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. I also though of making quick trips to nearby places such as Bhimtal but could never get going. Nevertheless, here is a different blog on Bhimtal that you can read.
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.
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.