Jilling Estate near Padampuri, India

December 8, 2002

Weather: high of about 75ºF and clear

Thanks to the recommendation of a new friend in New Delhi, we book a few days at a place in the Himalayan foothills called Jilling's.  We take an overnight train north from Delhi to Kathgodam and then a taxi for the remaining miles to Jilling Estate. When we arrive, we find that the train we were on hit an elephant on the tracks just three days prior.  We see plenty of monkeys on the taxi ride from the train station to Jilling's.  (By the way, the Jilling web site has a better set of photos of the grounds and wildlife.)

We hike up from the road 2 km to the main buildings.  There we have tea before heading up the hill to the highest cabin.  The altitude and our sedentary lifestyle conspire to make us pause and wheeze many times on the way up to our cabin.
Here our guide, Daya, is taking us on a walk on the ridge above our cabin. We see evidence of barking deer, leopard, wild boar, and we spot magpies, laughing thrushes, and green parrots. Later we see a large buck Sambar (a deer), a pine marten (like a mink), and a lot more sign of leopard.
Here Julie is trekking on the ridge.
The view of the Himalayas. The skies are beautifully clear for most of our time here. The view at dawn and dusk are the most moving.
We hike to a temple and see a newlywed couple perform a simple ceremony of bell ringing, and incense burning.
We also hike to a nearby village and have a meal at Daya's family's house. The terracing looks similar to what we saw in the Vietnamese hills, but drier. I'm reading The Fellowship of the Ring now and the paths and hedges look very Shire-like.
Our other guide, Ramesh, leads us through the many paths. The well-maintained ones are paved with stones and wide enough for two cows to walk abreast.
Daya leads us back up to our cabin after dark.
Our lovely hosts, Steve and Parvati, and the staff line up with the Himalyas behind them.

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