Pithoragarh - Day Three

Trip Start Dec 20, 2008
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Trip End Dec 25, 2008


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Where I stayed
FRH Pithoragarh

Flag of India  , Uttarakhand,
Monday, December 22, 2008

I wake up early in the new dawn as the easterly breeze softly flows past. There is chill in the air. The valley below is under thin layer of mist. The sun is still behind the hills but far away mountain tops are smiling delightfully in the soft morning rays. The trees sway and heave with joy. The birds are ready to take on a ride in the new sky. Every face in nature brightens up as the sky wakes up with all its glory. We are all packed and ready to start a new day.
 
It is a beautiful bright sunny day. The mist has lifted from the valley. The Bagnath temple on the bank of Saryu River is our first stop to pay our obeisance to lord Shiva. A continuous ascent begins as we leave Bageshwar. It is a lovely drive through dense pine forests. Sun rays form polka-dot patterns as they seep through the opening in the forest canopy. The valley of Bageshwar and River Saryu are visible through the dark columns of chir stands deep down. They glitter in the soft sunshine and look beautiful. The road to Pindari glacier is visible like a black ribbon from this height. As we gain height we get a breathtaking panoramic view of snow-clad Himalayan mountain ranges far in the north sparkling with dazzling radiance in the sunshine. The view plays hide and seek as we drive on. It's all quiet through out the drive. Except for two small hamlets by the roadside we do not encounter any other big or small settlement near about until we reach Kanda about twenty five kilometers away from Bageshwar.
 
Here the nature smiles and surrounds us from all sides; a deep wilderness where one is amidst spiritually stimulating natural splendour. It is soothing. The blue hills, the vast space beyond the blue hills where the snows glitter, the majestic green trees playing with the breeze, the clear azure sky, the refreshing cool air of winter that caresses, fills one with joy and effortlessly turn you inwards. No doubt then those great thinkers of yore chose such places for meditation and produced wealth of wisdom for posterity.
 
Kanda, at a distance of 25 km from Bageshwar and at a height of 1900 m, is a large settlement. It is picturesque place. There are extensive terraced green fields on the hill slopes. There are patches of beautiful dense oak forests near about Dharamgarh. Come spring these oak forests don delicate soft new leaves shedding the old ones. In between oaks are rhododendron trees which when flower in summers adds beauty to the ambient. The entire drive is indeed a treat to the nature lovers.

We break for lunch at Chowkori. It is a picturesque spot 112 km away from Almora situated at a height of 2010 m. It offers magnificent view of Punchchuli peaks. It is also famous for breathtaking view of sunset. With oaks and pines in the surround, beautiful green valley below and vast open space all around adds charm to this place and gives the feeling as though you are on very high grounds watching a grand scene. Chowkori was once famous for tea gardens. The garden is now in ruins. It is now slowly developing in to a picturesque resort. Beautiful government tourist cottages are already in place and many new buildings are coming up to cater for the ever increasing tourist's inflow. In course of time it may become most attractive tourist destination.

After our lunch we take a detour of Berinag about 10 km from Chowkori. It is yet another beautiful place which commands exciting view of Himalayas. It was once popular for Berinag tea but now the tea gardens has been encroached upon by local and outside people and have built houses there on. Remnants of tea bushes are still there struggling for existence to tell their story and remind people of their past glory. It has now developed in to a big town like many other unplanned towns and has lost old flavour.

 We reach Thal valley on the bank of beautiful snow-fed River Ramganga (east) with clear turquoise waters coming from far away glacier. This is our last leg of journey to Pithoragarh through Dewalthal.

Going up and down the hills, crossing many saddles or passes we are finally in Pithoragarh.

Pithoragarh
is the district head quarter of easternmost district of Uttarakhand. It is bound on the east by River Kali and on the west by Saryu. Nepal in the east and Tibet in the north are its neighbour. It is a beautiful township on the Kailash - Mansarovar yatra route. Located at a height of 1645 m, it has equable healthy climate.
The town is well connected by network of roads.An airport about 5 km form the city is under construction, nearest rail-head is Tanakpur 151 km away, 

The FRH where we are staying for the night is on the higher grounds overlooking the town and is far away from it. Located in a quiet and lonely place it is a cozy two bed room unit with a common drawing cum dinning room and is surrounded by deodar and chir pine trees.
 
The dusk comes. The hills silhouetted against the setting sun in the west look like dark phantom in the horizon with their serrated crowns luminous with fading sun rays. And the sky transits from orange glow to dark blue and eventually covered  with twinkling stars hanging in the dome. The night now is silent, dark, and dense. It is all blissfully quiet and peaceful. 
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