[Ranikhet, Uttarakhand, India] Wandering in the Queen’s Meadow

A panoramic view of the Himalayan peaks, even at midday. A quiet walk along a forest path surrounded by tall pines. A variety of fruits in hillside orchards. Ranikhet, which means Queen’s Meadow, has a string of delightful experiences in store. The cantonment town of Ranikhet in Uttarakhand is easily accessible from Almora. After a remarkable holiday at Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary, we proceeded to Ranikhet.  An Expansive Golf Course: One for the movie and photography buffs

Feeling At One with Nature: At Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary, Uttarakhand

The alarm rang a bit too loudly; I staggered out of bed to turn it off. It was a little after 4 a.m. A bit later, B, Junior, and I trooped out of the room, sleepy but excited. On the terrace, a few people had already arrived. We found ourselves some seats and waited with anticipation. Junior pulled his cap over his ears to keep the chill away. More folks arrived at the scene, some wide awake, others half-asleep.

[Almora, Uttarakhand, India] Our Summer Sojourn in Kumaon: Almora

The priest unlocked the small door to the chamber housing the main deity. As we waited, he opened the door to give us our first glimpse of the idol of the Sun God. We were the only visitors at the 9th-century Sun Temple on a remote hilltop near Almora town. A bumpy car ride from Kosi village followed by a short hike had brought us to the Katarmal Surya Temple. Several such delightful discoveries awaited us at Almora.

[Nainital, Uttarakhand, India] Something for Every Mood

You have visited the Naina Devi temple, strolled along Thandi Sadak, enjoyed a boat ride in the lake, and explored Uttarakhand’s flora and fauna at the Himalayan Botanical Garden and the Nainital Zoo. What next?  In the mood to be airborne? And get a panoramic view of Naini lake from up above? Head to Snow View Point! This place can be reached by road or by a ropeway starting at Mallital.

[Pune, India] An afternoon at the Aga Khan Palace and the Tribal Cultural Museum

On a weekend afternoon, we headed to the north-east part of Pune for a flavor of history and culture.  Art, Craft, and More at the Tribal Cultural Museum: Maharashtra is home to tribes like the Gonds, the Varlis, and the Bhils. To get an insight into their culture and customs, we paid a visit to the Tribal Cultural Museum on Bund Garden Road in Pune. We were the first visitors that day and had (almost) the entire museum to ourselves.

[Nainital, Uttarakhand, India] A Glimpse of Uttarakhand’s Flora and Fauna

The Himalayan Botanical Garden and the Nainital Zoo (Pandit G. B. Pant High Altitude Zoo) top our list of favorite places in Nainital. If you love the outdoors, enjoy a hike (warning: moderately steep slopes included), and are curious about Uttarakhand’s flora and fauna, Nainital has two special attractions that definitely merit a visit.  Wildlife, Scenic Views, and a Quaint Temple at the Nainital Zoo (Pandit G. B. Pant High Altitude Zoo):

[Nainital, Uttarakhand, India] Our Summer Sojourn in Kumaon: Nainital

The Journey: We took the night train from Dehradunto Kathgodam. A refreshing cuppa tea at Kathgodam railway station helped to drive away the groggy feeling in my head. And then, we hopped into a taxi that took us along winding roads in the hills to our destination, Nainital. Inside Nainital, the roads were as scary as they could get. As I clenched my fists and muttered every prayer that came to mind, the taxi driver zoomed up and down the narrowest of paths and the steepest of streets in an attempt to locate our hotel.

[Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India] In Dehradun, at the foothills of the Himalayas – II

On our summer vacation to Uttarakhand, Dehradun was first on the itinerary. We spent a few days exploring this city in the Garhwal region.  Start at the HeartThe Clock Tower, known as the Ghanta Ghar, is a popular landmark in the heart of Dehradun. Several major roads intersect at this location. If you are a shopping enthusiast, head to the Ghanta Ghar and walk to Paltan Bazaar, a busy market nearby.

[Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India] In Dehradun, at the foothills of the Himalayas – I

Junior was glued to the window of the Shatabdi Express as it chugged out of New Delhi Railway Station and proceeded toward its final destination, Dehradun. The capital of Uttarakhand. While the summer sun shone harshly in Pune, we escaped to the cooler climes of the mountains. A long summer vacation in Uttarakhand. A much-awaited tryst with the mighty Himalayas. Our first destination was Dehradun. Located in the Garhwal region of the state, the city is a gateway to the hills and the mountains beyond.

[Daman, India] A River, Two Forts, and the Vast Blue Sea

From the hill station of Saputarato the seaside. We set off to Daman, a former Portuguese colony, along the coast of the Gulf of Khambhat. After more than four centuries of Portuguese rule, Daman passed into the hands of India in 1961. The Damanganga river divides the town into Moti Daman (Big Daman) and Nani Daman (Little Daman) just before it meets the blue waters of the Arabian Sea. At the mouth of the Damanganga, the strong forts and the little fishing boats narrate the story of the seaside town.