Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Patal Bhuvaneshwar – Heavenly Destination On Kumaon Hills

Sunrise View
9th November 2011

A good breakfast under our belt, we said goodbye to Munsiyari and left for Patal Bhvaneshwar. Our original plan was to go to an East Kumaon town called Dharchula, at the Indo – Nepal border. We had a course correction after a suggestion from the driver. 

First major attraction on the way at about 30 km from Munsiyari was Birthi Falls, which we had skipped during journey to Munsiyari, due to lack of time and decided to cover the same in our return trip. From road we could see Birthi Falls cascading down from a great height and mighty roar. I had my tripod and handycam and digicam with me for a short trek for about 250 m, through a nicely laid cement track, going up on a gentle slope, surrounded by forested area. The distant landscape with a village came to focus; also a village couple on the neighboring hill arranging straw bundles. 

Birthi Falls
We spend some good half an hour photo shooting from different elevations and angles. Birthi  will rate as one of the very exciting places in Kumaon. 

We arrived at Patal Bhuvaneshwar in the late afternoon. The archeological site of Patal or Hell as it is called, is open from sunrise to sunset and is looked after by Archeological Society of India. A small walk through the mud-track and one arrives at a place consisting of a cottage and an entry gate to the area. The ticket is valued at Rs. 10/- per individual but additional charges of Rs. 50/- are levied for guide for a group. There is no ticket as such, but name and cash amount is entered in a register. The actual entry to Patal is through a small tunnel about 3’ diameter, with a steep downward slope and stones jutting out for grip ; to enter one has to be on all the fours in seated position. A separate dress carried for this adventure is better, since some amount of dust and moisture sticking to cloths cannot be avoided. The main tunnel opens out into many caves, which houses carvings of Gods and Goddesses and a Shiva Linga.  Photography is strictly prohibited at this site. The camera and mobile phones are deposited at the counter. 

Some more drive and we arrived at Parvati Resort for our overnight stay. This beautiful scenic place is surrounded by forested area, with a grand view of Himalayan panorama. The main resort building is single storied, consisting of a few double bedded rooms and a large dining hall. There are a number of cottages owned by the same resort, at a slightly lower elevation surrounded by garden and lawns. 

Parvati Resort
We selected a double room in front corner of the resort building. Being a corner room, it had two walls full of fixed glass windows, to give outside view. From the room bed I could see the lawn with a pine tree decorated with lighting, running along the trunk of the tree. We could even get the view of Himalayan Panorama. Very clean and tidy, I would rate it as one of the best accommodation in Kumaon. 

Parvati Resort
At the dining room just adjoining our room, we had an early dinner. The menu consists of wide variety of Indian and Chinese dishes. I ordered in Hindi for ‘Ek Chicken Choumein’; what I got was Egg Chicken Choumein. The meal was large and wholesome and I did not lose much time in gulping it down.  Evening time getting colder, we had nothing to do and retired early.

We woke up early for our share of Sunrise view from Patal Bhuvneshwar. The many number of Himalayan peaks getting lit in orange hue one after another was a treat to watch. Occasional cloud did hid some of the peaks but overall the weather played fairly well. 

Sunrise View
We had our refreshing hot water bath and a breakfast of Egg Sandwich, washed it down with tea, We got the packing done for full days drive to Haldwani. Waiting for driver to get ready, we had another half an hour to spend in this scenic place. What better activity than to watching birds in the early morning in this forested area. Two Himalayan Bulbuls seated on electric wire and one of them fluttering its wings kept me busy. Observation from dining hall verandah, I could capture the Himalayan Sparrow more popularly called Russet Sparrow. The bird has more colorful wings, neck and head region compared to its city brethren. When I had a leisurely walk on the road adjoining the resort, a yellowish looking bird called Streaked Laughingthrush was found hopping around for picking up food. We missed capturing of the birds at Binsar Sanctuary but to some extent made it up at Patal Bhuvneshwar.  Some of the tourists take a short trek to Tiger Point on slightly higher elevation to get  better Himalayan view.  

Russet Sparrow
Himalayan Bulbul
Streaked Laughingthrush
Our last destination of Kumaon visit completed, I am tempted to say Patal Bhuvaneshwar can have a second name: Heavenly Buvaneshwar.

* Author has created a video on Patal Bhuvaneshwar based on the footages from his Handycam, which can be accessed by viewers by taking the following link:

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