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Sunday, 25 December 2011

Binsar to Naukuchiatal

It was the last leg of our 12-day family holiday in Uttarakhand and we were sitting in the balcony of Manipur Villa reliving our holidays and looking at the western skies that had acquired a rosy hue :

The next day, we were to travel from Club Mahindra's resort in Binsar to their Naukuchiatal resort near Kathgodam. It took me some time to remember the name Naukuchiatal but that was made easy once we knew its meaning ... Nau konewala talab i.e. nine cornered lake.

Driving in these areas is a different experience. While the roads were mountainous and sometimes hardly wide enough for one vehicle, the surroundings were breath taking. The first sight of snow peaked Himalayan ranges is always an experience.

But over the past 10 days we had got used to both the roads and the presence of Himalayas and it was now time to descend to the lower heights. We were to start after a leisurely breakfast and I had time enough for some bird watching within the resort premises :  
 

 





Part of our 120 kms drive from Binsar's Manipur Villa to Kathgodam was passing through winding roads overlooking a valley in outskirts of Almoda town when we came across this magnificent sight of several Steppe eagles circling in the valley.



 




Soon after crossing Almoda, we were driving past River Kosi on the right. The road was hardly with any tarmac left on the road and our driver informed us the reason ... landslides and the havoc played by the floods of the earlier year. I missed many a photo-opportunities on this stretch of the road as we were not allowed to stop here.

But when we did stop after some 20 kms of a bumpy road, the sight was welcoming: 



Malta trees along the stream next to Santoshimata temple
 
This halt was at a place named Kaichi with a neat and compact Santoshimata temple. Maruti Restaurant which is just next to this temple does a good  business with the travellers who get down for Mata's darshan.  It would be criminal not to try out bread and onion pakodas with a hot cup of tea at this spot. 



The manager at Club Mahindra Naukuciatal resort had suggested on phone that we should not miss the opportunity to visit the Butterfly museum near Bheemtal located about 10 Kms before the resort. Just when I was wondering about the name of the lake, our driver informed that it was formed when Bheema, the Pandava brother hit the ground at that spot by his mace. 

Locating the butterfly museum turned out to be quite an arduous task. The museum was said to be off the main road about 2 kms as per a local. At one point on the narrow dirt track just wide enough for a car, I even decided to turn back as our journey was taking us nowhere. But our driver's persistence and enthusiasm paid off and very soon we were in front of an old bungalow. We had decided to just breeze through the butterfly museum-cum-Research centre but the moment we entered the one room museum, I knew that it was one place where I always wanted to be and we spent almost an hour.  

Soon after the conducted tour in the butterfly museum, we reached the resort. We had selected this resort only for an overnight stay due to its closeness to Kathgodam station but since the sun was still about half an hour from setting, we decided to walk down to Naukuchiatal which was behind the resort. I had also bird watching in mind but though there was some good birds activity in the bushes, I could snap only one bird which happened to be a new addition to my collection of species - a Bartailed Tree creeper. And the last picture before it was too dark was of the lake itself.




We left the resort early on the next day to reach the station and on the way took only one short stop when we came across these Poinsettias :


The looks of Kathgodam station was a pleasant surprise and though the train was late by more than an hour we were happy just lazying around and walking along the platform in such pristine weather and surroundings.

2 comments:

  1. Wow! Lovely pictures and narration!!

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  2. I always love that you're such a huge travel blogger.
    There are many tour package companies like club mahindra that give access to some of the finest hotels. So keep travelling!
    That is why India is such an incredible place to visit!
    For more travel info visit Club Mahindra Reviews

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