Cerebral Shangrila

Friday, July 25, 2003


I am a Travelaholic by any Standards. Meeting new people , knowing about New Cultures , Seeing the Wonder of Mother Nature have always fascinated me and keeps me moving during most weekends . Most of my friends describe me as a Crazy Travelhog since I dont spare any weekends and also manage to pull most of my friends alongwith me from their happy Weekend Slumber.

It was with incredible Disbelief that I heard that July 4 was going to be Holiday for me (Its funny & Ironical that in India I was getting a Holiday for the American Independence day , but then I was Servicing an American Client and entitled to such perks !!) . July 4 fell on a Friday , which meant that it was going to be a long weekend of 3 days holidays. Having Recently moved to Delhi and having already seen Agra , Mathura , Vrindavan , Dehradun & Mussorie (will post those travelogs later) , I had only two Destinations in Mind viz Nainital or Amritsar . I also managed to convince a few colleagues to join me (They Sheepishly did so -- poor guys ) and we booked an Ambassdor Car and decided to leave Friday early morning . We were a Sleepy Bunch of five Guys, who merrily crawled into the car and the Drive turned out to be a rather pleasant one. The Roads were excellent & thanks to the new Toll roads the Journey was swift and enjoyable. Naintal is 325 Kms from Delhi and duringmost of the Journey I was singing old Hindi Songs with another friend for company. (Although my Hindi at best could be termed Quite average) .

We Reached Nainital at around 11am ( a 6.5 Hours Journey ) and were welcomed by the Naina Tal Lake ( What a Breathtaking view , I fell instantly in love with the lake ) . The Legend goes that the eyes of Parvathi had fallen in this place and hence the name (Naina = eye , tal = lake ) . We Decided to take a Dormitory just adjacent to the Lake , so that we could have the splendid green lake view. We got freshened up and were ravenously Hungry and had Lunch ( a pretty bad one , I should say ) and started out for the Zoo . I am always fond of Zoos ( In fact anyone who travels with me always complains that the first place I go to in any city is the Zoo !!!) . The Zoo was a very steep Climb but housed some really rare Mountain species like the Snow leopard , Siberian tiger , Mountain Goats. From there we headed to the lake for boating but a dense fog made most of our boating a very difficult exercise , since we could hardly see more than 5 feet ahead. We then retreated back to the Hotel for a well deserved Rest .

The Next day started with a Brunch ( which turned out to be a equally bad one , But I learnt a very valuable lesson in Culinary choice viz Never Order South Indian Food in the North (esp in Hills) & Vice - Versa ) . We Went to the Gun Hill from where we got some incredible views of the Hills & also went to visit the Hanuman grahi temple. We later went on a incredible Horseback trip to the Dorothy's seat ( An Incredibly beautiful view from the top of the Entire Naintal & the Hills) . I decided it was time I get myself a Good SLR Camera to capture such beauty and give some rest to my 20 year old Yashica Point & shoot camera ( I am still googling a lot about the the Best SLR camera to buy in my budget !!) . Had a few anxious moments while returning when my Horse was chased by the street dogs & fled from the owner's control ( I somehow Managed to control it and felt like Alexander the Great controlling Buciphalus !!!) .

We decided to start early next day since it was risky to drive in the night and after a tedious journey reached Delhi at around 8.30 and had some Great south Indian Food at Andhra Bhavan near CP and retired back to our cosy homes.

Looking back at the Trip , Naintal is easily one of the most Beautiful Hill Stations I have ever visited , the Green Lake & the surrounding verdant locales , still remain etched in my memory. I also made thick friends with the colleagues who came with me and thus ended a very satisfying long weekend.


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