In the heart of Uttarakhand, lies several mystic places that have opened the doors for the wanderers to come and explore its virgin beauty. If you an avid traveller searching for the hidden places snuggled in the lap of Himalayas, then do plan a weekend getaway to one of these places and explore what lies in the core of the Himalayas.
Snuggled in the captivating vistas of Chamoli district, Gwaldam is a hidden jewel located at an elevation of 1,700 metres above sea level. With vast stretches of green pastures, this minion hill station boasts its very own tea gardens and serene natural trails. A short 3 km track will take you to Talwari where you can spot playful Himalayan birds, blossoming flowers and endless springs.
This clandestine hill station of Pithoragarh district is an ideal holiday destination for those who are in search of peace and tranquillity. The glorious hill town of Chaukori is perched at an elevation of 2,010 metres and is known for its aromatic tea gardens. From this heavenly place, one can gaze in wonder at the benevolent Chaukhamba, Nanda Devi, Panchauli or Nanda Kot peaks and feel the bliss of being cradled in the Himalayas. Some of the most visited places in Chaukori include the Arjuneshawar Shiva Temple, Kalinag, Bashukinag, Feninag, Pinglenag, Ghunsera Devi Temple and Kapileshwar Mahadev Temple.
Route: Delhi – Rudrapur – Haldwani – Kathgodham – Bhowali – Almora – Chaukori
Known for its fruit orchards that are laden with ripe juicy Himalayan fruits, Sitlakhet in Almora district is a picturesque hill town whose exotic surroundings tempts the alpinists to have a rendezvous with the Himalayas. The revered Syahi Devi Temple located at a favourable distance of 3 km from Almora can be approached easily from Sitlakhet.
Route: Delhi – Rudrapur – Haldwani – Kathgodham – Bhowali – Almora – Sitlakhet
The hush abode of Munsiyari cuddled in Pithoragarh district of Uttarakhand is seated at an elevation of 2,298 metres above sea level. The enchanting hill station exhibits towering mountains that offer heart throbbing mountain climbing and trekking opportunities. At Munsiyari, one can spot varied animal species such as the rare Himalayan griffon, Himalayan bear, wagtail, raven, falcon, monal and much more.
Blessed with utmost scenic beauty Abbott Mount in Pithoragarh district is a must visit place for the wandering souls. The region is enveloped in the ambrosial deciduous forests and offers splendid views of the Himalayas which makes it one of the best places for birding and photography.
Route: Delhi – Rudrapur – Khatima – Tanakpur – Lohaghat – Abbott Mount
The picturesque hamlet of Peora nestled in Nainital district proudly sits at an impressive altitude of 6,600 feet around 1,997 metres above sea level. This distinguished town is located about 10 km from Mukteshwar and can be easily accessed by a taxi from Kathgodam. Blessed with the cherubic landscape the beauteous village of Peora offers uninterrupted views of the Himalayas wrapped up in the silvery snow. Recommendation: The only two retreats found at Peora are the stately Hotel Sequester and the outlandish Dark Bungalow, so before heading to Peora don’t forget to make the reservations as early as possible.
Route: Delhi – Moradabad – Kashipur – Ramnagar- Kaladhungi – Nainital – Bhowali – Khairna – Peora
The magical village of Khirsu situated at an elevation of 1,700 metres enjoys its sleep in the undisturbed environs of Pauri Garhwal district. Khirus experiences snowfall during winters which make it an ideal winter destination for the avid travellers. One can relish the awe-inspiring views of the central Himalayas, rapture in the delightful ambiance of the old trees and absorb the sweet scent of the ripe apples that appear like precious rubies. Some of the best sightseeing options include the Ghandiyal Devta temple, Deval Garh, Dhari Devi and Ulka Garhi.
Showcasing the less trodden landscape of Tehri Garhwal district, Kanatal located at Mussoorie-Chamba road has taken a chair at 8,500 feet above sea level. Kanatal can be easily accessed as it is well connected with motorable roads. At Kanatal, the leisure-seeking tourists can enjoy the recreational activities such as having nature walks through the pleasing orchards, seeking blessings from the sacred temples and meditating in the divine aura of the sun-kissed Himalayan terrains.
Perched at an elevation of 1,600 metres the emerald green lake of Khurpatal is located about 11 km from the “City of Lakes” Nainital. This bewitching lake is dotted by the dense pine and old cedar trees. One can easily spot a wide variety of colourful fishes that thrive in the fresh water of Khurpatal.
Route: Delhi – Kathgodam – Nainital – Khurpatal
The sequestered hill station of Lohaghat adorned in the Champawat district serves as a base camp to several treks of Uttarakhand. Lohaghat situated at 1,745 metres above sea level is known for its salubrious weather and unruffled environs. Being nestled alongside the Lohawati River, the hill station offers a relief from the moribund city life. The must visit tourist spots in the vicinity of Lohaghat include the Abbott Mount, Shyamal Tal, Gurudwara Sahib, Forti Village, Vanasur Fort, and Galchaura.
Route: Delhi – Rudrapur – Khatima – Tanakpur – Lohaghat
The sleepy town of Bhowali perched at 1,706 metres above sea level is cuddled in the romance filled aura of Nainital that features several glittering lakes. Bhowali located about 11 km from Nainital is bestowed with nature’s bounty. It exports juicy strawberries, ripe apples, peaches, plums and apricots so don’t forget to bring some for your loved ones. You can also buy the famous regional delicacy of Uttarakhand, the Baal Mithai and lip smacking pickles from Bhowali’s popular ‘Food Bazaar’.
This Lilliputian village is idyllically situated in the Pithoragarh district of Uttarakhand. The divine Gangolihaat is known for its Shakti Pithas of Hat Kalika also known as Goddess Kali. One can indulge in the sacredness of the holy shrines like KalikaTemple, Chamunda Temple, VaishnaviTemple, and Ambika Dewaal. The chaste Vaishnavi Temple atop the Shail Parvat offers a 360-degree view of the Himalayas. One can also taste the adventure by exploring the underground caves namely Shaileshwar Gufa, Patal Bhuvaneshwar and Pataleshwar Gufa which is one hell of an experience!
Route: Route 1 -> Delhi – Haldwani – Gangolihat Route 2 -> Delhi – Tanakpur – Gangolihat
Famously known as the ‘Gateway to Naini Lake’, Jeolikot seated at 1,219 metres is located about 17 km before Nainital on NH 87. The rich flora-fauna, calm and composed environment of Jeolikot makes it a perfect backdrop for the writers, poets, and mystics. The renowned philosophers like Swami Vivekananda and Sri Aurobindo have meditated in the placid aura of Jeolikot. This small village knows how to monetize natural resources as bee-keeping centre and occupation like floriculture and horticulture flourish here. Jeolikot is a delight for the backpackers as some of the popular tourist destinations such as Mukteshwar, Naini Lake, Corbett National Park and Ramgarh are located in its vicinity.
Route: Delhi – Kathgodam – Nanital – Jeolikot
This lesser known place is an abode of Manila Devi located about 85 km from Ranikhet in Almora district of Uttarakhand. Manila resides at an elevation of 1,820 metres and welcomes snowfall during winters. Visiting this place is a boon for the nature worshippers as they can savour the undisturbed views of the three majestic peaks the Trishul, Panchachuli and Nanda Devi.
Route: Delhi – Kashipur – Nainital – Bhowali – Almora – Manila
‘Nature’s bounty’ Didihat enclosed within a deep ridge is located about 64 km away from Dharchula. The ethereal Himalayan beauty allures the adventure enthusiasts to explore what’s hidden inside the treasure trove of Didihat. From here one can admire a panoramic view of the Panchachuli Peak and traverse in Askot which is believed to be the ancient kingdom of Katyuri Dynasty. For those in search for quietude and spiritual bliss can head to the Malika Arjun Temple and the Ashram of Swami Narayan.
Route: Delhi – Tanakpur – Didihat
Cradled in the wooded vicinity with undisturbed tranquil ambiance, Ghangaria is a toy town of Chamoli district, having an altitude of 3,050 metres. It is located at the confluence of Pushpawati and Hemganga River which when meets, become the Lakshman Ganga River. The Ghangaria village is the last human settlement that can be seen via Hemkund Sahib and Valley of Flowers and can be reached after an easy gradient of 13 km from Govind Ghat.
Route: Delhi – Rishikesh – Devprayag – Srinagar – Rudraprayag – Chamoli – Joshimath – Govindghat -Trek- Ghangaria
Enclosed in the smouldering natural beauty of Uttarakhand, Nagthat is one such place that has graciously embraced all the elements of nature, as one see the rumbling creeks, the thick deodar forests and the snowy peaks that will make your trip nostalgic. Located about 78 km from Dehradun, the weather remains pleasant at Nagthat thereby making it accessible throughout the year.
Route: Delhi – Dehradun – (by bus)- Nagthat
Ramgarh also referred to as the ‘Fruit Bowl of Kumoan’ is a spectacular hill station of Uttarakhand perched at a mid-altitude of 1,729 metres in Nainital district. This placid hill station features verdant fruit orchards that are famous for producing great varieties of apples, apricots, peaches, and pears. The bewitching beauty of Ramgarh has even allured the great poet, Rabindra Nath Tagore to compose few verses of his masterpiece Gitanjali here.
Route: Delhi – Kathgodam – Nanital – Ramgarh