Winters are finally here! Till 10 years ago, Delhi winters would begin right from October. But such is the impact of global warming that now we keep waiting for it to turn cold. And finally winters make their presence felt, albeit a little late.
I love the hills. Be it any time of the year and whatever season it may be: Rain, sun, winters, summers. Just the magnificience of these tall, majestic mountains, sometimes snow covered and sometimes verdant green is so reassuring. Though people in Delhi usually travel to the hills in summers to escape the deadly Delhi heat. For me hills hold a charm that nothing can steal.
Last year, we went to Ramgarh, a tiny sleepy town in Kumaon and stayed in the Ramgarh Bungalows owned by the Neemrana Hotels. It was an amazing experience. Though our flight got cancelled while returning, due to the heavy rains. But the beauty of the place wasn’t dimmed by this experience.
This year we decided to travel to Rishikesh and Tehri in December. My father frequently goes there for work, and I always wanted to visit in the chill. So we began our journey by road from Delhi, no plane/train tickets were available on a chilly Saturday mornig. The moment we hit Meerut we were enveloped by a fog which surprised us, cause Delhi was clear. We thought this was a indicator of the weather to come. How wrong we were.
After a pleasant 7 hour drive, those who have read my previous blogs would be happy to know we had an excellent driver, no bad music and got stops in between. 🙂 I finally seemed to have changed karma!
It was an amazing trip. For those who have not experienced Tehri, must go there. Maybe because it is a small town and known only for the dam, it is unspoilt. Thanks to Dad we were fortunate to stay at the government guesthouse. It was located on top of a hill, overlooking the dam. From the rooms one could look across to hills. The silence, the setting and the weather calmed my frayed city nerves. It was beautiful.
The bigger surprise was Rishikesh. The good part was that at this time of the year it was bereft of tourists. We rushed to make it to an arti, on the day we arrived. After a short boat ride across the Ganges, we reached this temple, where the tall clock tower, had hindi numbers! Sitting next to the Ganges listening to Sanskrit shlokas were a mix of foreigners and locals. Truly music and religion have no boundaries.
At night we walked across this walkway built by the government which connects all the Ghats. If you want to step down and sit on a ghat you just need to descend steps. I have only seen these things on my travels abroad. I was surprised to see it in India and in a small town like Rishikesh. My father informed me that only locals visit this place, so it was mostly peaceful.
We visited it again in the morning. We could see the Rajaji National Park across the river. Even as I write this down, sitting in front of my computer, I can feel the calm that descended on my soul.
A place I definitely want to go back to.
So after a peaceful 3 days we returned to Delhi to be greeted by the cold and fog. But by this time I had fallen in love with winters.
Sometimes I imagine, running a bookstore and a cafe in a small town in the hills in India. Its a dream. 🙂
For now I don’t know if I vacation to escape work or work so that I can vacation.