What do you remember most about a place?
Is it the alluring landscapes of a secluded hill or the architectural marvel of a historic city? Unexpected encounters on the road or friends from a town you may never see again?
Or do you only recall the much-publicized tourist points of interest and cafes and their starry lights?
While we wandered without expectations, what we were fortunate to witness was a stunning sunset; a play of cinematic skies and it’s colourful emotions. A breathtaking evening that will last a lifetime.
On our way to Munsiyari, we decided to stay at Pithoragarh for a couple of days. It was only after browsing the map(one of my favourite hobbies) of north India that I came across this place. It is less touristy and I had never heard of it before. I liked the sound of it though. These were enough reasons for me to want to be here.
A district in the east Kumaon region of Uttarakhand, the town is a couple of hours from the Nepal border. Though located in the extreme east of the state and lesser-known, travellers en route Munsiyari and Darma valley stop by, who surprisingly aren’t a lot, given the fact that people do not want to be on the roads for a long time or visit unpopular destinations. Chaukori(3hr from Pithoragarh) is again a gorgeous hamlet where one could get a panoramic view of the Himalayas, most notably the Panchachuli peaks.
Gorkha Fort and Chandak hills are the most notable viewpoints apart from the terraced fields, the town’s setting and temples of course.
It is said that magic happens when you least expect it.
After an exhausting 15hr journey and motion sickness to my friend, all wasn’t good. The crowd of the main town didn’t please us either. After adequate rest, we walked the town and explored nearby areas the next day. And while we already had the grand view of the town from the Pithoragarh fort early in the morning, it didn’t stop us to want to just sit and watch the sun go down. Built by the Gorkhas in the 18th century, the fort provides a great view of the main town.
It was late evening and we were startled by the act of the skies enhanced by changing colours in the backdrop. A golden ray cut the sky and the towering mountains added drama to an unpredictable story. It seemed like a path customed for a UFO; the kind shown in the sci-fi movies. I had seen innumerable sunsets but this was an occurrence. A ‘once in a blue moon’ happening. Gradually the tale unfolded shades of orange, red and pink before it mingled with the Earth as the city lights came into action.
A fitting climax.
How: Delhi >>Haldwani >> Pithoragarh. Early morning buses and shared jeeps/cars are your best option.
What else: Munsiyari, Darma Valley(via Dharchula) and Chaukori. Away from tourism and a lot to offer.
India has a lot to offer. Don’t just follow the trend. Explore.