Mukteshwar Revisited

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.

Route Map from OKTataByeBye


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?

Mukteshwar Calling

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.

Traffic Jam at Garh

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!

Entering Rampur with good road

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.

Mountain Trail

Mountain Trail

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.

Moon

Well appointed rooms engulfed in foliage

Rooms

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.

dining hall with wood fire

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.

Khumani Tree with blooming Flowers

Rest at the peaceful place

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.

Private Colony(all retired Ambassadors)next to Krishna Hotel

Entrance to Krishna

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.

Madhuvan cottage

Mohan's

Red Roofs

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)

Nature

Sunset

Serene

Trail

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!

Miscellaneous
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!

30 Comments

  • JATDEVTA says:

    ?? ?? ??? ???, ???? ?? ??? ???? ???? ?? ?? ??? ??? ?????? ???? ??? ???? ???? ??? ???? ??? ???? ?? ?? ???? ??, ?? ??? ??? ???? ?? ????? ????? ??? ??? ??, ?????? ?? ???? ???? ???? ?? ?? ????? ????,

    • Jatinder Sethi says:

      Teen Char Bacche, Ub Nandan nein theek ker diye hain,, Bahut Mrherbani,janab.
      Doosri baat, Car say bahir,iss traffic jam ,Toba Toba!
      JATDEVTA sahib,neya comment?
      Hindi, Angrazi malf karna!

      • JATDEVTA says:

        ?? ????? ??? ???? ??? ???? ??? ??? ???? ???? ???? ??? ??? ??? ??? ??, ??? ???? ????? ??? ???????? ?? ?????? ?? ??? ?? ?? ???? ?? ??? ??? ?? ????? ??? ??, ???? ???? ?? ???? ??? ??? ???? ?? ???? ?? ??? ???? ?? ?? ??? ???? ?? ????? ????? ????? ???? ??? ??? ????? ?????, ?? ???? ??? ?? ??? ???? ??? ?????? ??, ????? ????? ,

  • ?? ???? ??? ?? ???? ?????? ?????, ???? ???? ???? ???? ?? ??? ???? ??? ?? ?? ????? ?? ?? ???? ???? ?????? ???? ??. ?? ?? (???? ?? ?????) ????? ?? ???? ??????? ?? ?? ??? ?? ?? ????????….LOL…

  • Sethi ji good post and nice pics though of uneven size but beautiful.

  • JATINDER SETHI says:

    Hello every one,
    I am sorry that this post has become disjointed,and I would request Nandan to take it off ghumakkar.
    Please.

    • ???? ????? ?? ????? ???? ????? ????? ?? ???? ?? ?? ?? ???? ???? ????? ?? ??? ?? ??? ????? ?? ??? ?? ??

      ??????? ???? ????? ????? ????? ?? ????

    • ???? ???????? ?? ???? ?? ????? ???? ???? ?? ?? ?? ?? ???? ???? ?? ?????? ?? ?? ???? ???? ???????? ?? ???? ?? ?????? ? ???? ???

      hats off to u

      • Jatinder Sethi says:

        When I was your age,may be younger, we traveled whole of South–each and every temple from Madurai, Tanjore, Trichnapali ,Tirupatti among others.—and all by car or South Local buses!
        I am sure,if your heart is young,you will even cross my age. God Willing.

  • rakesh kushwaha says:

    Sethi sir… fantastic journey done by you..me also plan to visit mukteshwar by 15th may.. life is nothing but a journey..

    • Jatinder Sethi says:

      Stay at Somerset Lodge,and do walk around the orchards, and “Go Crazy”
      Thanks for your kind words.

  • ram dhall says:

    Jatinder ji,

    There is no question of taking off this post from ghumakkar. You have written the post staright from heart and it has come up very well.

    As a matter of fact, your very mention of “Somerset Lodge” sent me reeling back to the wonderful time I had spent at this, one of the oldest and finest properties in Mukteshwar . Sitting in the lawns of the lodge on a December morning , the view of the Himalayan snow clad peaks was simply mesmerizing. One could sit there for hours to watch the virgin beauty of the Himalayas.

    Somerset Lodge reminds one of the lfe style during the British period.

    As far as the size of the photographs is concerned, this is an editorial concern and I have told Nandan to increase the size. Kindly have little patience as Nandan is travelling and will be back on Sunday evening.

    Your comment about the crazy traffic at Garh is a matter of great concern. The U P Government is in the process of widening the bridge and hopefully this will help in easing the traffic problems.

    Thank you for taking us on a virtual tour of Mukateshwar.

    Warm regards,

    • JATINDER SETHI says:

      Hi Ram.
      Thanks for consolation with your encouraging words,but I am,honestly speaking, feel that the post is not the Ghumakkar standard,though Nandan has gone into lot of trouble for this.Would still request Nandan to review my request .
      Nice to meet you after such a long time.Regards.

  • Stone says:

    Nice write up sir, and equally fascinating is your brief introduction :-)
    I remember in one of your comments in SS ji’s post you mentioned that you traveled to London by ship in 1958.
    It would be wonderful if you can share the story of that journey with us, if possible sir.
    Hope to hear more stories from your 50 years abroad.

    Btw, I’m from KMC too, probably some 40 yrs junior to you :-)

    • JATINDER SETHI says:

      First Stone:-
      If you want to know more about KMC college days,go to http://www.apnaorg.com,andfind my post of DELHI O DELHI.Memories of 50s”.apna is “Academy of Punjab in North America..My story of going to London by LLOYD TRISTINO boat is under wrap yet. Will share with you later.Presently I am little under the weather because of this post.
      NO matter, the most encouraging words from Ram Dhal.

  • Ritesh Gupta says:

    Thanks Sir….Well write up…|

    I liked very much know about this place…….

    Mostly picture are very excellent….|

    Thanks again…
    Ritesh..

  • Biswajit Ganguly says:

    Respected Sethi Sahab, “OLD IS GOLD” once again proved worthy of its sheer meaning. Mukteswar, perhaps not among the major attraction of domestic tourism, but after going through your narration supported by not to be missed photographs (doesn’t matter for the size variation) will surely encourage lot of ghumakkars to visit and have the first hand feel of description you have immaculately provided. Yours is one post which has emphasized more on having feelings and enjoying every small creation of nature. That is what I believe a complete leisure and relaxing trip, no hulla bulla, hurriedness, shopping spree. But sir all this was possible because you have a life partner who is completely supportive physically as well as emotionally. God bless the family… will wait for the next post Biswajit Ganguly

  • VERY WELL WRITTEN ……………………….

    Nice to know about this place…………..

    Photos could have been better……………

    • Jatinder Sethi says:

      Ritesh,
      Biswaji
      Vishal,

      I am really humbled by lovely words used by all of you. In fact I have shot lot of pictures ,but couldn’t be included here.
      Ritesh,if you want to know about this place,go back to the Post Of Vibha on Mukteshwar, and if you
      want more info,then let me know.
      Thanks,once again all of you good fellow ghumakkars.

  • Vibha says:

    Dear Sir,

    Nice to read your version of Mukteshwar! It is very inspiring indeed. Lovely, light-as-wind narration and words that make us one with the nature at once. It is very true that in the race to see all the tourist attractions of a place, we miss out on a lot. All of us should take time out to experience the sights, sounds, and smells of a place in order to understand and appreciate it fully. Then only can we call ourselves travellers in the true sense.

    I noticed some formatting issues and have corrected them. Please don’t worry about the quality of the post not being at par with the usual posts on Ghumakkar. The very fact that it has been published proves that it is good enough, at least. Nandan will address the photo size issue once he is back. He is travelling right now.

    Please don’t worry any more.

  • Jatinder Sethi says:

    Vibha,
    thanks for your healing words and pat on the back. Regards.

  • Nandan Jha says:

    Dearest Jatinder.

    I was alerted by Ram on friday night but was stuck in something. Was away thereafter and my AirtelDataCard conked off. Drove back to Delhi last evening and it was a clear drive all through. Now for Kumaon, there is a 4 odd KM stretch after Moradabad where road-widening is going on and hence there is a single carriage-way, everything else is pretty much in place for a hassle free ride. Travel through Garh needs to be better planned during rush hours around Poornima/Ganga-Snan etc. The new bridge would take some time and I have seen better policing (though they are very ineffective against the maddening rush) in my last few rides.

    I have fixed the sizes. I am sorry for all the high-action you had to go through after the publication. I am trying to get some rains or at least a moderate weather for today in NCR area.

    BIG thanks for sharing your story with us. It is very inspiring for all of us to look upto you and continue our streak of traveling and writing.

    Take Care – Nandan

    @ Stone – +1 for KMC. :-)

    • Jatinder Sethi says:

      Nandan, no need to get alerted about the high drama about pictures.It, now looks much more respectable,and covers up the other glitches .Also thanks for your info about Hindi problem.
      Thanks for all the help.

  • ashok sharma says:

    Important is to share your experience with so many other eager guys who are not fortunate enough to visit these heavenly places.size of pics doesn’t matter.keep travelling and keep sharing.may God bless you with good health and the ghumakkar instinct.keep it up.

  • Rashi says:

    best words which can explain the journey from Gurgaon to Mukteshwar. We are planning our trip from Gurgaon to Mountain Trail next weekend for 3 nights-4 days (3rd night at Ranikhet). Me, my husband and my 2 year old will be taking the trip. Wanted your opinion as to how is the drive for a single person – very tiring etc?
    our aim is also to be just there..no spots in target, just us time and enjoy the nature.
    Is Mountain Trail good(we already have our reservation there for 2 nights- 5k\per night), or are there other better places? Is Mountain Trail engaging enough for a 2 year old?
    Any other advices

    • JATINDER SETHI says:

      He Rashi, Two points of Apology:-
      1. I am sorry I opened your comment only today(27June).
      And you people may already be there,and perhaps back.
      2. I sent you email @g mail, which came back undelivered”person not known.
      If you are still in Mukteshwar,and with your lap tap,here are few tips.
      1.Get Mr. Bhatt the Manager at Mountain Trail to reduce the charges from 5k a night to 4k.Give him my and ghumakkar reference. Two. Do walk up to Somerset Lodge and meet the owner and see the place for your next trip. They have a nice corner for children ,and good walks in his orchard.

      While in Ranikhet(if you are still there) do go to the Regimental(Army Club)and have a nice lunch there.Plus pick up some memorabilia from the Golf Shop ,and from the Fruit Canning Factory,

      Hope your drive is enjoyable, and the TWO YEAR OLD has a wonderful time.
      Do let us know your experience and the full drive from Gurgaon, with pictures .
      God bless

  • varun says:

    Hi,
    Greetings from “Veselka Cottage Homestay”
    Thanks for this wonderful blog.We run a Homestay ‘Veselka” in satkhol a small sleepy village at the lap of Himalayas near mukteshwar.

    Regards
    Veselka cottage
    Satkhol(Mukteshwar)

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