Monday, August 22, 2011

the Kausani-Garur trek

I think (and please correct me if I am wrong) that it was Eric Newby who said of his wife Wanda, that she firmly believed that a hill should run downhill both ways. And I agree with her.

While trekking, every step is bittersweet. If plodding uphill, its ok- your reward lies a bit further ahead. Sadly, if you are gaily waltzing downhill ,you know you will pay for it soon.

Unless you are walking from Kausani to Garur. This is that magical thing- a mountain walk that's downhill all the way. It's 9 km, or so we were told by the chap who came with my colleague and me. We were walking through the valley to inspect the springs,but there are also lots of things for the holiday-maker to enjoy.

The walk starts at the Kausani market, or if you choose, you can motor down to the tea gardens like we did. Right opposite the gate, there is a earth path that goes downhill into the valley. Follow it as it meanders through a Tolkienish Shire.

There are no grand vistas here, no awe-inspiring panoramas. Here instead is the charm of well kept fields, of neat woods, and bubbling little streams that refresh these. The walk leads through satisfying varying terrain. Initially you walk through pine forests, which lower down are replaced by a mixed broad-leaf forest. This is lush and crossed by numerous rivulets that either have a bridge, or need to be crossed over. There are farms to walk through, and rivers to walk along.  The path goes by a school and some houses, each one of which has sunflowers growing in the yard. The best part? It's all downhill!

For us spring-surveyors, the valley and the walk was the destination. However, Garur is an interesting marketplace. We had a very satisfying meal of rajma-chawal (though everything tastes good after a 9km walk). And it is also the home of the Baijnath temple, which also has a tank full of fish which you can feed.

I tried to look for a map to share with you, but couldn't get one. Its best then, if you can get someone to show you the way. And since I have a reader who is making the trip with his 8-yr old daughter, this is also a good trip for young ones, provided you have a plan B. Either be prepared to carry the child yourself, or negotiate with someone at the market to show you the road, and also pick her up once in a  while. Its a safe path, with no cliffs or scrambles involved and will give her the thrill of completing a 'real' hike. And for added incentive, there are plenty of these fruit trees.
Nashpatis. And apparently so common that even the schoolboys were ignoring them. A couple plopped down in front of us, and we did not ignore them. And I am glad we didn't.  They were the sweetest, juiciest, crispest, freshest pears I have ever eaten.


Malavika said...

That defines the valley just as it is! Lovely! Did you try to pick up the rock in the temple courtyard? Its big and heavy, and they say if 5 people with pure hearts put their fingers on it and chant Om, it lifts up by itself...

Banno said...

This looks like a good walk. I like the sound of that 'downhill'. :)

nadi said...