I am in love with walking. It helps that Chhavi (my daughter) is good at it too. On our trips we can go for long walks together. On our recent trip to Abbotsford, Nainital, we went walking around Nanital. Abbotsford is at a distance from the lake but we decided to walk down to the town. The second day we did a short hike to a local temple. In this post I have collected our walking pictures and memories!
On our way down to the Naini Lake I spotted the signboard of St. John in the Wilderness Church. That meant the church was nearby too! The walk was away from the main road. Chhavi was skeptical of finding any church out there. But it was there alright, with hardly a soul around it. The door was locked though.
While walking out she saw poster of ‘save the girl child.’ She asked me what did that mean? I was happy that she didn’t know the meaning. She looked surprised when I tried to explain it to her. I am happy she didn’t comprehend much.
We also stopped at a shoe shop to buy a pair for Chhavi. I packed a sandal for her but the weather was cold. While we were selecting the shoe, the owner pointed out the wired tailed swallow’s nest within his shop!
I have often suspected that I have the tunnel vision syndrome. I have visited to Nainital frequently and yet I failed to notice Jama Masjid before! Can you imagine that?
While I was selecting the photos for the post, I realized there were too many of the lake. But the locals say ‘Nainital has one major attraction, the lake!’ So I decided to go ahead with multiple pictures. This is the customary one from the boat ride.
The weather was unsettled when we were in the city. There was a hail storm just before we went for the boat ride. It was windy and cold by the lake but were not missing out on the experience as it was a first for Chhavi.
If I were alone, I would click a lot of pictures by the lake. But the kid has no patience for such things. I got a few hurried shots. We decided that before the weather turned again, we should go back to Abbotsford. This time we took a taxi.
Abbotsford is a beautiful cottage built in 1876. It later became the home of the Prasada Family. They now run it as a homestay. My stay at Nainital was sponsored by them. We were happy to get back to the cozy cottage and tea. Janhavi Prasada was there and Chhavi would talk to her non-stop!
The next morning we went for a short hike just above the cottage. Out last stop was a local temple. The walk offered wonderful views of the Naini Lake and the town.
The way to the temple was uphill. Both Chhavi and Janhavi were fit, they would run ahead. I made up the rear. Chhavi would run ahead with the guide, come back to say she was truly tired and then run ahead again.
When I was too tired to walk, I would stop to click a picture. That way I could catch my breath too. It helped that the view was alluring too!
There was no one other than us above the temple. Chhavi went berserk ringing all the bells. The ones she could not reach, it was my duty to lift her up to them!
While coming down I had a chit-chat with the mother-daughter duo by the water tap. The girl had given class 7th exams and was enjoying her vacation. They were happy to pose for me.
Janhavi, Chhavi and I along with our guide picked up the plastic from the trail on our way down. We collected a lot of plastic. Only our local guide could go to fetch the plastic bottles from precarious slopes.
Janhavi pointed out the cottage of the registrar of the local polytechnic to me. Now if someone offers me such a place in the hills I might be tempted to go back to academics!
PS. It seems mountains make me go bonkers and not just Rhododendron Flowers! This is a 15 picture post again!
Chhavi and I visited Abbotsford Nainital in March, just before Holi. It is a beautiful cottage built in 1876. It came to the Prasada Family in 1903. The home is full of old family photographs and curios which kept me engrossed. But then I am running ahead of me. Let me start at the beginning.
We took the Kathgodam Shatabdi which leaves New Delhi Railway Station at 6.00 am. That means a 4.30 start from home! That left both Chhavi and me cranky. But we tolerated each-other well throughout the train journey. Then we had to take Avomine for our motion sickness and that made us even crankier!
The road trip from Kathgodam to Nainital was a breeze. But the kid was getting even more crankier by the minute and I don’t blame her. I was scared she would be too tired to enjoy anything after we reached. But I was wrong.
We were staying in the Kings Room which is within the old building. It was a charming room. But more than anything Chhavi perked up at the sight of big open lawn where we had our lunch. It is an outdoor Cafe, Chica, which is open to public. Chhavi had a paratha in the car but I was surprised that she ate lunch as well. Then all the tiredness was forgotten! She was her jumping self again!
I did not anticipate the weather getting so chilly at the nights at Nainital in March. Our room had a blower which we used all night for the first night. I ended up buying a thick sweater and shoes for Chhavi the next day. They gave us hot water bags to put at out feet inside the quilt at night. Even Chhavi relished it to the core, for me it was sheer bliss!
The room had a TV too. Chhavi was happy that she could watch her cartoons! But nobody watched much TV.
Our room was huge, it got natural light throughout the day. It was done tastefully. It had an amazing arched roof! With a small and active child I am quite scared that she would break something! My room had only a few delicate things, like an ashtray, an attar bottle, a candle stand etc. But the main section on the ground floor was full of bric-a-bracs that required care! I have to say Chhavi managed not to break anything once again!
The bathroom has a shower, a bucket, Forest Essentials toiletries, hot water, all little things that made us comfortable.
Janhavi Prasada, a member of the family who owns Abbotsford, was there with us. Chhavi found a new companion, to whom she could talk non-stop. I had to tell her at times, “jaan maat lo tum unki!”
We took it easy on the first day. It was mainly about food, chai, soups and conversations! Which brings me to the next topic, food!
The food at Nainital is homely. And if you travel frequently, that is a blessing. The breakfast had roti, toast, omelette, excellent local jams, butter and tea. I am sure you will get coffee to you want it.
The lunch was Indian style with sabzi, daal, roti and chawal with farm fresh salad. One night we had continental food which both Chhavi and I like.
The second night was a feast for us. We had a bonfire outdoors, we had wine and we had local food with bhang ki chatni. It was a true feast!
There were baby carrots growing in their garden. It was a first for Chhavi, to see carrot getting dug out, and then being handed to her to wash and eat!
The flowers had just started to bloom. The poppies were such a source of cheer!
I was lucky that my stay coincided with the inaugural meeting of the Nainital Book Club. The first meeting was held at Abbotsford and the book they discussed was The Immortals of Meluha. I have not read it but I found the discussion quite engrossing. I wish them the very best for their future meetings.
We went on a hike, and Chhavi and I ventured into the city too, but that is the topic of a separate post!
Traveling with a child gives a different hue to a trip. Children will Abbotsford because they have huge open areas to run around though they have to be careful indoors.
If I were there alone, I would just laze around the homestay and do nothing, or write
PS. My stay at Abbotsford was sponsored by them.
I started my India travel blog, Travel Tales from India in 2005. In 2016 I realized Travel Tales from India and Abroad better reflected my writings. I love to walk and ride in metros around the world. I have not been everywhere, I am not even close, but it is on my list. I also quite my job as a professor in 2015, it was a happening year! I did a Ph.D. from IIT Kanpur ages ago!
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