Today was a relaxing day. We got up late knowing that we had not much to travel today. We were going to visit Nainital and the places nearby.
All our luggage was kept back the resort. We still had one more night to spend in Naukuchiatal. We had our morning coffee, freshened up, packed up our necessary gears and hit the road at around 10 am.
We decided to have breakfast outside, as the cost of the items were out of our league. We then headed straight to Nainital with the help of direction given by Google Maps. We had some 2-3 places in mind which we were going to explore upon reaching.
Since the distance was not more, we were leisurely cruising. We had no hurry to reach. We had a good long day to spend time. On top of that, the roads were extremely smooth, as if freshly laid yesterday. We had put our thermals ON but instead we could feel the heat build up inside me. I had no intention of removing it midway. But, instead of focusing on that, we were gazing at the lush greenery all around us. It was such an awesome sight to see with all the infrequent wind blowing.
The roads were very narrow and as we neared Nainital, the traffic started to increase from both the sides. Ganesh was riding behind Karan and we were being utterly careful in overtaking, though we were overtaking from the mountain side, it didn’t mattered much but, we just wanted a safe ride.
Upon reaching Nainital, the first thing which we did was to take out some cash from ATM as we were going to need some. Places like these, it’s better to deal in cash than use cards. This is just my personal opinion.
It was high time we had some thing gone in our stomachs. We all were getting hunger pangs. We were literally confused as to what to eat as there were literally many restaurants around the lake. Skipping all, we first decided visit the famous Sonam’s Momo centre which is located at the Nainital market besides the cricket ground. I had put this thing down in my to-do list of Nainital.
We parked our bikes besides the ground and went straight to the shop. We had a plate each of Non-veg and Veg momos.
This was just the starter. Then, we moved on and found ourselves a good hotel where we could have a whole hearted and lip-smacking breakfast. We found such hotel nearby to the lakeside.
We ordered ourselves Aloo paranthas and omelette for three of us.
Once we regained some energy to move forward, it was time for some adventure. We then decided to take the famous Nainital rope-way to the top of the Snow view point mountain. The entrance to the office is through a small lane which is adjacent to POT’s and STONE cafe.
It was going to be my first closed cabin ride and that too an elevated one. A similar one like this was done but on a constant elevation at Chennai back in 2012. But, that one was open chair ride with secured locks at your hips.
The ride was going to be around 2.5 mins to the top. And, it was not going to be a private for all of us. Along with us, there were other tourists accompanying us. An old couple along with a group of friends were there with us and it somehow felt claustrophobic as the size of the cabin was not much.
I recorded our journey to the top.
The experience got over and soon were exiting the cable car and on our way towards the snow point from where we could see the entire range of Uttarakhand Himalayas.
It was a short hike of 5 mins to reach the top of the top. There was a heavy rush of people around the binocular with the help of which we were supposed to view the range. A game of ‘shooting the empty cans’ was also happening nearby. I felt that this was the not the right place for conducting such activities. People were more interested in the shooting the empty can than enjoying the beautiful view around. Such is the state of our Indian tourists. Doings non-standard things at not so supposed to be places. It seems fun to them but it just destroys the essence of the environment around. People come from far around to experience the peace and silence and we have some people who come to do just the opposite of that. Which they can easily do sitting at home. Why to travel so many kms just to do such petty things.
We started our way back down the same way we came up. While getting inside the car we came to know that there was indeed a road leading to the top which we had cleared missed. But, anyways we had finalized on the cable car only.
After getting down, again it was time for some refreshment and we decided to have some coffee at “POTS and STONE” cafe which was situated at the exit point.
Next in line in the to-do list was the Naina peak. Naina peak is the highest in Nainital which offers some breathtaking views of the city below and the mountains far away. We put it up on our maps and followed the route as per the directions.
But, when we neared the destination we came to know that it was going to be good hike till the top and was not easy. Some even told me that there was a road which lead to the top but the access was from the other side. People helped us out and somehow we fitted that onto our maps.
We all followed the route and hoped that soon we would find the motorable road to the top. We drove for almost 10 mins and at one point, we thought that we were close to the peak from the main road (the closeness was calculated based on our physical location and the top) but, all we could witness was a high portion of mountain side along us. We were literally cramping our necks to see to the top. We could not see any road. We were literally frustrated. There was no point in going back and again asking for the route. Instead, we decided to move forward and just experience the journey.
We went something 10 kms from our location all the way till Pangoot village and then decided to return back. It was really a scenic drive with literally no one in front and back of us. We were all alone, with just nature besides us.
While returning, we stopped at a point where a large crowd had gathered. It looked like a famous point, which we were not able to figure it out. The crowd was mobile. Some were on the binoculars looking at the distant mountains while some where relishing on the snacks which the hawkers were selling. The ‘point’ was at a large turn on the road and from here we could see the entire Himalayan range just as we had seen from the “Snow view Point” in Nainital.
Since, by that time it was already past 3 pm, we decided to wait there till it gets dark and enjoy the sunset happening over the mountains casting its golden hues on the snow clad peaks. We decided to do a time-lapse till it got dark. At least, this was our initial plan. We resorted to having break immediately and had a hot cup of tea along with Maggie. Then we just sat there and gazed at the mountains.
The sun by now had already gone below the tall mountains behind us and its shadows were falling on us. With the sun-rays gone, cold started to grip and suddenly we were taken back by the extreme cold which set in.
With no source of heat left and our hands started to get rock solid and numb, Karan decided to start his bike and keep it on idle till the silencer and the engine parts got heated up. We then in child like manner placed our palms on the areas which we could find hot. This game went on till our bodies came to normal and we felt relaxed. After that it was time for another round of tea and this time along with bread omelette.
Predicting the cold which could be there in the night, we decided to skip the plan of staying till it got complete dark and instead decided to pack on and leave just as the last sun rays covered the snow clad peaks. This activity alone was going to prove too much for us to bear, leave alone the night part. Plus, we had to drive back home in the cold night, which could have spilled more trouble for us.
With that, we set out our mobile phones in time-lapse mode and enjoyed ourselves in front of a bon-fire which was lit inside a garbage dump pit. After some time, it was almost going to get dark but the sun rays were still there and making the peaks golden. Of-course, they were at a considerable height than us and hence they were lucky to still have sunshine while we shivered in cold here.
Just as we could not longer see any golden hues left on the peaks (The mountains had turned complete white now) we started to pack and head downwards towards the lake. We had our last share of tea before we hit the throttle.
We drove cautiously as we knew that anything could happen in this tourist flooded and everyone’s favorite Nainital. We reached the lake and found the scene to be picture worthy. The settlements near the lake were lit up in different colors of light and it cast a beautiful reflection on the waters. I knew this sight had to be captured somewhere and so I took out my DSLR and took some pics. My mobile was going to be useless in such a low light.
We then decided to head straight back to our resort without wasting further time and breaks. We faced quite heavy traffic from the incoming vehicles coming from the opposite side and going towards the town but soon it waned. After reaching our place, we had dinner at the same place like yesterday and then immediately crashed into our beds. All along the route we experienced heavy chilling cold and somehow it had entered in our body. The heat generating slowly from our body after having dinner helped a little.
It was really a fun filled day and we tried to complete the things which we had planned before.
Tomorrow, a new journey was set to begin. I was going to continue ahead riding solo towards Kasardevi while Ganesh and Karan would be on their return journey to Delhi.
Somehow a sense of missing something filled me while at the same time excitement gripped my heart as for the first time in my life, I would be riding solo for almost double the number of days I had covered in Uttarakhand till now.
I wished my friends to be there along with me on this journey but somehow it was just not possible. It was only me from now on.
I was Independent now. I was only dependent on myself!