Category: Trips

BHIMTAL – LOVELY QUAINT TOWN NEAR NAINITAL, UTTARANCHAL

Bhimtaal is one of the lesser visited towns simply because of its more popular and touristy sister-destination called “Nainital” in the state of Uttaranchal- which is extremely popular with domestic and International tourists. But if you are looking to step away from the crowd and find some peace, then it’s a good idea to skip Nainital and head to Bhimtaal directly- It’s higher in altitude than Nainital and is completely surrounded by dark, thicks forests! (totally stunning!). If you plan to travel from New Delhi, take the route via Haldwani to Roudrapur which goes on to Bhimtaal without crossing Nainital. It takes about 5 hours (300 kms in all) to reach Bhimtaal from Delhi and the roads are pretty okay other than the Bilaspur stretch where the road is in a extremely bad situation for upto 15kms! so drive slow and safe in that area. Drive on the “sides” of the road if your car allows you to do that. Enroute to Bhimtaal, you can eat at most “family dhabas” but a good dhaba to eat at is “Shiv Dhaba”. It comes about an hour and a half from Delhi and you can see it on the main road. The Gobi (cauliflower) Parathas at the dhaba are quite good and service is very efficient. (see Shiv Dhaba picture). PS:  If you are wondering what’s a “family” dhaba then you need to know that there are two types of dhabas that you will see while traveling – one frequented by truck drivers – these will be small and not so nice and you should ignore them and then there are “family” dhabas which will be more hygenic than the truck dhabas and you will see many families and tourists eating at these dhabas. These are little things that you need to note to make sure you pick the right dhaba.

If you are looking at complete zen, a good idea would be to cross the Bhimtaal city and go higher up where you can find resorts to stay or you can even check with residents of Rakhsha Retreat in Bhimtaal if they would like to accomodate you for a week or so. Rakhsha Retreat is a gated defence colony in Bhimtaal and has an amazing view of the city. Renting of accommodation is not allowed but you can “take help or favours” from relatives or friends in case they have a house there. Many people have brought homes but do not live there all the time but its a good, safe colony and houses are quite nice. If the retreat is not possible, then you can explore many nice resorts in Bhimtaal or on your way from Bhimtaal to Raksha Retreat (CountryInn Bhimtal, Amod Resorts, LakeInn, Emerald Trail etc). Bhimtaal has its own lake so you can travel to the city and indulge in a bit of sightseeing around the lake – there are a couple of shops selling wooden artefacts but that’s pretty much about it. There are some small restaurants around the lake and they offer good food. You can have your meal and then walk around the hills to enjoy the scenic beauty. Overall, Bhimtaal is mostly about walking through forests, smelling the trees and just being at peace with nature. For more on Bhimtaal you can visit  official website link: http://www.euttaranchal.com/tourism/bhimtal.php

View of the Bhimtal lake

View of the Bhimtal lake
Blaspur road (quite patchy)
Blaspur road (quite patchy)

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STAY AT BEAUTIFUL DRIMSYNIE HOUSE HOTEL, SCOTLAND

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When you listen to a meditation app, the voice talking to you tells you to imagine a really beautiful, calm place that makes you feel at peace and happy – the DrimSynie Estate is just that place. Standing at the edge of the lawns in the front of the hotel with sprawling lake and hills in full view you wonder if you are a part of a beautiful landscape picture.

The Drimsynie Estate is a really large retreat with its own hotel, private lodges and mobile houses that you can rent or even buy. Its located in Glencole, Scotland and the best way I would recommend is to fly to London and then to Edinburgh and then drive to the estate (drive takes about two hours). On way, you’ll cross Scottish Highlands, some old cottages, broken down churches and will simply love the drive.

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The estate is completely hidden by the landscape and the forest and you won’t see it till you reach there. When approaching the drive to the Drimsynie House Hotel (this is where we stayed), you’ll think it’s a castle and not a hotel. It literally is, but with all the fine luxurious amenities of modern day life – just perfect:) The hotel is sprawling – has rooms, huge 24×7 play area for kids with a cute comic character hanging around the place, a bar, a golf course, pool, jacuzzi and gym. So it dosen’t really matter if you are alone or with family, the hotel has enuff facilities to keep everyone busy.

Hotel view from lawn

Rooms in the house hotel are modest but nice, have all basic amenities and bathrooms are okay (we didn’t stay in the plush luxurious ones :P). The bar is well equipped and has wi-fi (most areas of the hotel have wi-fi) and food is great. If you book a room you get complimentary International breakfast which is a must have. Just yum. A room is approx 13,000 per night Indian Rupees FYI.

The best part of the stay is the walk through the estate, so after you’ve freshen up, pack everything in a small backpack and just walk through the large estate. You can walk around the lake or sit on the little bridge by the rivulet that flows through the estate and breathe in the fresh air. You can spend your whole day at the spot and most tourists who stay at the hotel do just that.

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