Ranikhet: Of Mountains and the Military

Ranikhet, tucked away in the mountains of Uttarakhand, is actually named for a queen: Rani Padmini, the consort of a local king named Raja Sukherdev. Padmini visited this area and liked it so much that she decided to make it her residence—and that was how Ranikhet got its name.

View from near the golf course at Ranikhet.

View from near the golf course at Ranikhet.

I’ve been travelling in the hill areas of Western India, from Ladakh and the rest of Kashmir to Himachal and Uttarakhand ever since I was about ten years old. My father was in the Indo Tibetan Border Police, and this was their area. Papa did a lot of travelling, and if it happened to be during our summer vacations, we went along too. We saw a lot of far flung places, a lot of places which have now become popular destinations but were, back then, tiny one-horse towns (Leh, for instance, which, when I first saw it, had a market consisting of one short stretch on which old women sold vegetables and there was a shop that stocked jewellery made from garnets, turquoise, and rice pearls).

But I digress. The point is, in all those wanderings (followed, after I got married, with more travels with my husband) I somehow never ended up really visiting Ranikhet. I passed through it occasionally, but never stopped. So this time, thinking of places to visit for a longish weekend break, I suggested Ranikhet.

Getting there: Up in the hills of Kumaon in Uttarakhand, Ranikhet lies at an altitude of a little over 1869 metres ASL. The 344 km drive up from Delhi takes you through Moradabad, Simbhaoli, Haldwani, Kathgodam (the rail head) and then through miles of mountains with silver oak (right now covered with rust-orange flowers) and jacaranda, all masses of deep mauve blooms. Higher up, there are oaks, chestnuts (covered with candles of white-pink flowers) and pine.

A jacaranda tree in full bloom, on the way up to Ranikhet.

A jacaranda tree in full bloom, on the way up to Ranikhet.

There are wild rose bushes with white flowers, the occasional pomegranate tree—gorgeous little fire-red flowers—and hundreds of little white daisies dotting the grass.

Daisies in the grass. At Chaubatia Gardens.

Daisies in the grass. At Chaubatia Gardens.

Past Bhimtal, the road rises even further to Ranikhet. Ranikhet is a military cantonment, the regimental centre of the Kumaon Regiment as well as home to various other military and paramilitary forces, including battalions of the BSF and the Garhwal Rifles. This means that while there is the military neatness and discipline so common in Indian cantonment towns (and some very atmospheric-looking colonial buildings, including the Kumaon Regiment’s Community Centre, which is housed in a deconsecrated church), large sections of the town are off limits to civilians.

It took us a total of nine and a half hours (including a couple of ten-minute stopovers to pick up coffee and snacks) to drive from Delhi to Ranikhet. The roads are good through most of the way, though the mountain stretches are narrower and therefore make for slower traffic. Note that the main places for loo breaks and snacks or coffee (other than roadside dhabas) are in the plains.

Where we stayed: Ranikhet has its share of hotels and lodges, though thankfully, since it’s not as commercialized as (say) Nainital, it has a quiet and pleasant charm about it. We stayed at the WelcomHeritage group’s Windsor Lodge, which dates back to 1909. This is situated beyond Ranikhet town, near the golf course: you drive right through the cantonment to get to it. The hotel spreads out over several levels, with some sections (the front, including what is called The Raja of Sheikhupura) looking definitely colonial, while the back—Harkison Hall—resembling, at least from the outside, a rather worn-out student hostel.

The view from our room.

The view from our room.

A view of the path leading up to our room.

A view of the path leading up to our room.

Our room, with a view of pineclad hills, also overlooked a lovely little garden known as Kafal Bagh, for the kaphal (box myrtle) trees in it. With garden furniture, oak and kaphal trees and flower beds (and plenty of birds to be seen) this became one of our favourite places to sit and have coffee in the evening.

A couple of fountains and pretty stone benches, outside The Kumaon Room.

A couple of fountains and pretty stone benches, outside The Kumaon Room.

A gate leading from the Kafal Bagh to Harkison Hall.

A gate leading from the Kafal Bagh to Harkison Hall.

The lodge also has a small spa, gymnasium, business centre, and none too dependable WiFi.

Our room was a combination of nice and not so nice. The wooden floor and ceiling, the wood-panelled wall with its old-fashioned still life with flowers, the simple dark wood furniture: all very pleasant. There was a TV too, a wardrobe, plenty of tables and chairs of various sizes, and lots of large windows (what’s the point of a good view of you can’t see it from within your room?). The less pleasant part was the bathroom, which—while being large enough—had stains on walls, floor, and shower curtains; traces of cobwebs hanging from the ceiling, and peeling paint. Not what I’d expected from WelcomHeritage.

Inside our room. Some good, some not.

Inside our room. Some good, some not.

Still, this is a pleasant place to stay, and the staff are warm, helpful and friendly. And, since Windsor Lodge isn’t in the heart of town (it’s about 6 km outside Ranikhet), it’s quiet, with birdsong filling the air. We paid Rs 18,000 for three nights, inclusive of breakfast and one major meal a day.

Where we ate: Always at the Windsor Lodge’s own restaurant, The Kumaon Room, which is entered through a lovely little portico with a grapevine (loaded with young grapes) along the sloping glass ceiling. The restaurant is somewhat dimly lit, with heavy curtains (beaded edges and all) at the windows and doors; paintings, a chandelier, and even a faux marble statue of a woman on the mantelpiece.

The little porch leading into The Kumaon Room.

The little porch leading into The Kumaon Room.

The Kumaon Room, the Windsor Lodge's restaurant.

The Kumaon Room, the Windsor Lodge’s restaurant.

The Kumaon Room serves a mix of Continental and Indian food. We ordered Continental food—cream of mushroom soup, tomato and basil soup (both awful), lamb chops and lamb stew, with buttered vegetables and mashed potatoes (both so-so, not great), and caramel custard and chocolate mousse (both good) on one day. The conclusion we came to was that, like a lot of similar establishments, these guys don’t do Continental well.

They do the ‘typical Indian’ somewhat better (the dal makhni was a little oversalted for us), but what they excel at is the local food. Over the course of the three days we spent at Windsor Lodge, we sampled just about every local dish on the menu: pahaari baakar tari (mutton curry), Kumaoni paalak (chopped spinach cooked with tomatoes and a good bit of fresh ginger), Kumaoni raita (made with grated cucumber and local mustard mixed into the yoghurt and tempered with zeera), and pahaari aaloo (potatoes cooked in a thick yellow gravy). All of these dishes were excellent: not too spicy, full of flavour, and so good that I was, even as I was eating, thinking, “I must look for recipes for this.”

Some of the good stuff: chicken curry and pahaari aloo.

Some of the good stuff: chicken curry and pahaari aloo.

Where we went and what we saw: Ranikhet’s attractions are probably best enjoyed if you’re a nature lover. The views are lovely, though, because of a lack of rain in the previous year, Kumaon is right now so tinder-dry that frequent forest fires have played havoc with the trees, and the smoke has resulted in a haze that blocks views of snow-capped peaks like Trishul, Nandadevi and Hathi Parbat. But you can still see lots of trees, wildflowers, birds—and, if you’re really lucky, animals like sambar, barking deer, leopard and Himalayan black bear.

But, there are sights to see. These are the ones we visited:

1. Chaubatia Gardens. Though known primarily for the government horticultural gardens (at 265 acres, Asia’s largest government-owned garden, so we were told), Chaubatia is a military-controlled area. When the Viceroy, Lord Mayo, visited Chaubatia in 1868 and stayed at a local mansion known as Glen Pennock (now the Officers’ Mess), he liked it so much that he ordered a cantonment for the cavalry to be established here.

In 1832, a tea garden was planted at Chaubatia; the tea did poorly because Ranikhet, with its snows, is not hospitable to tea. In 1869, therefore, the tea was replaced by apples—and that has today become a horticultural garden that grows mostly apples, but also various other trees and plants. You can wander around by yourself (there’s no entry fee), but since no plants or trees are labelled, and there are branching paths all over, it’s best to hire a guide. For a tour of the apple orchard only, a guide costs Rs 200; add the forest near by, and it’s 300; add the Bhalu Dam further on, and it’s 500, and so on. We opted just for the orchard, since we had a toddler in tow. This tour too requires a bit of climbing and going up and down rocky sloping paths, 100 mt down and then 100 mt up, so don’t attempt this in stilettos.

In Chaubatia Gardens: a path leads through pine and oak woods.

In Chaubatia Gardens: a path leads through pine and oak woods.

Chaubatia Gardens: red roses, a wire fence, and apple trees.

Chaubatia Gardens: red roses, a wire fence, and apple trees.

Our guide pointed out various trees and plants, telling us of their uses (especially medicinal). The deodar cedar, for example, the oil of which is a cure-all for skin diseases; the hydrangea, the roots of which, made into a paste, can flush out kidney stones—and so on. We saw different types of fruit trees: apple, peach, plum, apricot, red nectarine (a cross between peach and plum) as well as walnut, chestnut, and almond; herbs and wild plants like the stinging bichhoo-booti (which is, paradoxically, a good cure for injuries); rosemary, wild strawberries, daisies, buttercups, and wild roses.

Wild roses at Chaubatia.

Wild roses at Chaubatia.

Also within the gardens are two shops that sell Kumaoni produce. One, deeper within the garden, is a combined eatery (very basic: Maggi noodles seems to be the norm) and sale counter for squashes, juices, pickles, chutneys, etc, made from local fruit and vegetables. The other, close to the exit, sells these, along with other products—woollens, herbal infusions, soaps, and so on—made under the aegis of various NGOs.

2. The Jhoola Devi Temple. Right at the gate to Chaubatia is one of Ranikhet’s most famous temples, the tiny Jhoola Devi Temple. The story goes that 700 years ago, the local villagers were being tormented by predators—tigers and leopards—carrying off their cattle. Their prayers were answered when the goddess Durga appeared in a dream to a shepherd and ordered the building of a temple to her at this particular place. That done, the goddess satisfied, the villagers found themselves (and their cattle) now no longer being preyed upon. As time passed, the local children began frequenting the temple and playing in its vicinity, and the goddess gave another command: that a jhoola (a swing) be installed here for her to relax. And that’s how the name came to be.

The Jhoola Devi Temple

The Jhoola Devi Temple

Bells at the Jhoola Devi Tenple.

Bells at the Jhoola Devi Tenple.

This is a tiny temple—it takes no more than five minutes to admire it from the outside and inside, to go in and do your darshan, receive prasad, and come out—but it’s one of the most unique I’ve seen. Thousands of brass bells, of different sizes, have been tied on railings all along the periphery of the temple: they’re so dense, they form walls of their own. Quite a spectacle.

3. The Kumaon and Naga Regiments Museum: The most decorated regiment of the Indian Army, the Kumaon Regiment has its regimental centre at Ranikhet—and, appropriately enough, a small museum that documents the history of the regiment. Situated near the Nar Singh Ground (named for one of the regiment’s heroes), the museum lies just inside the Saklani Gate, past a dilapidated and long-abandoned building called the Globe Theatre.

The Globe Theatre - who'd have known?!

The Globe Theatre – who’d have known?!

Outside the neat two-storey building housing the museum are two green-painted guns which the Kumaon Regiment won from the Turks during World War I. Inside, there are more trophies, more spoils of war, and more of the history of the Kumaon Regiment and its brother regiment, the Naga Regiment. After a couple of panels describing Nagaland and Kumaon, the history of these two regiments is explained through a timeline that includes text, paintings, photographs, and objects. With its roots way back in the Malhar Paltan, set up in 1730, the regiment took form as the Hyderabad Regiment under its founder, Russell, later in the same century. Over the centuries since, the regiment has undergone numerous changes, splitting, changing names, incorporating soldiers from across the country—and going into battle just about everywhere, from China (suppressing the Boxer Rebellion) to various theatres of war in both World Wars, to the Indo-Pak War, the Indo-China War, and the Kargil War.

The Kumaon and Naga Regiments' Museum.

The Kumaon and Naga Regiments’ Museum.

The artefacts, all arranged in chronological order and extensively labelled, are very varied. There are uniforms and bullet-riddled helmets; certificates and citations of valour, photographs, and a plethora of captured items: guns, bayonets, swords (including a samurai sword), soldier’s diaries and letters, a wireless set, telephone equipment, an LTTE boat—and most historic of all—the sceptre of Rani Lakshmibai of Jhansi.

It’s not a brilliant museum, though it’s pretty informative and well-maintained. You do have to be a bit of a military history fan to fully appreciate it, but even if you’re mildly interested in Indian history, this shouldn’t be a completely worthless visit.

Entry to the museum costs Rs 20 per adult. The museum is open from 8 to 12.30 and 3 to 5 in the summer, and from 8.30 to 1 and 3 to 5 in the winter. On Sundays, it opens from 8.30 to 12.30. It’s closed on Tuesdays. Photography isn’t allowed inside the museum; all cameras and cell phones need to be deposited at the reception counter, which is where the soldier on duty will also collect the entry fees.

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41 thoughts on “Ranikhet: Of Mountains and the Military

  1. Thanks Madhu for this pleasant little visit! I’d say the prices aren’t that cheap, really, because 18,000 Rs for 3 days even with food (which you describe as lower than standard), I suppose there were only the two of you? I’d have expected a little less for such an out of the way location. You’ll tell me.
    But what a charming spot anyway. Would you say it’s worth the 9 hour drive though?
    Were you allowed to go inside the “Globe theatre”? Your picture only shows the outside… Was it really a theatre?
    I love such discovery destinations. You should do more such posts!

    • No, Yves, 18,000 is by no means cheap. 15 years back – the last time we went on a long road trip through Uttarakhand – we happily stayed at the government-run rest houses, but I guess we’ve become less shoestring and more concerned about comfort since then! – when travelling in India (I still watch every single cent or penny or whatever when I’m outside India). Incidentally, in this case, it’s not the location that governs the tariff – it’s the fact that this is a heritage property (always more expensive than a ‘regular’ hotel) and that it’s part of the WelcomGroup, which is expensive. I do admit that for 18,000 (and some 6,000 or so more for additional meals and snacks), this wasn’t as good as I’d have expected it to be. The bathroom’s cleanliness, for instance…

      To answer your question, by the way: my husband and I had our two-year old daughter with us.

      I do think Ranikhet is worth the 9 hour drive – but then, I may be biased, because I love the Himalayas. Once you’ve left the plains behind, this is very picturesque countryside, and (unlike places like Nainital or Mussoorie, both of which are very commercialised), Ranikhet is quiet and lovely and all pine woods… indeed worth the trip.

      The ‘Globe Theatre’ is pretty dilapidated; we didn’t even think of going inside, because it looked in danger of collapsing any moment! I doubt if we’d have been allowed in, anyway – since this area is all under the Army, they are very strict about where civilians are allowed. We even had to enter our names, and show identity cards, at the main gate before we were allowed in to see the museum.

      Now that our daughter’s a little older, we will do more such trips! We went through a lull over the past two years, but it’s time we were back to our travelling. :-)

  2. My uncle was stationed for a while at Ranikhet. He worked for a company that made vehicles for the armed forces. :)

    I have never been there, but one day…
    (The list of places I want to see, the books I want to read, the music I want to hear, the movies I want to watch… I’ll need to live to be a 1000 if I want to do it all!)

    • “My uncle was stationed for a while at Ranikhet. He worked for a company that made vehicles for the armed forces. :)

      How interesting!

      The good thing about places one wants to visit, of course, is that one can combine them with books one wants to read. I usually end up doing more reading during a holiday than I get done at home. :-)

  3. Very very nice review madhu didi! I’m commenting after a loooong time; I had my medical entrance exams actually.. :p

    What I liked about the review was the fact that you focussed on those tiny things that can bring us so much joy rather than the usual photos of mountain views.. Nowadays most holidays tend to become selfie tours more than anything else, so your careful observations and detailed descriptions are so refreshing!
    It reminded me of Ruskin Bond’s writing. He spoke about the rhododendrons and deodars and birches like they were his family members.

    And you mentioned a very crucial point about the commercialisation of hill stations.. I recently heard that the Savoy hotel in mussoorie has become the Fortune hotel now.. It’s very sad didi.
    But thank you so much for the lovely review.

    • Thank you, Rahul! I’m glad you enjoyed the review (and I hope your medical entrance exams went off well – best of luck!)

      I am not a fan of selfies (except for the very very occasional one), so yes, my travelogues are always more about the places I see than anything else. In fact, I remember, some years ago, I wrote a series of travel articles for Lounge (the Saturday edition of Mint), and when I submitted my photos along with the essays, my editor gave me a little piece of advice: “Try and include people in the photo,” she said. I was so fond of just having buildings around! Now I try to do that – include people – but Ranikhet is so quiet and uncrowded that it’s often not easy to get anybody in the frame. :-)

      Mussoorie is probably the worst example of commercialisation in this part of the hills. I revisited it (after about 25 years, I think) a couple of years back, and it was one mess. Fortunately, further out, especially Landour, it’s still quite nice.

      • Thank you didi!
        And oh you used to write for Mint Lounge? I’m so fond of that newspaper I store ever edition whenever it comes on saturday.. Please do start writing for it it’ll be sooo nice.. If only its possible of course :p

  4. So wonderful to read that you’ve been to Ranikhet. We went there in Nov 2014. It was cool and green and dense with pine and fir trees . We stayed at the Chevron Rosemount hotel, a 200 year old building built by the British abut 7 kilometers inside a dense forest. It’s a beautiful pink and grey structure made of stone and wood with ever so many glass windows. A huge lush lawn there is surrounded by flowering shrubs & we saw & photographed so many colourful birds. It’s easily one of the loveliest hotels in the world ( one other being the Dead Sea Spa Hotel in Jordan ). The food was good & plentiful – Kumaoni Chicken & Daal makhani amongst other dishes. We were told not to wander out of the hotel premises as there were panthers about. However 2 residential dogs “Rani” & “Pichkoo” reassured us, as the panthers would’ve eaten them first ! However although Ranikhet is gorgeous (I’d love to retire and live there), there’s not much over there for young people. Thanks for the lovely review, it brought back memories…

    • That sounds wonderful! I did see signs for the Rosemount Hotel, but didn’t visit. Will keep that in mind, just in case we decide to stop over at Ranikhet at a later date on another of our long road trips.

      “However 2 residential dogs “Rani” & “Pichkoo” reassured us, as the panthers would’ve eaten them first !

      Ah. You have just given me an idea. Even the Windsor Lodge had a quartet of huge dogs who were kept in an enclosed yard during the day. We only heard them barking and getting furious at the monkeys (several of them around), but it may well be that they were also there to deter leopards…

      I was suggesting to my husband, too, that it would be so lovely to shift to Ranikhet. “We’d start missing all the amenities we’re used to,” he pointed out. And yes, the point is that having gotten used to staying in Delhi, there are things we take for granted (interesting ingredients available in grocery stores; good Internet connection; new Hollywood movies; exhibitions and cultural programmes, etc). Ranikhet is idyllic for a brief visit, but it would soon start to pall.

      • You nailed it ! It’s terrific for a brief visit, but in the long run …. perhaps not. Do google Chevron Rosemount, Ranikhet & see the pictures. We got an off-season discount but it was still as expensive as the hotel you stayed in.
        The song “Yaar chulbula hai” from “Dil deke dekho” was shot at the Ranikhet golf course.

        • Thank you for that tidbit about Yaar chulbula hai! I hadn’t known it. Someone on Facebook, when I posted my Ranikhet photos there, wanted to know if Dil Deke Dekho and Teesri Manzil were set there. Teesri Manzil, of course, is set in Mussoorie if I remember correctly – but I’d forgotten that any part of Dil Deke Dekho was actually filmed in Ranikhet. Somehow I remembered only stuff like Bade hain dil ke kaale, which was shot in Mahabaleshwar.

  5. I loved the detailed review of the place. I really felt I was there with you. Beautiful place. My memories of the place are that of an 8 or 9 year old. We went for summer vacation to both Nainital and Ranikhet. I have no idea where we stayed, perhaps in a lodge. We had a kitchen available to us and a pahari cook who cooked most of the meals. I was so excited to see the clouds so low almost touching the pine trees. It was my first experience of a hill station. Every morning after breakfast I would sit under a pine tree on a slightly slippery ground full of pine needles, armed with my children’s magazines and summer homework. I just loved it. We did go sight seeing quite a bit but I don’t remember much of the places we visited. So your review brought back a lot of childhood memories.

  6. I agree with Neeru. Just sitting around and taking in the view is blissful when you are in a pretty place. Years ago, I visited Shimla with my family. I used to sit in a chair by the window at the Grand Hotel and just stare at the hills around me.

    I have not been to any of the UP Hill stations. All I know of Ranikhet is that it was the location of a very entertaining 70s movie called Honeymoon. :)

    • I didn’t know about Honeymoon – I will look out for it! Thank you, Ava. :-)

      The Uttarakhand hill stations are, often, less controlled than the Himachal ones. I think, more often than not, because of Himachal’s strict rules on the use of plastic, and the overall more restricted commercialization, it’s remained more unspoilt. There are horrible exceptions, of course, like Kufri or Chail, but even Shimla is anyday prettier than Mussoorie… but, having said that, I’ll say that there are lots of absolutely lovely hill stations in Uttarakhand. Mukteshwar, for example, or Lansdowne, which reminded me a bit of Kasauli.

    • Glad you liked the review. It’s a nice little place, and I like the fact that it’s quiet and non-commercial, unlike so many other hillstations…

  7. Wonderful review as always and very refreshing indeed. I agree with Neeru and Ava that it felt very real. The pictures (loved the jacaranda tree especially) are also very impressive. Exactly what I love in a vacation, the quietness, the serenity, pristine surroundings… I wish I could actually do the reading.. Usually with kids growing you tend to forget that vacation is for relaxation and recharging your engine, and end-up spending hectic days chasing things that make them happy (not necessarily a bad thing) but may be every once in a while, a vacation such as this could be therapeutic..

    Chaubatia Gardens, expansive views, daisies and other flowers look spectacular…Great job capturing the flora and fauna..

    • Yes, Ashish, a quiet vacation can be really therapeutic! Fortunately, our daughter right now is too young to need a hectic vacation – though, to be honest, my husband and I do like hectic vacations too: our idea of fun is to walk around, seeing the sights, wandering through one museum after another, stopping here for coffee and there for gelato, that sort of thing… but with a very active toddler, that becomes pretty much impossible. She wants to be running around all the time!

      Thank you for the appreciation. :-) I’m glad you enjoyed the review.

  8. Oh there is lot of work, that is I have missed a lot on your blog, I will come back and go through your posts. As far as Ranikhet is concerned I must say it is beautiful, I haven’t visited it. You know something there is a bell temple in Bombay. I don’t think the temple has any permission, you know it is one those that come up on footpaths. This one started of as Hanumanji’s temple and slowly over a period of time we saw people tying bells and now the bells are everywhere. Bye for now. I will be back later, hopefully soon.

  9. Madhu,
    I have very nice memories of my visit to Ranikhet. Your excellent review refreshed my memories of all the places I had visited. It is much better than the touristy Nainital.

    I must say you have shown a great deal of equanimity in spite of stains on the curtains, floors, cobwebs; awful tomato & basil soup and cream of mushroom, and oversalted dal makhani. If you didn’t hit the ceiling and asked them for compensation, you are a very patient person. :)
    AK

    • Heh. Yes, I am very patient. Perhaps it’s a result of my having worked in the hospitality industry myself (though so has my husband, and he is nowhere as patient as I am). Partly perhaps in this case, because the rest of the experience compensated. The staff, for example, were very warm and friendly. And the garden, the view, the birds, the flowers — they made me feel so kindly disposed towards all that it was easy to forgive these shortcomings.

  10. your writing is so simple and sincere. The comments section is that extra filling which makes up for what is missing :the rasogolla for stirred appetites of adventure, travel and search .Do write about all kinds and things for there shall be many eager to keep reading. Always.

  11. Whiff of nostalgia reading this. Had visited Ranikhet in late 90s on a school trip. Consider myself fortunate to have discovered so much of Uttarakhand’s beauty before a lot of it was over burdened by tourists, deforestation, commercialization as my boarding school was in Dehradun.

    I had forgotten the names of the Park and the Bell temple, thank you so much DO, for the names. We had also gone to Jageshwar from here. The museum, where I saw an upside down flag for the first time, and was told the ones captured are displayed upside down, when asked about it.

    Remember eating lots of that baal mithai (was always in dessert at dinner buffet), but I cannot remember the name of the hotel where we stayed. We stayed at a government guest house (think it was a GMVN – Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam operated one) in Jageshwar.

    • “”Consider myself fortunate to have discovered so much of Uttarakhand’s beauty before a lot of it was over burdened by tourists, deforestation, commercialization

      Same here! Not because I studied in the hills, but because we travelled so much in the hills as children. My father was in the ITBP, and every few months (if it happened to coincide with our school vacations), we would go off with him on tours. Used to be a lot of fun, especially since we also visited a lot of places which even now aren’t on the tourist circuit – I remember walking through pine woods, feeding off golden raspberries from the bushes, in Mahidanda, for instance. Great memories.

      Okay, I hadn’t noticed that captured flags were displayed upside down. That’s interesting! And kinda appropriate, too. ;-)

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