Date of the trip: 21st Nov 2020
Let me give you a couple of moments just to absorb the magic of that stunning blog cover photo. And just so you know – it’s real, and it’s magnificent. The three Trishul peaks right on your face in Kausani are hypnotizing and slyly overshadow the humble Nanda Devi peak. For us, they reminded us of the queen of Himalyas – Mt Kanchandzonga.
Now with our travel story,
Kausani is a small sleepy (but touristy) Himalayan town North East of Ranikhet. Geographically, very close to the Nanda devi range. The route was scenic and roads are of good quality. Kausani is not very far away from Ranikhet. It’s a straight 2 hour drive, so it can be considered for a day trip when staying in Ranikhet. However, with a more chilled itinerary (like ours) it can easily be stretched into an overnight thing.
Our intention on this trip was to (extremely) slow travel. We wanted to enjoy the scenic route as much as the destination and therefore took a lot of breaks to admire the valleys and riverside villages and fields. Villages were preparing for the upcoming harsh winters by drying pumpkins and other gourds, preparing preserves and pickles.
The route goes via many farming villages and along the Kosi river. Short pauses on almost all bridges and wherever the river was adjacent to the road, it gave us abundant opportunities to bird watch. Our eyes were always peeled to spot kingfishers, waders and dippers or black or hill partridge.
Stop over at Khatarmal Sun temple :
While driving to Kausani (or Almora) from Ranikhet one stop (worth the detour), is Khatarmal Sun temple. Keep a watch on google maps as the diversion to it is very hard to spot.
Katarmal Sun temple is one of the first sun temple of the country. The labyrinth of small temples of shiv-parvati around it makes this majestic structure mesmerising.
Checkout the small café at the entry gate run by the locals. Easy snacks to eat and tea are available here along with locally sourced pickles and jams to shop. Himalayan scenery from this vantage point is outstanding.
Where to stay in Kausani :
There are many lodges/guesthouses/hotels of all budgets here. KMVN (Kumaon mandal Vikas Nigam) is a much sort after accommodation for it’s excellent Sunrise views of the Nanda devi range.
Season for visiting Kausani :
It’s an all year round destination. However, as the town is situated on lesser Himalayas and there is hardly any blockage or aerial distance between Nanda devi range and the Kausani ridge, the temperatures drop considerably once the sun goes down or if winds blow. Snowfall is common during winters
What to see and do in Kausani :
Like all Himalayan towns with epic views, this one also has multiple scenery viewing points like sunrise point and sunset point. A gazillion ancient stone temples also enrich the history of this town. A number of seasonal waterfalls like Rudrahari waterfall are great ways to enjoy the natural beauty by hiking to it.
Off-course, we always find time to go for walks and bird watching where ever we go. While walking back after watching sunrise, we had an excellent birding session. Checkout the ebird list here and Sunny’s instagram account for the photos.
Places we missed visiting in this trip, but are definitely going in our ‘next time’ list :
Hiking trails all around Kausani off-course tops our list. Guided walks in the flora/fauna rich forests around the town to various waterfalls and temples are worth the experience.
Although we missed it in this trip, it would be awesome to visit the planetarium and observatory to check out the night sky and maybe do some astrophotography.
The highlight of this town is the Anasakti Ashram. Constructed on mountain overlooking the Someshwar valley and view of snow-capped mountain, this ashram was abode of Mahatma Gandhi for some weeks. He was so mesmerized by the beauty of this town that he proclaimed that it is no less than Switzerland itself. Since then ‘Gandhi Ashram’ has become no.1 tourist attraction of the town which is nicknamed ‘Switzerland of India’ by the father of the nation himself. It is possible to stay in the ashram but they don’t have any online portal for booking. It’s in our list for next time, missed it due to pandemic restrictions.
Interested in literature? Spend some time in museum dedicated to the famous poet Sumitranandan Pant. He was born in this quaint town and had his most inspiring work written here influenced by mighty snow capped Himalayas . Oh! I think these majestic mountains and oak forests can turn anyone into a poet. But only few of them can land their work in our school syllabus! :p .The museum displays his personal items, drafts of his poems, letters, his awards, books, stories etc. Due to shortage of time, unfortunately we missed this one too, it is in our list for next time!!
In the town there are innumerable travel agents and guides who are more than interested in taking the visitors to see all the popular tourist spots for a fee. That’s a great way to enjoy what the town has to offer and help the local economy.
What to eat in Kausani :
As we were there for only a day and were someone’s guests, we did not checkout any food places in the town.
On our way back to Ranikhet we took the route via Lodh and stopped at ‘Rudraksh restaurant’ (located here) to eat their Kumaoni Lunch thali.
The family that owns this hotel owns the surrounding fields and most ingredients are locally sourced from the village. Kumaoni food is pre-cooked and has set thali menu depending on availability of ingredients. Servings are off course unlimited.
We stopped here for lunch. Other meals are also available.
During our visit to Kausani, we felt that it’s a wonderful and beautiful town in it’s own sense. A super short visit may not do justice to enjoy everything this place has to offer. Looking at a gazillion hotels and restaurants might make you think of it as touristy (these do reduce the charm of this place). But over the years beauty of this place has attracted lots and lots of visitors, mother nature has been really generous with providing the town with excellent views and hiking opportunities. Many famous entities like Mahatma Gandhi and Sumitranandan Pant have added to it’s rich history.
Kausani surely deserves more than a stop over or a day trip! We WILL be back for a longer stayover next time!
I hope Kausani has at-least found a little place in your list of places to go ‘When (you are) on a Break!’
Have you stayed in Kausani? Please feel free to add in our ‘next time’ list so we can get to it next when we are in town!
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