Mini Switzerland of India – Khajjiar

Our one hour zig-zag journey from Dalhousie in the green Chamba range seemed rewarding once we reached Khajjiar. Its nickname truly justifies the natural beauty present there. Khajjiar sits on a small plateau with a small stream-fed lake in the middle that has been covered over with weeds. The hill station is surrounded by meadows and forests.

 

To make things better, an array of snack shops and small restaurants cater to the needs of the tourists. We eagerly grabbed a table with the most scenic view or should I say, every sitting had a beautiful view. After gulping down the north-Indian thali and feeding the little one, we went forward with our venture.

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Our little one was happy to play with rabbits available there by vendors who charged a nominal amount if you wished to get clicked with the furry animal. We also bought football for him and he could not help but kept running on the lush green field. We spotted cattle comprising of sheep, horses, cows and bulls. Our little one was delighted to see his farm book coming to life.

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Though the center of the field was muddy and difficult to get through, we kept ourselves on the periphery of the field and enjoyed a lot. My husband took the little one for a little horse-riding experience in the thin lanes of the mountains. Soon, it was time to return.

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‘Do I look scared ?’

Overall, I found Khajjiar to be a very child-friendly destination. Only negative was reaching there as it was quite an adventure. On peak days, you can be stuck in traffic-jams on the thin curvy hilly road for more than two-three hours. Luckily, we did get back in time to Dalhousie.

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Thinking about the next mischief 😉
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FIVE MUST DO ACTIVITIES IN NAINITAL WITH TODDLER

Our short but sweet trip of Nainital would not have been perfect if we would have side-lined our toddler’s interest. With a wide array of fun-filled activities which take place in this scenic Himalayan valley, there are a few options which we must not miss at all. So, our top five picks are as follows:

  1. Visit to the Governor House

Being the only governor’s house open for visitors in India, this place still is not marked as one of the most visited places here. Maybe due to strict time-limits of entry and exit which has to be made in groups at the main gate of the Raj Bhawan which happens at precisely 11 am everyday except Tuesday.

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Governor’s house, Nainital

Constructed on the lines of the Bukinghum palace, this monument is spectacular to look at. The sprawling campus gives it the much needed peaceful surroundings and highlights its beauty. Apart from its own golf ground, it also consists of a marvelous garden and Swimming Pool. Our little one had a great time enjoying the gardens and running uphill/downhill.

2. Boating in the Naini Lake

Boats with peddle were not an option for us due to our naughty kid. So we took the brave step of boarding the vintage gondola boat.Though the boats used in this lake seem to be very risky, but the oarsmen know their job. And contrary to our expectations, we had a wonderful ride. We enjoyed the serenity and beauty and the freshness of the air so much that we took another ride through the lake. Not to mention our toddler loved it.

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Boating in Nainital with a wonderful rainbow in the background

3. Stroll in the Mall Road

No visit to any hill-station in India can be regarded as complete without the customary visit to the mall road. Mall roads are primarily the most busy street of any hill stations where tourists are found in abundance due to the availability of numerous eating & shopping joints. What we loved about the mall road here in Nainital was that it is free of any vehicle, even rickshaw after 6 pm making it a  very interesting place to relax with a kid. We bought a small toy with wheels from a side shop and our kid had a great time riding it throughout the Mall road.

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Mall Road, Nainital (notice the wheel)

4. Visit to the Shyamkhet Tea Garden

People in India are so used to tea gardens in Kerala, that they forget their presence in North India as well (since the terrain for their production is same). But since, I always wanted to visit one, we made our decision to visit this garden. It was just an hour drive. Though it was not a very large garden but it was enough to satisfy our curiosity. We got some really good tea from there as well which they claimed to be free from any chemicals and totally organic.

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Tea Garden of Nainital

5. Visit to the Nainital Zoo

We can never miss any zoo when we are traveling with our baby simply because he is so fond of all the animals. And its always great to let him see all the wild beasts in real. We must say that the Nainital zoo was above our expectation and we were pleased by the staff over there. They also let you adopt an animal and contribute your share to them.

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Nainital Zoo

NAINITAL (Interlaken of India)

Nainital is one of the most famous hill stations in India and it lies in Uttarakhand over the Kumaon foothills of Himalayan range. Its a beautiful valley containing a huge natural lake which is surrounded by mountains on sides. Easily accesible from the capital, we reached Kathgodam by train and took a taxi to reach our hotel in Nainital. The train journey is very comfortable and takes around 5 to 6 hours. The drive from Kathgodam to Nainital takes around an hour and half.

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On our short visit to one of the most famous hill stations in India: Nainital, we were astonished and mesmerized by its natural beauty. July happens to be a low season in Nainital due to monsoon but we were glad to visit it during what i can safely say to be the second most beautiful time of the year in Nainital (first being the scintillating snow clad mountains during December and January). Going in a low season has its own set of advantages (hotels are cheaper and its less crowded) and disadvantages (many activities like river-rafting are closed).

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We were greeted by milky cloud all around. Even during our arrival in our taxi, we travelled through misty clouds and it was literally like we were walking in the clouds. The hazy weather made for an outstanding picture with the serene Naini lake in between the Kumaon hills all covered with heavy clouds. but at the same time, the colouful gondolas popping up in the lake made for one of the most picturesque scenery which one could capture in their eyes and imprint it in the memory for a very long time.

With numerous retaurants and cafes, and with a bundle of activities, Nainital was not a disappointment at all. The mall road which spreads alongside the lake is restricted for only pedestrians after six in the evening, making it an awesome place for evening strolls. Its surrounding mountains, with dense forests has numerous hiking trails.It was a great trip , the details of which I will be posting in my next post.

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