CONTRIBUTED BY SNIGDHA SRIVASTAVA
Since my childhood, I have been fascinated by the serenity and freshness, found in nature in the mountains. Himalayas have always inspired and motivated me to move ahead in life with rejuvenated zeal and energy. I feel a special bonding with the Himalayas and the time spent in the lap of mountains is nectar to my soul.
In 2010, summer holidays, my husband planned an excursion to explore the Himalayas once more. We wanted to avoid the crowded hill stations and so we shortlisted Munsyari, a small hamlet nestling in the mountains North of Kumaon region of Uttarakhand. Munsyari is tranquil and is in close proximity to untouched virgin hills and mountains. It is the road-head for many a trek, including treks to Pindari and Milam glaciers etc. and is well known to avid trekkers like my husband who is a trained mountaineer and who succumbs to the pull of the mountains every year as he goes (alone) on a trek (with my permission of course!).
We decided to reach Kathgodam by train and then take a hired Tavera vehicle, stopping for few days at Kausani, before going to Munsyari, with a night halt at Chakori – a place close to our hearts, where we had spent some memorable time with our parents, a few years back.
Soon the day came when we boarded the overnight train from Delhi and reached Kathgodam early next morning. After getting fresh and having our breakfast in the Railway Rest House at the station, we started towards Kausani. Soon we were in the hills and the wind had cooled down pleasantly. Terraced fields and mountainous rivers could be seen and we settled happily into our seats for the ride to Kausani. We had decided to stay at an eco-lodge, which had duplex room sets, with mud plastered walls, minimal furniture but modern facilities. As we explored Anasakti Ashram where Gandhi ji had stayed during his visit to Kumaon, I reminisced about my visit to the place as a child with my parents and younger brother. Now I had brought my daughters to the same place and we visited the photo gallery depicting Bapu’s life. The days went by wandering into the forests, checking out a shawl factory where the kids were allowed to handle the hand-looms and a visit to the Tea factory where we were offered samples of different flavors of tea. A rainstorm added to the fun when one evening, we all got drenched by rains and gale strength winds knocked off fruits off several trees.
We left Kausani behind with heavy hearts and stopped over at Baijnath temple complex on banks of River Gomti. The temples at Baijnath were built by Katyuri kings in 12th century and hold significance because, according to Hindu mythology, Lord Shiva and Parvati were married at the confluence of River Gomati and Garur Ganga. The shallow river was teeming with fish which the kids enjoyed feeding.
We went through Bageshwar and reached Chakori where Ojaswi resort in midst of a tea estate awaited us. There, we visited a Musk Deer farm nearby. This is one of the few such farms managed by the government, for harvesting Musk for its medicinal value.
We left next morning for Munsyari. As we gained height, the terrain got a bit barren. We took a break at Birthi falls, where KMVN has a rest house on the road. We took lunch, and went towards the water fall, which is approximately a kilometer away. As we proceeded towards Munsyari and drove over the last hill, suddenly dense forest and lush green valley opened out ahead of us. We went downhill to the town and reached the KMVN Rest House. As we looked out from our room’s balcony in anticipation, suddenly the clouds gave way and we were treated to a fantastic view of the snow clad mountain ranges right across the river.
The date was 26th May 2010 and it was an auspicious day for me as I had my rendezvous with the Himalayas. The ranges of Nanda Devi, Nanda Kot and Panch Chuli were shining splendidly in the evening sunshine and held me spell-bound. The golden sun rays on the snow-clad peaks added joy without bounds to the beholder. It appeared as if I had entered the land of wonders, I cherished for.
Munsyari was heaven on Earth for me. I sat down in the balcony and started sketching the mountain ranges, the source of my strength. Someone disturbed me for a cup of tea and called me inside the room. As soon as I went back to the balcony, to my astonishment, the clouds hid the snow-clad ranges in their hazy grey curtain. I am waiting for the day when I will have another rendezvous with the Himalayas.
Disclaimer: The article expresses individual views of the author. The rights to the content of the article rests with the author.