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Ria Dutta Sep 04 2015

Nainital: A Picnic In The Woods

Florina Soren Sep 04 2015
5 people found this answer useful Useful ?Yes

If you have read enough children’s books as a kid, the idea of a picnic basket, the hills and adventures must have caught your fantasy. The hill station of Nainital, with many picnic spots all over the green slopes that border this city, is the perfect location to bring this fantasy alive.

A picnic could involve many kinds of fantasies. It could be picking bright yellow and white wild flowers from the leeway of the slopes. It could even be coming across toadstools, hosting little wispy fairies underneath its magic umbrella. The many eyes of the forests here will keep your secret solemnly to itself. The bright umbrellas found all over Nainital, from rainbow coloured gorgeous ones to the more adventurous ones that look like Hallmark cards add quirk to the many photographs that you are bound to take in this photogenic landscape.

Once you are in Nainital, the swellest thing to do is to go out for a picnic, away from the hotel Wi-Fi, leaving that work project aside. Till you don’t get drenched in the approaching cloud cover, or walk into a wall of mist, you do not realize that the monsoons aren’t just about rain. Or water, for that matter. The monsoons are much more fun than getting wet in the falling rain, and everyone knows how much fun that is in itself. And monsoons in the Kumaon hills is unlike any other monsoons you may have experienced in any other part of the country or the world.

The city is dotted with bakeries, and it won’t be very difficult to procure a few good sandwiches, some of those bright red apples that seem to be everywhere in the city, a few muffins, even a bottle of wine, or a hot flask of brewed coffee. You can break convention here, and take a chulha, to make a meal right in the middle of the forest.

I asked the good chef at the Manu Maharani, who arranged for an impromptu, elaborate tuck box for me to take into the forest, involving cutlets, croissants, muffins, juice boxes, chicken-and-cheese sandwiches and tea, all beautifully set-up on a tray and placed on a portable wooden table. Whatever you do, don’t forget to clean up after you. The forest is for sharing, not appropriating and sullying.

Or you may decide that picnicking for you is a long trek up the hills. Hill stations and soups go well together. Every nook and cranny will be selling hot soup, and it is a good idea to stop at one of these stalls to fill up on this hot beverage before you begin your trek into the many jungles that surround the city. Remember, no music, or noise cancelling headphones. Scratch that, no headphones. If you read the Robert Frost poem (or even if you didn’t) and ever wondered what a babbling brook sounded like, this is your chance. Don’t let Kesha ruin your moment when you have finally got it all in one moment of sheer bliss.

Story & Photographs: Payel Majumdar

The writer was under the exclusive invitation of The Manu Maharani

Location: Kilbury
Food and Service Credits: Chef Andie Rawat & Mr. Rajender Rawat

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