Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Narkanda – An Exciting Trip

I would like you all to steal some moments from your busy schedule and read this small excerpt on a unique place. In my opinion this place is specially for a couple planning for some sweet moments together but families would find the place worth enjoying and most of all kids would find it thrilling. Imagine where is this cottage situated - it is right on a HILL – TOP. It’s hidden among dense trees in a small clearing. You see not a single soul generally except for the two servants manning the entire cottage.

I initially had plans to visit Simla but when we reached there the place seemed hot and crowded. I was surprised at the high temperature there. It also does not look as neat and beautiful. We then moved on to Narkanda. On the way we found a cool place called Kufri. This place was pleasant and was much lower in temperature with chilly winds. We loved the low temperature here but did not find the place worth spending 2-3 days. We moved further to Narkanda and found another small place called Chhail. This place again was a little low in temperature but it was a quite one. Further on the way, we came to a beautiful spot amidst the forest and mountains. It was a little diverse from the normal route – say about 20 kms at a very high altitude. It was as if we had come to plains. A big entertainment centre was newly constructed. We tried exploring and enjoyed the place thoroughly. On the way to this place, there were no people but when we reached there were many people and kids enjoying the place. Beautiful songs were played and there were small joints for foodies. A separate space was given for a variety of swings where not only kids but families too were having great fun. We spent about 4 hours and enjoyed every bit of it including a ride on Yaks!

With the time running fast we started packing-up in order to reach Narkanda before dark. Since we drove on our own we wanted to search for ATMs at Narkanda from where we could draw cash for fuel and hotel expenses. Amongst all this we were forced to enjoy the serenity of the nature with its beauty at the best. With the beautiful hilly breeze touching our cheeks and with cold shivers running down our spine, we drove towards our destination Narkanda. We reached there well before dark and were searching for a good hotel to stay. We considered many options including one decently maintained hotel by tourism department of the state. We considered a few more and while talking to a few locals we got a small thread to the LAKESIDE COTTAGE. We wanted to give it a look but there was one factor discouraging us that it was a little away from the main town market. In fact it was at a higher altitude too so in case we planned to go to the market walking sometimes then coming back could cause a trouble sometimes since we were not acquainted with the ways and were not used to traveling uphill. The cottage belonged to a family which lived in the plains but owned the entire hill on which the cottage was made. When we visited the place we took an instant liking to it.
It was like staying at a farm house so close to nature in fact surrounded by trees and birds.We reached in the evening and confirmed our 3 day stay there to the owners. We were not left with much of money since we could not find any ATMs after Simla (In case you visit places above Simla do carry more of cash!!). Also, in case you go by your own conveyance then you will find the petrol pump in Simla and do take the fuel there. We did not know where to go but thankfully we took fuel from Simla and did not face any problems ahead.

Our beautiful stay at the cottage began from this night. We had a cook and a peon cum servant provided by the owners. Car parking in itself was a mission since the road to the cottage was very narrow and then the clearance in which the cottage was built was not sufficient to reverse the car but we managed. The entrance started with a small staircase which led to a garden.

Towards the right was a small cottage house which had the dining hall and the kitchen. Towards the left of the garden was a staircase actually going down towards the valley. After about 20 steps we found a beautiful cottage which was the place we would stay in. The entire hill slope was covered with apple orchards though we could not find the apples which the servants told us were seen in September to November season.The ambience was nice. Just opposite to the entrance was a natural lake around which the owners of the cottage had made a pedestrian for walks in the mornings/evenings.
Tired with the long drive we went to our room down the staircase amidst the valley.
After sipping the hot coffee served by the servant we came upstairs, took a stroll nearby and came back for dinner since venturing into an unknown forest area did not seem a convincing idea! Even after being so tired we felt refreshing with the atmosphere there and watched TV for long, listened to songs in the garden and sat there regaining our composure after the hectic city life. I sat there for long thinking about myself and the special moments of my life. It was rejuvenating. I am sure the people visiting the place would love the ambience, the hospitality and the scenic beauty around the cottage at rates as cheap as Rs.5000 for 3 days / 2 people / food inclusive!! Does it sound attractive?? To us it did.

By the time we felt sleepy, our room was neatly done in a colorful bed sheet and small pillows.

Our room had a window just opposite to our bed which was overlooking the valley. The hilly atmosphere was so soothing and relieving that I woke up around 4 AM in the morning just as if the nature was welcoming me to the most awaited and precious view of snow clad mountains so that I might not miss it!!
I wore my jacket and went out to look at the mesmerizing dawn with a streak of yellow appearing from behind the snowy mountain. I tried capturing them in a picture too but did not come out to be very clear in the picture. Have a look.

I let out s silent prayer to god for blessing me with this moment and went back to bed to relax leisurely. We woke up, had breakfast and left for another destination called Hatu Mandir which was again at a higher altitude and believe me the way to the temple actually called for a lot of guts but then the place we finally reached was worth all the risk.
....................................................................The way was very narrow and risky. On way I first found ICE at this place!
In case another car came from the opposite direction you just wouldn’t know since there were so much curves and turns on the roads. Moreover, there was extreme risk when two cars crossed since the road was too narrow. We were stuck at one such moment and just missed slipping down the valley since we gave a high acceleration and somehow managed to cross fast! This probably was the most risky moment in my life though might not sound as dangerous to you in words but it took our breath away. When we reached at the top the Hatu Peak and Mandir which were two places worth visiting not because of their own beauty actually but because of the surroundings. This was on a adjacent hill to the one on which our cottage was made so when going to this place we first came down hill from our cottage and then went up hill – an experience worth remembering.
We found another family there and then coming back wasn’t as dreadful since we had become accustomed to the ways.
Before coming back to our cottage we went to a small town market downhill and took a few eatables – biscuits and fruits were the only things available. I missed eating candies there and ice creams too since there were hardly anything available. No ATMs, no banks and hardly handful of shops. We came back to the cottage and relaxed well before we got up in the evening for our evening coffee. We had dinner at the fireplace in open which felt like a luxury having steaming hot food amongst a small clearing in the tees. We also went to walk at the lake side which was nice after having lots at dinner. The days at the cottage were pure adventurous and we think we were very lucky to have got to stay at such a beautiful place venturing into the forest ‘greens’ and enjoying nature.


Anand Kumar said...

Good & Thanks for shairing your exiting trip info chiya

Anonymous said...

Beautifully captured shots & nice description of this place!

Taru said...

Soooooooooo.....exciting Misha ji...keep writing such nice expieriences and keep sharing also..:)

Jasmine said...

If possible PLz give some information about the place in narkanda or any contact number, we r planning our holidays there

monty said...

hi of narkanda is : 094184-60243 (Kaku)he is the best person to guide you thru..(tethys narkanda his hotel)