Travelogues

Kasar Devi: The Exterminating Angel

Jitaditya Narzary

Is a traveller disillusioned by the familiar and fascinated with the unknown... and of course the founder of this blog.

Kasar Devi (1)

Any fan of surrealistic art-forms must have seen Bunuel’s The Exterminating Angel, that one where a bunch of people meet inside a mansion for a soiree but realize that they cannot leave the place even if they want to.

This is something that generally keeps happening to me. There are certain places in Delhi where I have felt this decadent energy keeping me tied to one place and away from any meaningful work. However, I have always associated the Himalayas with activity and adventure. But all that changed in Kasar Devi.

So, just to clarify the context, I have left home again. After the middling attempt at living out of the backpack during the #60daysofsummer last year, this time I was looking forward to #90daysofspringandsummer (but this hashtag looks ugly and ungainly and so I am not going to use it in the future posts). Just to kick-start the adventures, I left Delhi just as the torturous summer arrived. Kumaon was one of the areas in my mind because I’ve yet to do anything worthwhile in that region.

I reached Kasar Devi with certain plans and targets in mind. More importantly, I also secured a cost-effective room, which was essential for my long term plans. But as days passed, I realized that there is a strange placidity in the place. Of course mountains are always placid but there was something about Kasar that made me completely inactive. I thought of visiting Binsar that was just an hour away but I could never walk past the 500 meter radius around my homestay. Even reaching the temple atop the nearby hill took a lot of determination. I thought of going down to Almora too but soon resigned to clicking photographs of the pine trees and staring at the sunset like a pathetic romantic. 

Yes, I have read those stories about this place falling on the Van Allen Belt but I never really believed them. But after spending a week there I am beginning to question my very ability to question things. Is it a mere coincidence that this place has always attracted hippies, philosophers, and authors but not adventurers and explorers?  

Initially I was also considering Kasar Devi to be a place for long term stay but I am no longer sure. It made me grossly unproductive and this is not going to help my cause. Anyway, after around a week, I managed to finally pack my bags and check out of my room with one herculean thrust and headed towards Himachal, the state that never disappoints. I still want to explore more of Kumaon but I think I will use a different base next time.

Since leaving Kasar Devi I have knocked down half a dozen of my wishlist items in barely a week. I will share them soon. As far as this place is concerned, I will still recommend it to those who are looking for a tranquil vacation without doing much. Accommodation here is inexpensive and food options are good. As far as the views are concerned, have a look at the photographs and decide yourself. However, don’t expect your adrenaline to roar. All you are going to hear is Ginsberg’s Howl. 

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Kasar Devi (2)

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In case you have not watched Bunuel’s The Exterminating Angel (1962) and looking to get it, just be careful and don’t opt for The Exterminating Angels (2006), which is a French erotic film that I once downloaded by mistake. I did enjoy it but I should not discuss that part here. 

10 Comments

  • Priyadarshini Rajendran
    2017/05/07 - 8:26 pm | Permalink

    Iam a fan of mysteries. This place sounds worth checking out! Looks like the time to plan my next adventure has come.

  • 2017/05/07 - 9:31 pm | Permalink

    The place sounds incredible. Especially love your pics of the sunset and clouds. How good is this place for treks? Did you manage to get any trekking done?

  • 2017/05/08 - 1:32 am | Permalink

    Sometimes you just need to stop in a place and taken in what it gives you. If that is peace and quiet and not much to do around, we should still appreciate it. Interesting to read that Kasar Devi is a place for artists and not explorers. I wonder what stopped you exploring, reading further that after leaving the place you did manage to go back on track with your goals.

  • 2017/05/08 - 6:49 am | Permalink

    Very nice! Looking forward to your 90 days of spring and summer (whatever you end up hashtagging) stories. This post is just filled with interesting things I’ve never know – Exterminating Angel (??) and Kasar Devi itself. I recently visited India for the first time and I’m absolutely fascinated by everything it holds. Good luck on your journey!

  • 2017/05/08 - 1:18 pm | Permalink

    Sounds like you are having quite an adventure! And what a beautiful place to be, and hard to leave. I love the red and orange pagoda. And the sunsets are gorgeous.

  • 2017/05/08 - 10:45 pm | Permalink

    Nice to know about offbeat places that I have never heard or read about. Looks like a peaceful place to connect with nature. You seem to have an adventurous trip.

  • 2017/05/09 - 3:22 pm | Permalink

    I do really enjoy your writing style. The place looks amazing in the pictures, but then again I’m the kind of person who really enjoys peace and tranquility and not doing much (provided there is wifi of course). I’m only vaguely aware of the Exterminating Angel so now I will look out for it (the right version of course).

  • 2017/05/09 - 9:26 pm | Permalink

    Haha. Now I am interested in the Exterminating Angels. That 2006 version that is. Anyways, jokes apart, I keenly followed your 60 days of summer project last year. Kasar Devi sure is on my mind. Loved your self deprecating joke on #90daysofspringandsummer. Cheers!

  • 2017/05/09 - 9:33 pm | Permalink

    I love the Himalayas … so peaceful. The sunset pictures are stunning. I would love to go here but I am not sure how safe it would be for a solo woman. Let me live it through your pics!

    • 2017/05/09 - 11:03 pm | Permalink

      I think if you will at all be unsafe, that will be in a big metropolis rather than a tiny Himalayan village.

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