Trip to Mukteshwar: TERI Himalaya Centre – Rejuvenate Yourself

Mukteshwar Mountains

Hills have always enticed me. Their beauty and majesty has pulled the strings of my guitar. That ancient song “The hills are alive…” comes to mind. Indeed, they are alive! A chance to visit TERI’s ‘heaven in the hills’ Himalaya Retreat Center in Mukteshwar, came after a rigorous nine-month office schedule on the hallowed fourth floor.

Set amid the green, the Himalaya Retreat Centre is a perfect image of what TERI stands for-innovative sustainable solutions for the future. There can’t a better place
to de-stress and rejuvenate. I was looking forward to this trip for a long time and finally the day came. Together with a very dear Czech friend, I planned the trip to Mukteshwar.

We took the Ranikhet Express from Old Delhi Railway station which reached Kathgodam around 1.00 pm. The train, which usually reaches early morning, was eight hours late– protestors had blocked the track around Moradabad but of course, that didn’t dampen our enthusiasm. We followed the map while driving through the beautiful greens of Mukteshwar. The drive was very refreshing and the moments were memorable. Hanging out amongst the tall trees laden with green leaves and fruits is unthinkable in the a city. As we drove ahead, my eyes wished to capture the scenic beauty for I feared I would not be able to witness such splendor ever again. It was all so rare and unique!

By the time the taxi pulled up at the retreat centre, we realized we had been traveling for almost 15 hours. The awesome ambience—the calm of the misty mountains–took away our fatigue in the blink of an eye. It was as if we were home. The staff at the retreat led us to our respective rooms where we were ushered through long corridors with momentary views of the green patches beckoning us outside. It was very tempting to look at them and we wanted to freshen up and rush out. We planned to get ready and meet at the dining hall in an hour.

We grabbed a bite or two, hurrying so that we could utilize the precious moments before dusk set in. I think life is beautiful in the evenings—the setting sun spread its colours across the sky and touched the trees with its magic wand. In between the leaves, we could catch the rays playing hide and seek. The air was cooler and it made our exploration all the more comfortable. The fresh mountain air relaxed us. I found myself shooting the scenes on my camera, as many as I could. And here I am flipping through the pictures, reliving those cherished moments as I write this blog. 

View from TERI Mukteshwar Cottage
The reason I was always excited about TERI was the close link with nature, but I still had to see it for myself to believe. And yes! I found that TERI practices what it preaches –solutions in environment, energy, agriculture, biotechnology, climate change and enhancing forest conservation among local communities! There were many new techniques we learnt on the trip.

I somehow caught a little rest before I could venture into the deep greens within the TERI campus – they were welcoming me to nature’s abode. In the evening We went to a famous tea stall called Madhuban which is around 2 kilometers from TERI mukteshwar and enjoyed splendid sunset with Herbal Tea and Pakodas.
Sunset at Madhuban ( Mukteshwar)

Later during the trip, we wandered aimlessly staring across the file of trees and within no time we realized it was time for us to leave – pack – bags – oh, all of this sounded unreal now –back to the metro life – back to the hustle bustle of the city.

Overall, it was a very informative and GREEN trip but most of all, I would like to relate a beautiful compliment which TERI’s natural abode brought me. This trip was the result of the promise I had made to take my friend to scenic and calm places in India. TERI’s Himalayan Centre seemed the right place to start with! She said “You brought me to paradise. This is so beautiful and peaceful. These guys serve such amazing food! You indeed work for a very good company!” This made me realize how important it is to be belonging to someone – a country like India, a place like Mukteshwar and work for an organization like TERI! I felt really proud especially since it came from a person of a different nationality.

I would just say – thank you India and thank you TERI for preserving the Mother Nature in such a memorable way!

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