Himalayas and Temples: Ranikhet - Kausani



मुंबई से दूर
कुमाओं की छांव में, 
निकल पड़े फिर
एक नई राह पर!

As we drove from Nainital to Kausani through many twists and turns in roads, there was no point where we would have lost touch of mountains. It felt like we were travelling inside the womb of tall, green and dark hills but still free.

[Read here: 48 hours in Nainital]

After leaving from Nainital for a less explored hill station, Kausani, I had designed my itinerary in such a way that I get to see other gems of Kumaon as well. Our first pit stop was Neeb Karori Baba ashram followed by Frog Point which are very near to Nainital (if you are not planning to go to Kausani, you can visit these two places and return to Nainital).


Neeb Karori Baba Ashram







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Frog Point

This is Sports Cuppa aka Hemant Kumar
Frog Point is an adventure/ camp site. Even if you don't wanna stay in the camp site, you can come here on an independent trip to relax sitting on a rock with happy feet dancing in the stream water.

Cross through the beautiful suspension bridge (Well! Who doesn't love a suspension bridge?) and climb down from the other side to reach the stream. Crystal clear water, rugged rocks, small silky stones, zip line above your head, forest around and a big rock in the shape of frog. Have a great peaceful time when here, indulge in adventurous activities or eat your heart out in the garampani area. This place is a lovely pit stop. 

RANIKHET

Picture by Hemant Kumar
A hill station as calm as a smiling face, Ranikhet.

Ranikhet is at an altitude of around 1869 m and is comparatively colder than Nainital. While here, I hardly saw sun rays making its way to the ground, only a few patches may be. Ranikhet is majorly a defense area and thus very peaceful. You can hear the fluttering sound of leaves when breeze embraces trees and the melodious voice of many birds as they are always happy and singing, easily. 


While enjoying the beauty of nature we also visited 3 temples here in Ranikhet which are calming and have amazing views to offer. They are those kind of temples which I actually like to visit, in the middle of no where or in the wilderness and less crowded.










HAIDA KHAN TEMPLE is dedicated to shree shree 1008 haidaakhaan vaale baaba jee who's believed to be "shiv svarup" as believed by many. According to swami paramahans yogaanand autobiography Haida khan baba is shiv swarup and keep incarnating from time to time since the formation of universe. According to him, Haida khana wale Baba's last avatar was in the form of an 18 - 20 yrs old yogi in 1970 at the foothills of "ancient kailaash parvat" in haida khan's holy cave, hence his name. It is also believed that he never took birth from any womb. Baba ji's message is truth, simplicity and love. Also this is the place from where you not only get scenic views but get to see many himalaya ranges. There is also a dial on the temple premise which shows direction to and the name of those ranges. Will soon post on that. 
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It was already 1600 hrs so we immediately left for Kausani to reach our hotel, Pratiksha Himalayan Retreat by sundown. The roads are smooth but curvy, and there is not much of street light in the countryside so better to drive carefully and in day light.

KAUSANI

Kausani is a beautiful quaint town and offers amazing, unhindered views of Himalaya ranges.

As we entered our hotel, Pratiksha Himalayan Retreat, I couldn't hide my amazement on how the hotel was constructed. We parked on the roof which was at same level of roadway whereas to access rooms and rest of the hotel, we had to climb down. No, the hotel is not in the basement but on the hill. In fact whatever real estate you can spot in Kausani is on the mountains. Each floor of my hotel had complete view of Himalaya ranges. Pratiksha Himalayan Retreat is literally in the cozy lap of Himalayan town, Kausani.


All rooms of Pratiksha Himalayan Retreat are quite spacious and are of deluxe category. They are luxuriously furnished equipped with modern amenities and has attached bath and balcony. Hotel also has a play room, restaurant and roof top sitting area with swings and chair-table assemble. 

As I checked in my room the sun had already set and it was pitch dark with clear sky and only stars twinkling far away. It had been quite a long time since I had witnessed this black beauty, last I had got this chance when I had gone for a road trip to Ladakh, way back in 2017. Being living in metro/big cities we ain't privileged to witness clear night sky.

[Read here: Ladakh - an ultimate travel destination]

It was freezing cold but that didn't stop me from heading directly to my balcony. Sitting on my chair, I don't know for how long I kept gazing towards the sky counting infinite stars, imagining various shapes and creating creatures by connecting many stars. I was living my favorite activity after so long that is sky watching. Only when my mother called me for hot cuppa, my trance broke and I realized again how cold it was (I was sitting there in 1℃ temperature).

After freshening up we went for the dinner. Their restaurant is pretty big, open and faces Himalayan ranges. You can have amazing food with a view. 

We had an amazing 3 course meal, starting with piping hot soup which was soothing and calmed our shiver to some extent. Then we ordered paneer tikka, daal and vegetable jalfrezi along with missi roti, naan and rice. Everything was super tasty. Soft paneer, tadka in daal in minimal oil in jalfrezi made our dinner all the more satisfying.

Even though it was so cold that our brain was saying Eat fast and go to your rooms, our hearts were asking us to Eat Slow, giving justice to this scrumptious dinner. Well, our hearts did win. 

Post dinner we retired to our rooms, got inside our blankets pledging not to come out of it until morning. I kept an alarm for 0500 because I wanted to witness the transition of sun while it rise. 


It was dawn when I woke up, the snow capped Himalaya ranges looked so pure, unadulterated and so blissfully white. The sight was mystifying and fantastically heart pleasing. It was -2℃ but nothing could stop me. Although easily visible through my wide glass window, I didn't want any kind of filter. That was the moment I wanted to take it all in, I was in awe of nature and in sync with time. Love was in the sky with dispersion of light, the phenomena which took me back to my physics class where I had first learnt about "dispersion of light by prism, i.e. when the white light passes through the prism, it disperses in to the spectrum of seven colours (Violet, Indigo, Blue, Green, Yellow, Orange and Red) at various frequencies and angles". As sun kept coming up the white in the snow was taken over by the golden. 


With the nature show getting over we headed to the restaurant and ordered assorted breakfast for us. Our breakfast spread included poha, upma, poori sabzi and cutlet along with tea and coffee. The food was again so mouth-watering like our dinner. I must say they serve good quantity of food while the items are reasonably priced. The service is amazing and staff is very helpful, humble and knows how to take good care of their guests.

After breakfast we left for Baijnath which is hardly half an hour from the hotel before finally heading to Almora which is in opposite direction (i.e. we were to pass hotel again on leaving from Baijnath to Almora and Mr. Virendra Mehra ji, the manager of the hotel asked us to visit hotel again to freshen up and have tea before we head to Almora, such is their hospitality).

BAIJNATH

Baijnath is a small town on the bank of Gomti river in Bageshwar district and is known for the ancient temples which have also been recognized as Monuments of National Importance by the Archaeological Survey of India. Baijnath, earlier known as Kartikeyapura, was ruled by Katyuri kings and back then Katyuri kingdom was then spread over a large area consisting of Garhwal and Kumaun in India and Doti which is now in Nepal.

Baijnath temple complex is dedicated to Hindu gods and goddesses with its main deity as Shiva  -Parvati. The main temple has a beautiful idol of Parvati which is chiseled in black stone. The temple holds significance because as per Hindu mythology, Lord Shiva and Parvati were married here at the confluence of River Gomti and Garur Ganga. Baijnath also comes from the word Vaidyanath because lord Shiva is prayed here as the Lord of Physicians/doctors.

When you are in Kausani, you have to visit Baijnath, you will love it if you like archaeological sites. For me it was a delight, I spent a good deal of time here, clicking pictures, admiring the work on stones and exploring the complex. It is wonderful.

After this we went to a shawl factory. Shawl factories are quite famous in Ranikhet and Kausani area and have a good collection. If you visit them during off season, you have the chance of getting discounts as well.

After shopping we took a quick break at our hotel, Pratiksha Himalayan Retreat to freshen up and have snacks before leaving for our long drive to Almora. More on it in the next post. Stay tuned.

Journey so far
Nainital --> Garampani (Neem Karori Baba & Frog Point) --> Ranikhet --> Kausani --> Baijnath -----

Tips
Gal gal
  1. At Garampani right on the road where Neeb karori baba ashram is located, you will see Maruti Restaurant. Do try their lemonade, freshly made from gal gal (Big lemon). Next to it is a shop named Fantasy Food Products where they have variety of jams, pickles and squash. Do buy Buransh squash which is good during summer to curb heat. They also have variety of honey.
  2. Take a pit stop at Rabbu ki Dukan on the way from Frog Point towards Ranikhet. It was a small shop years back now a restaurant named Krishna Restaurant but still famous as Rabbu Ki Dukan. They serve scrumptious chole bhature and snacks. Do try their chai which is in two words, "walla walla" and don't forget to buy their cream biscuits.
  3. If you have more time in Kausani, you can visit Bageshwar as well. Bageshwar is famous for Bagnath Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and is situated at the confluence of rivers Gomti and Saryu. The temple is believed to be in existence since 7th century while the present building was built in Nagara Style by King Laxmi Chand in the 1450s.
  4. You can buy shawls from Army Shawl Factory in Ranikhet as well.
  5. Stay at Pratiksha Himalayan Retreat when in Kausani. It is in the corner and on the edge of the road and have Himalaya-view from all its rooms. Very reasonable in terms food and stay without discounting on quality.
Till we meet again 😊

Happy Travels,
Me and My Suitcase

P.S.
1. My stay was sponsored by Pratikhsa Himalayan Retreat but the review of the property and food is in no way biased. I strongly recommend this hotel for amazing hospitality, comfortable stay and mesmerizing views.
2. All pictures are taken by me unless otherwise mentioned. For more pictures from the series "My days in Kumaon", hop on to my instagram profile @junkkdna

Comments

  1. I have heard a lot about Neeb Karori Baba Ashram. Kumaun is such a wonderful place. I envy goose who live there. Ranikhet too is a wonderful getaway. I have fond memories of the place. Nice article.

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  2. Visiting Himalayas is my dream since childhood. I am aware, that it is very expensive to hike there. Anyway, I hope, that I will manage to do it.

    ReplyDelete

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