Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Some more travel stuff for the paper

Life on the backburner

Of late, an excursion in the Capital is akin to swimming in pea soup. With the weekend being the only respite, the numerous idyllic towns in the Shivaliks beckon invitingly.
With popular resort towns like Nainital and Mussourie overrun with chill seekers, it's the smaller areas around that offer increased levels of quietude. Roughly 22km from Nainital as the crow flies, at a non-vertigo inducing altitude of 1370m, Bhimtal is just like Naina-bhen, a town around a lake. Only with a lot less construction and commotion.
Incidentally, the lake here is bigger and cleaner with an island, about 91m from shore, near one end where local enterprising restaurateurs have utilised their skills.As in Nainital, boating on the lake is a favoured touristy pastime. A walk around town is instant relief from Dilli with dappled pathways, ravines scented with dog rose and wild raspberry, farm houses nestled among terraced fields and citrus trees weighed down with fruit.

Accommodation options around here are usually cheap, but with an increase in weekend traffic from the plains, expect to pay a hiked rate. Although not as crowded as sister lake-towns, Bhimtal has comfortable hotels like the Country Inn and Van Vilas that offer panoramic views of the hills around.
The Country Inn may put your wallet under a little pressure but the cottages, which include duplex family options, are set amid 12 acres of picturesque landscaped lawns and even boasts a covered swimming pool.
Van Vilas is perfect lodging for those on a budget. The cottages here are rustic bamboo thatch affairs that are carpeted and twin bedded. For those who like their nature undiluted, there are the tents. Both arrangements have attached loos., so you don't have to pee in the lake.There are also luxury rooms that come with private balconies and all your regular amenities while for larger groups, there is a duplex option with an attic of sorts.
Bhimtal is perfect for that much needed oxygen rush after battling DTC buses and irate bosses all week-long. Come here, get a room, park your bum in a chair and daydream.


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