It is difficult to escape their charm. Every time I travel to Uttarakhand, the loveliness of the people I meet seem to only increase.

I recently wrote about the women who I met in Kilmora and Chirag and as a continuing part of my conversations with the people of Uttarakhand, I’d like you to meet two men I met last year in October.

Meet Dinesh Pandey

Dinesh standing in front of a typical Kumaoni home.
Dinesh standing in front of a typical Kumaoni home.

Dinesh is the manager of Van Serai in Jageshwar. He has been working here for about 1.5 years and enjoys his job. He moved here from Rishikesh. While working in Rishikesh, he was on the search of a job that would allow him to move to Jageshwar, since his home is about 10 kilometres away. And when this opportunity came along, he grabbed it.

One of the first things I noticed about Dinesh was his smile. Have you met anyone whose smile makes you reciprocate instantly? That’s him. I reached Van Serai on a cold, late October evening. As I negotiated the path to the main entrance, I saw Dinesh waiting to receive us. In the greyness of dusk, I saw a bright smile welcome me. At once, the visuals around me wore warmer hues.

As we interacted more through the evening, I was happy to meet someone who was young, enthusiastic and liked his job. Honestly, I have not come across many who feel similarly towards their work. He also seemed to radiate a positive energy and someone who wants to do well in life, while maintaining his cool demeanour. I particularly liked the way he addressed my impatient requests.

Meeting Dinesh made me realise that when we’re in love with life, it shows.

Read: People of Kumaon, Uttarakhand

Meet Manoj Pandey

Talking to Manoj on a bright day.
Talking to Manoj on a bright day.

An early morning departure from Kausani to Ramnagar, introduced me to Manoj Pandey. About 50 kilometres from our starting point, hunger evidently made its way to our expressions and conversations. We stopped at Dhanoli for a quick breakfast and some chai.

Manoj Pandey has been running his tea and breakfast restaurant for 2-3 years now. This was primarily started as an excuse to get together with friends and host them. It has now flourished into an established tea shop, surrounded by green cover of flowers and trees. Originally from Paner, he now stays only 5 minutes away from home. He starts his shop as early as 0630 hours and serves fresh food. He enjoys the relaxed work and has someone to help him in the kitchen. Walking around Manoj’s land, I admired the thick vegetation with a healthy cover of weeds, under the warm blue sky. We couldn’t have stopped at a better place for breakfast!

A smile for everyone.
A smile for everyone.

Read: Photo story: Meeting the Nomadic Van Gujjars in Uttarakhand

Who are the people you meet?

Note: This visit to Uttarakhand was made possible by Uttarakhand Tourism Development Board and Lonely Planet Magazine India. Of course, my love for the state is evident.

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Amrita Das

I have been a travel and culture independent journalist. My bylines have appeared in many publications worldwide including National Geographic Traveller India, Lonely Planet Magazine India, The Indian Express and World Travel Magazine. A fellow of Media Ambassadors India-Germany 2019 program by Robert Bosch Stiftung and Centre for Media Competence, University of Tübingen. Currently, I am the photo editor for RoundGlass Sustain, a wildlife and conservation e-publication. I live in India.

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9 thoughts on “People of Kumaon, Uttarakhand (Part 2)”

    1. Yes please, I look forward to your post from Kashmir. And I feel most of the stories worth sharing are about the people of the land.

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