Monday, June 1, 2009
Break from the Humdrum to the Hills!
The heat is increasing and it is said, “when the going gets tough the tough get going”, well I Went…i.e., went off, for a week to spend some time in the lovely hill stations nestled in the upper ranges of mighty Himalayas. Nothing beats the heat like a jaunt to the cooler and purer environs of the hills. Nainital was my first stopover where the site of lovely blue green waters of Naini Lake encircled by the beautiful Himalayas stole my heart. The cool higher altitude air, like that of Nainital at an altitude of approx. 1900m, is very refreshing and humidity free. Although the place has become a bit crowded overtime, yet it retains the charm as a getaway from the urban chaos. The night scene was even more pleasing as the reflecting lights in the lake water made a wonderful dancing pattern. If the innocent charm of the little ones in your life loves something, it makes that thing even more memorable. My daughter seemed to be in total love with the changed ambience – a far cry from what she is used to in a city, and was completely at home sporting this mountain outfit which is a ubiquitous presence at North Indian Hill stations. The added bonus of being a plant lover is that besides the things which conventionally please at a hill station, the flora of different places is something to look forward to. Plants, such as Hydrangeas, which I struggle to grow here, were thriving naturally, and many of them like Iris were growing in the wild! It wasn’t only the flora; the fauna was no less amazing. A visit to the high altitude zoo there left me in awe. It had beasts not visible in the zoos at plains. It was the majestic and ferocious Siberian Tiger whose swagger I caught on the camera, blessing the sturdy cage that separated the Cat from me. Personally, I prefer that these animals - like the snow leopard in the picture - belong to Jungle and a reserved forest is a better option where humans can satisfy their curiosity in a jungle safari. Being caged in Zoos, howsoever well maintained, curb their natural instincts and is unethical. Well, these issues are always complex and there can always be a counter argument to this line of thought, and so I would rather keep my mind open on this issue. I don’t know if it is the effect of the altitude or the air, but there is a noticeable uplifting in mood and spirits on hills. Personally I find a spiritual side of me, which lies dormant on the plains, taking over and it made me thank God for creating these natural wonders like Seas and Mountains.