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Almora my dream city
May 30, 2006 06:16 PM 13393 Views
(Updated May 30, 2006 06:16 PM)


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Almora I have heard this word first time when I was going through a chapter of our Hindi text book in class V the title was “ Putri ke naam ek pita ka patra” ( A father’s letter in name of his daughter) . The chapter as suggested by title was a letter only, but this letter was written by first prime minister Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru to her daughter Indira , from a prison cell and the prison was none other than Almora prison. As we moved to other classes with other things this word also become a part of past.

Out of sudden this word came in front of me in year 2003 when of my friend from Uttaranchal invited me to come along him to his place, and the old chapter become alive to my mind and I accepted his invitation.

Here begins my journey ---

•Clothing - Warm clothes as it was month of September he suggested to must have some warm cloth like sweater /jacket . Sport shoe must to walk on hilly terrain.

•Ticket Booking - Ranikhet Express leaves every day at 10pm from Old Delhi station and reaches Kathgodam (the closest foothill city to Almora) early in the morning. Although State Transport buses as well as private tourist buses are also available all night from Anand Vihar interstate bus terminal Delhi, but my friend rely on train as it never get stuck in highway jam ( sometimes it get worse because of fogs & accidents)

•New Sunrise - We started on Thursday evening at 10.00 pm and our train reached Kathgodam at 5.40 am it was a very pleasant morning waiting outside. From there we took a shared cab (be careful, you must confirm the fare first with them other wise as there is no fixed fare).

•Deadly curves - As I was interested to see the road side my friend offered me a window seat I was enjoyed the road side forest view and cool breeze. After 15 - 20 half an hour climbing the hills, the road was steep and full of deadly curves (actually I was saying thanks to god after every curve).

•Water stream – after a journey of one hour I saw the first running water stream of my life, live.( till I had in photos or videos). I kept my head turning till it gone behind another hill side.

•The Almora city – we traveled 130 km the distance from foothill city Kathgodam in 3hrs and reached Almora city at 9am .At fist sight it was just like any other small city in fact I was disappointed. We had breakfast over there and we to another shared cab for my friends village, it was 20 km from the Almora city.

•The three tier city - While we were on the way to my friends village I had a full view of Almora city and I was surprised by seeing three layers of buildings as three steps of a staircase ( after spring , I had first smile on my face)

•Visit to my dream city – After staying overnight in my friends village next day morning we started for Almora city and the dream came true. First we went to the same Almora jail which was the only identity of Almora city to me till now. It was not a big one but located in an isolated place at one end of the city. Then we went to see the place where Swami Vivekanand had spent his last days. I was surprised to imagine a person from West Bengal, came to this place 70 years ago! How could he travel all the way to this height! By this time we start feeling hungry & we went Holiday Home for lunch.

•Place to stay - Lunch was not only the reason we went to Holiday Home I also wanted to enquire about staying option for any future visit. Holiday Home is nice place to stay at affordable price even they offer cottages if you want to stay for longer period like 20 – 30 days. Even there are few more good hotels like Sikhar, Everest etc., but I will recommend Holiday Home because of its location and you can see hill tops from your window itself.

•The god of justice - In after noon went to temple of Golu Devta it was at a distance of 3 km from the city. I was surprised to see the bronze bells small & big hanging everywhere right from the first step. More surprising the letters hanging every where. My friend told me Golu Devta is known as god of justice and people put there written complaints for justice and once it get fulfilled they put a bronze bell over there.

•Ranikhet the queen’s garden – As it was already Saturday evening I started to plan for return journey. My friend suggested that on Sunday we will go to Ranikhet and after spending the day over there we will start for Delhi in the evening. As per plan next morning we were in Ranikhet . To describe the beauty of Ranikhet I would like to say after seeing Ranikhet I could understand why the jail was built in Almora not in Ranikhet. Comparison to Ranikhet, Almora is an isolated place till now so you can imagine 70 yrs or 100yrs ago. My friend showed me the place from where Mount Everest is visible during morning hours and in winter days. Ranikhet was more organized & quieter than Almora. There is another feather in Ranikhets’s cap its home of Kumaun Regiment of India army, and I think this is the reason that Almora is district headquarter not Ranikhet( it’s a cantonment city).

•End of days - However we took a bus in the evening for foothill city and another from there for Delhi, and when I woke in the morning the dream was over and my bus was standing at interstate bus terminal, Anand Vihar.

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