The Untouched Uttarakhand: Pauri

Sitting there in lap of the Himalayas, smirking at the chaotic and packed cities from far back, this small town of the Gharwal region is unarguably the most blessed town  and enjoys the privilege of that favorite child of the family. (of Himalayas)

I hope this untouched  part of Uttarakhand remains far away from the commercial influence. It is serener than the Nainital lake, it has more positivity and more spiritual vibes than Rishikesh, a weather that fills you with satisfaction and undoubtedly it tops the list of happiness index.

To reach this abode of angels, you will travel through the terraced hilly fields until you are at the highest point of the hill, there is nothing beyond this point. Pauri is the last destination at a height higher than an Aries’ ego.

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After entering the town,  the first thing you will experience is the hustle bustle of bus drivers and tempo drivers calling for customers to  tourist spots like Srinagar, Rishikesh, Dehradun, Kathgodam and  Delhi.

And you will also enter  a town that sings of simplicity, breeds on calmness and propagates love thy neighbor. Love thy human.

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Once you reach Pauri and live there even for just a day, I am sure you would never want to leave the city: surrounded by  the Himalayas, covered in pine trees and  resting under the clear blue sky. Waking up early in the morning like rest of the pahari people in the country, sipping  tea in the balcony while overlooking the fog covered Himalayas is a daily routine of Pauri residents… sitting there until this fog uncovers the beauty beneath.

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Pauri was the most simple, effortless and easy going trip I have ever had. I have nothing to brag about the restaurants there or the best hotel, because there are hardly any.  And moreover, all of this got overshadowed by the simple yet delicious home cooked authentic pahari food  ( the most delicious s vegetarian) and of course the view from balcony which looked  nothing less than an entrance to heaven.

Walking around the town sitting in the middle of the road because we knew there hardly will be any vehicles around; climbing random small hills and figuring out ways while walking; ending up in a dead end place with nowhere further to go; fear of being chased by some wild animal; then finally sitting on the edge of a hill which seemed more like the edge of the earth and ceasing the moment.

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While travelling  I make sure to visit the outskirt areas, a village besides the town. So, in Pauri  too I did the same.  A downhill trek to this small village called Bangla. Again a placid place, with quite receptive and welcoming people, listening to Gharwali songs at full volume. Many of the people have their ancestral houses there… abandoned.  But ultimately they return to it after their retirement.  (Like one of the resident, a retired Army official)

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Walking along the wheat fields  surrounded by terraced hills, this was maybe the first time I  climbed up a barren terrace farming hill and sat on probably the 50th step for an hour, absorbing the fresh air, penetrating into the tranquility of the place. We had our pahari lunch, some tea, explored the village, where in some houses women were preparing spices, some were beating the corn, while some people were having a little chat over their houses’ short walls.

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To be honest, I cannot fabricate my experience  in words here,  maybe because Pauri is a place that you can just feel; carry the feeling for the rest of your life; relive each moment but not write much about it.

 

 

 

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A Short Trip to Sikkim.

On the morning of 16th December 2015 after having our breakfast we hit the road to Sikkim. We were exhilarated beyond limits, we were practically now traveling to another state all together. But all the excitement went into the drain when the bridge which connects West Bengal and Sikkim was getting repaired.

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“It will take three hours,huzoor and there is no other way to go.” said the driver.

“WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT?” was Ayu and My reaction.

Anyways, left with no choice we walked around while the ushering sound of Teesta filled us with antiquity. A little talk here, a little glancing at people there, eating loads of chocolates, clicking photos of people, capturing their untold stories and laughing along, we managed to pass these 3 hours and Bravo! We now entered Sikkim.

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Nepali songs were playing in the car all along the journey and our driver singing along , was the best experience. Before we reached Gangtok we stopped at Namchi, a well planned and  clean city which has been chosen for the Smart City Project.
There, meeting Swaroops friend over lunch we went around his cafe which was still under construction

.Again, on the road we finally reached Gangtok at around 7 in the evening with nowhere to go. using his friendly contacts, Swaroop finally managed to arrange a hotel, ‘Sonam Delek’. The hotel is in a perfect location with view of Kanchenjunga from the balcony.
With following day supposed to be a long one and an immensely tiring journey we had just come from, nepali songs still bursting in my head, I passed out!

Next morning, an Army vehicle came to pick us up and off we were to Nathu La. The Driver was from Haryana and had before served in Kargil .  At 14000 ft and two lakes while on the journey and lots of Yaks lazily standing in the middle of the road, Nathu la looks exactly like Ladakh.
Also, it has the highest ATM in the world, just a random fact.

When we finally reached the India China border, were asked to keep our cameras inside and then taken upstairs to the office/guest lodge. That place, I am not kidding, had the most chilly, skin biting cold wins I have ever experience…and… I LOVED IT. I wouldnt have asked anything better to fulfill my cold and winter weather loving soul.
But my friends, on the other side Ayu started having difficulties in breathing so we had to pack up soon and move.
While going back we stopped at a military canteen and had lunch. We were so hungry that i am not sure if we even tasted the food nicely.

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After reaching Gangtok we had our lunch and moved on to explore the streets of the city. Gangtok too is a very well planned city, where people are not allowed to cross the roads randomly and have to use the over head bridges only. Oh yes! And they do follow all the rules.
Excited for shopping as always, to Ayu’s disappointment the popular shops were closed by the time she started her shopping spree.

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We had our dinner at the Coffee House on M.G Marg- delicious food and an amazing ambiance. they have an outlet at Saket,Delhi too.

Next morning we left for Siliguri and as soon as we reached there, we dumped our bags in the hotel room and went to the city. Last night of the trip, we thought of celebrating it looking at the photographs of these memorable 10 days. And honestly, at that moment I wanted to go back to Darjeeling and start the trip all over again.

Sitting in the Siliguri Airport restaurant having our breakfast the flashback of these 10 days was running inside my head. I was taking with me a little piece of every place I visited, Stories of every soul I met and was leaving an aura of me in the winds of these places.

I did not feel homesick for even a while, for I manage to find home in every place I travel.