Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Lansdowne - Come hear the Silence

Wanted to take this trip since long. Cancelled last year when we planned to go via train, instead went to Kasauli. However two weeks back we were sure that we are going to Lansdowne. Asked all the couples we knew, but everyone was busy. We were a bit hesitant going alone since this was our first driving trip to the mountains and I am the only driver. But what the hell, i am planning to go to Leh next year and so Lansdowne should not be a worry. Fueled up on Friday night and we were off to Lansdowne at 5:30 AM in morning.

Encountered a fair bit of fog till Modinagar. Road conditions were fine with occasional potholes and lots of errant truck drivers. Still by 8:40 AM we were at Monty Millions restaurant near Meerapur. Had some butter toast and tea with the home made sandwich and we were off again in 20-25 minutes.

Reached Kotdwar around 10:45 AM and from there on the road was a bliss to drive on. From Kotdwar we went towards dugadda and then on to Pauri Road.

Just after Dugadda, there is a T junction with lots of hoardings of Lansdowne hotels(forgot to click a pic ) now you can either take a right straight towards Lansdowne or take a left on the pauri road. I took the pauri road as described in the directions for my accomodation - Oak Grove inn.

As you carry on towards pauri after around 15 kms you again get a U bend to your right with board again saying Lansdowne(10 kms from this point). Oak Grove inn is midway towards Lansdwone from this point in a small village called Jaiharikhal.

Oak Grove Inn

On the way to Dugadda
Oak Grove Inn, a little background about the place:

It is run by a Retired Col. Rawat and his wife. Located in a village called jaiharikhal at a very convenient distance from Lansdowne. City being 5 kms , when going towards Lansdowne you enter at a place from where the only two tourist spots, Bhulla lake and Tip n Top point, are just a stones throw away.

On reaching the guest house, you may feel disappointed at first but as soon as you take your first meal and chat a bit with the owners you would start feeling right at home. Rooms are basic but clean to say the least. There is a dining room where the meals are served (no room service for meals). All in all it was a great place to stay. Tip n Top point has unarguably the best location in Lansdowne, but it felt a bit desolated, still, may try it on the next trip.

A few pics from guest house:

Entrance to our room

The Front Porch of Colonel's house which has a sitting area to enjoy the sun. This is a part of the tree roots. Looked like a sculpture from distance:
Sitting Area to soak in the Sun
Trying my hand at some Photography

Colonel's wife has a great sense of decoration and she loves plants, they have a plant growing in possibly every kind of vessel from ceramic cups to plastic cups to old kettles

The first thing that struck us in Lansdowne was the silence. We could feel a loud beep in our ears which are accustomed to city noise. Anyways, had tea and an hour later lunch. Lunch is served in the dining room and it was a simple home like food, Dal, Palak Paneer and Aloo Gobhi, all tasted good(Charges 100/- per meal per person).

The weather had already made me forget any tiredness i had from driving, so we decided to go to Bhulla Lake and Tip n Top point. We took the road towards lansdowne from hotel, at the entry we had to pay a parking fee of 13 Rs. At the point we enter main road of lansdowne, we take a right for the Bhulla lake and Tip n top point and a left for the main city. Both are within a km from this spot.

Bhulla Lake:

Bhulla lake is a small man made resvoir lake which was built by Jawans of Garhwal Regiment. It is nice clean place with an option of boating (Charges: 30/- per person / half hour). The whole area is maintained by army and you can always see a few Jawans constantly working to keep the area clean.

One request to anyone who visits the lake, there is a cage full of rabbits near the lake, please do feed them some biscuits or food, they seem to be grossly underfed and were literally climbing over each other to get the biscuits we were offering them.

Hungry Rabbits
A Resident of Bhulla Lake
A rock which can be seen at distance from lake. We called it the Burger Rock
Couldn't resist posting a pic of my car coz i love the looks of it in this location
From Bhulla lake we went to Tip n Top Point:

Tip n Top point:

This is the other tourist attraction of lansdowne for the excellent view point, although all we saw was a white haze

The GMVN guest house is situated just above this point and seems to be a bit desolate but excellent location. We had a badly made maggi here clicked a few regulation pics and came back to Guest house.

View of the road from Tip n Top point

Back at the guest house by 5 PM, we had tea and chatted up with the owners at the sit out place. There was another family from Delhi whose kid was totally busy playing with Owner's dogs Archie and Fifi.

Owners left for some social engagement and we got a bonfire going sitting with the other family and just chatting at leisure.

An interesting conversation we had:

We were talking about how women drivers have it easy in terms of they can get away with almost anything, the lady told us an incident of her in which she was stopped by a traffic policeman. Their conversation went something like this:

Policeman: Madam, Kagaz poore nahi hain, pollution kahan hai

Madam: Arre baki sab to poora hai bas ek pollution hi to nahi hai na.

Policeman: Arre Madam apke papers bhi original nahi hain, photocopy hain.

Madam: Arre to original kaun rakhta hai gaadi mein, matlab agar gaadi chori ho jaye to kagaz bhi jaye, wah ji.

Second Policeman: Arre madam aap jao, (to first policeman) yaar isliye main kehta hu, ladies ko mat roka kar.

Wonder what policeman's reaction would be if a guy said something like this.

Anyways, had our dinner and went to sleep by 11 PM.Next morning left for Delhi by 1030 and reached home by 7:30, all thanks to Jam between Meerut And Modinagar.

Although this is a small trip but it gave us immense confidence in ourselves and the car. 

Technical Details:

Car: Fiat Punto MJD
Total Diesel Used:  29 litres approx
Total Kms driven: 509 km

Total cost of trip including fuel, food and stay < 5000 Rs. :)

Untill we meet again