“Do I really need to do this?” It had just rained heavily and I was on a slush-full road on my bike with dangerous sliding zone heading towards a place I had just heard about. This was the first time the question raised in my mind since I left my home for solo bike journey to Munsyari, Dharchula and Kausani.
Day 1: I started my journey to Kausani from Joshimath for my first day. A small popular hill station nested in the Kumaon surrounded by paranomic Himalayan views also famous for the Gandhi Ashram. I started my journey riding through the greater mountains of Garwhal region to the decent plains of ‘Gairsain’ the central Uttarakhand that connects the Garhwal to the Kumaon. Further up to the Chaukuati and Didihat when it started raining but there was no stopping me. The well marked forests, green and yellow fields and rains and clouds covering the hills were a treat to the eyes. I reached Kausani covering a distance of 220kms for my first day. I checked in a hotel and spend my evening in the less busy streets of Kausani which was almost mostly empty due to the continuous rain during the day.
You could easily finds hotels in Kausani , I stayed at Hotel Shivay, good rooms with a restaurant.
Day 2: It rained continuously for the whole night and showed no sign of stopping. But I had miles to go. The ‘Anashakti Ashram’ or the famous ‘Gandhi Ashram’ was my first destination for the day just a kilometer away from my hotel room. I somehow reached the ashram and as I sat and roamed around the hall of the ashram I went through the history of Gandhiji and Independence of India. The view outside was not of those panoramic views Kausani is known for but it was just tall pine forest in between the clouds and the strong winds that would make the rainfall all in a particular direction.I resumed my journey to Chaukori via Bajinath and the beautiful town of Bageshwar. It was a pleasant drive through the Kumaon countryside. My day battled with clouds, rains and sometimes bad roads reaching Dharchula. The town situated in between valleys and the bank of river Kali which acts as the natural border between India and Nepal over a long stretch. People of the two towns have similar traditions, culture, and lifestyle, and can move across the border without a passport or visa. I freely roamed my evening across the streets of Nepal; just make sure to back before 7 pm to the Indian side. This was also an ancient trading town for the trans-Himalayan trade routes. I stayed at the K.M.V.N. rest house.
Day 3: I finally woke up to some clear skies and started my journey early towards Munsyari via Jauljibi, Makot road. The drive is very scenic along the river with big mountains, wooden bridges and changing views as one gains height. I had my breakfast at Munsyari, explored the town enjoyed the panoramic views of the Himalayas and continued my journey further towards Kapkot. My journey was frequently interrupted by the amazing views. I paused particularly to enjoy Birthi fall located at some 33 kms from Munsyari. Make sure to take the right after Tejam for Kapkot. Progressing at a good speed I continued my journey back to Bageshwar and futher to Bajinath to the its ancient temples, which have been recognized as Monuments of National Importance by the Archaeological Survey of India. The temple holds significance because, according to Hindu mythology, Lord Shiva and Parvati were married at the confluence of River Gomati and Garur Ganga. And I was lucky to reach there at the time of ‘Aarti’. As the priest offered the prayers it was feeling of all those mixed emotions which had religion, devotion, my mind running down the memory lane of how my day had been for the past few days running from places after places. How my dire need to change and run from my daily life, I found peace at this very place. Having rejuvenated myself mentally and physically I continued my journey to Gwaldam situated 20kms from Bajinath. Gwaldam is sleepy little town, on the border of Garhwal and Kumaon hills located amid green forests and apple orchards. It was already dark when I reached so I directly checked in a hotel. As I was checking in I realized I had been on the road for 12 hours. I just had my dinner and jumped onto my bed and fall asleep.
Day 4:- With some sleepy eyes I went to my balcony the next morning and there it was the view of Gwaldam. A beautiful town with terraced fields on one side and tall pine trees on the other, quite and untouched beauties. I packed my bag and resumed towards Karanparayag via Tahrali. My destination for the day was ‘Benital’ a hidden jewel located just 30 kms from Karanparayag on Almora-Karanprayag road a sign boards with Benital will tell you take left on a village road. It’s 26 kms from here the roads is well maintained. Green meadow or grassland with 180 degree panoramic Garwhal region views, cool winds and few villagers with their cattle’s grazing around it is a perfect getaway in the lap of nature. Having travelled now for almost 1000kms it was time to end the journey. The heavy rains, open roads beautiful views, ancient temples, sleepy towns and villages the journey was much rewarding then I have thought and imagined.
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