RAMGARH (Uttarakhand)- A serene and blissful weekend destination

Ramgarh-Love at first sight!!

It was quite a few months we had not traveled to the mountains after Diwali, due to Rakhi’s exams. So as soon as it ended we were in search for a perfect time and a perfect place-a place away from the crowd with – charming beauty-Atlast we found it. It was RAMGARH in Nainital district-a perfect place to unwind oneself. There was an extended 3 days holiday with Good Friday, Saturday and Sunday. This time, we were a group of 11, with ages 2 to 70 along with the cute, adorable,  little dog Cheeni.

Our journey started through drizzle

We started at around 4:30 in the morning in 3 cars, with my Bro-in-law,Subhrashis, his wife Ranjini and little Hridhima in their brand new Eco sportz, his friend and colleague Ankaj,his wife Aparna, little Apple, cute Chini and their governess Bithika in their dashing new Ssangyong and we-Me, Subhransu, our daughter Suchetana and my mom as before in our most trusted Santro. Everything was fine except the rain which started from midnight and became our travel partner throughout the day. We took the well known Hapur-Gajraula-Moradabad-Rampur-Rudrapur-Bilaspur-Haldwani-Bhimtal-Bhowali-Ramgarh route. The road conditions are fine except the Rudrapur-Bilaspur stretch. The continuous drizzle slowed down our pace and we reached Ramgarh at around 1 p.m. It was Subhrashis and Ankaj’s maiden journey to the hills and they really loved driving through the winding hilly roads.

I did not expect something magnificient because we already had been to Mukteswar which is at a higher altitude than Ramgarh and at an idyllic location. But I was absolutely wrong. It was love at first sight with Ramgarh. Situated at a distance of 328 kms from New Delhi at an altitude of 1720 mts above the sea level in the Nainital district of Uttarakhand, Ramgarh is a heavenly hamlet. Away from the hustle and bustle of tourist crowd, this small hill town offers a pristine environment and gigantic view of the Himalayas.

The right hand side uphill road leads to Ramgarh TRH

We had our rooms booked in the KMVN Tourist rest house-it was my second surprise!!! Ideally built at the top with dense pine and fir trees all around and a magnificient front view of the Trishul, Chaukhamba, Panch Chulli in front, this beautiful, well maintained and indeed very comfortable Tourist Rest House is a worth visit to Ramgarh. Recently they have constructed two new buildings with quite a few number of rooms each with a balcony facing the Himalayas. We were quite hungry as we had only chicken sandwiches as breakfast in our journey which I had prepared. The courteous staff were very swift in preparing our lunch of simple rice, daal and sabji. After the lunch, all were too tired and plunged into the bed with blankets all around and soon fell fast asleep. Though I was also feelng too sleepy but the mountains could not make me sleep. I along with Subhransu headed towards the market, just 200 mts away from our place. The market is a small meeting place of locals with a handful of shops. We bought chicken from the only meat shop present there, had a nice cup of hot Nescafe and enjoyed the place taking a few snaps of the distant mountains, lush green valleys, apple orchards all around. This place boasts of a large number of orchards of apple, apricot, peach and plum. The trees were full with white blossoms as the fruits are yet to come. Slowly the sun set in, the entire place was covered with moonlight and the tall conifers in the backdrop of the mountains made an excellent sillhoute effect. Inside the kitchen I was absolutely busy cooking the chicken which we bought from the market. The staffs of the rest house were extremely helpful and jovial. Staying away from their families for most of the time in the year doing only their duties- serving the tourists, suddenly they found an elder sister in me and shared their stories, dreams and despairs with me.Meanwhile the entire gang were having a gala time with apple wine and absolute vodka.

Our four bedded Delux room in TRH -Ramgarh
View from the Market
Inside the rest house area-Ramgarh
One should spent a couple of days here!!
TRH-Ramgarh
Enchanting beauty from the rest house-Ramgarh

Next day we planned to go to Mukteswar just 25 kms from Ramgarh, but at a higher altitude. Before that we moved on to visit the Aurobindo ashram. After a tiring drive for 8kms downhill in the Talla area of Ramgarh we discovered the ashram, but to all our surprise it was closed and totally deserted. The place was indeed very calm and quiet, but one should take prior information before coming here. Next we moved on to Mukteswar. Although we had stayed here before for a couple of days, but still hills can never be old, everytime it has something new to offer. This time we re-visited the PWD bunglow where the famous Jim Corbett stayed, spent some time in the backyard lawn and then trekked a short 200 mts uphill through dense forest to have a glimpse of the distant peaks from Chauli-ki-jali. One could enjoy the sunset at its best from this place with a 270 degree angle of panoramic view of the noted himalayan peaks likeNandadevi, Chaukhamba, Trishul, Panch chulli etc. But it was day time, moreover flocked with tourists. We took some snaps from this breath takingly beautiful spot and returned to the KMVN Mukteswar dining room where we had placed our order for the lunch. It had been rightly said that “Hunger is the best sauce”, and believe me we ate gregariously with not a speck of food remaining on the plate. The two kids Hridhima and Apple were at their best of their moods and ofcourse above all sweet little Cheeni who was decked up with a red cardigan, blue shoes and a pendant.
None of us were religious minded people and hence cancelled the idea of visiting the Mukteswar temple, though we had been there earlier. Instead we chose to venture through the forest with our cars. After taking entry from the gate we entered the forest area which leads to Shitla. The entire Mukteswar hills is under the Veterinary Research Institute of India and hence much secluded. We slowly travelled through the forest amidst lots of green and green everywhere with a dash of red Rhododendron flowers blooming all around. The eerie silence with  continuous buzzing of the crickets made us enraptured to the tune of it, when suddenly a pair of Neelgai on the upper hilly part drew our attention. We were enjoying every bit of our ride. Passing through a handful of staff quarters of the Veterinary Research Institute in the forest area we suddenly came to an open land with vast stretches of orchards and Green house. The place was perfect for a leisurely nap, hence we all laid down on the green meadow and was bathing in the kissing sun rays. The air was cold and we were absolutely enthralled.

Atreyee,Suchetana and Hridhima
PWD Bunglow-Mukteswar
Rhododendron
More red blossoms all around
white blossoms
The vast open land in the forest-Mukteswar
Nature at its best-Mukteswar
View through the forest
The lone dilapidated well
Unparallel beauty-Mukteswar
The three cars in our journey

Slowly the day came to an end and we had to return back to the TRH at Ramgarh. On our way back again we purchased raw chicken, this time the menu was Chicken Manchurian and roti all cooked by me. Everybody was enjoying,but somehow I was feeling sad…sad to depart from this beautiful place called Ramgarh-sad to depart from the mountains where I can feel my soul and find innerpeace.

Next day after having a sumptuous breakfast with puri-sabzi and fried eggs we set off for Nainital, while Ankaj and his family headed straight towards Delhi. We reached Nainital soon and spent some time in the Naini Devi temple complex, did some shopping of the famous decorative candles, had lunch with chinese food–all nice but very uneventful. The crowd of Nainital, the hustle and bustle of the lake side destination had no impact on me-although I had been there before. It was already 2 P.M, we were getting late, so rushed out from there, took the Kaladhungi-Moradabad road and reached Delhi by 10 at night.

Nainital Lake

This trip to Ramgarh was a short one-but it was one of our best road trip. The salubrious cool weather of the mountains,the excellent Tourist Rest house of KMVN, the courteuos behaviour of the staffs Raju, Vipin and the manager Mr. Bhatt, the peeping sun glazed Trishul and Panch chulli, the apple orchards, the green valleys, the absolutely deserted hilly paths, the sudden precarious bends, the pines, the ferns, the chirping birds–and more and more captivated my mind, body and soul–it was a true SOUL SAFAR!!!

Absolute Bliss-Ramgarh
The sun-glazed peaks-Ramgarh
Hills are calling back!!!
Bid Adieu-Ramgarh
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