A Fruit Holiday in Ramgarh, Uttarakhand

It was the epic summer of 2015 and I had come to Haldwani for the third time, trying to return to Jaipur. I had slow travelled to almost all parts of Kumaon over the last two months and predictably the heat of Haldwani had resulted in me turning back to cooler climes the first two times. This time I came from Bhimtal and was walking inside the bus stand.

Check : Aimless Wanderings in Almora

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Swooning in delight with the views and ripe peaches!

I finally pen down this story for my blog after having unsuccessfully pitched it to many travel magazines and websites who are looking for interesting ideas!

A plethora of carts sold some of the biggest peaches I’d ever seen. I instantly asked one vendor where the peaches came from? He replied Ramgarh. My non-existent plans changed right there and next moment I found myself in a bus. In my hurry I had gotten into a Rampur (Uttar Pradesh, of the Rampuri knife fame!) bound bus instead of Ramgarh. The matter was resolved quickly and within a few minutes I was swinging on a stool in the small mini-bus heading to Ramgarh.

Read : Autumn Colours in the Himalayas

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A road snakes through lush greenery while I walk from Malla Ramgarh to Talla Ramgarh.

I didn’t know how to respond when the conductor asked ‘Talla Ramgarh’ or ‘Malla Ramgarh’. He then tells me Talla is the lower part and Malla is the upper part of Ramgarh. I ask to be dropped at Malla Ramgarh, hoping that the bus will reach by 5 pm and I’ll have ample tough to figure out a stay option. The Ramgarh-Mukteshwar is known to be a tourist favourite and given Kumaon’s limited infrastructure for backpackers, I was hoping to find a reasonable way to stay.

Read : Finding Paradise in Uttarakhand

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Mmmmm, the dark red ones are the juiciest! I missed the yellow variety of plums though, in Ramgarh.

There’s a shabby room in the basement of a eatery, I don’t like it and keep walking on the road. The locals have told me that KMVN Ramgarh is right on the next bend on the road. As luck would have it, they have a neat and clean 8 bed dormitory. Evening brings a steady cool breeze, my mind is at peace. The staff helps me with a custom designed thali for dinner even though it does not exist on the menu.

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A lot of Delhi wallah’s have brought properties in and around Ramgarh that serve as their summer home away from the heat of Delhi.

Next morning I go for a walk trying to find orchards; a chance encounter with the owner of a hotel nearby results in an invitation to their breakfast table. Coincidentally, his name is Shubham too and that is an ice-breaker among us. Most hotel owners and locals own fruit orchards in Ramgarh and I am sent close to Talla Ramgarh with a helper.

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Clicking pretty architecture on slow walks.

Plump peaches hang on the branches, this feels like a dream. I gobble a handful and ask where are my favourite apricots? We walk a little and end up at an apricot orchard now. The best part of the cloudy afternoon is spent feasting on these yellow beauties. I’m warned time and again that my stomach might get upset with the mindless binging. In the village I learn that Ramgarh is the supplier of all these fruits across India; even as far as Bombay!

Check : Rustic Luxury in the Himalayas

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These are the guys who helped me with the experience; one of the biggest suppliers of fruits in Ramgarh ‘the fruit bowl of Kumaon.’

Fruits are packed in wooden boxes and are transported in medium sized vehicles. Peaches, plums, pears, apricots and cherries orchards abound for acres together in Ramgarh and are fully ripe by around end of May to mid June. When the villagers ask me if I want fruits to eat in the evening, I greedily say yes.

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Although its a difficult choice to decide among all tasty fruits, apricots are my favourite for their unparalleled sweetness.

Predictably, the excess eating of apricots doesn’t agree with my stomach and I wail in pain next morning. Yet, the lure of the sweet and juicy apricots is so much, that end up at Shubham’s place in time for breakfast next morning and dive into more apricots. In another life, I was in Turtuk in the cold cold winter of Ladakh and savoured the famous dried apricots for much needed warmth.

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I’m salivating at the sight of these perfect red peaches. Wonder if there is any goodness in the fruits that we eat in the city.

What started as a fantasy ends up being an obsession.

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The strip for painting the wooden boxes before transporting the fruits to all parts of India.

The funny thing is that among other visits to the usual sights in Ramgarh and nearby towns and temples, I kept up with my newfound love for fresh fruits from the trees and nearly ended up spending the rest of my life in Ramgarh. Sanity prevailed after 5-6 days, my stomach was in even more horrible shape and I decided it was time to let go of the apricots.

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I remember this was the first peach when I arrived at the orchard. No chance of clicking it in the hand after this. They all went straight into my tummy!

I distributed them among KMVN’s staff who promptly gave it to the kids of the guests who were visiting!

Also read : The Shimla of Old : Life at Chapslee

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A glimpse of my daily haul after coming back to KMVN’s dormitory.

Practical Facts :

Ramgarh is at a distance of around 325 kms from Delhi. There is no greater pleasure than to just pick fruits from the branches and devour them for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Resorts and other staying options in Ramgarh offer these experiences to tourists in the right season. 
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Pretty British architecture scattered on the hilltops of Ramgarh. There are many classy options to stay here.
 
Ramgarh is a British established town of two parts – Talla Ramgarh & Malla Ramgarh with lovely architecture. Closeby are the ruins of the place where Rabindranath Tagore wrote his epic ‘Gitanjali’ – it is locally known as Tagore Top. Among other interesting places are a few ashrams. There is also a forest estate very close to Ramgarh, Maheshkhan which can make for a fantastic holiday at the Forest Rest House.
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What are you waiting for? Board a Kathgodam bound train and pick this off the tree. Thank me later!

Spectacular views of the great Himalayan peaks of Nanda Devi and Trishul welcome the visitor to Ramgarh. The jungles around Ramgarh are of great interest for bird watching enthusiasts. 

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30 Comments Add yours

  1. Rajiv says:

    I like Ramgarh

    1. Thanks for checking, Rajiv. Would love the read about your experience too. 🙂

      1. Rajiv says:

        Oh… Just drove through. Maybe, will drive back up to Sitauli this year

  2. arv! says:

    Don’t tempt us with such pictures Shubham. That’s really cruel.😋

    1. Hahhaa, next year onwards I think it makes sense to go there and enjoy these delights straight from the trees. 😀

      1. arv! says:

        Definitely. I hope it’s possible for me to travel to the source 😆

  3. wowwww…i want to eat all of these 🙂 🙂

    1. Hehe, did you end up going to Ramgarh? 😉

  4. travelerinme says:

    The peaches look so beautiful and delicious……. And being able to eat them freshly plucked 👌……

    1. Yummm… I so want to eat them now! Thanks for checking. 🙂

  5. That photo of those ripe red peaches! Sigh! I wish i could go there right now. Lovely post!

    1. Yay, thanks Chaitali. Glad you liked it.
      Hehe, I think next year onwards I’m going to go there and enjoy all the fruits for 4-5 days during June.

  6. mayuri patel says:

    ITS JUST WOOW AND i ALSO LOVE FARMFRESH FRUIT PLUCKING
    LAST YEAR I DID IT IN KASHMIR, FRESH APPLES AND CHERRIES
    APRICOTS AND MUCH MORE

    I heard apricoats and apple harvesting season start in Aug-sep instead of june..which season is best to go let me know

    1. Hehe, glad to know you liked it Mayuri. Wow, experiencing that in Kashmir sounds crazy amazing. Apricot ripen in June itself… and apples are indeed ready around August-September.

      1. Mayuri Patel says:

        but let me know in which season will get peaches just you get?? 🙂

      2. June is a good time for picking peaches straight from the trees in Ramgarh – Mukteshwar.

  7. Why am I surprised such a beautiful story didn’t find resonance with editors?

    1. Well, I can’t comment on what they are looking for… glad I published it here instead 😀

  8. Rahul says:

    Great pictures!

    1. Thanks Rahul 🙂

  9. Paramjit Singh says:

    Amazing Story Seems Like Fairy Wanna Live Here In Some Orchards Please Recommend Some

    1. Thanks Paramjit 🙂

  10. Take them pills, but eat those apricots, I say 🙂
    We loved the fresh apricots. Definitely a strobg favourite especially since they don’t make it all the way down to Mumbai.

    1. Yheheheh …. I know… exactly why everyone must go to the orchards… the best apricots will never make it anywhere because of the short shelf life!

  11. Neeru Singh says:

    I loved eating Peaches in Bhimtal, Apricots in Leh (they make the most delicious homemade apricot jam) and Cherries anywhere in Kashmir. I love these fruits. And such beautiful pictures, Shubham. 🙂

    1. Thanks Neeru for the appreciation 🙂 Homemade jams and wines from different regions in the Himalayas are another reason I return to the mountains!

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