A couple of weeks I visited Dunagiri (Dūnāgiri), which lies deep and high in the Kumaon range of Himalayas. It was a road trip from Delhi and we (My friend Sukhchain accompanied me) had to drive around 400 Km at a stretch. The drive was smooth till Haladwani but it became hilly after that and we spent double the time driving for half the distance. But it was all worth it given the weather, vistas and adventure we did!
The idea of visiting this place came through a Facebook friend, who happens to be a Sanskrit scholar. She recommended that I should come there. I immediately decided to go. The place where we were to stay is a private one named as “Dunagiri Retreat”. It’s beautifully nestled in the hills, with around 11 rooms available for guests to stay. For all other related details to this place, you can check this link: www.dunagiri.com
We started at 2:00am from Delhi to avoid any kind of traffic till we have the planes and we were able to do it. As we moved into the hilly area, the weather changed and we had to drive in rain, which was both dangerous and exciting.
We spent two days at the facility and just loved everything about it. We went up the hill to the temple, which is supposed to be the place where Sukadeva did penance. Earlier Saraswati had did penance there, and when she appeared before Sukadeva to give boon for his penance, he said I don’t want anything (the saint was born desireless). So, the goddess blessed him that I will be known on this spot as Sukadevi (Sukhadevi) because you did penance here.
While we were going up the hill, we were told that big cats (tigers and leopards), bears and boars roam around, so be cautious. I would say that was the most exciting part. In fact, we did spotted a skunk kind of an animal who fled as soon as he saw us. One couple among the other people who were staying there also heard the growls of a leopard when they were going to the same place.
There are so many other legends associated with Dunagiri including Mahavatar Baba Ji, Shakuntala and Bharat, Pandavas, etc. You need around a week to visit all the places and I am dead sure it would be all worth it.
Staying there is a bit hard on your pocket but otherwise it is one of the most beautiful places that you would like to be in the summers, away from all the heat and dust!