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Morning Glory at Kausani

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The curvaceous road twists around bulging mountains, some mantled with forests, others with terraced mustard fields that ripple yellow like the waves of a golden sea. It crosses silvery blue rivers that are spanned by metal bridges and zips down roads bordered with trees daubed in a million shades of green, gold and rust. Occasionally the snow capped peaks of the might Himalayas rear up to trace the far horizon. In the distance small hamlets teetered on mountain ridges, seemingly ready to tumble off their precarious perch. Green wheat fields undulate on slim ridges and there is an air of explosive lushness about the landscape.

The person who coined the old adage: getting there is half the fun could well have been inspired by the road to Kausani, a charming little hill resort town in Uttarakhand. Some 16 km from the destination, by the banks of river Gomti a miracle takes place at Baijnath temple every day. Here, within the compound, devotees and tourists gather around a smooth round rock. Then as stipulated by tradition, they chanted “Aum” in unison and lifted the stone with effortless ease with their index fingers. Here where the Himalayas seem to hover protectively on the horizon, one tends to take major and minor miracles in one’s stride.

Once in Kausani, nestled amidst dense forests atop a narrow ridge, the three pronged peak of Trishul and the twin peaks of Nanda Devi greet visitors. As the sun slips slowly below the horizon, the snow-dusted peaks acquired a roseate hue and the lower ranges resembled the waves of an ocean in mid heave.

The mornings are equally dramatic as the first rays of the rising sun plant a kiss on the snow peaks that blush in the pleasure of its warmth. What follows is a symphony of subtle hues as the sun god used his prowess with special effects… bathing a single saw-toothed peak here with light, casting a brooding shadow there; dappling the meadow in the valley below with timorous rays and prompting multi-hued birds to hold raucous court.

Spend the rest of the day exploring Kausani’s lush environs where pine trees towered overhead protectively and the silence of the forest is as evanescent as the flutter of butterfly wings. Later drop in at the Anasakthi Ashram where Mahatma Gandhi spent two-week. During his stay he observed: “the scenery of these hills and the climate surpass or equal any of the beauty spots of the world.” Shielded by mighty deodars and swooning in the embrace of nature, the ashram commands views of the 350 km stretch of the Himalayas, for which Kausani is justly famous. In these soothing confines he recuperated from the devastating effect of his imprisonment and was inspired to write his book Anasakti Yoga, his commentary on the Gita.

Ultimately, Kausani where the earth seems akin to paradise, uplifts one’s spirit and also fills one with a sense of insignificance.

Fact File
The nearest airport is at Delhi and the nearest railheads are at Kathgodam and Haldwani. The overnight Ranikhet Express leaves Delhi at around 10.45 am and reaches Haldwani the next morning at around 6 am. From here one may hire or share a taxi. Getting there is half the fun and the drive offers some truly magnificent sights!
Kausani is part of the back to nature Kumaon circuit in Uttaranchal which comprises Binsar, Almora, Chaukori, Ranikhet and Nainital.
A typical itinerary would start at Binser or neighbouring Almora where one can visit one of the 12 Jyotilingas at the Jageshwar temple complex; Chaukori which serves as base for the cave temple of Patel Bubeneshwar; Kausani, Ranikhet and the famous lake town of Ninatal. Time permitting, one can slot in Munsiyari, further north, between Chaukori and Kausani. Round of the trip with a visit to Corbett National Park, one of the finest game reserves in India.