The Brigadier & his son, the folks who own the cottage we stayed at, were very hospitable & made our stay very worthwhile. They helped us plan our few days there, & guided us to explore sites like the abandoned house that Rabindranath Tagore lived in. Many writers and thinkers make their trip to rejuvenate their thinking and ideas. It is commemorated that some of the compositions of Rabindranath Tagore was compiled while he stayed here. Rabindranath Tagore, the Nobel laureate Bengali poet, short-story writer, song composer, playwright, essayist, painter and philosopher stayed in a bungalow perched way up in the hills.
The peace & tranquillity of this place inspired the likes of Rabindranath Tagore who penned parts of his famous Gitanjali here. It was an hour long unmarked trek into the deep forest, with biodiversity beyond belief, which finally took us to the old house, which is unfortunately in a state of abject neglect. Unfortunately, even though the bungalow is owned by the government, it is in a ramshackle & dilapidated state, every last thing stripped from the house, except for a few latches which were firmly attached. It’s a government owned property, but has been completely run-down & is ghost-like.
Mahadevi Verma, one of the luminaries of Hindi literature, a prose & poetry writer, built an abode here too, which is now a national museum. She not only wrote poems here but also worked for the development of Ramgarh. She worked for the welfare of villagers and women, & wanted to create awareness among the people of Ramgarh, and was a social activist.
While we were in the kumaon hills, we also visited a few local ‘hot-spots’ like Naukuchiatal, a picturesque lake situated at an altitude of 1,219 m. It has nine corners and hence the name, ‘nau means 9 in hindi’. Naukuchiatal attracts migratory birds, which makes it a ‘bird watchers paradise’, and is a haven for fishing enthusiasts.
Both yachts and paddle-boats are available and this is a favourite spot for anglers. There are facilities for para gliding as well. We had a just a little time that day, so we did a little boating on the lake, & then the kids enjoyed some like horse riding. Silly pleasures, but a great deal of fun!
Next we drove on to Saatal, an emerald green lake, situated at a distance of 23kms from Nainital. Saatal is a unique, unforgettable spot which has a cluster of lakes placed amidst the oak forest.
A tranquil & calm lake, surrounded by hills housing old bungalows & beautiful sights. Our final stop that day was at Nainital, a small town in the hills of Kumaon, which is a popular hill station surrounded by mountains on three sides. Once this area had many lakes and it was called the City of 60 lakes, but most lakes have disappeared now.
We spent a short while wandering around, did a round of boating on the lake on the kids insistence, had an early lunch, which was nothing to write home about, & left in a hurry as the place was teeming with holidayers. There were local fruit sellers selling an assortment of local fruit in leaf baskets, & then there were locals from bakeries selling colourfully iced butter cream pastries in trunks…