Traveller's Tales II: Kausauni

The adventure in the forest has ended and we are headed to the quiet, unassuming and peaceful town of Kausauni to feast our eyes with a view of the Himalayan Range.

30/12/12 -

Spent half the day travelling from Ramnagar to Kausauni, passing Ranikhet on the way. The scenery changed from green forests to the valley with a gorgeous view of the snow capped mountains. The sky here looks different, covered with a thin sheet of clouds. It's very cold here. Probably as cold as Agra right now. The hotel was almost empty- which turned out to be good for us as it meant better room service.
 The town doesn't have much to offer. It's just the kind of place one heads to for a quiet, relaxed weekend. My parents had come here once before I was born and they tell me it has developed a lot since then. I wonder what that means as it seems we can practically circle the town on foot. Nevertheless, it offers a most splendid view of the Himalayas. You could sit on the balcony all day, warm cup of tea in hand, and observe the peaks change color with the sky. You could also memorize their names and find out about the mythology attached.
We discovered the presence of a Gandhi Ashram in the region and hiked down to it. It had a nice little museum where various letters and photographs related to Gandhi's life were displayed. Read about the Civil Disobediance and Non-Cooperation movements he had brought about. He had stayed here for around fourteen days and wrote a book on Yoga. Outside, soft, pink clouds were descending on the Himalayas and people were rushing to get their pictures taken against the beautiful landscape. Then, we went to the local bazaar and checked out organic food products like tea, jam, chutney, apricot scrubs, oils etc. Kausauni is famous for it's Plum and Apricot products. They are organic, healthy and delicious. The place also offers a variety of woolen items, with Shawls being the main attraction. One can find pure woolen shawls in attractive patterns and they are very warm. The prices may seem to be a little steep, though.
31/12/12 - Temple visits.
The Baidhnath temple was built by the Kurtyas in the twelfth century. It has been impressively done in stone masonry and is located by the river.The Pandavas stayed here for fourteen days. It is actually a collection of small, dark temples built for various gods in a single compound, with stairs leading down to the river. A goat is being cut up for sacrifice in the nearby land. Dad tells me the area used to uninhabited the last time he and mom were here.

Next on the list is the Baageshwar temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva. It has some really old relics and sculptures, most of them being kept under lock and key for safe keeping. I'm not a great judge of religious places, but I can tell that this place is no favorite with the real devout. It's in the way the priests rush to perform service for my foreigner cousin and completely ignore a poor old lady standing with her hands folded. Commercialised religion.

On our way back to Kausauni, we stop by a tea factory. We climb up to the tea gardens and inspect the leaves. The owners let us taste some of their samples and I end up buying a packet of white tea. It practically looks and tastes like hot water, but has numerous benefits as an antioxidant. It is also very expensive. The lighter the color, the greater the price, they tell me. We also visit a Shawl factory and observed the workers spinning the yarn, making patterns.

On our evening trek, we stumbled upon a Planet Show.  Needless to say, I jumped up in delight at the very first mention of a telescope and had all family members out in the cold evening, on the terrace. This guy had a really powerful astronomical telescope and seemed well-versed with the positions of various stars, constellations and planets in the night sky. He helped us spot the pole star, the almost faded Ursa Major, Cassiopeia and Orion. I saw the Milky Way galaxy and Andromeda for the first time- visibility in the mountains is just wonderful. The highlight of tonight's show was Jupiter- looking mighty and angry with it's moons.
Tried Kumaoni dishes for dinner- chicken, dal, raita and potatoes cooked in the local style. It's New Year's eve and we don't have a dance floor to celebrate on so we just circle around a bonfire and shimmy with the other guests. We're in bed before eleven.
1/1/13 - Happy New Year

Welcomed the new year with new and exciting adventures. First it was the Planet Show at a quarter to six in the morning. We saw Saturn, with it's rings. It was just picture perfect, so beautiful that I suspected the whole telescope thing to be a farce. Then, we saw the craters on the Moon. Next up were Mars and Venus. Covered fifty percent of the solar system in two days. Standing on the terrace, we watched the Sun rise and it's light illuminate the snow capped peaks of the Himalayas. Watched the sky change color from black to pink to purple to orange to blue. What a start to the year! I felt so lucky, so happy.


Then, we went on a short trek, had breakfast and got ready for the bigger adventure- a trek to a waterfall through the forest. It was kinda scary and shaky in the beginning because of the steep stones we had to climb down to, but once that was done, it was amazing.

The view of the pine forest with the water running by on regular intervals was spectacular. Just forgot everything about fear and went up and down the hills, crossed little rivulets, climbed up the trail- curiosity makes the mind and body keep moving forward. Climbed around ninety steps made of rock to reach a breathtaking place. Waterfall, pond, rocks, caves and a Shiva temple inside the cave: it was a sight to behold. The temple seemed to be ancient as there were carvings on it's walls. A priest took care of it now and had installed all the instruments necessary for the prayer service. I found more peace and solace outside, watching the water fall into the pond, clear water with the stones shimmering underneath. Just sat on a rock and watched the water fall- the arrow of time, always moving forward...every moment different but still the same. Just didn't want to move from that place, it was so quiet and beautiful- no wonder somebody wanted to build a temple here. Seemed to me to be the kind of place you would want to go to for a getaway from daily life. A secret hideout.

The more I see of this place, the more I am tempted to keep returning.

But, for then, it was time to depart. The vacation was over and it was time to head back home and pick up our daily lives back from where we'd left them, but as stronger, rejuvenated and wiser people.
In case you've stumbled upon here without having read about the first part of the journey, which talked about Jim Corbett National Park, go here:
For a read on my journey through a lesser known but immensely beautiful part of Himachal Pradesh, go here:


  1. Nice description along with interesting frames.

  2. Hey, thanks! It is an interesting place! Do check out my other travel posts :)


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