Baijnath Temple, Kausani
I have this lust…. weekend outings! Being a homemaker there is really no ‘off-day’ for me and it becomes real boring for me if I am stuck at home for the weekend doing all those same household chores like every other day.
While in Pune (Maharashtra) we had lots of weekend getaway options plus the weather was pleasant most of the time through the year. But suddenly we found ourselves posted to Bareilly which was a typical small town in state of Uttar Pradesh. Having spent much of my growing up years in Uttar Pradesh, I had no desire whatsoever to be there again but my husband’s job required us to be at Bareilly. A month or so passed and all three of us…..me, my husband and our daughter, all were depressed with the city, weather, people…..everything basically. We desperately wanted a break to rejuvenate our sagging spirits.
Nainital (Uttarakhand) , a hill station at the foothills of Kumaon Hills of outer Himalayas is a much frequented and commercialized tourist destination popularised by Britishers in 1841 during their rule over India. It is some three and half hour drive from Bareilly. Since we wanted to avoid too much of tourist traffic, we drove further up towards the district of Almora (Uttarakhand). Our destination was Kausani, further up……52kms north of Almora. Beyond Almora, the flora slowly changed to plantation of conifers on both flanks of the winding road……like the many pillars supporting the immense blue canopy of the heavens above. Beautiful….serene….surreal !!
I fell in love of that road itself….no pollution, almost no traffic barring a few cars with vacationers like us and a very pleasant weather.
Kausani, another hill station is on top of a mountain ridge and provides a spectacular view of Himalayan peaks like Nanda Devi and Trishul. It is surrounded by dense pine trees and overlooks Baijnath and Someshwar valleys on both sides.
It was about seven hour drive (because we stopped many times to shoot and revel in the beauty of the travel and for in-between snacks) from Bareilly to Kausani. The sun on its westward journey gave us many opportunities to capture the play of light and shadows along the way….
Farms along the way seemed so green and fresh….not a trace of dusty muddy leaves….just pure emerald sheets soothing the eyes !
Though Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam resthouse is a good place to stay but we decided to stay at Army Mess. We could avail the army hospitality because we belong to the defense fraternity too (the civilians are not allowed inside defense establishments). We stayed in barrack like guest rooms which were quite comfortable with carpeted floor, hot water, blankets, heaters, nice clean beds and an orderly at our beck and call. And yes, we drove along with our pet dog…..Buddy, a golden Labrador. With our pet in tow, we anyways could not have stayed in any other hotel….
We were advised to not roam outside our room and neither to leave our dog unattended outside the room after dusk because the area was frequented by the wild cats…..the mountain leopards on prowl for their dinner.
Kausani has some tourist attraction like the Anashakti ashram where Mahatma Gandhi spent few days, Pant museum, tea gardens and Baijnath group of temples. Some glacier treks are also around Kausani like the Pindari Glacier trek and Milam Glacier trek.
Since our agenda was only rest and rejuvenation, we did not do much except for a visit to Baijnath group of temples. Baijnath temple complex is devoted to Lord Shiva, his consort Goddess Parvati , Lord Ganesh, the Sun God and Lord Brahma. The temples are on the banks of River Gomti. These stone temples were built in 1150 A.D by the then rulers of Katyuri dynasty. According to the mythology Lord Shiva married Goddess Parvati at the confluence of Rivers Gomti and Garud Ganga.
Baijnath town also has hotels run by state government, bookings for which can be done from Delhi office of Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam(KMVN). Good accommodation is available at cheaper rates in these lodges.
A two day stay was more than enough for our relaxation. We unburdened our troubles on the feet of Lord Shiva with a visit to temple complex and having collected many big and small pine cones we started our return journey fully invigorated and ready to face the everyday routine life.
And my daughter was excited to see a real ‘Christmas tree’ which she otherwise, sees only in Hollywood movies…..