Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Kausani - In the midst of Himalayas

Kausani / Kasauni
Once Gandhiji was residing here in Anashakti Ashram for some time .
And he loved the place so much that he called it mini Switzerland of India .
True to this metaphor, Kausani has maintained its tranquill environment and uncomparable beauty up to the core.

Kausani is a distinct hill station in the Bageshwar district of Uttrakhand and takes long to reach definitely. The nearest railway station is Kathgodam around 142 KM from Kausani. There is a daily train from Delhi to Kathgodam.Once you reach Kathgodam the road from here to Kausani is itself a bliss to travel. A two lane highway between lush green chinar, deodar and chritmas tree, bright hills and zig-zag routes takes you to Kausani in 4-4.5 hours. The weather is cold throughout and max. temperature is around 23 degrees. Kausani itself is situated in the midst of Kumaon Himalayas. The greatest attraction here is the view of snow clad peaks of Himalayas 180 degrees straight. Its an absolutely beautiful part of nature where you can feel the vastness, hugeness and the divinity of the great mountains. The peaks are black rocks and white snow sometimes sneaking above the clouds too. The 180 degrees view is the reason why Gandhiji called Kausani mini Switzerland. There are no tourist spots here, but most of the tourist come here to enjoy the peaceful life and wonderful weather. You can also visit the Anashakti Ashram where Gandhiji stayed.

Another place worth visiting here is the Baijnath Temple. These temples are a gruop of around 14-15 old stone structures which were build in 2nd century. Baijnath or Vaidyanath - the Shiva temples come under the archeological survey of india and are maintained in the finest conditions. Its around 15 km from Kausani.

Nainital, Almora, Ranikhet and Bhimtal are nearby hill stations in this part which are famous.
So if you are looking for a long holiday, you can plan a week long span for Nainital and Kausani. I am sure it will be a memorable trip.

Imp. Points : There is no market in Kausani, therefore no chance of shopping. Spare that for Nainital or Almora.
Most of the hotels here are cottages and resorts emphasizing on stay with nature and tranquility.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Home Sweet home !!!

This is too much !!! Home as a jail ????? Thats an absolutely ridiculous statement to make.
I was nearly going to fall down from my chair when i heard one of my friends talking about her home.
She has been living away from her family since she completed her HSC.But recently, due to a prolonged illness she had to take a leave for 1-1.5 months and go back to live at home. But since the first day itself, she started complaining about her stay. Its too hot here, there is load shedding, i cant watch TV, i get bored, etc etc etc. I realised the significant change the life style in the city has brought into her perspective. She even went on saying that she feels like being in jail and wants to run away to come back to her hip and happening life in the city.
Hey hey hey . . . hold on. I can imagine the emotional and physical aloofness she might feel at home due to a prolonged stay away. But to call home a jail is preposterous and extremely unthoughtful of her. This even when she doesnt have any life long obligation to stay at home.
I thought about the small trips I get to have to my home since i joined my company. How i crave to get some more time to spend there everytime. I get excited at the prospect and start planning for it quite early. Two-three days before the journey, i start day dreaming about the things i would do at home. My plans change according to the seasons and the changes they bring in the activities at home. This may sound stupid, but this is completely true and the intensity has not decreased even slightly in the last two years and approxiametely 25-26 trips ( thats 1 per month i guess ) i had to home.
True, summer is hot, but with summer come mangoes and a variety of fresh "kairi" and "amba" dishes to eat. There is no TV due to load shedding, but it brings mom, dad, brothers, sisters, cousins, dada-dadi together for a fun game of cards or carrom. Nights are spent sleeping on the terrace. There are pillow fights, ghost stories and star watching. Water tastes sweeter and cooler in summers. .
And about other seasons. . well mine is a place where i get to experience extremes of all the seasons. If summer is 47 deg then winters are 7 deg straight. But no one can imagine the feeling i get when early morning sunrays touch my skin during one of those colder days.. Its exilerating. I can sit hours under the thick shadow of gooseberry tree in the afternoon watching the swirling leaves and small fruits falling when they make a "Tup Tup" sound. What a beautiful sight it makes.
I thought of the numerous afternoons i had spent there, studying.
I remembered the times when my mom and my Aaji would sit in the courtyard after lunch to enjoy the warm weather. If somebody asks me the most memorable memory i have of child hood i would tell this - Aai and Baba reading newspaper, aaji chewing beatle leaf and making a typical sound with her "Adkitta" and me and my brother making a clay fort for the coming Diwali. Thats something which makes me instantly nostalgic. Again there are nights to enjoy hot coffee and sleep under warm "dulai" .

Everything looks green and beautiful when it rains. But at home, i feel the difference when the droplets fall on the big leaves of papaya tree - 4 feet tall. Thats a beauty i am sure no one can imagine. I feel like the entire greenery has accumulated on this one big leaf and its glowing in radiance to show the world its freshness and purity. There is no electric supply at night due to heavy rains sometimes. But i enjoy it tremendously in the candle light when i am inside a cozy blanket and all i can see are the wet drops through the stainglass window. The sounds outside add to the ambience.
These are all insignificant things if someone thinks practically, but somehow i have memories attached to these simple things scattered all through my childhood and teens, and thats what makes my stay at home most memorable everytime i go there. These things have somehow shaped my emotional and physical well being and they cant be erased now. I have not even mentioned the things that make me feel emotionally liberated from all the baggages when i am at home. My home is my paradise. And i think everyone should feel the same about their homes too. Atleast people who are close to my heart. If not, then they dont realise the treasure they are missing in there lives. How can one expect people to be caring and faithful for others if they dont feel any attachment to their homes - which have the most significant physical part in their upbringing.
My friends call me crazy, but if a get a chance, i will settle down at my home - some 30-35 years from now.
But right now i have a lecture to give to my irritated friend - hope she gets at least 10 % out of it.