HR: "Hey, Can you go to Delhi on 12th December?"
Me : "Why?"
HR: "There is an office football tournament going to be held at Delhi on 13th December and our team is playing. Can you go?"
Me : "Let me check with my schedule please"
I checked the availability for tickets from Kathgodam and booked tickets. J
Me: "Yes, I can go."
HR: "See you on 12th then"
|The view of lake and the mountains behind, from Mall road|
It was always my dream to go to Uttarakhand and that opportunity come like this was never expected. Two of my most favourite hobbies. Playing football and Travelling to mountains came together.
After 1 month the day comes and I left for Kolkata airport to catch the flight to Delhi. There were around 12 people travelling to Delhi to join the occasion and I was supposed to play for my company. After reaching at 5.30 I checked in a hotel arranged by my office.
I won't take much time to describe about our football tournament as If I start writing about it it won’t finish. Just for information, we finished 3rd out of 10 participants and I finished up scoring 4 goals as a top scorer. That helped me getting the Golden Boot award and much praise and pat on the back from many people on the ground. I was proud of our performance though we could not win the trophy. Sometimes you don’t win the trophy but you win many hearts. And I was happy about it.
With a tired body I reached Old Delhi railway station to catch Ranikhet Express to Kathgodam. My friend Rupesh was waiting for me there. He is from Nagpur. Two friends from Eastern part and Western part of India are going to visit the Northern part of India, though we had only met once before this trip, On my trip to Pune.
I was very tired and went to sleep early in train and could not sleep much because of the cold. It was a hard night to pass. But, whenever our train reached Kathgodam I don’t know where my tiredness had gone. It was a clean and good place to start a good trip to Uttarakhand. It was my first time to Uttarakhand and I was amazed to see people trying to help us with many tips with the route and the other weather situations and predictions.
In accuweather.com I had seen the weather could be bad. It could rain heavily for the weekend. And I decided to stay at Nainital and skipped Kausani from my plan. I initially decided to visit Kausani and see the amazing sunrise and sunset over the Nandadevi range.
|At station, before starting the journey|
Day 1 : Kathgodam to Nainital : 14 – 12 - 2014
We managed to get a silver Volkswagen polo to take us to Nainital. Arif was the driver and he was really good at his job. And for the first time in my life I experienced to drive a car on mountains. I didn’t find it hard to drive on mountains, may be because of my previous experience with bike. But I don’t have much intention to continue driving on these roads in future. It was just to take the feel.
We reached Nainital at 8.30 and checked in a Hotel. Arif went for another tourist for local sightseeing and we went on some walk to the Mall road at Nainital after our breakfast with Alu Parantha and Pickle.
|Way to Nainital|
|A rainy day at Naini Tal|
|On a tea break|
|Driving in mountains, it was a great experience and thrilling too.|
|Sun rise from our hotel balcony|
|After snowfall, from hotel balcony|
It started raining heavily after some time. And with the help of a newly bought umbrella we somehow managed to continue walking. We went to the Nandadevi temple and the local market. On the way back our shoes got wet and socks too. It was freezing cold. We came back to our hotel at noon and after an hour may be it started snowing.
|Roads, full of snow. Full of traffic. Skidding vehicles.|
|Traffic jam after snowfall|
I have never experienced snowfall in front of my eyes before that. For a couple of hours it had snowed and everything seen from our room window became white. The roads, the rooftop, the mountains everything turned to be like Vanilla ice cream and that was enough for us to cancel our plan for local sightseeing to the hill top, tiffin top, snow view point, zoo and many more. We were just stuck in our room for hours.
After the snowfall stopped we went for a walk again. As our shoes were wet we had taken my two pairs of football boots. After a walk for half an hour I felt like losing my legs because of frost bite. We immediately returned to our room and went under blankets to save our legs. :)
|May be next time I will ride you darling|
Day 2 : Nainital local sightseeing and to Kathgodam : 15 – 12 - 2014
Initially my plan was to go to Kausani for this weekend. And some information from locals made me feel I had taken a wise decision staying at Nainital. As because of heavy snowfall , the nearby places of Kausani were under a few feet of snow and could be blocked for a few days to get it clear. And we could understand that seeing the situation of Nainital. No other cars were interested to visit the top of Nainital in the fear of getting stuck in snow with their car and the fear of skidding back when on slope. But our superman driver was not really bothered about it. He said “We have a German car with us. Its Polo. And It is better than any other car on town. It is time to check it’s strength and to check how much driving skill I have”. And he proved to be one of the best drivers I have met till date.
|Near Nainital Market|
|Football ground, it could have been fun to play in this surface|
|On the way to Nainital Top|
|The great German car, Volkswagen polo|
|From left, Rupesh, Arif and myself Anirban|
|Stuck vehicles at Nainital, near Tiffin top|
|A temple near Nainital top|
We went for a drive towards the top of Nainital and managed to take a U-turn when it was not really possible to move further because of snow.
After a hot cup of coffee at Nainital mall road we moved for the other lakes. En route of those places were very beautiful and road conditions were perfect and I was thinking how soon I come back to these places with my Royal Enfield. :)
|On the way to Bhimtal from Nainital|
|On the way to Sattal|
|Myself experiencing driving on mountains again|
|Hunuman Temple, near Bhimtal|
After spending 3-4 more hours at the other Lakes (Naokochia Tal, Kamal Tal and Bhim Tal) we started to Kathgodam station to catch the night train to Delhi. We reached at 5 pm and took the station retiring room to be fresh.
|Way to Kathgodam|
|Royal Enfield Electra and Audi|
After a hard time again on train because of cold we reached Old Delhi station at 5 AM. Rupesh went for his place and I took metro towards airport. Our flight left from Delhi and reached Kolkata airport at 12.30 pm and I had to join office from the same day because of many pending jobs.
Overall it was a great weekend trip for me. Full of enjoyment one could ask for in 3 days. Playing football, driving Polo on mountains, seeing snowfall, taking pictures, meeting new people. It was real fun for me and I am waiting more fun to come in the coming months when I plan again for another Uttarakhand trip with other members of Total Travellers :)
|A valley near kathgodam|
Car rental from Kathgodam :
Sachin : 09536117968
Sachin : 09536117968
Arif : 08193988345
Hotel Sashi, Nainital : 09412084735, 05942231152
Bike Rental at Nainital : Pankaj : 09690147781
Bike Rental at Nainital : Pankaj : 09690147781
Train from Delhi to Kathgodam : Ranikhet Express , From Old Delhi station, 10.30 PM, Reaches Kathgodam 5.00 am on the next day. (Jaisalmir to Kathgodam)
Train from Kathgodam to Delhi : Ranikhet Express, To Old Delhi , Starts 8.40 pm, Reaches 4.30 at Old Delhi. (Kathgodam to Jaisalmir)
Written by Anirban
Photography by Anirban
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