To Kausani … via Dunagiri !

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On our way to Dunagiri … these photos were taken just outside Ranikhet.

From Ranikhet – we went to Dunagiri. There is a small holiday camp site run by the KMVN – now wooden cottage were being built. We stayed at one of the two old rooms they had – which were in very bad condition. We went there as we’re told that it’s a very peaceful and lonely place – not many people visit Dunagiri. Also Harish was there – he looks after that place – last year we met him at Deenapani’s TRH. He’s a nice fellow – told us about Dunagiri’s quiet and peaceful environment … and in fact it was a wonderful place those who like quiet and secluded place.

We reached there before lunch – in the evening we went to Dunagiri temple … to reach the temple one had to climb 364 steps. Disappointing thing was that the old natural mountain cut steps were replaced by man-made cemented steps and that too covered with shade and grill. When we saw it – all the excitement and sense of adventure went down the mountain as we saw how human can destroy the beauty of nature for its own comfort. After reaching the top – we discovered it was simply an ordinary temple with many bells tide around its surrounding … just like Jhula Devi temple or the Kalika Devi temple … but the special thing about it (as they say) was – it’s a Vaishno Devi temple and there’s a bronze plate in the temple dated back to 1181 AD.

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Something extraordinary happened – there’re many bees inside and around the temple. We’re seeing things around the temple when by accident jethu’s foot fell on a bee and it bite his toe finger. After getting back at the TRH – we somehow got some edible lime … after applying it jethu felt little relief.

In the evening the weather has changed and it had turned worse by the time we came down from the temple – it seemed it may rain anytime … clouds were floating very low. When we got to the TRH – it seemed like storm is about to come. Wind was blowing wildly – from the kitchen window we could see lighting and thunder at a nearby hilltop. Harish told us, “it’s raining around Binsar – Deenapani area”. We ate in silence – listening to the havoc created by the nature. We slept well too – as we’re sure we’re unharmed – no matter what may happen outside.

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Next morning everything was back to peace and calm as if nothing happened – everything seemed just normal. That morning we saw the most beautiful sun rise – it’s certainly one of the best in my life time. It was a beautiful and bright day – good for long walk … so later in the evening we went for a long walk.

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 The most beautiful sunrise.

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Photos from the evening walk.

 In the morning we went to visit Dwarahat temple – on the way visited Sri Sri Paramahansa Yogananda ashram … it was nice – bought two books both biography of the swamiji.

The Dwarahat temple wasn’t like i imagined – it was simply a small group of temple in the middle of busy town. I had imagined it to be situated at a hilltop surrounded by trees and wildness – but no nothing of that sort. Felt bad.It seemed as if it wasn’t exactly that place. In the magazine i had read that it has a cluster of 55 ancient temples – which has been divided in eight groups – constructed in the Indo-Aryan and Maru-Prathihara or the Nagara type. The remains of many temple lie scattered in groups over the field … actually when  Dwarahat was invaded by the Rohillas – the Katyuri rajas (then rulers) felt that their temples have been desecrated and they no longer held these temple in reverence. In many places the stones of the temples and carved pillars are used as object to mend the terraces of their field …. that’s sad !! i also read – “All the temples are of plain construction with the exception of one near the syalde pokhar – now dried up. This is elaboratoly carved with row after row of figures – representing gods – men – elephant etc. It’s however in bad repair and it’s graven images and stones lie scattered around” …. i actually didn’t seen the pokhar (pond) – and that elaboratoly carved rows of figures … so i was thinking that may be we went to the wrong place. Who knows !!

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Temple photo of Dwarahat …. this was the only image carved pillar we saw.

Next day we had our breakfast and were out for Kausani  … as we left the Dunagiri TRH and came little down the road – we saw a …. what the local say is “Shrot” – which means the start of a stream – or the “source”. They say – there’re few type of trees like the oak  that can hold water by their roots in the soil and release it slowly and slowly and so form a flow of water along the rock or ground. Here it was a rock.

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 As we came down hill it became more like a stream or fountain stream.

as we left Dunagiri … we’re travelling on the winding  road – its both side were covered by pine trees. There were many places where pine gum were being extract from the pine trees – so we stopped by the road side : for jethu wanted to have a quick sip of lemon tea and i to click photos.

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 We some how couldn’t resist to test the pine gum inflammability …. it was incredible !

The way from Dunagiri to Kasuni via Someshwar was entirely through the valley. The temperature was also much high down at the valley. We had to take off our sweater and jacket. Both side of the valley were used for farming – but at that time there’re no crops. They’re only making the land ready for the next crop. Many farmer were ploughing their land – others were spreading the huge heap of composed manure (consisting of pine needles and cow dung) in their well ploughed land. The soil looked very rich and fertile – its colour was very dark – near to black. There was a meandering river at the valley and so the reason for all those farming land. A perfect combination for good farming – good sunshine and abundant water source.

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As we reached Kusani – jethu told me that the place won’t be enjoyable to stay at … he didn’t like the look of it. Later i realised what he meant -the place was over crowded … there’re resorts and hotels all long the road side and the place was conjusted with tourist. It didn’t have the sense of peace – like a hill station should have. One day was enough to see all that Kusani has for the tourist – Gandhi ashram – tea garden and shawl factory. Even the 320 degree Himalayan view couldn’t sooth one’s sense as there’re many people chattering noisily about this and that. One thing was really good though – the cottage at TRH. It was very much quiet and less people around … not that the rooms were vacant but the place (TRH) was spread on a fairly large area – so even if the rooms and cottage were all full – it didn’t really looked or felt crowded.

We stayed at Kusani for two days. The day we reached Kasuni – in the afternoon went to see the Gandhi Ashram. There was still time for it to open (there’re fix time when it’s open to public) – in the mean time we walked up the hill and came at the gate of Eco-Park. It may sound exciting but as we walked through the gate – we realised there was nothing to see or hear. There’re few bengalis people coming back from a temple. We kept walking and reached the point from where the temple was visible. Just saw it from far and came back as it didn’t seem to be of our interest.

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At the Ashram – we saw many articles and photos of Mahatma Gandhi – where he was born and studied – the things he did for India’s independence and his global work. The treaties and the marches – the procession and the satyagraha – it ended with his funeral. It was interesting. As the time passed – the place began to get crowded and the fun of enjoying the surrounding was fading too. The snow clad mountain were behind a thick curtain of white fluffy clouds – only a little portion of the range was visible.

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Next morning we went to visit the tea garden – for the first time i saw how tea leaves are being dried. In a large hall – there were large rack like table on top of each another – with tea leaves spread on those rack. There was not much light inside – they use electric lamps to lit the hall and to make it warm as well. Altogether there’re three such halls. Outside each hall – there was a huge blower. They were saying that they use the blower when it is extremely necessary … otherwise they don’t use it. Jethu was saying – “It’s always better to dry the leaves naturally. It’s essence and goodness would be kept intact making it a good quality tea. If the tea leaves are over dried – it may have a burnt flavour”. He had in fact tasted a cup of their garden’s finest tea and he actually didn’t like it – saying “it smells and tastes like burned leaves”. Anyhow we bought a small packet of Girias Uttaranchal tea as souvenir of Kausani tea garden.

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In fact local people grow tea in their backyard and sell its leaves to the tea company.

 In the evening we went for a walk. The road that comes to the TRH from the main market ends at TRH – it’s a dead road. One can walk down the hill by foot on the mud road that goes to the village that are situated down the hill and also to the main market. As we walked down the hill we saw a small stream – many farmland with pears and walnut trees – two poly house – few cows and endless mud road … dividing itself in two occasionally and making us confused which path to follow. A lady passed us – she was walking alone and somewhat fast as if in a hurry to reach somewhere and with confident as if know the place very well … though from her clothes she looked tourist. We thought she might study in some city and has come to visit her village. By that time we had walked quite far down the hill and the sun was about to set – we saw a village boy – we asked him if there’s a shortcut to get to the TRH. He told us to go across the river and there would be cemented steps that would take us back to the TRH. We followed the route – which was as fun and advanturous as getting down the hill and exploring the area around was. We had to be little careful though as those steps were slippery and sloppy. All together … it was the best part of our staying in Kusani.

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DSC04267The confident lady – took the wrong road

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The beautiful Pears trees … setting sun peeps through them.

Next: To Bageshwar … via Baijnath !

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