Finally, after a long time sharing some valuable content with you all, I got time to compile all my drafts and get one of my special Travel Tale underway for Nainital – Chaukori – Kasauni trip in December 2012. It was special because after a long time I was traveling with my wife to Himalayas and why made it more special was the fact that the Junior Devil (my son Pratyaksh ;)), was also accompanying us on his maiden trip to The Himalayas So, we were quite excited for the trip and yet apprehensive too with many if’s and buts as he was just 1.25 years old by that time. The other two with us, one was my cousin brother (Dhruv) and other my brother in law (Saurabh), so a family trip was ON.

Taking into various facts including cold winters in December, we have carefully chosen the place to be Chaukori in Kumaon region of Uttarakhand. We deliberately excluded Binsar out of the itinerary because being amidst the dense forest, it had been real cold and the KMVN FRH up there even lacks the electricity as well!! Hence, we only had Nainital, Chaukori and Kasauni in our mind as night halts to enjoy this “Candid Kumaon” family trip after a while…

Nainital Lake at Night … A Teaser…
Nainital Lake at Night ... A Teaser...
Day 1 | Delhi – Nainital via Baazpur – Kaladhungi

19th December 2012: Our journey begun early morning from Delhi around 5.30 AM and plan was to reach Nainital by late noon as it takes about 7-8 Hrs keeping practical traffic jams near Moradabad in mind and about 290 odd KMs of distance. The drive was fine up to Gajraula as we crossed whole Delhi from West Delhi towards UP border crossing Noida. We topped up the fuel near Pragati Maidan fuel pump and knew it will be enough for couple of days now. The Junior was sleeping so not much issues so far 😉 … At Gajraula, we stopped for breakfast at Bikanerwala as the junior had woke up and was looking for warm milk now, first experience you know 😉 … Well, we had some sandwiches and a plate of chole bhatture which tasted OK types and was back on highway refilling the mil for the kiddo too.

An early morning on the road to Nainital…
An early morning on the road to Nainital
Sunrise some where near Gar Ganga…
Sunrise some where near Gar Ganga on the way to Nainital
Another View… Sunrise some where near Gar Ganga…
Sunrise some where near Gar Ganga on the way to Nainital Lake

After 10-15 minutes of drive, suddenly we were hit with dense fog floating over the highway and reducing the visibility to a mere 100-150 odd Mtrs. This slowed us considerably and sometimes the situations was tense too as some idiots in trucks were running on wrong side in such dense fog :(( … We passed so many tolls and it was like shelling out money for such a massive & unforgiving traffic jams ahead. As soon as we crossed the toll near Moradabad, I guess, the famous traffic jam was waiting for us with both arms open 😀 … The traffic was stationary for long about an hour we did not move 🙁 . But, meanwhile the junior had started enjoying the drive and was jumping as usual all over the back seat. We also walked to some extent of the jam to see where the bottleneck is but it seemed endless. Back in car and waited and finally traffic moved at snail’s pace 😀

The long lasting traffic jam near Moradabad…
The long lasting traffic jam near Moradabad
Another View… The long lasting traffic jam near Moradabad…
The long lasting traffic jam near Moradabad
Leading somewhere into a village
Leading somewhere into a village
That’s Pratyaksh, The Junior Devil ;)… On his maiden trip to Himalayas…
Pratyaksh on the way to Nainital

After couple of struggling hours we reached the T-point where the left goes towards Tanda – Baazpur – Kaladhungi route and the right goes towards Rampur, the usual route to Nainital. Well, you guessed it right, we took the unusual route :D, just to avoid the trucks traffic which is quite dominant on the Rampur route. However, the initial drive was fine and smooth with no traffic but THEN nearing Tanda there were deep craters scattered all across the road all the way to Baazpur and ahead of it too. This also decreased the speed & progress drastically 🙁 … Finally, after few KMs ahead of Baazpur near the turn to Kashipur or Jim Corbett, the roads started to improve and then was smooth Tarmac all the way towards Kaladungi.

Tanda – Baazpur – Kaladhungi Road
Tanda - Baazpur - Kaladhungi Road to Nainital
The Family excluding me 😀
The Family excluding me :D on the Trip to Nainital
Lots of Monkeys near Kaladhungi
Lots of Monkey near Kaladhungi on road to Nainital

The drive from Baazpur to Kaladungi to Nainital was quite smooth as well as scenic and then we saw the turn up towards Nainital where the road coming from Kathgodam and Haldwani route meets this route. Then, this common road, about 34 KMs in length, leads you up towards Nainital. The road had well tarmac and we cruised towards Nainital taking couple of pictures in between. Junior enjoyed the whole drive mostly sleeping and playing with the people at the back seat :D. Finally we reached Nainital around 2.15 PM and immediately took the road going towards Pangot as we did wanted to stay somewhere away from the crowd. About 3-4 KMs on that road at Mallital, Tanki, we finally checked-in at one hotel by the name Fair Light Trails which was made out of some old British Type Cottage with large sized rooms, decently looking, neat & clean though not premium types. It was suitable to our needs and within budget as well of Rs 2600 was the bill that had three meals + couple of snacks for 4 persons 😀

Clouds floating below… Aahh we are in the mountains 🙂
Clouds floating below as seen from the ascend road to Nainital
Road leading to Nainital
Road leading to Nainital

We relaxed in room for couple of hours, had some pakoras and lunch while looking at the spectacular view of Nainital Lake below from the huge windows of our room. The perfect location I shall say if you are not too posh or premium types. The Junior was running all over the room. He had a lot of space to play in the room as well as outside of it. The sun was shining for a change as compared to the cold of Delhi with smog but even there while going in shades, we were felt quite cold. After sometime we decided to get down to Nainital for the evening boat ride and stroll at the mall road there.

Nainital Lake… The First Views from the Hotel Room
Nainital Lake ... The First Views from the Hotel Room
Junior is all ready to get to the lake
Junior is all ready to get to the Nainital Lake
A Flower from Nainital
A Flower from Nainital

Well, the boating experience was not that great as it was getting dark, very dark and cold breeze was biting the senses at nose as well as chin. However, the junior was all over the boat almost wanting to get out and jump in the water considering it as his big swimming pool along with us 😆 … Well, he is too fond of playing in water, so it was a big treat to him 😉 … My wife was too scared as boat was tumbling when the junior was moving here and there in excitement 😀 … All four of us were really struggling with the cold breeze as it was hitting our faces and with just half round of the lake we started back to shore because it had gone completely dark. After getting down, we strolled in the market and it was difficult to control the excitement of the junior and like at home we were running behind him to catch here and there :D. All this was quite a lovely and different experience from all my lonely, struggling and close to nature trips of Trans Himalayas. My both lifelines (wifey and kiddo) were with me and what else was needed 🙂

Dusk falling over Nainital Lake
Dusk falling over Nainital Lake
Saurabh & Dhruv Feeling the Cold
Saurabh & Dhruv Feeling the Cold at Nainital Lake

Well, meanwhile both Dhruv and Saurabh had gone for a very very long walk in search of some Old Monk for the night and by the time they came back I was feeling completely exhausted running after the junior :D. Finally, asked them to hold him up, bought some milk Tetra Packs along with candies and we drive back to the hotel. It was lovely view down there of Nainital Lake in the night as we had some drinks while the wifey and kiddo played aside. The dinner served in the restaurant below was also quite delicious and there was some college group that has arrived there and were having bonfire with various acts. We enjoyed their programme for a while and finally went to bed with lovely views of journey ahead towards Chaukori in mind 🙂 …

Stars Trails, Moving over Nainital
Stars Trails, Moving over Nainital

The Journey ahead…


I am Dheeraj Sharma - a traveler, techie, and Himalayan lover. Since 2009, I have been helping thousands of travelers every year plan memorable & budget-friendly trips to the Himalayas - Smartly, Safely, and responsibly.


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  2. swinkle singh on

    Dheeraj ji,
    Aap ne pura vakya bade hi dil se likha hai.Sach moch dil ko choo gaya aapka travelougue.
    swinkle singh

  3. Amit Ranjan on

    That was one of the wonderful travelogue. I was completely dipped in Himalayas while reading it. Excellently written along with pictures. However more pictures for road conditions would have been added here. Dheeraj can you tell me what was the total expenditure of your trip including fuel, hotel stay, meals, etc.

    I am planning to do the same trip with my family of 4 taking all important points as mentioned by you. Also let me know as how early you got bookings in KMVL.

    • Amit, total expenditure for 4 of us was around 18-19K. Regarding KMVN, since my plan was fixed and availability was present, we booked it as soon as I got my leaves confirmed.

  4. hey great article… very nice and thanks for the effort… can you just put in distances, road directions and approx. time.. thanks again

  5. This is awesome !

    We had gone recently on a road trip to Uttarakhand. Entered Nainital at around 2 am in the night. Looked like a foreign city – Serene and beautiful.

    And in the morning, it just got transformed and looked like India Gate in Delhi ! Crowded and terrible.

    Binsar however gave us the much needed peace we were looking for. Mohan’s Binsar Retreat – Really recommend it !

    • Vyas, yeah, Nainital is often disturbing at times but I always loves it serenity in the morning. I prefer staying away from the mad crowd that’s why Mallital was perfect place with no tourist and lovely aerial view of Nainital below 😉 … Yeah, indeed Binsar as well as Chaukori are really lovely and calm places to enjoy quality times in peace with your loved ones.

      PS: Sorry for delayed reply as I was traveling Ladakh for last couple of weeks.

      Dheeraj Sharma

  6. Sunil Deepak on

    Very nicely written with so many trips plus as usual, beautiful pictures

  7. This brought back some nice memories. Though I have been to Nainital many times, Chaukori was long back in 1997. Trekking alone in those mountains with my camera and a kukri to cut dense vegetation….

    • O yes, this is indeed a fabulous place to be. Wanted to explore the hikes round Pangot but with little kid, opted the other way round. Next time for sure will go ahead and explore some trails around this region. The best thing is you never get bored of the atmosphere, despite visiting this lake more than once.

  8. Sneh Kesari on

    Nicely explained the thrill, excitement, troubles and feeling of the traveler…
    very tempting…