Tuesday, September 23, 2008

48 hours of Nonstop Rain in Naukuchiatal

I am not sure if you have already gone through my previous post on Naukuchiatal Weather where I have described Naukuchiatal as an all season destination and my love for the lake during monsoons. However, I must confess (like an honest travel blogger) that the rains can actually play spoilsport in Naukuchiatal.

We left Delhi on Sept 19 thinking that we would reach Naukuchiatal in 06 hours and spend a night there before moving onto Corbett to visit Tarangi Resort and Spa. Everything behaved the same uptil Moradabad and the moment we crossed Moradabad Bypass, we were greeted by a drizzle. I was very excited to realise that the remaining 3 hours drive was going to be without an A/C and full of fresh air and lots of greenery.

The car speed came down as I was enjoying my drive and moreso because the drizzle had now taken shape of a heavy rain. I was happy to imagine the lake and the greenery that surrounds Naukuchiatal but also feared the flush floods at some points near Kaladunghi. As we approached Kaladunghi, the rain became more heavier and the fear of taking the car over water also grew. I have done that before but its still not advisable. And guess what...I was in for some serious trouble this time :-)
I dont think I have to write anything after that picture. The situation was horrifying and the truck added to the fear factor. By the way, there was no rain for sometime. Thankfully, it was a money making day for the local tractor owners who were towing and taking the vehicles to the other side for Rs. 100/- (I am sure they must have partied like crazy that evening). I must tell you that these guys were good and Rs. 100/- was peanuts to pay for a job done so effectively. But then we also know desi sharab costs less :)
<---- Our Car getting towed

After crossing Kathgodam, while we were climbing the hills, the rain started again and this time I feared land slides. Trust me this is the first time I have actually witnessed this kind of rain on this terrain. Thankfully my fear did not come true this time . We safely reached Naukuchiatal and it took us record breaking 9 hours.

We were told by the service guy that it was raining for the last 5-6 hours and it would continue to rain for the next 36 hours. However, we went off to sleep giving little importance to the local weather forecast. We got up in the morning to see the rain in full swing and in fact it was more heavier than the previous day. No doubt it was beautiful but I had to go to Corbett to attend an important meeting at Tarangi Resort. I called up the reception and was informed that due to land slide the highway was closed.

I waited till 6 p.m. and then gave up...The rain was still on. And everytime I noticed it, it seemed more heavier :) There was water everywhere but then it was beautiful. The water level of the lake was also rising as small streams coming from the hills were maing their way to the lake. No doubt I missed an important meeting but the beauty of Naukuchiatal kept me alive. I called for some pakoras, sandwiches and tea and settled for a nice, rainy evening...
I got up the next day (and no points for guessing this one) and it was still raining. However, it was not that heavy any longer. It completely stopped around 12 p.m. and the highway was also open now. I took off again for Delhi but will never forget the continous non stop baarish of Naukuchiatal.

Please note that this is the first time I have experienced such heavy rainfall in this region (Not even during July & August). Naukuchiatal is not the ONLY place which was affected by this but I was told the neighboring areas of Corbett and Nainital (which suffered more) were equally affected. However, the skies are going to be absolutely clear effective October and remain cloud free uptil June next year :)
Global Weather is changing...Change your attitude towards Global Warming.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Birla Institute of Applied Sciences - Bhimtal

It all started in 1969 as a brain child of Mr. B.M. Birla to come up with a Research Centre in Bhimtal area which would provide basic facilities and act as a testing lab for entrepreneurs looking to set up industrial units in Uttarakhand. With a rich background and backing of BITS Ranchi & BM Birla Science Centre, Jaipur Birla Institute of Scientific Research was established in Bhimtal, with renowned industrialists Mr. GP Birla and Mr. CK Birla being part of its founding body.

BIAS, Bhimtal Campus boasts of a very solid infrastructure and consists of lecture halls, labs, workshops, different types of libraries and separate hostels for boys and girls. There are various Labs at BIAS - Computer Lab, Electronics Lab, CCNA Lab, Micrprocessor Lab and Microwave Lab. The Central Library at BIAS is well equipped and boasts of a collection of around 5000 volumes which contains books, CDs, Project Reports, etc. The institute's latest initiative, The Dspace Digital Library acts as an institution repository and is full of eBooks, research articles, etc.

The following courses are offered by BIAS, Bhimtal:

MCA - 45 Seats

B.T. (Electronics and Communications) - 30 Seats

B.T. (Computer Science) - 30 Seats

Please contact Birla Institute Bhimtal if you wish to know more about this institute situated in the foothills of Himalayas in Uttarakhand.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Prasoon Joshi - The Uttarakhandi

Prasoon Joshi, the man behind awesome lyrics of Taare Zammen Par and the only Indian to win the prestigious Golden Lion Award at Cannes comes from Almora, a small but famous town in Uttarakhand.

Prasoon was born in Almora (only 70 kms from Naukuchiatal and 65 kms from Bhimtal) and spent a small part of his childhood there before moving onto Rampur in Uttar Pradesh. He did his MBA from Institute of Management Technology, Ghaziabad and joined Ogilvy and Mather (O&M). After working for 10 years, he joined McCann-Erickson in 2002 and at present he is the Chairman (Asia-Pacific).

Today, he is very actively involved in the Hindi film industry as a lyricist. His famous songs that burnt the music charts:

Dooba Dooba - Silk Route

Pathshaala - Rang de Basanti

Chand Sifarish - Fanaa (Filmfare Best Lyrics 2007)

Maa - Taare Zameen Par (Filmfare Best Lyrics 2008)

His upcoming films are Diili 6 and Gajini. Prasoon, all the best from Naukuchiatal!!!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Silence of Naukuchiatal

Do people still use phrases like “pin drop silence”? I guess not, because atleast in the cities that kind of silence just doesn’t exist! Even if you are in the confinement of your own bedroom in your own house, you do not experience it because maybe some couch potato in close proximity is doing what he does best or somebody on the road even past midnight is too drunk to notice that there is no traffic on the road so he can probably give the horn a rest! Is noise the only answer to noise these days? If your answer is Yes, but you heart wishes it wasn’t so, let me recommend a visit to sheer Peace – The Lake Resort at Naukuchiatal.

It is a place where the only disturbing sounds can perhaps be made by you yourselves or the monkeys who ensure you wake up in time to step out of your cosy bed and your peaceful sleep to enjoy nature in its full early morning glory! If you have had problems in finding pool facing rooms or Sea facing rooms in some Hotels that you have visited, you would love this place as every room here is a Lake facing room. The deep lake ( so I was told in case I find it too tempting for taking swimming lessons ) is a great sight at any point of time during the day. The pedal boats are fun and provide a great way for some “heavyweights” to scale down to lighter categories… :-). But do not bank too much on that as the awesome food might just be the hindrance… :-)

When the evening falls, the lake might look a little familiar to the fans of the first of the “Friday the 13th “ series but I assure you there is no Jason in that lake, and his psycho knife wielding mom ain’t around either…:-) The peace and calm take over again, and the romantics can enjoy the reflection of the moon in the lake occasionally rippled by the floating insects; they can whisper sweet nothings to each other because for a change the whispers can actually be heard here. Normal people like yours truly, however, can just enjoy fun conversations with friends over Scotch on the rocks. Or, maybe play a little Pool, learn a little Snooker, create your own ping-pong (table tennis) song.

They say you cannot see the nine corners of this lake from any single point. Hmmmm, I guess then I will have to just do as the wise man said : “Till you don’t succeed, Try again!!” and make many more visits to The Lake Resort at Naukuchiatal… :-)

Rajeev Pathak, aka "ek-ton" is working as RSM with a media software company. Needless to say that he is a traveller by heart and a Salesman by profession :-)