In Hindi ‘tal’ is the word for ‘lake’. About 6-8 hours driving distance from Delhi, in the Almora region of Himalayas, lie numerous lakes with small towns and villages named after them – a perfect getaway any time of the year.

My love of mysterious-lazy-foggy landscapes encouraged me to visit the area in Oct 2013 and then again in December 2013. Whether it is the place in itself or the anticipation of vacation, I am not sure, but everywhere I look it seems prettier – the morning, the drive, the small cities and towns on the way, the roadside dhabas, the tea vendor, all welcoming you to a memorable time ahead. I would say, start early enough from Delhi and stop a while to witness glorious sunrise somewhere in the gangetic plains around the towns of Garhmukteshwar and then follow-it up with North-Indian style breakfast at roadside dhabas between Gajraula and Moradabad. For us, we stopped at Moga Restaurant for sumptuos ‘stuffed parathas’ on advice of our taxi operator who sometimes plays guide having known us for the past few years.

The kick of mountain feels when you cross Kathgodam. The roads turns narrow and winding here. From here Nainital – the largest town as well as district in Almora region – is about an hour away.

We stayed at Nainital and explored nearby areas in day trips during the next few days – tea and snacks in winter sun at Bhimtal, paragliding at Naukuchiatal, walked down the periphery of sattal, watched khurpatal emerging and disappearing in mist its waters changing colors. It is best rejuvenation possible in a very limited time. For the grand finale, drive via Kaladhungi to Haldwani on your return journey, you will be pleasantly surprised.

Sunrise somewhere between Gajraula and Garhmukteshwar on Delhi - Moradabad highway
Day 1 – Sunrise somewhere between Gajraula and Garhmukteshwar on Delhi – Moradabad highway
Last hairpin bend before Nainital
Day 1 – Last hairpin bend before Nainital
View of Naini lake
Day 1 – the eyeshaped Naini lake
View of khurpatal from Land's end
Day 1 – Khurpatal appears as mist parts (viewed from Land’s end)
View of the Mall at night
Day 1 – View of the Mall at night from our balcony
Silvery waters of Nainital after sundown
Day 1 – Silvery waters of Nainital after sundown
Sattal
Day 2 – Sattal
Distant view of Naukuchiatal
Day 2 – Distant view of Naukuchiatal from the paragliding point
Paragliding at naukuchiatal
Day 2 – Paragliding at naukuchiatal
rahul - paragliding2
Day 2 – Soaring – Paragliding at Naukuchiatal
Mist at Naukuchiatal
Day 2 – Mist at Naukuchiatal
Nainital
Day 3 – Beautiful view of Sona river while on drive to Kaladhungi

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