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Chopta …the land of whispering meadows and pebble pathways
“The problem is with the compressor, we shall get it repaired in a day”, commitment came from the AC mechanic. Two days and hundred phone calls later, we got accustom to the temporary table fan installed in our office cubical. The third day was Wednesday, when I received a link from my wife. Snow clad mountain, green meadows, colourful tents, pebbles pathways and enthusiastic hikers in winter suits is what the link opened up to.
Within 10 minutes, a whatsapp group was created with only three members, me, my wife and my brother in-law, Rahul. The decision on destination was unanimous. With school summer vacation already continuing, children were at their Nani’s home. The only challenged was getting our leave sanctioned simultaneously. “Go ahead”, “only if you exceed your target by a ton this month..!”, “system may bhar dena” three different boss and three positive response, the last one came from my boss.
By 8pm we were at an Indian Oil filling station on the Delhi – Meerut highway. As we were crossing Muzaffarnagar by- pass, the Manager of New Bhandari Swiss Cottage, Rishikesh returned our call to confirm the room booking. We skipped dinner to avoid further delay and packed few rolls from IIT, Roorkee main gate. It was exactly 12.30am, when Ramesh, opened the hotel door for us.
Next morning at the breakfast table the choice was plenty. The American, Continental, Israeli and host of other breakfast option served with fresh orange juice at the Bhandari Cottage restaurant always tempted me and my wife to stick to this place. For Rahul, the temptation was more to do with the presence of good looking tourist from these countries rather than the menu.
We started our onward journey at around 10 am. The traffic slowed down as we cross Shivpuri, the rafting capital of India. After an hour drive we turned down the AC for a while to get the feel of fresh air. Ganges was towards our right, flowing in opposite direction. Even in the sharp curves She was calm, elegant and moving flawlessly towards the plains to serve the civilization. On the other hand we were carefully moving ahead, shifting gears, applying brakes, blowing horns and burning fuel.
At Devprayag, all new travellers are bound to stop at the first glimpse of the confluence where the crystal green Bhagirathi meets the muddy Alakananda. There is always a joy in watching two rivers meet. This is the first spot for a selfie and a Facebook update….the tagline which came first to Priyanka’s mind was probable “nature magic”
“Post it quick, before the network betrays you” Rahul commented from the rear seat. “you may have to wait for two more days to count your likes” he was confident of weak connectivity as we gain altitude.
We took the first break 5 kilometres short of Srinagar. The shop was surrounded by 10 to 12 huge earthen mud pot rapped with red cloths. It was an exclusive Shikanji shop. Deepak Negi, the owner treated us to a refreshing glass of lemon juice. Probable the ambience and timing added more to the taste. We sat below a tree, facing the river flowing around 500 feet below us. There was a tiny village on the other side of the river. Everything seemed to be motionless in that village. For a while we all went through the same imagination “sab kuch chor kay, uss gaon may bas jau ….!”
Crossing Rudraprayag, we took the highway, leading towards Kedarnath. Now, the river was flowing towards our left. To be on safer side, we filled the fuel tank once again. Asking for direction we realized there were two Chopta’s. Our destination was Chopta via Ukhimath. So, we were supposed to continue driving on the Kedarnath highway for another 35km. We stopped to have lunch on a tiny road side dhaba. Alu jeera was served with red chilly gravy, may be the reason for a prospective upset the next day, but nevertheless it served our purpose.
As we crossed Augustmuni, we got to see the first glimpse of the Himalayas. It was exactly 24 hours after my wife send me that magical link. Excited and thrilled, we stopped to take a couple of pics with river, mountain and road in the background. After covering 35 km from Rudraprayag we left the Kedarnath highway and took the route to Ukhimath. During winters idols from Kedarnath are bought to Ukhimath and worshipped for six months.
Which KTDC hotel is the best in Periyar Tiger Reserve, Thekkady
There are 3 KTDC hotels in the Periyar Tiger Reserve, Thekkady. Here I have given a comparative study on these 3 hotels, which may help you selecting the right one that fits your interests and budget.
If you can afford the cost and love a heritage style resort, then Lake Palace has the best of all. You will be completed isolated from the rest of the world and will be spending your day with the wilderness of Periyar Tiger Reserve.
If you are on a tight budget and still like to stay in the Periyar Tiger Reserve, then Periyar House is the budget hotel in the jungle.
If you want to enjoy the premium facilities at a cost in between the other two, then Aranya Nivas is the choice. A Beer parlour, swimming pool, multi-cuisine restaurant, club house etc are the major attractions that are not available in the other two hotels.