Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Jhaltola and The Misty Mountain: The soulful experience

The Kumaon Himalayas divine pleasure-trip 

If you want to feel Himalayas, breathe it and live it, don't miss to visit this place

The fundas to travel differ from person to person. Someone may be interested in sightseeing. On getting up from bed in a Hotel, a whole day planning begins. It's well decided before the night. One tries to visit maximum places possible in a day. A journey from sunrise-points to sunset- point. It includes boating and riding too. Spending three hours in a market and get the same things which are available in one's city at the half rate! Tries to find out Dominos or McDonald's outlets on a hill station! And there will be Toratora rides etc. for children. Everyone may have his own style, anyhow, I don't like such a style. It is a great pleasure for me to stay for five-seven days at a beautiful, isolated place and from there only one goes to visit one of the places according to suitability, to move into the forests with a guide for no reason. Just moving in this way I came across few wonderful places. I experienced such a feeling recently in 'The Misty Mountain' resort located at Jhaltola of Kumaon Himalaya, in Uttaranchal State.

It's our way to always opt for a popular destinations where there is a crowd and is a source of annoyance. But, you know there is an extraordinary happiness and peace when one, at ease, comes into contact with places situated at distant places and feel comfortable.  No doubt,  children will definitely ask for pizzas and rides. But they are required to be educated and trained. It is also one type of training to explain to them the importance of virgin territory and to cultivate their mentality to enjoy the uniqueness of such place. 'The Misty Mountain' is also such an unexplored place situated at the foothills of Jhaltola. Say, it's a heaven on the earth. It is amidst nature and there is a pure atmosphere all over. Reaching here, first thought occurs in the mind: 'The world we live in is so mean and  artificial! We don't realize the cost at which we live in luxury. We can't realize how much we lose.'

'The Misty Mountain' is the momentous experience, the unforgettable and unique experience. 160 k.m. away from Nainital Jhaltola was the Tea Estate once upon a time. The tea produced here was considered better than the tea of Darjeeling. This estate had already won the Gold Medal for producing the best tea of India. The rules and regulations for the tea estate are strict enough. You cannot alter your purpose. The tea farming was discontinued due to some geographical reasons. The field is extended to 1000 acre, the wealthy, private forest remained uncultivated. Forest and wealthy? Is it possible? Yes, definitely it can be. The jungle has 80% forest area. There are millions of Oak trees and special Buransh flowers from Uttaranchal. There are deers, porcupines and leopards (panthers). Above all there are more than 300 species of the birds in this area. 'The Misty Mountain Resort' has been constructed in such a way that one can view more than a dozen snow-clad mountain peaks from its almost all the rooms. One can have the mesmerizing views of the mountains and the peaks like Elephant Mountain, Gauri Mountain, Nandaghunti, Trishul, Mrugatungi, Nandadevi East-West, Panchaachooli could be enjoyed from here.

If we see the tourist map of Uttaranchal and Kumaon, we may not find a mention of Jhaltola.  Basically this private jungle belongs to the Rawat family. This is the property of Pandit Kishansinh Rawat and his brother Nainsinh Rawat, the explorer of many tracks by tracking in nineteenth century.  Google had also displayed the doodle of Nainsinh Raot last year. Harsh, the descendent of Rawat family, looks after of this jungle. Though the five acres land for the resort has been taken up on lease by Madhur Chhabra and his wife Ambika Chhabra.

Madhur Chhabra, associated with Hotel Business, wanted to launch altogether a different and offbeat resort, absolutely unique one. Meanwhile, he happen to meet Yash Rawat somewhere, who was his formerly classmate. While talking they turned out to the talk about Jhaltola. Harsh took Madhur to Jhaltola and 'The Misty Mountain' was born! Harsh's mother expressed  her desire that, 'Like typical tourist spot, no pollutions should be spread over here. There was the only condition, the abundance and lush vegetation of the jungle, must be kept intact and pristine, free from noise, hubbub and plastic or pollution. And the agreement was prepared accordingly. A location, four kilometers away from the main road was selected. There was no approach rough road even. One had to go there on foot. Therefore, a rough road was made where only a single four-wheeler can be plied.  Madhur himself is a lover of nature. Therefore, he took personal care that no tree is cut and gradually, step by step, 'The Misty Mountain', the heaven on the earth, is created.

Ambika & Madhur Chhabra

There are marvellous rooms, cottages and suites. A special care is taken for viewing in all of them. One has to agree that the food is exclusive. If you are a vegetarian, you have a daily celebration! You will find there each well-prepared  dish of green vegetables, a variety of Paneer (cottege cheese) or Kofta (a tasty preparation), total four types vegetables, pulse-rice, salad, raitu (a kind of dish made by curd), fulka roti (thin Indian pancake) and a hot sweetmeat item. In addition, as a bonus, over a dozen pickles prepared by Ambikaji,  including garlic and spicy red-green chilli pickles. The jam of local malta and chillis and many more items. You may wonder to have multi-choice breakfast. Ambikaji herself prapares the spices for the food. She herself works in the field for growing turmeric, chilli and capsicum. She also grows brinjals, peas, potetoes etc. Everything is produced by organic farming. This area is otherwise also famous for producing best quality of peach, apricot, malta (orange) etc. And most valuable is ever pure mineral water. The Mineral water is brought here by pumping at the two different springs, two kilometers away. The water is so pure and full of mineral qualities (elements) that it is advised to the experts that they will not be allowed to intervene in the matter. Only the water filter was installed so that its useful elements are preserved. If you happen to visit the place, don't take the so called mineral water bottles with you.

If you want to visit 'The Misty Mountain', one or two days will not be enough. If you stay for three-four or five nights, your joy is doubled. What to do during these time? Well, feel the divine atmosphere in Himalaya. There is a game zone. One can play carrom, chess, table tennis there. There is a small library for you. One can go to Lankeshwar Temple by going up and ascending hard path roughly at a distance of three kilometers. One can have 360 degree view of Himalaya from over there. The place is so beautiful that you would have never thought of before. Simply incredible. It takes 4-5 hours in going and coming back, but the physical exertion is worth. Moreover, making the resort a base camp one can enjoy many places around. You can visit one or two places daily, at ease, from among Patal Bhuvneshwar, Hatkali Temple, Chaukori, Soorya Temple, Mukteshwar, Binsar. Enjoyment is guaranteed. Adventure activities are undertaken during May-June at the resort. Rappelling, hiking, tracking, village-walk can also be enjoyed with family.  Bird watching is also a good time pass.

'The Misty Mountain' is neither inexpensive nor it is too much high-priced.  The family cottage, where we stayed, had three bedrooms, one kids' room and a large hall. The tariff was around seven thousand. No doubt the food is a bit expensive, however, one can definitely afford everything for the loveliness and natural divinity and magnificence of this place. After all, to be on cloud nine is beyond price!

 *-Kinner Aacharya, Author-Journalist.*

Misty Mountain : Contact : Kavita Goyal, Mobile:  +918810345220

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