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Kausani A 300km wide view curves across the Himalayas from Kausani, a breathtakingly beautiful hill station in the Kumaon Hills. The eye sweeps past dense forests and glowing hills lit up by the setting sun.

The panorama unfolds over the snow-covered peaks of Nanda Devi and Trishul, their impenetrable beauty overshadowing the lesser mountains scattered at their feet. At 7817 metres, Nanda Devi is the second highest peak in India and has exerted a tremendous impact on the cultures and lives of the Kumaoni and Garhwali peoples. Mt. Trishul and Nanda Ghunti hover close by, symbolic of Shiva’s trident and his wife’s veil.

Besides these heart-stopping views, Kausani offers blissfully undiluted silence and tranquillity. The crisp air is laden with the scent of pines. Tea gardens and pear orchards dot the landscape while the summer months see a profusion of wild flowers in the valleys. The hill station itself is perched on a narrow ridge on Pingnath Peak, overlooking mountain vistas, while the rivers Gomti and Kosi flank the town.

Kausani has had many moments in the sun - as the birthplace of Hindi poet Krishna Nandan Pant, and again as the hill station where Mahatma Gandhi spent some happy days in 1929. Gandhiji stayed at the Anasakti Anasakti

where he explored the Anasakti Yoga. The Ashram used to be a guesthouse in a tea estate, and is now a research centre and library. A Gandhi memorial has been erected here and evening prayers are said in the main hall. There is a regular flow of pilgrims trying to combine a glimpse of the sanctum with a view of the spectacular sunset.

Some good treks lead into the Himalayas from Kausani, such as the Adi Kailash trek and the Bageshwar Sunderdhanga trek. The area is quite a camper’s paradise. In spite of its spectacular beauty, Kausani remains an unspoilt town where you can retreat for a quiet sojourn at any time of the year.

Getting there: Kausani lies 53 km north of Almora in Uttaranchal. Delhi is 410 km away, a journey of 14 hours by road. The closest airport is at Pantnagar, 180 km. The nearest railhead is at Kathgodam, 142 km, with trains arriving from Delhi. From Kathgodam you can catch a bus or take a tourist taxi to Kausani.

Best time: You can visit Kausani at any time of the year except for the monsoon period from end June to September. Summer - April to June - is the best time to be in Kausani, with temperatures ranging between 11°C and 26°C. The winters are cold - temperatures average between 2°C and 14°C and there are chances of snow. Carry light woollens for summer and heavy woollens for winter.

Accommodation: Kausani is a mid-budget traveller’s delight. The Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam has a tourist guesthouse here. In addition to the Forest Rest House and PWD Bungalow, there are other lodges and motels. Room tariffs range from Rs 300 to Rs 1500 for a double room. Decent accommodation is also available at the Anasakti Ashram.