Romancing with the Kumaon hills to Jageshwar – III

It was a nice day for all of us since morning. We were tired after a long road journey but were equally interested to explore the places in whatever time we have in our hand. We were also aware of the fact that we have just two days in our hand. However, the time in between was just a perfect match wherein the mind & body decided to wander around.

And why we shouldn’t? For people like us, who born and brought up in the plain, never want to miss the opportunity to explore the absolute green, verdant forests so close to Himalayas. It’s not always that we get such opportunity.

We got up early and the view from the window was just wonderful. We planned to have our breakfast inside the Hotel and leave for Jageshwar by 8 in the morning. However, our plan to leave early was delayed by more than an hour since the breakfast was served only after 8:30.  Meanwhile, I checked the route from a driver who was waiting for his guests staying at the hotel.

The excellent road

The excellent road

We left the hotel by 9. The lake looks stunning in the morning and the place looks so peaceful. We stopped for a few minutes and moved on towards Tallital side. When you are coming from Mallital side, you need to take a left turn towards Almora from the roundabout and right to Kathgodam. I was excited to see a new place, as well as to drive in the hills. This would be my first long driving experience in the hills where I would be covering ~ 200 km in a day and I had no idea about the road.

Few of my friends belong to Almora.  They used to share their life in the hills and we wanted to visit their villages. We planned many a times but it never materialized for me. All of their names flashed in my mind all of a sudden, as I saw the signboard indicating Almora 65 KM.

One village on our way

One village on our way

One village on the way

One village on the way

Uttarakhand, or the ‘Devbhoomi’, the land of Gods,  due to the many holy Hindu temples and pilgrimage centers found throughout the state, is mainly known for its natural beauty of the Himalayas. The state has divided into two divisions i.e. Garhwal & Kumaon.  Kumaon belt is greener than Garhwal, perhaps more soothing to the eye. But, I love the entire Uttarakhand.

Romancing with the Kumaon Hills

Romancing with the Kumaon Hills

Fall in love with Kumaon Hills

Fall in love with Kumaon Hills

The Kumaon hills have a timeless beauty and an eloquent grandeur. The serenity and panoramic beauty of Kumaon hills will spellbind you and, of course, we were not from the mars. We were completely mesmerized. The hills of Kumaon are more seductive, with their undulating landscape well covered with trees reaching towards heaven.

The road is excellent and the view is terrific. This hill belt is a photographer’s delight. We forgot about our destination completely. At every turn and at every corner, there is something waiting for you to discover. I would like to know whether this happened to us only or it happens to everyone who is frequently traveling to hills.

Views from the car

Views from the car

Streams on our way

Streams on our way

We passed through small hamlets on our way, though didn’t remember their names right now and stopped at several places to capture the view in our camera. We also saw many shops selling ‘Bal Mithai’. Bal Mithai is a brown chocolate-like fudge, made with roasted khoya, coated with white sugar balls. It is a popular sweet, especially around  Almora belt. We decided to buy the sweet while returning.

It is a straight road from Nainital till a few KM from Almora. There are probably two roads to reach Jageshwar from Nainital, one through the Almora city or bus stand and the second one just a few KM before reaching Almora, you need to take a right. Jageshwar is ~ 35 Km from there. For the first time after so many years, I was not feeling comfortable in driver’s seat. I wanted to enjoy the surroundings and didn’t want to concentrate on the wheel; otherwise, I would have provided correct information about the route. It was 12:30 p.m. and we decided to have a darshan at the temple and then have lunch over there.

One small stream

One small stream

We were on the same route which pilgrims used to pass en route to Kailash and Mansarovar once upon a time. As we were approaching towards Jageshwar, we wanted to travel in our dream to many many years back when Lord Shiva came to meditate here. When all the women of the village came to know of this, they immediately left their household chores to have his darshan. However, men of the village were infuriated and came to see who this sadhu who has captivated their women is. Seeing the commotion, Shiva took the form of a child, which is why he is still worshiped in his child form here.

Pleasurable drive

Pleasurable drive

Finally, around 1:15 p.m., we left the highway (towards Pithoragarh, 88 km from there) and took a left turn towards the temple complex, which is 3 Km from there. We were welcomed by the tall deodar and pine forests. We felt refreshed almost immediately with lovely smell and coupled with the crisp mountain air.  It left a long lasting impression in our mind. We really want to believe that some of the trees must have also been there when the Lord of the Lords came here to meditate and makes the place divinely scenic.

Divine Scenic Place

Divine Scenic Place

 

Deodar and Pine Forests

Deodar and Pine Forests

We parked our car, in the parking complex and went to the temple. There are around 125 temples of various shapes and sizes ranging between 7th century A.D. t0 18th Century A.D. These temples are dedicated to Lord Shiv and Goddess Named Yogeshwar (Jageshwar), Mritunjaya, Navdurga, Surya, Navgraha, Kedareshwar, Baleshwar and others as well.

Jageshwar Temple Complex

Jageshwar Temple Complex

Temple Complex

Temple Complex

As you enter the complex, first you will see Mritunjaya Temple on your right and the main Jageshwar Temple on your left, which is considered as one of the twelve Jyotirlingas of Shiv. After performing Puja at Mritunjaya & Jageshwar Temple, we had a darshan of Kedareshwar and few other temples.

Inside Mritunjaya Temple

Inside Mritunjaya Temple

Jyotirlinga Jageshwar Temple

Jyotirlinga Jageshwar Temple

Kedareshwar

Kedareshwar

The Tall Deodar Tree

The Tall Deodar Tree

We came out from the temple after 2 hours and went to lunch. The food is very simple but tasty. People are very friendly and like all hills, very very polite. In the morning while driving, I received a mail from the editor of this wonderful forum, however, couldn’t read it properly. Though, I was delighted to read the message, I was equally surprised and nervous. My reply to Archana with a ‘thank you’ note while having our lunch, showed my nervousness and an assurance and encouragement from Nandan was a great relief finally.  Thank you all.

We were happy about our last night’s decision to come here. It was not in our plan but most probably, we were destined to be there on Saturday, the 30th March, 2013, even if for few hours only. There is a museum and some other temples, which we missed. I heard about Binsar, which you can trek from there and some other beautiful valley. Had we not booked our hotel for tonight at Nainital, we would have loved to spend one night over there and walk in the Deodar and Pine forests or soft treks in the mountains and through local Kumaoni villages and ancient temples in the morning. This place will surely be in my dream for many many years from now and I may come back few more times.

Pine Forests

Pine Forests

Returning to Nainital was also the same story.  However, by the time we reached Almora, it was almost dark and finally we reached Nainital around 8:30. The distance from Nainital is exactly 100 Km and it shouldn’t take 3 Hours, since the road is good. However, if you want to enjoy the scenic beauty which the Kumaon Hills offer, it may take few extra hours as well. If you are traveling to Jageshwar, plan to spend one night over there and I am sure you would love it.

The Photographer - most of the pictures in this post were taken by him

The Photographer – most of the pictures in this post were taken by him

I would love to explore these places in the winter as well when icy cold winds chill the bones and when you will be captivated forever by the spectacular views of snow capped Himalayas…(to be continued)

24 Comments

  • Nandan Jha says:

    You know what Amitava, I finally managed to visit Jageshwar this summers. We stayed there for a night though and that is what I would suggest anyone who is visiting this place. We passed by the temple complex and didn’t stop there since it was a bit raining and was getting dark so we directly headed to our hotel, which was about 8 KMs away (Misty Mountain, good simple place, amazing location). Next morning, we drove down and spent a couple of hours.

    I woudd want to go again though sometime, may be as part of a larger travel where we use it as a night-stop on our way to Munsiyari or beyond.

    Good to read this.

  • Subhendu P. Chakravarti says:

    Thank you for this excellent but short write up of your travelogue. The last line regarding returning and exploring these places is the most important one. I had been in Jageswar twice and each time stayed overnight to walk in the woods, beside of course roaming in the temple complex. There is a 3km exhilarating trek route to “Briddha-Jageswar” from here. As you mentioned, this Jageswar is “Child Jageswar” There is also a 9km very good road through Deodar and mainly Rhododendron forest to Briddha Ageswar. Once a used that road in the month of April. So you can very well imagine the colours along the road then.

    Last but not the least, love to your son for the excellent photographs and thanks to you for handing over the camera to him. I hope since then he have already blossomed as an excellent photographer.

  • Subhendu P. Chakravarti says:

    It is amazing. I cannot think of a 6 day tour for more than 10 places of the likes of Nainital etc. For me 10 days even would not be sufficient. And actually have gone to every places in your list in separate tours totaling about 20 days. Regarding expenditure you may do it without any if you are holding your dad’s hand. Any way, please take it easy. the cost was surely meager.

  • Another read of this wonderful post just made me nostalgic.. It has been 4 years since you wrote this but the place and your experience still remain fresh on both your and our mind!

    Thanks again :)

  • Nandan Jha says:

    To answer your question Amitava, the feeling is same for frequenters too. These days whole UK is experiencing tremendous rains and we hope that things get back to normalcy soon.

    I have been planning for Jageshwar for a long time. We try to return back to base station by daylight and that would mean starting early, which we have not been able to do. May be this winters and if you accompany then it would be even greater fun.

    From Jageshwar there is a 8 KM kuccha road which connects to the other side of Binsar (Dhaulchinna), some part of this road is also jeep-motorable.

    Photos are super, bright, clear, sharp and well framed :-). Thanks.

    • Amitava Chatterjee says:

      Hi Nandan…Sorry for such a long delay in responding to you. It was a long on-off vacation for me since May 17 and just returned home in Gurgaon yesterday. It was a nice few weeks with loved ones. Most of the time I have no access to Internet, except the trusted blackberry…missed so many write-ups in the last one month.

      I am equally disturbed to see the situation in Uttarakhand. It was just beyond our imagination to even think what has just happened and to read the stories of those survivors. There are many things to talk about, may be the concerned people, authorities are already on the job…just hope to see them in place at an appropriate time.

      Thank you for your invitation. It’ll be my pleasure to accompany you. I just hope it comes true in next few months time. Have a nice time.

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  • I have been to many places in Kumaon but never visited Jageshwar and Pataleswar.

    Thanks for sharing & waiting for next post ……….

  • Saurabh Gupta says:

    Again a great post and congratulation on launching a new photographer to ghum akkar family. My heartiest wishes to him.

    You can never enjoy on driver seat if you are on hills. I always take window seat when I am on hills. Many times I have visited on hills of UKD & HP but anytime I am ready to go there.

    Many thanks for sharing this wonderful post.

    Regards.

    • Thank you Saurabh.
      Ohho….it’s not launching him – he was scared initially and just to divert his attention, gave him the camera to engage him in something and later I found the results are good to use in this post.

      True…however, driving in the hills is pleasurable too…since you have 180 degree angle and if the road is good, you can also enjoy the view… the best advantage is that since you have the control of your wheel, you can just apply brakes whenever you want to stop, countless time…no one to ask you are getting late etc. etc.

  • Nirdesh Singh says:

    Hi Amitava,

    I am just going to comment on the photos. They are excellent. Looks like all the coaching by Sushantji is finally showing results!

    I was looking at the temple complex with the disc like stones on the shikhars. Suddenly, it clicked – i saw this disc (for lack of better word) lying next to the Durga Temple in Aihole. So probably this is Nagara style of Northern Temple building which was fused with Deccan style. Wow!

    Great Post!

    • Hi Nirdesh…Thank you for liking the post and pictures.
      I didn’t read your last post on Aihole, as I was travelling. ‘ll read all, which I missed during last week in a few days.

  • I just caught sight of the last line which tells me that most of the pics in this post are by your son! Wow! Please transfer all of my compliments to him. He is indeed God’s blessing to your family.

  • Dear Amitava,

    First things first. You have the uncanny ability to ‘spot a picture’ whenever there is one available to you. The fact that you could spot and capture those pictures despite your other responsibility of driving your car – makes it even more challenging. The first three-four pics are really outstanding.

    Yesterday, I was reading an article on the subject of photography in which the author had suggested his photo enthusiast readers to discover lines, curves and patterns available in a scene and exploit them to make your picture stand out. Today, I found so many shapes in your pics calling attention towards themselves. That makes you a successful landscape photographer.

    Haven’t ever been to Kumaun so I find all of your experience of that part of Uttarakhand quite inviting to me. Thanks for sharing all of it. Keep wandering and keep clicking. You are good at it.

  • Ritesh Gupta says:

    Hello Amitava Ji,

    Wonder full post alongwith very nicely beautiful captured Pictures. Thanks for Small Photographer (Your Son) for taking pictures.

    Go through your post I have refreshed my all memory about Nainital, Almora & Jageshwar Temple.

    Thanks again….. :)

  • Thanks Amitava. Travelogue is Well narrated and fully supported by Excellent Photographs. ‘excellent’ because most of the pictures in this post were taken by Jr. Amitva. A great photographer in making ..

    • Tx Naresh.

      Actually, he was scared in the hills, as traveling for the first time in hills and there were many questions. What will happen if the hills fall on us? What will happen if we fall? Just to divert his attention, gave him the camera and ask him to shoot.

      So, after some time, fear has gone. He started enjoying the drive. When we returned and saw pictures, some of the pictures I found good. Definitely, all these were taken in auto mode and the DSLR did the rest of the things. But, I never expected him to hold the camera properly and shoot so nicely – hence thought to use these pictures in this post. Glad that you liked the photos.

  • Archana says:

    Well done Amitava.. You have delivered yet another interesting post!
    The narration together with the pictures took me on a virtual tour to Kumaon. I felt the crisp, fresh and light air, took a stroll along those divine places and enjoyed the cool breeze too!

    Now you know how enjoyable your post was to me!

    Great work, keep them coming :)

    Cheers.

    • Thank you Archana.
      Sorry for this delayed response, as I was not in town and with limited accessibility.

      I feel happy to know that you enjoyed this post. Whenever time will permit, do visit these places and surely you will love it.

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