My parents had come visiting and in a bid to escape the heat wave at Bareilly, all five of us, my parents, me, my husband and our daughter, left for Nainital for a long lazy weekend. We stayed at a private residence a part of which was converted by the family into resort known as Bob’s Place. It is a quaint little place with large garden, separate TV room with pool table and card table. The rooms were not equipped with television. The library had a functional fireplace making me want to curl up with a book and never leave.
The garden was teeming with flowers all different shades of yellow…..
Nainital was cold but since we did not want to confine ourselves to the resort rooms, we ventured to nearby areas. My mother never leaves a chance to visit temples at any place and besides the Naina devi temple at Nainital, we heard about this temple with many bells. She wanted to visit the temple and my curiosity was equally piqued….
Nainital, a popular hill station in the state of Uttarakhand, India is situated at an altitude of 2,084 metres above sea level and has a pear-shaped lake. The hill station town of Naini Tal was founded only in 1841,when the first European house(Pilgrim Lodge) was constructed by a sugar merchant. The town, soon became a favorite health resort and summer retreat of British soldiers, colonial officials and their families. Later, it became the summer residence of the Governor of the United Provinces. By the 1880s, Nainital became an exclusive English reserve, while the Indians were only as labour and servants to the ‘Gora-Sahibs…the Britishers’.
The district of Nainital has many tourist spots nearby, of which is ‘Ghorakhal‘(Ghora means horse hence Ghorakal literally means pond for horses). It is at a height of little more than 2000 metre and is famous for temple of Golu Devata or Lord Golu. The temple is on Nainital -Mukteshwar route near Bhowali.
Lord Golu is the local God of the Kumaon region of state of Uttarakhand. He is considered as the incarnation of Lord Shiva. There are many folklores associated with the deity. The more popular one is about the favorite queen who bore a male child but was informed by the other jealous queens that she had given birth to a ball of stone. Few years later, the king came across a child who told the story of stone ball. The king punished the guilty queens and crowned the boy as king. The locals believe that Lord Golu dispenses quick justice to his devotees. Devotees offer animal sacrifice and bells to thank the God after fulfillment of their wishes.
Thousands of bells in every shape and size hang from the columns, the roof, the railings of the stairs and every possible part of the temple. Devotees also file written petitions everyday, hoping to get justice at the hands of Lord Golu. Shops outside the temple premises cash in on the devotees’ faith by selling gleaming brass and silver bells. These bells are sold not only as per size but also by weight.
Later we took a trek which took us to the rocky bed of a stream. Despite the cool breeze, the trek made us all sweaty which was excuse enough for us to play with cold water.
Two days at Nainital were over a bit too soon. We had to return……what with Monday office and school!
Driving down the winding road, I took a last glimpse of the tall and majestic pine trees and prepared myself to face the hot and humid weather of Bareilly again….