The Ganges was very beautiful and we were only 1 of 2 parties staying at the Neemrana Hotel. We were only to stick around for 1 night though, as the next day we were bound for Mussoorie, Nani's birthplace in the foothills of the Himalayas, via taxi.
Whilst staying at Rokeby Manor, our customer experience manager (or similar title) offered to show us to where he believed to be Strawberry Bank, which was the house in which Nani was born.
We took a car down the hill into Mussoorie proper and disembarked to try and find the exact location on foot. According to a local passerby, Strawberry Bank was an estate that had originally extended quite a way across the side of the hill down upon which we were looking. The most likely contender for the original house was the oldest building in the now densely populated area and was home to some 10 or so families, some of whom we encountered and spoke to once we got down there.
The main part of the building was in fact the original outer wall, but the surrounding landscape was completely unrecognisable. Where once there was one family - a grandfather, daughter in law and children (plus servants) - there was now countless residences and families all crammed onto the one bank. The kindness of those families though and their willingness to show us around their home was striking. One lady banged on her neighbour's door shouting for her to get up and let us in for a look inside, which was followed by the inevitable offer of chai, but we couldn't stay. We had stuff to do.
The surrounding forests and trails of our hotel Rokeby Manor, which was a gorgeous 5 star establishment that also housed a tea garden, 'corner shop' selling locally made accessories and beauty salon (£4 for a ladies haircut, £8 for a facial!), lent itself to walks and exploration. During one such walk, we were able to complete our mission to bring Nani (or at least part of her) 'home' to India, by sprinkling some of her ashes into a forested valley with a beautiful vista of snow capped Himalayas. Mum read 5 verses from the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam and we said goodbye.
The following day, we were to set off again for Dehra Dun airport. Our destination was Calcutta (via Delhi).