Apr 30, 2010

Jilling Estate--the perfect holiday retreat!

Nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas among the Kumaon ranges of Uttaranchal, Jilling Estate is the perfect holiday retreat for those who enjoy basking in the arms of nature.

Enjoy the view of Nanda Devi, walks to a spectacular ridge through the woods, camping on the ridge, bonfire nights.Spread over 120 acres of oak and rhododendron mixed forests to walk around in and a very healthy bird and animal population to view. And the snows are straight ahead with Nanda Devi, the highest peak, dominating. The height ranges from 6000 to 7200 feet above sea level and have snow in winter.

Enjoy the natural organic vegetables and a few apples, plums, apricots and chestnuts.

The estate has a rich and varied wildlife. There are jungle cats, mountain deer, wild boar, a great variety of Himalayan birds and occasionally bear and leopard. It is fed by a mountain spring with pure mineral water and on clear days there is a breathtaking view of the eternal snows. There are long and peaceful walks where you will have the forest all to yourself.

In the evening you may have your meal around a bonfire under the stars or besides a crackling logfire in your room. There are villages a few kilometres away and it is enjoyable to interact with the hill folk. Not being connected to the road Jilling is a peaceful haven ideal for nature lovers. Bird watchers will find it specially enriching.

They do not take more than 4-5 couples at a time. The accommodation is dispersed and guests can roam freely and be quite alone. Sometimes, they take out small groups of around 8-15 people to the high altitude border areas for trekking tours of 6-12 days depending on the area.

The best time are from April-June and September-October. Kumaon is not very crowded with tourists and the scenery is stupendous with wild flowers in bloom stretching from the high altitude pastures to the snowline.

Alternately, they take out motor trips with camping gear and food, and guests can bed down in comfort at scenic locations away from crowded rest houses etc. Apart from visiting beautiful and interesting places like historic temples, caves etc., you can also incorporate light activities like hiking and fishing.

Jilling is a 2 km walk up from the road head.

A 9 hour drive from Delhi (or an overnight train) makes it an ideal weekend getaway if you need some time off to rejuvenate.

There is nothing like a firsthand experience to find out what Jilling is all about.

To see pictures of jilling estate cottages view jilling estate photogallery

Apr 29, 2010

A trip to Pauri Garhwal : Khirsu, the beautiful hillstation

Noida to Pauri: 323 km from NH 119
Delhi to Khirshu: 365km
Estimated Time: 5hrs + 1-2 hrs drive to Khirsu

Khirsu is situated 15kms from Pauri at an altitude of 1700mts above sea level. Khirsu is situated in a tranquil place with numerous oak trees, deodar trees and apple orchards around. Located in the Pauri Garhwal district of Uttarakhand state, Khirsu affords captivating views of the imposing Himalayan range.

Like all Indian hill stations, Pauri has its Mall, though not crowded by endless row of shops as is the situation in the over crowded Nainital and Mussoorie. The town is mainly divided into two market rows --- the Upper Bazar and the Lower Bazar.

Temperature: See the graph below

Khirsu Photogallery


Places to See in Pauri Garhwal

Ulkha Giri: Ulkha Giri can be reached after a 2km drive to Chaudatakhal and an easy 2km trek. Ulkha Giri is situated at a breathtaking elevation of 1900mts above sea level affording ravishing views of the imposing Himalayas and misty valleys.

Kandoliya Temple is dedicated to Kandoliya Devta, located on the Pauri - Lansdowne road amidst picturesque environs. Kandoliya Shiva temple is situated only 2km from the main Pauri town. There is a stadium on top of this mountain which is visited by numerous travelers every year because it is Asia’s highest stadium. The enchanting views of the splendid Himalayan peaks and Gangwarsyun Valley can be seen from here. Kandoliya is also famous for its sunset views.

Chaukhamba View Point: Situated only 4kms from main Pauri, Chaukhamba Viewpoint ridge overlooks the splendid Idwal valley and Chaukhamba Peaks. It is one of the prominent places of Pauri because of its mesmerizing scenic vistas. Another pleasing attraction of Chaukhama viewpoint is the dense oak and rhododendron forest of Dwarikhal.

Kyunkaleshwar Mahadev: It is an 8th century temple dedicated to Lord Shiva offering astonishing views of the snow laden Himalayas. The temple is situated in the suburbs of the main town of Pauri. It is believed Adi Shankaracharya raised this historic shrine while his visit to Pauri. The presiding deity of the temple is Lord Shiva accompanied by Goddess Parvati, Ganesha and Karthikeyan.

Though Pauri has motorable roads in all directions, a slow and fresh stroll in the wee hours to Bubakhal can freeze one's imagination like the blood in the body. The dream is come true even for those who are not regular walkers for the road is not steep. One passes through oaks, rhododendrons, pines, deodars, shrubs, and plants of economic, medicinal, herbal, and aromatic value amidst impregnable silence. During summers and before winters, thousands of flowers bloom in the area. One can return to Pauri from Bubakhal by the time the Sun is bright and breakfast is ready. An uphill and steep walk takes one to the temple complex of Kimkaleshwar temple amidst the dense forest of oaks and rhododendrons and sporadic pines.

The road emanating from Pauri and leading to Deoprayag, one of the holiest confluences for the Hindu devotees, is an experience of its kind. It is ideal for those trekkers who like to peep deeper into the countryside. As one ascends on the pucca road and turns on the forest of Dwarikhal or the Keenash Parbat, just four km from Pauri, brings one to the threshold of the panoramic Idwal Valley and face-to-face with the Chaukhamba peak in the distance as if sitting on a huge sea of clouds and mist and in ascetic meditation. The pucca road and existence of the telephone poles only provide for discordant notes.

The best seasons to visit Pauri and the surrounding areas are August to November and March to June. December to February is rather cold and July to August rainy and inhospitable. September and October are months for those in search of flowers and more flowers. The air is bracing and the crops are in and the peaks glisten like diamonds. Each remarkable area, each unique valley is breathtaking. Pauri is also advisable to those people who do not want to be noticed or disturbed.

Suggested Intenarary
Visit Rudraprayag and then drive uphill to Chopta to reach Chandrashilla peak. Drove through the road ahead and went to a spot about two kilometers up. From there have a great view of the large Choukhamba massif rising to the horizon. After reaching Chopta, trek for 4 kms to reach Tunganath temple. (optional for trek lovers). From here again go uphill for another one and half kilometer to reach Chandarshila, from here capture a 360 degree panoramic view of the Choukhamba range. It seems you have reached the heaven. The dying rays of the Sun from the hills behind you colored the plains with a yellow hue, the peaks on the horizon were crimson red on their top - it was a riot of colors.Then drive back to Rudraprayag and Srinagar and then took a diversion to Khirsu, to avoid the bumpy hilly roads.

Walk down the mountains and see the locales. Khirsu offered a splendid view of the distant peaks. Take a short trek on the hills. The trek route would be rough and steep, with a climb of around 2000 feet on a hill that was mostly covered with shrubs and loose rocks. It would be a tough trek; the ground beneath your feet would be slippery grassland with not much support to climb on. At the top, the view of the peaks would take your breath away.

Next Day Drive Back to Delhi
Take the route to Delhi via Devprayag to capture the confluence of the river Alaknanda and bhagirathi. So return via Srinager-Devprayag-Rishikesh-Haridwar-Meerut-Delhi. But the first route via kotdwar is better provided if there is no rain and landslide.

Options to stay
GMVN Tourist Bungalow at Khirsu
Tariff: Rs. 400 – 600
Tel: 01368 - 228509
Website: www.gmvnl.com

Ramkund Resorts Khirsu
Tel:: 0-9873010266 or 0-9999600365

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