For quite some time I was thinking of visiting Sat Tal. The opportunity came through an unexpected quarters. The NRI gentleman for whom I work in Delhi, wanted to visit Nainital or other good places near Nainital. The Sat Tal came into focus when his dental doctor told us about a resort, Sat Tal Forest Resort, his wife was managing. We were also given a brochure of that Resort. The pictures and the infrastructure in place made a good appeal to us.
We were also joined by another person from Jullandhar. So we were 3 people from Delhi and from Bareilly 3 more to join us (including Dr. Naseem from BHU) for the Sat Tal Trip. So we needed a strong and big car and an Innova suited our purpose. On 16th June after lunch we left Delhi for Bareilly. We had some work at Bareilly.
Next day on 17th June, 2007 we left for Sat Tal. This big car being very comfortable with Air Conditioning, we could discuss a lot of business By the time we hit the mountain path the breeze became cold and we stopped the air conditioning in the car and opened the windows. The breeze was so soothing that very soon everyone felt relaxed. After about an hour driving we crossed Bhimtal from there we took a left turn towards Bhowali. After about 3 km there is another left turn going down towards Sat Tal. On approaching Sat Tal, the first lake to welcome us is Nal Damyanti followed by the Panna lake and a little ahead are the three lakes by the names of Ram, Laxman and Sita. The best time to be here is either in the month of March or April.
Once having reached the guest house what drew my immediate attention was the wide grassy lawn. It was about 6.30 p.m. when we reached there. I took out the telescope immediately and placed it on the lawn. There the crescent moon was faintly out and I focused on it. In the meantime, tea/coffee was served and rooms were allotted to us. This Resort is located at a height of 1500 meter and the Sat Tal lake is down below at 1370 meter height.
In the month of June when we visited this place it was no less beautiful. The new leaves were just coming out in Oak trees and the weather was perfect - not very cold nor warm but pleasant throughout the day and nights became little enjoyably cold. The most fabulous site was the night sky. It was so clear on both nights that millions of starts could be seen even through naked eyes.
In the evening around 7.30 we all sat in the drawing room and over a few cups of tea and some fried stuff we had discussion on many subjects.
As soon as we came out from the room into open air, the beauty of the crescent moon and the planet Venus in the sky worked like a magic spell. Our telescope added a new dimension to our sky viewing. We freely walked around the Resort in the moonlit night enjoying the nature’s beauty. I also played a few round of table tennis game with the young man from Jallundhar. By 9.30 we went for dinner. We were served freshly cooked vegetables, daal, chapatti, sweet preparation, pickles and fruits.
I got myself busy in setting up of the Telescope and one by one all came and peeped through the telescope. I continued watching the sky till late evening 11.15 and then went to bed.
Next morning i.e., 18th June we all had tea together. We discussed about the place where this Resort is located. Let me describe a little about this place. From the Sat Tal lake level, it would be 150 meter higher overlooking the lake. All around you can see greenery. There were few other guest houses were there at an upper level and some are being built. This resort is also expanding by building a few more cottages. The best part of this location is it is extremely quiet, weather remains pleasant throughout the year (except in winter it gets really cold). It also offers a panoramic view of the mountains around. The accommodation is of cottage type and bathrooms are well fitted with all necessary articles. Its cleanliness is superb and you have hot water supply all the time. If you are a writer, meditator or a voracious reader this place is ideal for you.
At 4.00 p.m. we had tea and myself, Ravindra ji, Rama ji, Dr. Naseem we slowly trekked down. Mr. Tandon also slowly followed. It was a steep down. Mr. Tandon went back to the Resort as he did not want to take any risk. We continued walking. I almost ran down to the lake side. There were many tourists who were enjoying boat rides. After some time Dr. Naseem, Ravindra ji and Ramaji also reached and we took a walk along the lake and started ascending. It was so steep that we had to rest after every few yards of walking. Any way we reached our Resort by 6.30 p.m. and we had hot coffee to ward off our fatigue. The sun was going down bringing down the curtain for another day. Of course the night sky was opening up with its millions of stars. One closes the other one opens, this is the wonderful phenomena of the nature.
I put up the Telescope once again. Today’s moon was brighter than yesterday. We could see the mountains and the dark portion of the moon through the telescope and everyone enjoyed it. Mr. Tandon and Dr. Naseem again sat for discussion and I was exempted from it. Johny played for some time with Dartboard. Around 8 O’clock an interesting phenomena was about to take place. That was the Venus was slowly going behind the moon. As it was not a full moon, but a little more than Crescent, it had a large dark area. As slowly the Venus went behind it became invisible. For people with naked eye found that the Venus has vanished suddenly without any apparent cause. But we saw through telescope how it went behind the dark area of the moon. I called all the people to watch it and they all enjoyed this rare event in the sky.
We had our dinner at 9.30 p.m. and we only discussed about next day’s program. We liked the place so much that we wanted to stay for one more day. But as things were already programmed we had to reluctantly leave the beautiful place next day.
On 19th morning after tea I went out alone into the jungle to look for the birds that I knew are in plenty in Sat Tal area. I could spot Blue Magpie, Parakeet, Bulbul and Woodpecker. I myself enjoy being alone in the hills watching the nature. Around 11 O’clock we had our brunch and our luggage was kept in the car and we settled all the dues and took a few snaps with the resort staff. Saying good bye to the staff and the beautiful place we started our return journey.
How to reach Sat tal: A good option is overnight journey from Delhi by Ranikhet express (5013 up/5014 down). Departure from Old Delhi 10.45 hrs, arrival at Kathgodam 6.15 hrs. Taxi service is available from the railway station (35 km, 1.30 hrs by road). Sat Tal Forest Resort website www.sattalforestresort.com