A Trip To Paradise

Imagine this- its 7:30 in the morning in the beginning of January,the peak of winters.There is absolutely no mist, just a few rays of sunlight falling on an endless row of snowy peaks, bathing them in a golden hue.Now imagine yourself actually standing in the balcony of your room, before this awesome wonder of nature....

This was just one of the amazing sights we saw on our trip to Mussourie last winters. There were reports of a snowfall in Dhanaulti, just above Mussourie, and 9 of us made a spur of the moment plan to go to see the snow.And so, one misty January early morning, we set out to discover Nature at her best.

I could see God's hand in every mountain, every green glade, every valley,every waterfall that I saw on the trip.We had snow fights in Dhanualti. It was such huge fun.At one point, all the 4 guys in our group covered
me from top to bottom in snow and made me stand there posing like a Christmas tree for a few photos!!

We went to two waterfalls- saw one by moonlight, the other in the afternoon, when we waded into the ice cold water!! Wherever we went, we were lucky to find absolutely no crowd at all.In fact, at Kempty Falls, we were the only tourists there, and the entire village was in pitch darkness, except for the bright moon and the clear sky filled with stars. We were the only people who saw the beautiful falls by moonlight, with the moon shimmering and shining in the water as if the pool was filled with electricity.It was stunning.I swear I have never seen so many stars in all my life. They stood twinkling merrily in the vast,velvety,inky blue sky, with Orion shining bright.And the silence that surrounded us only added to the charm.

All along the way from Dhanaulti to Mussoorie, we saw the panoramic view of majestic, snow capped mountains, dipping valleys, steps cut out of sheer rock where hardy farmers tried to eke out a living for themselves. Rustic, old worldly cottages, a few scattered barns, perhaps a well or two.. the only signs of habitation in those rolling dales. As we travelled on those winding, snake like roads, we were dizzy with joy and excitement (and admittedly coz we were pukey as well!!!). Breathing in deeply the fresh mountain air, feeling on top of the world (at that height, it wasn't a far guess anyway!), overawed by the sheer beauty surrounding us....

We reached Mussourie late in the evening. A whole lot of reconnaisance later, we ended up taking two large, extremely comfortable rooms for just Rs.500. We were helped by the facts that the hotel was brand new (we were among its first customers), that we told them we were students from IIT and would get them a lot of future customers, and since it was officially off-season, they were happy to have us anyway.We had warm beds, extra quilts and mattresses and sheets and pillows, and so (naturally) we spent all night staying up, enjoying ourselves thoroughly !!! We spent the next morning walking down the main road, seeing a few shops, and generally wandering about. We left after brunch (it was too late to call it a breakfast by the time we had it) for some arbit park sort of a place, and from there to what someone told us was a lake, but was nothing more than a concrete puddle, the size of an average fountain,with a few attitude filled ducks, who thought (and rightly so) that they were the bosses of the place. A quack, snap and splash later, we were done with the place. One of our classmates had told us about a hitherto-undiscovered- by- the- multitude waterfall. And so we made our way there.

And we were not disappointed. It was clean, unspoilt and serene... no chattering crowds, no pushing and shoving to see the water (and ending up in it too, what with all the jostling). Since it was high noon, we decided to step into the water. And it was bone chilling!!! The water was mossy green and the pebbles slippery. Slipping and sliding, we somehow managed to walk across the pool to the far corner where there was a cave from where more water was coming. We sat in the clear, winter sun, warming our frozen feet, with the bubbling, murmuring stream flowing by. When finally it was time to go, we walked along an abandoned dam, peering into the rocky,grassy, arid pit on its side.

As we finally left the hills after several hairpin bends and many a queasy stomach, we all looked back for one final sight of the proud mountains, with a glowing sun setting behind them....a perfect parting.....

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