Some of us may still remember the pleasing voice of Leonard Cohen singing in his famous song The Sisters of Mercy :
'... You who must leave everything that you cannot control.
It begins with your family, but soon it comes around to your soul.'
But that's a sort of utopia. Though while in our daily life our mind has a tendency to travel to distant places - places which are silent, serene and charming. Where food will be simple, daily chores minimal with lots of leisure to delve deep into the soul. A few books may accompany us there, and a little amount of music too. But nowhere we find such places with silence and solitude at its peak as we come across in lesser travelled places in the Himalaya. And to go there one need not necessarily trek or undergo hazardous journeys. Let us talk about two of such places.
A Tale of Two Places
A Small Village Close to Almora.
Just 10 km from Almora towards Binsar you find Papersali. The place is crowded with tall Pines, Deodars and Oaks. Everywhere there one comes across uncountable trees and lush greenery - smeared with untroubled silence. And dawn to dusk this impenetrable silence is punctuated by ceaseless tunes of common as well as rare birds. Take a chair in the open and get lost.
A Little Known Place Near Mukteswar
It's a small hamlet of about 12 km before Mukteswar. If you go in time - apricots, apples, plums, pears, peach, besides the majestic mountain trees, come up in abundance around the hills. It's a feast for the eyes while idling along the lonely mountain roads with deep blue sky above and the snowcapped peaks exuding their amazing charm. And you instantly fall in love with Peora.
How It Began
We were two, me and my wife, both beyond middle ages. For our nine days trip we took two shoulder bags and a small handbag with titbits which always help. At around 22-30 PM we checked-in at the Silver Palace Hotel at Haldwani. The day next after breakfast we travelled for three hours to Gopal's Binsar Retreat at Papersali and reached there a little beyond noon on 6th June. On 9th we left Papersali and drove for one and a half
hours to reach Peora before lunch. There we
stayed at an antique British Dak Bungalow till 12 June before leaving for Haldwani before noon. We first visited Mukteswar before going back to Haldwani where we again checked-in at the Silver Palace Hotel at around 17-00 PM. On the day next we boarded the Kathgodam-Delhi Sampark-Kranti Express from Haldwani at 09-08 AM and were in Delhi by 15-30 PM on the same day.
In fact a few months before planning the trip I did not even know that a place named Papersali exists in the Himalaya, let alone exactly where it was. But my long association with the mountain has made me passionate about little known villages in the Himalaya where you get comfortable stays with no hustles of popular tourist spots. So while browsing for such fascinating spots I first stumbled upon a few irresistible images of the Peora Dak Bungalow. In a similar way Gopal's Binsar Retreat eventually attracted my attention too. Both of these places literally dragged me to them. And believe me, we were immensely rewarded.