2006


All my dreamy imaginations and assurances by my travel agent (about the cool climes) are shattered as our NON-AC bus takes us to Kausani from Nainital. Thankfully we see green all around, occasionally dotted by purples, yellows and bright reds of some flowering trees. Suddenly our bus comes to a halt and I see a long line of buses ahead. Apparently some road construction work is the cause of our stall. I get down to stretch my legs. There is a river trickling below (Unlike Himalayan rivers that are always gushing with water from the Himalayas.) and terraced farms, each a different hue of green. (I later learned that the elevations are drought-prone since all the water from the rainfall feeds the plains.)
The air suddenly grows cool as we start after this break. I go back to my day dreaming about Kausani. Kausani has been a fixation since I read about it in my Hindi textbook in school. I recollect the author describing the view of Himalayas from this little town and the Himalayan phenomenon of “Call of the mountain”.
Dark clouds dominate the evening sky when we arrive at our hotel (Hotel Jeetu). It seems that God is going to heed to everybody’s chants for cooler weather by sending some showers. This also means not being able to see the legendary sunset. I rush to my room and head towards the balcony; the backside of another hotel can be seen below and the usual pines and evergreens in the valley. I shift my gaze upwards towards the horizon and spot the ranges – NandaGhunti, Trishul, Panchachuli as I later learn their names. Excitedly, I call out to the others and point them to the ranges.

View of Himalayan peaks from our hotel balcony in Kausani, Uttaranchal
Hot chai arrives just as it begins to rain. Mesmerized we sip our chai and point out to each other as a new peak becomes visible from the cloak of clouds. A lone crow sits atop an evergreen, seemingly enjoying the showers and soaking in the view. It is interesting to even watch the clouds – a fluff on my right seems like an archer ready to shoot and the one on my left appears like the smiling face of a benevolent lady. A minute later the lady turns into a dragon spewing fire and the archer is no more, instead I make out 3 wild horses racing. An hour passes quickly cloud gazing and peak spotting. It stops raining and I decide to go for a short walk.

Sunrise - Kausani, Uttaranchal
We rise early (5:30ish) to catch the sunrise. The fireball slowly comes into view and illuminates the peaks one by one. The greys and blues of last evening are transformed into goldens and pinks. The air of mystique that surrounded the mountains last night is transformed into a serene sacredness by the rays of the morning sun. The sunrise is beautiful, yet, I prefer the view of the mountains of the past evening.
I hike up the hill in front of our hotel and collect pine cones on my way down. Post breakfast I take another short hike to a nearby temple. The peaks dominate the horizon everywhere I go. The hikes refresh me and am happy to have the opportunity to be in the midst of nature rather than just hop from one destination to the other.

Trishul peak as seen from Kausani, Uttaranchal
Soon it is time to say goodbye to Kausani. I take one last look at the peaks and make a silent promise to visit them soon.