Not your typical crowded hill station, Kausani in Uttrakhand is a fairly enjoyable place but only if looking at Nanda Devi, the 2nd highest peak in India, can give you the high. And if you have even slightest interest in photography, then waking up at 5 in the morning to watch and capture the Sun rising from the Himalayas is as breathtaking as anything can be.
And these two things made sure that my one night stay at Kausani was unforgettable. To this you add the drive from Gurgaon with stopover at Haldwani, Nainital and Almora and I had a blast for four days. It’s a different matter that 6-8 hours of driving with getting up early every day did take its toll. But after looking at the pictures I got to click, who is complaining.
How to reach Kausani?
In case you are planning a trip to Kausani from Delhi/Gurgaon, start early in the day and make Nainital your halt for the first night. Nainital in itself is a hugely popular tourist destination and perhaps the best and closest hill station from Delhi. So, be ready for traffic jams, parking woes, crowded places and yes, corrupt police too.
In Nainital, you can enjoy the boat ride in the lake, for the religious kind there is temple, a gurudwara and a mosque too. Do try the food at the market, there are some shops which serve really sumptuous food. And for the ones who like shopping, there are shops selling amazing and ahead of fashion clothes.
The next day, start at your comfort and drive down to Bhawali, from there take the route to Almora, then Kosi and you’ll be in Kausani, 6 hours tops. The road condition is more or less ok with the spectacular valley just before Kausani taking the cake.
We didn’t go into the Almora town and were happy to click some pictures only. You make take a call and spend some time there as well. I did hope that maybe my experience of last time would get repeated but there were no leopards on the road this time. There were some wild birds though and I did get to click their pictures.
Places to visit in Kausani
Nanda Devi is the star attraction
Like I said earlier, the key attraction in Kausani is the view of Nanda Devi. And don’t be surprised that every hotel (about 35) there offer a view of the peak and that’s their biggest and only selling point. Also, not all hotels are up to the mark, they are still making profit though.
In addition to Nanda Devi, there are so many peaks around it that you’ll be amazed. And surprisingly, to the naked eye, Nanda Devi doesn’t strike as the tallest of them all. But it surely is. Once you are there, take out your camera and start clicking. In case you are wondering what if you miss the sun rise, I think that should be least of your worries. The hotel staff will be banging on your doors at 5 in the morning.
Shiva temple in Baijnath is quite good
On your 2nd day of stay at Kausani, you can visit Shiva temple at Baijnath, about 17-18 km away. The 9-10th century temple is on a river bed and is a cool place to visit especially for the ones who love history and historical places.
While on your way to or way back from the temple, you may visit the Shawl making factory. The place is fairly interesting and you can see how shawls are made, you can buy some for you too. But one drawback is the price of the goods, that’s a little too much. But the entire system there points to the fact that it’s been tailor made to make more money out of tourists. But I guess that’s true of all tourist places.
And yes, there are some tea gardens that they say are good. But when I was there in end of June, I could see no such thing. But it could just be a case of bad timing.
Places to stay in Kausani
Like I was saying earlier, there are plenty of hotels though not all are of good standard. Ours was just OK types. The worse thing was, we booked the hotel using Agoda.com and they claimed we got a discount. But when I checked at the hotel, the ‘discounted price’ we paid was actually the actual price as well.
I guess in the entire journey from Gurgaon to Nainital to Kausani, the corrupt cop and the cheater Agoda.com were the only two low points. Otherwise, Kausani and of course Nainital are really good places for spending couple of days away from the heat of Delhi.