Janus is the Roman God with 2 heads; January is named for him as it is the month which has sight of the year gone by and also the year to come.
Now we were not even attempting that and without trying to even think of the year gone by, we were busy with the first trip of the year. For us January meant Kanatal, a place where you can just be yourself and believe in the spirit of Que Sera Sera.
For city folks it is always tough to even clearly see where they are heading both literally and figuratively, we decided to find a place where one could see in all directions and get some bearings on self! As usual weighing options in a strategic way would have landed us in one of the highly exploited hill stations close to foot hills of one of the ranges. We were over our dilemma when we got to know about Kanatal – a pristine hill station, close to Mussoorie, yet far from the maddening crowd.
We checked and easily found some details of a home stay option simply called Pahadi House in Kanatal. It is located in some of the best yet unexploited hills of Garhwal, 70 kms from Dehradun (Mussoorie – Dhanoulti route) and nearly the same from Rishikesh, about 7 hours from Delhi depending on how you drive rather more on how the roads are?
Another idea presented itself which the adventure quotient of our family happily accepted to go from one route and return from another. This journey had the promise of having nothing actually to do rather just slow down and have invaluable time with family away from net and networks. Lazing away at the pace of actually climbing a hill on foot then staying on top for few days, meeting people who would genuinely smile and talk honestly with you, eating toxin free fresh vegetables and lentils cooked with care, walking around leisurely and sipping tea after tea, bonfire in the evening and so many stars fill up the sky just for us. Our daughters had never trekked earlier and the promise of climbing hills and living on top of a mountain was an adventure they really looked forward to. Just think actually living in a basic tidy cottage right on top of a mountain; say it in your head and you feel like being there right now, say it!!!
The drive from Mussorrie to Kanatal was breath taking with the snow covered Gangotri ranges and Nanda Devi on the left and various valleys much lower yet colours and hues so beautiful on the right. First sight of Pahadi house was a few cottages and some area to sit and walk around in orchards (leaf less due to the winter season), after those tall concrete jungles that we are used to staying this seemed like a place close to heaven. Open blue skies, green mountains close to you and the white ones just far enough for you to see and appreciate, beautiful terrace farms, birds that you only see in pictures in the city and warm and genuine smiles asking for nothing in return. At places like these, we realize that life was actually meant to be simple and fulfilling.
Typical food cooked in the hills served in brass utensils, fragrant and tasty like not had in years gives everyone a happy stomach and gleaming smiles. Chirping birds and a bright sunny afternoon make one head for either one of the comfortable chairs with a book (in the orchard under the blue sky and a parachute tent) or to the bed in the hut, former was me and latter well you know the cryptic partner of mine. This is when it hits you that you can look in all directions from the place as it is on top of a mountain and not on a slope or in a valley.
It did not take long before the awesomeness of this one life and reason why God created all this started to unfold so clearly. Off late have realized that vast landscapes unclutter something deep within and improve one’s vision of the eye and in the head. One wants to think on things generally one is afraid to address or thoughts which are just ignored perilously for too long. This for some could be a resolute goodness building servile activity, for some it is plain relaxation; each to their own I say.
Founding member of this movement Abhay Sharma’s mission is to have a ‘Pahadi House’ in every village of Uttarakhand, to bring nature’s gifts back into the lives of those who have gotten far from them and to bring sustainable smiles upon the faces of locals who work so hard for basic necessities of life, the concept is not business or property for him – it is purpose and people. A noble thought and a great vision I am sure will see appreciation and support from all those who really love nature and want to help build happier communities.
It is not just the view but the idea of being one with such scenery that can easily be related to being in Mother Nature’s lap. I don’t know what I saw of the last year and I don’t know what is in store but I do know that we have been able to carry the goodness and gentle balance of nature within us and that is enough for now.
Cover pic credits: Devesh Payal