Kausani and Ranikhet – Mighty Himalayan View

Remember watching a movie in the early 80s ‘The Mighty Himalayan Man’, a fantasy flick about Yeti in the lines of King Kong. This Hong Kong movie greatly impressed my young mind and helped to create an atmosphere of awe about this magnificent, snow-clad mountain range.

A summer rain is always welcome in the oppressive heat of June in the plains but early rains made it unbearably humid this year. The call of the hills was thus getting irresistible and we settled for Ranikhet and Kausani, up in the Kumaon hills. The offer of a panoramic view of the mighty ranges added to the thrill.

We set off early in the morning and drove east in great spirits, going past Gazipur, Ghaziabad and Hapur. Owing to never-ending flyover construction, the drive up to Moradabad was thrilling only in patches. Excited by last year’s experience at Corbett and egged on by fellow Ghumakkars, we left NH24 at Moradabad and took the Kaladhungi route to reach Haldwani clocking 260-odd kilometers. Needless to say, the drive under the green canopy provided graciously by the forest was indeed refreshing as it drove away the fatigue collected over the past few months.

After having lunch at Haldwani we started the climb and took the route to Ranikhet via Bhowali and Bheemtal. The road is good mountain road and not very steep either and we covered the distance in about a couple of hours.

Ranikhet

Ranikhet


Ranikhet: Situated at a height of 1830 meters, Ranikhet offers pleasant climate and beautiful views. Being a cantonment area the upkeep of the town is good. The place is not crowded even in summer except the mall road. Accommodation is available that suits any pocket. Jhula Devi temple with its innumerable bells – offered by devotees – hanging everywhere is a good spot for the religious-minded. Chaubatia offers nature-walk and agro-tourism. You get to see various kinds of fruit-bearing trees.

Chaubatia Gardens

Chaubatia Gardens

We moved from Ranikhet to Kausani the next day via the golf course. Narrow but motorable roads. The scenic beauty along the way is superlative. Road signs are good enough so you can safely reach your destination without asking around. This stretch is mostly lonely so the road signs are a big help.

Enroute to Kausani

Enroute to Kausani

Kausani: The absence of crowds was a welcome change in this place as well. No mall road to boast about but the available accommodation was good enough. The ‘wow’ factor is the spectacular view of the mighty Himalayas – 300 kilometers of unhindered and unmatched majestic view. Peaks Nandadevi, Nandaghunti, Trishul etc. glistening in the morning sunshine, gives lovely viewing pleasure. On a clear morning as you open your bedside window, the sight of these snow-capped mountains which sometimes seem to be bending towards you, simply take your breath away.

Magnificent peaks

Magnificent peaks

Gandhiji spent a few days here in the Anashakti ashram – which is right in the middle of the town and displays some photographs from his life – and called this place ‘the Switzerland of India’. Hindi poet Sumitra Nandan Pant was born in this place.

Baijnath, 19 km downhill from Kausani, boasts of a 1000 year old temple complex situated on the banks of river Gomti. Children enjoyed feeding the fish here.

Baijnath Temples

Baijnath Temples

Bageshwar, a town around the confluence of river Gomti and Sarayu is 26 km further down. Gomti was looking haggard whereas Sarayu was young and full of life.

The confluence (from the Net)

The confluence (from the Net)

The distances are:
Delhi – Haldwani – 260
Haldwani – Ranikhet – 56
Ranikhet – Kausani – 70
Kausani – Baijnath – 19
Baijnath – Bageshwar – 26

For the he return journey we took the Almora – Haldwani – Rampur route. The under-construction highway was a nightmare. We were held up in the hills due to ‘Pandara’ which was going on in the nearby temples and it seemed the whole of Kumaon had gathered there. It took 5 hrs to crawl the distance of 10 km to Bhowali. May be due to the intermittent drizzle and the lush green surroundings or the nice hill folks milling about, we never felt tired or bored.

27 Comments

  • Nandan Jha says:

    It finishes so soon, leaving me yearning for more.

    Somehow I always thought that Kausani is far-off and that always kept me thinking that one would need at least 5 days to do a Kausani. Assuming that one would need to halt for a night either at one of the taals or at Ranikhet.

    But after reading this, I think that at least one way we can do the long drive.

    Always glad to read stuff from you.

  • Ram Dhall says:

    What can one say about this magnificently narrated account of your visit to Ranikhet and Kausani!! All the pictures are excellent, especially the one depicting the peaks engulffed in the clouds is simply superb. I dont know how you manage to compose such beautiful shots!

    I have been to Ranikhet more than half a dozen times and your post found me moving along with you at the Golf Link, Chobatia, Jhoola Devi Temple, etc. I wonder if you managed to visit the Heda Khan Temple on the outskirts of Ranikhet. It is one of the best places in the whole of the belt. The temple has hardly any statues but the yogic atmosphere is simply awesome. The temple incidentally was constructed with the support of Shammi Kapoor, one of the great actors of the yester years.

    There is nothing parallel to the sunrise at Kausani. The period of 30 seconds, when the sun is slowly coming out of the mountains splashing the golden rays on the peaks is something that can only be experienced, impossible to put to words.

    As per the legend, The Baijnath Temple as you are aware was completed overnight by the Yakshyas. No wonder that not even an iota of cement or mortar was used. The rocks were placed one upon another in such a way that even after centuries the temple has remained intact. Like the unknown alloy used in the making of the Ashoka Pillar at the Qutub Minaar, the idol of Goddess in the Baijnath Temple is also a mystery to the scientists.

    Your post has enlivened my visits to these places.

    Look forward to your next post.

    Thanks and Gods blessings.

  • Sudhir says:

    Short and sweet post. The pics are awesome. Wonder when I will get to visit this place.

  • Patrick Jones says:

    Thanks, Kostubh.

    Thank you, Nandan.
    You can easily reach Kausani in a day. The drive only enlivens you. The beauty around you fills your soul and do make you yearn for more :-)

    Glad you liked the post, Sudhir. The place is really worth a visit.

  • Patrick Jones says:

    Ram

    Your profusely showered praise encourages one immensely. And your bits of knowledge so generously given, adds value to any post.

    No, we didnt visit Heda Khan Temple as we were in a hurry to reach our final destination. You need to leave something aside always for the expected next time :-)

    Yes, Kausani sunrise is indescribable but the blessing does not easily come your way. You need a cloudless, bright sky which is hard to come by at such heights.

    Thanks a lot for the keen observation on Baijnath temples.

    Song near Bageshwar serves as the base camp for the trek to Pindari glacier. The desire to do this trek has increased manifold after reaching Bageshwar.

  • manish khamesra says:

    The pictures you have posted here, make the going along with you on this travel to kausani and Ranikhet, wonderfully beautiful & scenic. I agree with Nandan too that this post starts and end so soon and you feel that you want more :) Ram uncle also added interesting information.

  • Patrick Jones says:

    Glad you liked the post, Manish.

    Hills are places where you get to relax and soak in the beauty our Nature so kindly provided us. So it is something each one should experience on his own.

  • Shilpa Bhat says:

    Very well written review.

    I completely agree. We visited Ranikhet and Kausani last year – in March 2008. And I jsut could not drag my feet back to the congested fast life of Mumbai.
    Definitely a must visit for each and everyone — not just for the majestic views the Kumoan Himalayas offer but to get back in tune with nature. To experience where we evolved from!!

  • Patrick Jones says:

    Thank you Shilpa.

    Those places are so lovely you easily fall in love with them.

  • Amit Ranjan says:

    Dear Patrick,

    Wonderfull review. I was planning to goto Nainital but now I am more inspired with your review. Looking forward to visit kausani.
    Need to know if it is safe, driving all the way to kausani with small kids.

    What kind of precautions should one take while journying this stretch. What was the vehicle with which you went and whether it is safe going alone as you said most of the stretch after haldwani is lonely.

  • Patrick Jones says:

    Thank you, Amit. Sorry for the delayed response.

    Quite unlike us the plain-dwellers, hill folks are extremely helpful so it is very safe driving there. The road is good so vehicle type doesn’t really matter. Avoid night driving. Keep your aggression in check as local drivers doesn’t have the highest regards for city guys but you won’t find many anyway.

    So do a relaxed drive and enjoy!

  • Jupi says:

    Hi Patrick,

    Xtremely well written I must say :) I am also going this September end. Can you advice for the hotels etc at Kasauni, Ranikhet ?

    Thanks

    • Mahesh Semwal says:

      In Ranikhet , if you want to stay near by market than Parwati inn is there.

      Kausai , as Nandan said Chevron Mountain Villa is good.

  • nandanjha says:

    Jupi – We (5 adults one kid) went to Kausani and Ranikhet early this year, 26 Jan weekend and we stayed at “Chevron’ properties and were pretty impressed by them.

    The one in Kausani is a two story wooden structure with 10+ rooms , with a fabulous view. The one in Ranikhet was an old club house or something converted into a hotel, very nice.

    http://www.chevronhotels.com/

    Though I planned to write a review of these, but just kept delaying , probably would have a useful thing to do. Let me see if I can pull something , at least pics would be useful for fellow ghumakkars.

  • Patrick Jones says:

    Thanks a lot Jupi, for liking the post.

    Sorry for not giving you a prompt reply for which Mahesh and Nandan so graciously made up by giving their valuable inputs.

    Please don’t forget to share your experiences with us when you come back!

  • Jupi says:

    Sure Patrick. I am in that belt starting 27th September till 03rd October..Would share the details once I am back on !

    Cheers
    Jupi

  • The view of peaks from Kausani is absolutely wonderful. But when the peaks are not visible, it looks like an ordinary town. Hope it doesn’t go down the way other hill stations take because of extra commercialization.

    • Patrick Jones says:

      It sure is an ordinary town without the faraway peaks but its a hill-town and that makes all the difference!

      Nainital and Bheemtal stands in-between so commercialisation won’t spread further, I hope.

      Thanks for visiting.

  • lee says:

    hey dats juss beautiful, dats ma hometown but i visit it very often , m vry happy to c such beautiful snaps……….. thanx a ton 4 dat.

  • Patrick Jones says:

    Thanks, Web.

    Indeed glad that my writing inspired you.

  • subir says:

    Can u suggest a good home stay or a room with kitchen for 3/4 days kausani stay

  • Nandan Jha says:

    Thank you Patrick for helping us re-publish this old gem.

    Now all the flyovers are done and it takes a little over 3 hours to reach Rampur. Hope you get to make another visit to mighty peaks, with Delhi weather getting humid. Wishes.

    • Pat says:

      Glad to note the flyovers are done at last. Last year we went to Mukhteshwar – via Kaladhungi and came back via Rampur. Moradabad – Kaladhungi and Haldwani – Rampur were in terrible shape. However, the beautiful hills never fail to enthral the ghumakkar.

      Thanks for re-publishing.

  • Auro M says:

    Enjoyed reading the piece…..right time, with monsoons claiming and recolouring the landscape . Guess these moments are timeless. Thanks for making us revisit the memories.
    Auro.

    • Patrick Jones says:

      Glad to note you enjoyed going through it, Auro. Went up to Munsiyari recently. The place is definitely nicer with a number of spots to trek to but no match for snowy-peak views of Kausani.

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