If the summer heat is beating you down in the plains, perhaps a trip to Kumaon, one of the two administrative regions of the North Indian state of Uttarakhand, would be a good break to cool yourself down a little. The snow-capped Himalayas, transparent lakes, and the abundant flora and fauna are perhaps just an underestimation of what one can see when in Kumaon.
In summers, about 115 years ago, Kumaon lured Rabindra Nath Tagore, who found solace amidst the pristine mountains after his wife Mrinalini passed away, leaving behind two children. He penned some verses of his collection of poems, Gitanjali, while he was there, losing himself to the bliss of the place.
So if you have a Kumaoni staycation planned, why not check out a few reads that will make you feel like packing your bags today itself? Here are a few of them:
Nainital: The Land of Trumpet and Song
Authored by Giri Raj Shah, Nainital: The Land of Trumpet and Song is a perfect description of this Kumaoni district, which is an epitome of India’s cultural integration. The bright villas, gleaning lakes and the scenic beauty, all make Nainital look like a place from a fairty tale flick. The book is beautifully and meticulously illustrated in the photographs of Anup Shah, who succeeds in titillate the senses of leisure vacationers.
Finding good accommodation in Nainital shouldn’t be a problem because there are plenty of resorts and hotels dotting the district. If you happen to visit Ramgarh, which is known as the “Fruit Bowl of Kumaon”, you can probably put up in one of the writer’s cottages of V Resorts, an idyllic haven for your Kumaoni staycation.
My Kumaon: Uncollected Writings
Jim Corbett, the name behind the famous Jim Corbett National Park in Kumaon, is known for his brave hunting skills and thoughtful conservation initiatives. “My Kumaon: Uncollected Writings” is a true account of his experiences while slaying man-eating big cats in the forest. These unpublished writing, personal letters and articles written by Jim Corbett is a rendition of his days there and have now compiled into a best-selling book.
Just like all the two of his books on Kumaon, “Man-Eaters of Kumaon” and “The Man-Eating Leopard of Rudraprayag”, Jim Corbett evokes the right emotions through My Kumaon. The supporting photographs provide reasons enough why one should add this place to their bucket list of Indian destinations. It’s a must-read before you embark on your next Kumaoni stay cation.
In the Shadow of the Devi Kumaon: Of a Land, a People, a Craft
If you really want to see Kumaon, see it through the lens of author Manju Kak, who wrote this book detailing every aspect of the Kumaoni culture and existence. From the environment to ethnography, history to architecture and craft, the book throws light on the richness of this region.
Accessible and informative, the book is amazingly illustrated by photographer Anup Shah, who captures the untouched beauty of the Himalayas in the perfect sense. The author looks at the aura of the land, it’s people and their life in the higher reaches of the dignified Nanda Devi mountain. It’s truly a visual delight for readers much before they even land up in the place in reality.
You can reach Kumaon by road or rail from major cities like Delhi and Lucknow. The nearest railway station of Kathgodham, which is located about 34 kilometers from Nainital.
Naini Tal: A Historical and Descriptive Account
Yet another read about this lovely hill station is authored by JM Clay, who presented a copy of the latest edition of this classic to Governor Dr. KK Paul recently. The book was first launched in 1927 and is now republished after more than eight decades. It’s a clear and descriptive narration of Nainital’s history, it’s crystal-clear lakes and it’s transition from a peaceful English settlement to a flourishing hill station.
Besides history, the book stores valuable information on Nainital’s flora and fauna and lesser-known facts about its geography, sociology and architecture. Natraj Publishers revived the book with a new look, showing Nainital’s magical influence that visitors simply cannot elude.
Where to stay: V Resorts Ramgarh
Located 334.6 kms from Delhi, V Resorts Ramgarh is the ideal weekend getaway, especially for those who seek some peace and solace. Don’t forget to carry your favourite book or pick one from our library.