Views of Nanda Devi and other Himalayan peaks from Berinag

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During the initial days of the Raj, Britishers were not allowed to buy land in Kumaon. In 1827, a Dr. Royale petitioned the British Government to allot a vast area of non-farming land in Kumaon to Europeans for tea gardening. In 1837 the British Parliament passed a bill allowing Europeans to keep private property in India and Lord Baton, the then commissioner of Kumaon ordered that hilltops with suitable climatic and soil conditions be given free of cost to Britishers for tea gardening as some people had found tea plants growing naturally in these areas. Thus started the tea gardens of Kumaon.

Among all the gardens of Kumaon, the Berinag and Chaukori tea gardens were the most famous for the quality and taste of their tea. A manager of the Berinag Tea Company found the secret to manufacturing Chinese Brick Tea. This tea was admitted, even by unprejudiced Bhotia traders, to be far superior to the Chinese article imported into Western Tibet via Lhasa. Berinag tea was very popular in Western Tibet. Unlike other kinds of tea, Berinag tea is low in color but due to its rich taste and aroma it was a highly sought-after tea in London tea houses.

In the 20th century the Berinag and the Chaukori tea estates were bought over by Thakur Dan Singh Bist, one of the largest and most influential timber contractors of India. Thakur Dan Singh Bist bought the Berinag tea estate from the famous hunter turned conservationist, Jim Corbet. Sadly, after the untimely death of Thakur Dan Singh Bist in 1964, both these tea gardens collapsed and were taken over by encroachers and settlers.

The Berinag tea estate became a town with a population of 25,000. The manager’s bungalow was taken over by the forest department and is now a dilapidated Forest Rest House (FRH).

I had the pleasure of staying overnight in this bungalow while on an assignment to shoot some of the Forest Rest House of Uttarakhand for a book about the FRH’s of Uttarakhand.

This bungalow, the present day Forest Rest House of Berinag, provides some of the best panoramic views of the Kumaon Himalayas. It also has the best view of the Nanda Devi Peak. The images below were taken from here.

 

 

 

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Sunset on Nanda Devi. As viewed from the Berinag Forest Rest House.

 

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Sunset on Mrigthuni and Trishul. As viewed from the Berinag Forest Rest House.

 

 

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The Alpenglow on Mrigthuni and Trishul. As viewed from the Berinag Forest Rest House.

 

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The alpenglow on Nanda Devi. As viewed from the Berinag Forest Rest House.

 

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Alpenglow on the Panchhuli range. As viewed from the Berinag Forest Rest House.

 

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Sunrise on Nanda Devi. As viewed from the Berinag Forest Rest House.

 

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A closeup of the sunrise on Nanda Devi. As viewed from the Berinag Forest Rest House.

 

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Sunrise on Nandakot. As viewed from the Berinag Forest Rest House.

 

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A morning view of Mrigthuni and Trishul. As viewed from the Berinag Forest Rest House.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9 Comments

  1. Ruchi July 3, 2015 at 1:06 am #

    Stunning! And I’m stunned now :-O …………(Ah! was taking a moment I’m actually not done yet ;-) ) wow! how mountain could be sooo beautiful! And how beautifully you captured them…Looking at them was literally a symphony..captivating….Gosh! They are extremely gorgeous!! Applause..Awesome clicks..:-) :-)

  2. Ravi Chauhan June 21, 2015 at 1:14 pm #

    Awesome snaps Somu! I know the effort it must have taken to get these stunning shots.

    What camera are you using?

    • Somendra June 21, 2015 at 7:04 pm #

      Hi Ravi!
      Great to hear from you. Its been a long time :)
      I am using a Canon 7d Mark II now a days, but this was taken with a Canon 7D.

  3. Ranjit Singh June 16, 2015 at 10:43 am #

    Somu, Lovely snaps. There are some picturesque FRH in J & K, trekking from Kishtwar to Leh one spent a night in one, Middle of no where. The register had an entry of a US Air Force sergeant who visited that place in 1936 when there was no connectivity. Wonder what he was doing there.

    Some good old ones near Chakrata near D’ Doon also.

    • Somendra June 18, 2015 at 9:45 am #

      Thank you Sir. Would love to see the FRH’s you are mentioning :)

  4. Sahdev Singh June 10, 2015 at 12:11 pm #

    Gorgeous pictures as usual Somu.
    Nice little history lesson on tea cultivation in Kumaon.
    And, a lovely word ‘alpenglow’, which I had never quite understood properly. So I looked it up and your photos do illustrate the difference between alpenglow and sunrise/sunset on Himalayan peaks.
    Yes, in the alpenglow photos, the sun appears to be below the horizon, and the light is reflected off the moisture in the clouds onto the peaks below.
    Cheers,
    Sahdev Singh

  5. Saee Deshpande June 8, 2015 at 5:59 am #

    Beautiful pictures with interesting information :)

  6. austere June 6, 2015 at 3:00 pm #

    Amazing photos…must have been a completely out of the world experience.

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