With the heat in our beloved Dilli reaching record levels and there seeming to be no respite from the weather in the near future, I decided it was time for me to head up to the hills and take a well-deserved break after a hectic work schedule – a point the Editor might disagree with though!
The battle though was not the timing or the company, but rather the choice of location. Mussoorie is too crowded and Shimla has become a concrete jungle with the commute remaining a challenge that I for once did not wish to tackle. So naturally the sole choice remained good old Nainital with the added advantage of taking the lovely back roads on the fringes of Corbett National Park.
Leaving Delhi was for once surprisingly trouble free, but that was mainly because for once we left on time, in the early hours of the morning. And with every trip it’s become easier to tackle the NH24 because the four-laning work is finally showing signs of being completed sometime in this millennia. The stretch near Brijghat though still remains a problem area. However, the frowns get replaced by smiles as soon as one crosses the bridge, since the road after is a nice 4-lane stretch of automotive heaven, offering the driver the chance to maintain triple-digit speeds with ease.
Post Moradabad though, the road again transforms into a two-lane affair, but thankfully the route that I chose to take via Kashipur, Ramnagar and Kaladungi, meant that there would be less traffic. And we got closer to Ramnagar the scenery also started to change, with the flat brown land being replaced by large orchards planted with fruit bearing trees of various varieties, displaying a massive increase in the green cover all around. However, the best part of the drive was just beginning as we crossed Ramnagar on the fringes of Jim Corbett National Park, which holds fascinating views of deep, dense and lush green forests. The roads here are in great condition, and they snake along the forest to offer the enthusiast in me a chance to push the car further and further.
Coming to the car itself, my vehicle of choice for this sojourn was a Ford Endeavour 3.0 Automatic, which was the perfect vehicle for the journey, allowing me to confidently tackle the bad roads without a worry, and also having enough space for 5 occupants and their assorted junk to fit in comfortably. While the automatic was on the slower side it made the longish drive as comfortable as ever, allowing me to focus on relaxing over the next few days and enjoying time off from the daily grind of work life.
Finally after one stop for lunch, we reached our destination and checked in to our hotel, the weather was pleasant and a welcome relief from the roasting tandoor that Delhi becomes in the summers. Of course, the most pleasant part of any Nainital trip is the evenings at the Boat House Club, sitting on the outdoor deck overlooking the lake and enjoying the tipple of one’s choice. But today, even Nainital seems to have lost its charm, and the once quiet and laidback small town has now become busy and crowded.
And after a nice weekend spent relaxing as much as Nainital would allow, it was time to head back – the time had blown by. What about the return journey you may ask? Well, after all the chilling out and relaxing, it only hurts that much more to come back to reality, making our nice drive home seem absolutely uneventful.