"Glory lies in the attempt to reach one's goal and not in reaching it " ~ Mahatma Gandhi

Mailbag on Himalayas - 2
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The article written by Suyash Sinha is very nice - feelings that can't be expressed in words have been expressed in words. I belong to Dehra Dun & love Mussoorie very much...


Impressions : Mussorie by Suyash Sinha



I am very impressed with the places of tourist interest in Himachal Pradesh.

Your detailed & enchanting explanation of how beautiful & accessible the Himalayas really are, draws one towards their natural beauty & you feel like visiting all these places one at a time to spend your vacation time discovering the beauty of the Himalayas.


Rosy Chawla
Country: U.S.A

We are a group of students studying in Lucknow and are greatly impressed by your site, especially the beautiful experiences shared by Ms Butalia. In fact the Kumaon hills sound so appealing that we are desperate to visit themand as luck would have it we have only 3 days free

Please suggest a trek we can start from Lucknow and be back in 3 days ...and is easy on the pocket too!

Looking forward to hear from u soon. Thanx for a luvly site!

Vineet, Tushar
Lucknow, India

Travelog: Off the Beaten Track by Romola Butalia and Kumaon


Hi Vineet and Tushar,

It is always a pleasure to know one has accessed the reader for whom one's own experiences seem meaningful. I have been wracking my brain trying to figure what trek I can suggest to you A constraint of three days! Almost impossible.

You can take the overnight train to Kathgodam -it's one of the cleaner, more orderly trains I have travelled in. This is the wrong time of year for treks, because you can only access the lower regions of the Himalayas, and basically hike around.

The closest places from Kathgodam is Bhimtal, from where you can walk to Naukuchia Tal and Sat Tal and maybe visit Mukhteshwar by bus, also. I honestly don't think you can do much more than that in three days. In fact, I would suggest you get off at Haldwani station, from where buses are easily available. There is a Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam Rest House at Bhimtal, and you should be able to get accommodation there, at relatively reasonable rates. Bhimtal has very little to offer, but has a lake, and is quite picturesque and less touristy than Nainital. It is hardly an hour and a half's drive by bus. You might be able to book accommodation from UP Tourism at Lucknow.

Alternatively, you can take a bus to Mukhteshwar, probably about four hours distance from Haldwani. It has fabulous views of the Himalayas. There is a PWD guest house with a couple of rooms there, but unless it has developed greatly since I visited it, there is very little other accommodation, so that might be a little dicey. It will be very cold there now, but you should get clear skies and great views.

You can, if you are very hardy, hike to Almora from Mukhteshwar - it is a long hard day of hiking down dale and uphill to Almora, and if you start before dawn it will already be dark when you reach Almora, and it is guaranteed that you will be dog-tired at the end of it. I have not done that walk, but I believe it's a tough day's walk, according to the locals. Almora has nothing whatsoever to offer the visitor, but if you take a bus to Binsar, about 40 kms away (2 hours at least) that's a great forest worth visiting. KMVN has a place to stay, but relatively steeply priced, compared to most KMVN places. There is a fabulous forest rest house, absolutely basic, and far removed from everything, at the edge of the forest, if the chowkidar can be persuaded to open it for you. You better take sleeping bags and adequate warm gear. After dark, there won't be any buses going there. So alternatively, you can take the bus to Almora from Haldwani - about five hours (100 kms) and you would probably have to change for a bus to Binsar from there.

You can spend the night at Binsar, and take a bus to Bhowali from Almora, change there for Mukhteshwar, and spend a night there. If you insist you want to travel around. And instead of planning a trek, generally hike around. Personally, I would suggest you stay put either in Binsar or Mukhteshwar and just chill.

Well, that's the best I can think of for Kumaon in 3 days. However, May-June and Sept-Oct is the time for real treks in the Himalayas. Have a great time and take care,

Romola Butalia.

Wouldn't Ashish Kaul do better by saying that all these beautiful places are in India instead of battling between which is better - Kashmir or Himachal? Can one really find the difference? What parameters would one use to define the greater beauty between Kashmiri hills and lakes against the ones in Himachal?

We Indians are always dividing our country state-wise, be it travel documents or politics. And we keep shouting at the top of our voice for the unity and integrity of the country. Are these not contradictory attitudes!!


Why don't we ever learn!!! I cant think of two Frenchmen trying to prove whether the Alps in the Haute Savoie Region is better than the Pyrennes in Southern France!!!

Saikat Bhattacharya

Impressions: Introducing Himachal by Ashish Kaul

Editor's reply:

This piece, as I see it was a light-hearted bantering rather than a battle, and I don't think the author, Ashish Kaul had any intention of partitioning India in a divisive fashion!

Having travelled extensively in the Himalayas myself, I would agree that the Himalayas are beyond the divisions of states. However, I must add, that I see a great deal of cultural diversity in different regions, and I for one, celebrate that difference. In Uttar Pradesh, I see Kumaon as quite distinct from Garhwal, as anyone familiar with the region would vouch for. Similarly, I would not club Ladakh within Kashmir when talking about the region, because it would be to deny Ladakh it's own grand cultural identity. And yes, Himachal is again quite distinct. I would go so far as to say that within Himachal, Sangla, Kinaur and Lahaul-Spiti, yet untouched by the tentacles of modern civilisation, are vastly different from Kullu, Manali or Chamba. In celebrating these differences I don't think we create barriers, but in fact we allow space for that which is unique and distinct, within the conglomerate.

While I appreciate the need for a unified India, I think India is unified because it has been tolerant enough to celebrate differences, without the need to repress individuality. And the gentle ribbing of different states is the healthy interaction within a family that is not afraid of breaking apart.

But thanks indeed for your welcome feedback. As an interactive site, we value the comments of our readers.

Romola Butalia.

Saikat wrote back:

Dear Editor,

Thank you for your response.


I do appreciate and agree with you that in all our diversities we are united as one India wherever we may be living, presently.

You are indeed lucky to have seen so much of the Himalayas. I have been only visiting Kashmir (at least once every month!) and hope I may see all those beautiful places you mentioned in the email. In'sh'allah one day.

I love reading the articles in India Travelog. Keep up the good work.


Dear Romola,

I surfed through the travel section of travelogue extensively over the week end and now I realize there are so many more places that I want to see. But of all the places my first love undisputably remains the majestic Himalayas - I just can't get enough of them.

One disturbing thing that I have noticed is that every time I go to them there is an increasing amount of garbage being thrown about. It is so painful that when your eyes sweep towards the skies and you see white and pure snow clad peaks you move your eyes down and see old tins of baked beans, guthka packets and ketchup bottles. Whenever I go for a trek I insist that we carry a plastic bag into which we dump all non biodegradable rubbish. The worst kind of rubbish that people leave behind is plastic, and so often you see it flying about.


Rishad Saam Mehta

Hi there,
Let me introduce myself as Sanjay, working in the United States Of America.

I happened to read the article by Mr.Asish Kaul. I do appreciate his effort to let people like me be aware of places in Himachal Pradesh. For people like me who visit India once a year, Travelogue is one source of keeping in touch with the vast natural beauty of our country.

Thank You,

Sanjay Logabiraman

Impressions: Introducing Himachal by Ashish Kaul
Factfile: Himachal Pradesh


Thanks to www.indiatravelogue.com for putting up that fascinating commentary on Sikkim by Sanjoy Sengupta. His article made me realise how precious is our natural wealth amidst reckless pollution and general disregard for protecting the environment. Those far reaching hills and mountain ranges are now probably the only untouched and pristine natural wealth we have in India. I hope our Government wakes up and makes an effort in protecting our natural resources and also tries to inculcate in people a respect for this God given wealth.

Thanks to India Travelogue for putting this up and to Mr. Sengupta for his love of nature and sharing it.

Amit Roy
Boston, USA

A lovely site!!!
It is really giving very good info. This will enable me to actually visit the Himalayas.. instead of just seeing beautiful pics and just dreaming about it..
thanks a lot

Piyush Saxena

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