GOING CRAZY IN MUKTESHWAR? . NO. JUST ENJOYING BEAUTY OF NATURE
Confession :- We had last visited Mukteshwar from 15th to 20th June2006 and, at that time we had stayed in Somerset Lodge, SargaKhet, where most of the lodges & hotels are located before actually reaching Mukteshwar. Sargakhet starts from 5km to Mukteshwar milestone. Krishna Orchard Resort, where Vibha stayed in 2008 trip to “Going crazy at Mukteshwar” is inside the first left-hand –pathway, which also leads you to the popular Herbal Tea Café and the “360 degree Sunset view”.
I must also confess that I downloaded an excellent Route Map from the www.oktatabyebyesite (which now is blocked because Tatas Won the case against the use of OK-Tata). The route map takes you turn by turn to Mukteshwar. This is only the first page.
It was this post of Vibha (where I had made some comments on Krishna being a concrete monster among the fruit orchards), that made us go back to Mukteshwar. Opportunity was provided by the long week-end starting 6th April (Good Friday(Full Moon Day) another import like April Fool?) till 10th April. Moreover, my grand-daughter had just landed from Pune on her summer vacations, and she wanted a break away from going crazy by the noises of the city. So, we decided to revisit Mukteshwar to be near the nature and feel the closeness to it. The only sound you hear is the wind blowing through the trees. AND GO CRAZY SHOOTING HUNDREDS OF PHOTOS!
Out visit was unlike a regular tourist trip.
Mukteshwar have been written so many times; or one can see from the Picture Post Cards. I feel lot of us tourist go to hills, with eyes closed to the natural surroundings, and fixed only on the “tourist spots”. My aim here is to wake up the desire and senses to not miss the beauty which nature has created in every little thing. As the poet says beauty lies in the eye of the be-holder! Next time you visit hills, go like a nature-lover, not only as a city tourist.
Did any one, visiting Mukteshwar noticed this tree, sculptered by nature?
This post tries two things.
1. Like the rock-formations Vibha talked about, this post will, with pictures, show the natures formation of various trees, mostly fruit trees, which normally no one notices.
2. For the benefit of visitors, show various lodges/hotels/cottages located on the 5km road, starting from milestone “Mukteshwar 5km” to the end near the Mukteshwar Forest Reserve – Another Corbett-Park-like forest — usually remains unvisited and unwritten by the tourists. Pity.
Now the trip
We left Gurgaon (Skoda Octavia) at 3am, and at 4.30 we were at Hapur Toll Gate. And it was a smooth drive with no traffic hold up. Till the Ganga Bridge, (5am) where some religious mela was on on that day (Full Moon Day), and hundreds of people going for Ganga bath! Hundreds of cars trucks & buses parked all over blocking the roads. We, the “ugly Indian” drivers tried all kind of tricks to by-pass each other .Vehicles, from both sides—on-coming and up-going went on wrong side of the road-just to get out.
Result. Dead stop. And no movement! We were stuck for 1hour 30minutes.Finally the two little policemen managed to untangle us and we moved.
Wasted 1 hour 30 minutes!
Rest of the journey was without much hold-ups.I must mention that the roads right up to Mukteshwar were in very good condition and all the by-passes made driving quite a pleasure.Yes.there are few bad patches near Ruderpur and Bhimtal.but generally pretty good roads. I think, the roads were bad in Vibhas Journey time. We stopped at Satnam Dhaba at 9am for breakfast. Wouldn’t recommend this place. Just for info, BIKANERWALLA has just opened up a very clean and big place on way to Rampur. Good place to stop and use their clean bathroom facilities!
At 12 noon exactly we entered Haldwani and Kathgodamat12.20 (306km) and you can start seeing the hills. At Bhimtal (1.15pm and 337 km), onward road to Padampuri was a bad patch like just before Ruderpur. At 2.55 pm we had a little break for Coke and fresh air! After passing the town, and just before reaching our hotel, Mountain Trail. At 3.10 PM, after 378km we touched the Mountain Trail, and were quite pleased to see the look of the place. And once inside, we loved the place and the staff.
This is the very first hotel on the beginning, corner of Sargakhet, and the left turn, inside takes you to Krishna. It’s located right opposite the first milestone showing Mukteshwar5km. Its a nice dinky, eco-friendly place. Since it was A Full Moon night, you could see the beautiful Moon rise. And since all its room face the east; you can see the Sun rise.
With 12 double rooms with nice bathroom. All located, scattered at various levels of the fruit orchard, with a lovely view of hills. And, on clear day, of the snow peaks, Trishul. A very nice dinning hall where you get served a buffet breakfast and dinner (part of the hotel tariff). MT serves a very hafty, healthy breakfast and dinner. Buffet. Well laid out. You can be a glutton here. Eat as much as you like. Order what you prefer for your breakfast. Morning tea after 6am. Both veg. & non-veg.any type of eggs, milk, tea, coffee and fruit juice, Pranthas, Dosas et al.
One good point of this hotel, to us at least, Mountain Trail, is that it doesn’t allow any newspaper.TV, Radio in the hotel . We were delighted as we had 4 most peaceful, stressless days.
And really one-with-the-nature. No scams. However MT has a library with excellent selection of about 1000 books, and latest Times & Newsweek. There are nice walks in the colorful orchard inside the property.
Once we settled down, freshened up, we met the other guests, quite a few from Gurgaon, went around the property and watched the view points. Later, in the evening I went down for a walk and to see the area towards Krishna, and Sun set spots. Guess what? I came across a loosely locked gate, just after Krishna, with a notice “Private-No Entry”. Curious, an Indian after all, I sneaked in. There were no security, no dogs, no one out there. I walked up the private road with my camera.
There were about 14 beautifully designed bungalows on both side, with big boundary walls, and apple trees in every house. Then I read the name plates, and realized that that all houses belonged to the retired IFS Diplomats. In-fact ,some name plates mentioned “Ambassador”. The top of this, what I called, the Ambassador Lane, is the highest point, and you can see the whole Mukteshwar and snow peaks.No wonder they don’t seem to be happy with Krishna, next door, most unbefitting the environments . But they have to live with it.
Wonderful discovery of life style of retired diplomats. I came back late in the evening to join the family. Early next morning, at 5.30am I was out for my uphill walk. This day I shot all the lodges/hotel/cottages located on this stretch of 4km of SARGAKHET.The sign boards advertising the name of the place, also post their selling points. If one place says “Simple Food”, the other tells you that it provides luxury. I hope. its useful for the intending visitors to Mukteshwar.
Beauty of Nature
I would get out at 6 in the morning, and walk up hill till the milestone ”Mukteshwar 2km” and then walk back. Remembering Vibha’s natural rock-forming, I started noticing the natural formation of trees, in the number of orchards around that road. I would walk into these orchards, and wondered with awe, to see fruit tress of all shapes and sizes. The Nature’s creation of sheer beauty, all around, at early morning with dawn breaking.
One other point I would like to mention is that there is a natural forest, just half-a-km before Mukteshwar; there is a check post on the right, to enter the “Mukteshwar Forest Reserve”. It’s an 8km long drive, on a motorable road, through the jungle, which comes out at Sitla Estate. And from there it’s a 14km journey, through all orchards, back to Mountain Trail. We were told that not many people dare to go in. We drove in, at 5km speed, enjoying the drive. (Pictures of natures beauty and the forest, in no particular order)
In the evening, we walked to the Herbal Tea Shop, past Krishna and Ambassador Lane, for herbal pakoras and watch the sunset. The place was full with young people with cameras ready to shoot the setting Sun. These are two, out of large number of shots.
Saturday, 7/4/2012, we, like a regular tourist drove down to Naintal after breakfast, for a day. The weather became quite chilly, as it had started raining. I wonder how many tourists notice that there is a beautiful mosque right on the lake!
Beside all the above going crazy, there were quite a few other memorable sights. Here are the memories. Women collecting to store dry autumn leaves for the rainy days. (Notice the shadowy picture also)
And now the family visiting Mukteshwar for the second time.At Last Breakfast before leaving for Gurgaon.I am missing, obviously!
Come Monday morning.(9/ 4/2012,)we got ready to leave. Had the final meal—Last Breakfast -at the Mountain Trail and started back at 12 noon. Thanked the Manager, Mr.Bhat, for wonderful stay. On backward journey home,it was mostly uneventful but pleasant,hassle-free. Just stopped At FRUITAGE to buy jams and fruit chetneys.Later in the evening,we stopped at MANNU DA DHABA for prathas,pakoras,tea etc good place for a break .Left at 7 in the evening,and reached home in Gurgaon at 10.10.
Not bad at all. Four enjoyable days!