15 Offbeat Places in Uttarakhand
Bestowed with a celestial natural beauty of mighty Himalayas, roaring rivers, pristine waterfalls and plush meadows, no wonder, gods (as it is believed) once chose Uttarakhand as their divine abode and came to rest here till eternity in its numerous sacred shrines. Needless to say, the holy ‘Char Dhams’ of Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri are the glittering jewels of this ‘Dev Bhoomi’ or the ‘Land of Gods’ and call for umpteen number of pilgrims seeking a spiritual bliss every year. Besides a pious pilgrimage destination, the ethereal natural splendour of this gorgeously beautiful northern state of India, truly makes it a top spot when it comes to planning for a peaceful holiday trip, an adventurous trekking excursion, an insightful cultural odyssey or an enthralling wildlife expedition. Not to mention explicitly, countless hill towns and villages nestle in the lap of this beautiful state that are sure to give every tourist a well-deserved break from their monotonous schedules. And if you are amongst those to whom a holiday means a total seclusion from the outside world where it’s only you and the nature, Uttarakhand has many offbeat and unconventional tourist places too where you can spend soul-soothing vacations, rejuvenating and revitalising your souls. So, here goes the list of top 15 offbeat destinations in Uttarakhand.
Kartik Swami Temple – pristine abode of Lord Kartikeya in Garhwal Himalayas
Nestled in the lap of serene and beautiful Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand, ‘Kartik Swami Temple’ is dedicated to Lord Kartikeya, the eldest son of Hindu God Shiva and his consort Goddess Parvati. Hidden amidst the snow-clad peaks of the Garhwal Himalayas and perched atop a narrow ridge at an altitude of 3050 metres above sea level, the 200 years old temple is by far one of the most offbeat places to travel in the region, primarily attracting pilgrims from far and wide. In recent years, the ancient shrine has also gained quite a popularity amongst avid trekkers and adventure freaks owing to the astounding beauty and soul-soothing nature of the trek, which commences from the quaint village of Kanakchauri, located just 3 km. before the main shrine. Needless to say, the path leading to the temple is a little tricky one with vertical ascents and sharp climbs over stone-paved stairways carved amidst thick jungles abundant in gorgeous Himalayan wildlife and filled with soothing music of chirping birds. Listening to these sweet jungle songs and taking in their soulful magic, as you navigate your way to the temple, do stop by in between to admire the rustic beauty of the mountains dotted with numerous picturesque alpine villages that certainly add that hint of inexplicable charm to the overall celestial scenery of the place.
Once you reach the temple top, find yourselves to be greeted by the reverberations of the temple bells and chanting of mantras, surely lending the place with an aura so divine and peaceful. And before you make your way to pay the reverence in the main shrine, sit and relax outside for some time while gazing at the distant peaks of Kedarnath, Trishul, Nanda Devi, Bandarpunch, Meru-Sumeru and Chaukhamba, the views of which are sure to beguile your hearts, especially during sunset when the descending rays veil the snowy summits in their crimson-golden hues, once again strengthening your belief in the ultimate supreme power and his truly magical offerings to the mankind.
Lohaghat – a peaceful Himalayan retreat to rejuvenate your senses
One of the most beautiful yet unexplored hill stations in Uttarakhand, Lohaghat is truly a must visit destination for people seeking a kind of an offbeat vacation somewhere in the lap of Himalayas. Needless to say, the quaint hill town is blessed with pristine natural bounteousness peppered with sky-touching pines and oaks, the beautiful Lohawati River and above all, the snow-crowned peaks that accentuate the overall hill scenery. Further, its untouched and peaceful ambience combined with a salubrious climate all through the year, lure numerous distressed souls looking for a quiet escapade away from the hustle bustle of today’s fast paced city lives. With nothing much to do and sightseeing activities to indulge into in this sleepy town, one can easily spend here a relaxing time, going out for leisurely strolls amidst thick woods, watching the birds play hide and seek, trying hands at fishing or just reconnecting himself with his inner soul.
For a more enchanting experience, one can definitely plan a visit to ‘Abbott Mount’, yet another peaceful Himalayan retreat in the vicinity of Lohaghat, offering immense tranquillity and solitude to fatigued city dwellers. Located just 8 km. from the main city centre, the place is famed for treating visitors with unmatched and awe-inspiring scenic vistas of surrounding Himalayan peaks. One can also plan to spend a cosy night in one of its secluded cottages, experiencing the real magic and wilderness of remote Himalayan hideouts.
If you are in Lohaghat and seek for a spiritual bliss, there can be no better choice than heading to the famous ‘Pancheshwar Mahadev Temple’ that lies at a distance of around 37 km. from the heart of the main city. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the temple fringed with verdant greenery and perennial water streams, is one of the most revered shrines in the region and bestows every visitor with a deep sense of divinity and spirituality. While here, take a dip in the holy waters of the confluence of Saryu and Maha Kaali Rivers where this consecrated temple sits or offer milk and bells to the presiding deity; and you are sure to be blessed by the supreme almighty for a peaceful and blissful life ahead.
Mana Village – where great epic of Mahabharata was composed and written
Located in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand, Mana Village is often referred to as the last inhabited village of India, situated just a distance of 24 km. from the Indo-Chinese border. The village also lies in close proximity to one of the most revered Char Dham Hindu Pilgrimage Sites, the holy Badrinath Temple and villagers here are needless to say, deeply associated with all cultural and spiritual activities carried out in the sacred shrine.
What further adds to the mythological charm of this little hamlet is its age-old history linked with the legends of the great Hindu epic, Mahabharata; traces of this holy classic can be observed scattered along the village’s length and breadth even till date. The famous ‘Vyas Guha’, a cave dating back to more than 5000 years, located just outside the village is the prime tourist attraction and a sacred site where legendary sage Vyas is believed to have composed the Mahabharata with the help of Lord Ganesha. An intriguing feature of this cave is its roof that resembles the pages of his holy scripts. Many tourists and pilgrims staying at Mana, make it a point to pay their reverence at this pious shrine. Near the Vyas Cave, lies yet another fascinating attraction, the famous ‘Bheem Pul’. An arc-formed stone bridge/rock resting over the Saraswati River, is again believed to have been existing from the Puranic times when Pandava brothers crossed through Mana Village while on their way to heaven. To cross over the roaring river, Bheema known for his might and strength uplifted this huge rock and placed it over the river as a bridge.
Undeniably, the little hamlet is today, one of the most unexplored places in Uttarakhand and leaves you in full admiration of nature’s fantastic work of art, painting the tiny mountainous settlement with spouting waterfalls, crystal clear water streams, roaring rivers and snow-topped Himalayan peaks. For those looking for a peaceful retreat amidst Himalayas, undoubtedly, there can be no better choice than this secluded and remote village that has also been designated as a ‘Tourism Village’ by the Uttarakhand Tourism Board. Besides a great pilgrimage and holiday destination, this little hill town is also an ideal locale if you want to indulge in some nice and memorable trekking. A hike up to the beautiful ‘Vasudhara Falls’, gushing under the shadow of precariously hanging glaciers and snow-laden peaks of Chaukhamba and Neelkantha, is sure to leave one with a spell-binding spectacle and definitely, an experience to be cherished throughout his life.
Munsiyari – a trekker’s paradise
Perched at an elevation of 2200 metres above sea level, Munsiyari is yet another of the enchanting holiday destinations located on the offbeat trails in Uttarakhand. The little hill town lies hidden in the foothills of the Panchachuli Peaks and makes as an idyllic spot to go for a chilling family vacation or a nature holiday. Needless to say, the gorgeous beauty of the place enveloped by looming peaks of Nanda Devi, Nanda Kot and Rajarambha, plus a brilliant weather and romantic ambience, makes this laid-back hamlet a great honeymoon destination too; a magical sunrise from behind the snow-clad Himalayan peaks is definitely a sight to behold in Munsiyari and is sure to make the two love birds fall in love for each other all over again. And when here right after your marriage, nothing can be more satisfying than giving a blissful start to your newly wedded lives by seeking blessings of Goddess Durga at the sacred ‘Nanda Devi Temple’. For a more divine experience, head to the ‘Maheshwari Kund’ where captivating vistas of a pristine lake cradling amidst virgin woods of oaks and rhododendrons offer you with a splendid visual treat.
The enchanting backdrop of snow-crowned Panchachuli Peaks further add that touch of magic to the postcard-perfect scenery; spend here a couple of hours with your soulmate, taking in the bewitching beauty of the place and listening to soft music of the tweeting birds. If you are an avid photographer, make best use of your photography skills at the ‘Birthi Falls’ and surprise your better half with one of her most beautiful shots worth a thousand likes on Facebook and Instagram.
Although Munsiyari is not a common name when it comes to planning a holiday, it definitely find its place on the list of famous trekking destinations in Uttarakhand and makes as a favourite haunt for numerous seasoned trekkers and adventure enthusiasts; many of the nerve-wrecking trekking excursions in greater Himalayas commence from this small town, most popular of which include treks to Milam, Ralam and Namik glaciers. So, if this upcoming summer vacations, you too are looking for an unprecedented trekking experience, Munsiyari is ‘THE’ place to jot down on your travel itineraries.
Binsar – a heaven for wildlife enthusiasts and bird watchers
Cuddling amidst the majestic Himalayan peaks of Nanda Devi, Nanda Kot, Chaukhamba, Kedarnath and Panchachuli in Almora district, Binsar is another gorgeous hill destination in Uttarakhand that has continued to lure countless holiday seekers, nature lovers and trekking buffs from across the nation. The thick foliage, vibrant flower-strewn meadows and dense cover of oak, pine and rhododendron forests, lend this little town an invigorating aura that entices every visitor to have a never-ending stay here amidst serene and tranquil settings of nature, away from the maddening crowds of today’s city lives; one can spend here a wonderful time reconnoitring with nature unfolding newer trails and walkways every new day.
‘Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary’ is the star attraction of this quaint hill town and needless to say, holds a special place in the hearts of wildlife enthusiasts and bird watchers who are sure to have a delightful time here spotting the rare Himalayan wild creatures and numerous playful birds, secretively noticing their whereabouts from hidden nooks and corners. During your visit to this beautiful sanctuary, do watch out for Himalayan Musk Deer, Leopards, Gorals and Black Bears who often surprise the visitors with their sudden short glimpses. And if you are an avid bird lover, sights and sounds of Woodpeckers, Himalayan Monals, Khaleej Pheasants, Laughing Thrush and Parakeets are sure to keep you occupied for the entire excursion.
Yet another of the most significant attractions in Binsar and which truly warrants a visit during your trip to this hill town is the ‘Bineshwar Mahadev Temple’. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the 16th century shrine boasting a gorgeous architecture is quite popular amongst pilgrims and tourists alike. For those wishing to have a rendezvous with unique Himalayan culture, must plan a visit to this temple on the occasion of Vaikunth Chaturdashi and Kartik Purnima when a two days long fest infused with temple rituals, folk dances and cultural programmes provide for an enchanting spectacle to all the onlookers.
Khirsu – an exquisite unconventional spot to unwind from hectic routines
An exquisite hill station hidden in Pauri Garhwal district of Uttarakhand, Khirsu is yet again a beautiful destination relatively less explored and away from a conventional tourist’s map. This intimate hill retreat, cuddled amidst thick deodars and apple orchards, undeniably makes for an apt choice for the tired city dwellers wanting to rejuvenate their minds, bodies and souls at a place immersed in profound serenity and tranquillity. The unspoilt natural charm of this little hidden jewel of Uttarakhand is sure to take you in its captivating awe in no time; spend a quiet time in one of its cosy cottages, waking up to the melodious chirping of birds and mesmerizing views of the rising sun painting the horizon in its golden hues. After a nice breakfast and a cup of hot tea, venture out for nature strolls uncovering newer paths and trails amidst striking orchards and thick forests witnessing the mystical panorama of snow-laden Himalayan range casting a magical spell on every onlooker. As you explore the nature’s creativity, listen to the music of silence occasionally disturbed by cracking of leaves beneath your feet or tweets of colourful feathered birdies playing everywhere in the village filling your hearts with joy and happiness.
If you are a bit religiously inclined, there is no dearth of temples and holy shrines in and around Khirsu to quench your thirst for an unmatched spiritual experience – head to the ‘Ghandiyal Devta Temple’ and find yourselves to be embraced by intense peace and solitude, or pay your obeisance to Lord Shiva at the ancient ‘Kandoliya Devta Temple’ that sits on the Pauri-Lansdowne road amidst picturesque settings of soaring deodars and whispering pines. For a more enchanting experience, take a small trip to the 8th century old ‘Kyunkaleshwar Mahadev Temple’, the architecture of which resembles that of the sacred Kedarnath shrine and blesses every devotee with an eternal bliss. For those who love a little adventure in their life, a short 2 km. trek to ‘Ulka Ghari’ from Khirsu well deserves a try and provides for a perfect treat to visual senses offering a breath-taking spectacle of more than 300 named and unnamed Himalayan peaks standing tall in their crowning glory.
Needless to say, if you are a solace-seeker and searching for a destination to unwind yourselves from hectic and monotonous routine, Khirsu is a place that will leave you deeply invigorated and revitalized, ready to accept newer challenges in life.
Peora – the land of gorgeous fruit orchards
Located at around 23 km. from the more popular hill town of Almora, Peora is truly the best kept secret of Uttarakhand, blessed with nature’s bounty of virgin Himalayan peaks and verdant forests. The rustic charm of this fairy tale village nestled amidst the pristine valley of Kumaon Hills and fringed with sky-kissing pines is serene enough to take every visitor in a state of trance. Walking here on the secluded zig-zag trails, breathing in the fresh mountain air and plucking fresh apples and plums from the countless fruit-laden orchards abounding the region, is nothing sort of a dream come true for any city dweller living artificial lives amidst jungles of concrete buildings and lifeless structures. Truly speaking, the tiny hamlet aptly named as the ‘fruit bowl of Uttarakhand’, makes for a perfect holiday retreat, if you are looking to spend few days of your life intensely closer to nature – do plan a visit here and break free from the chains of city life, enjoying a serene and tranquil time in the lap of fragrant pines and rolling hills, watching the vivid avian guests sprinkling colours of joy and pleasure at every nook and corner.
For a pure mountain bliss, witness the glimpses of a mystical sunset from behind the mist covered hills in Peora, losing your souls in the magical spell cast by the Mother Nature. And as the darkness takes over the sky, feast your eyes to an enchanting panorama of thousands of twinkling stars that seem to be blessing you with contentment, hope and enlightenment forever. For those who love doing something beneficial for the cause of upliftment of the poor, a visit to ‘Aarohi’ in Peora definitely makes as a priority. Established in 1992, this social organization primarily works towards development and well-being of mountain communities, helping them find alternative modes of livelihood and employment besides spreading awareness in matters like sanitation, hygiene and education.
Chakrata – charming winter abode for skiing buffs
Eternal home to verdant natural beauty, Chakrata, another must visit hill station hidden in the lap of Dehradun district of Uttarakhand is undoubtedly, a slice of heaven on earth. The pristine alpine town enveloped by dense forests of oaks, conifers and rhododendrons and hiding in its store, some ravishing waterfalls and fruit orchards, provides for a nice and idyllic time to weary souls enabling them to relax and unwind themselves in the arms of Mother Nature. The gorgeous ‘Tiger Falls’ gracefully cascading from a height of 50 metres, are the town’s prime attraction and makes as a hotspot destination for those interested in nature sightseeing and photography; the forest cover around these falls is a natural home to panthers, wild fowls and spotted dear, which truly makes it a paradise for wildlife watchers too. Besides, Chakrata is also a heaven for adventure enthusiasts and trekkers; ‘Kharamba Peak’ perched at an elevation of 10, 000 ft. is the highest in the region and provides for an exhilarating experience to passionate hikers and mountaineers.
The little hill town is also an ideal place to quench your thirst for some exciting and nerve-wrecking caving expeditions; ‘Budher Caves’, 30 km. from the main city centre are the most famous ones and known for their brilliant stalactite and stalagmite formations, drawing countless adrenaline junkies from far and wide. There is something for skiing buffs too in Chakrata; ‘Mundali’ situated at a height of almost 9000 ft. offers expansive skiing grounds to professional skiers in peak winter months starting November until April. Nevertheless, during summer months also, the beautiful flower-strewn meadow encircled by lush green woods and breath-taking Himalayan views provides for a soul-soothing experience to all its visitors. For those who are spiritually inclined, a trip to 9th century old ‘Mahsu Devta Temple’ located in village of Hanol, some 90 km. from Chakrata undeniably provides for an eye-opening experience giving all the religious hearted a lifetime opportunity to have a rendezvous with unique Himalayan cultures and traditions from a different perspective.
Needless to say, the natural splendour of this serene hill town abound in breath-taking ambience and offering endless array of activities to entice every kind of traveller, Chakrata should definitely be on your priority list the next time you are planning a trip to offbeat destinations in Uttarakhand.
Mukteshwar – where Jim Corbett first had a rendezvous with Indian tigers
Nestled in the Nainital district of Uttarakhand, Mukteshwar is yet another picturesque hill station that falls off the radars of conventional tourists. This little colonial hill town with its beautiful rustic cottages painted in red and embellished with primeval windows, still retains an old-world charm that impresses every visitor with a marvellous spectacle straight out from some European countryside village. What further adds to the quaint charm of this tiny hamlet is the dense covers of conifers and endless expanses of gorgeous orchards of apples, peaches and apricots, which truly lend it an ideal ambience to venture out exploring nature while simultaneously marvelling on the glimpses of amazing Himalayan bird and wild life; no wonder! Jim Corbett, the renowned hunter and naturalist while on his trip here fell in love with the place and made it his second home. The tiny hill town is undoubtedly, a trekker’s paradise too providing him with ample opportunities to embark on some fascinating trails that bring out the best of nature’s craftsmanship; treks from Mukteshwar to Peora and Mukteshwar to Almora are the two most popular ones, listed on the itineraries of almost every trekking enthusiast. Snaking through lush jungles, crossing over rippling streams and navigating across dewy meadows with captivating views of snow-capped Himalayan ranges to follow all along the trail, these treks are sure to leave every trekker with an experience unprecedented.
Apart from trekking, if you love trying your hands at other exciting adventure activities like rock climbing, mountain rappelling and paragliding, Mukteshwar will not leave you disappointed; ‘Chauli-Ki-Jali’, located on the edge of a cliff near the 350 years old ‘Mukteshwar Dham Temple’, is an excellent spot to enjoy rock-climbing. And once you are done with this adrenaline-pumping sport, pay your homage in the temple and relax for a while soaking your souls in awe-inspiring vistas of ‘Nanda Devi’, ‘Nandaghunti’ and ‘Panchachuli’ peaks that seem to bestowing you with a spiritual awakening. And this is not all that you can do during your stay in Mukteshwar; if you are amongst those who seek the thrills of camping in the Himalayan wild, the quietude and stillness amidst thick woods of this serene hill town provide with a magical aura, perfect to setup a camp combined with bonfire and delectable ‘pahaadi’ food to relish.
Mandal – an idyllic place to disconnect with the outside world
Yet another of the beautiful hidden destinations in the store of Uttarakhand is the small little hamlet of Mandal. Located in Chamoli district, this tiny village falls on the pilgrim trail leading to the highly sacred ‘Rudranath Temple’, one of the significant ‘Panch Kedar’ shrines in the region. Away from the hustle-bustle and maddening roar of the cities, this place soaked in deep tranquillity and peace, makes for a great off-beat choice to relax and spend a laid-back holiday amidst stupendous beauty of nature, purely disconnecting yourselves from the outside world and putting your mobiles and online addictions aside for a few days. And while you are away from phone calls and internet, utilize your time reading books, exploring wonderful nature or just meditating and rejuvenating your souls.
Make sure, during your trip to Mandal, you definitely plan for a visit to the ancient and highly revered ‘Anusuya Devi Temple’. Dedicated to Goddess Sati, wife of great sage Atri Muni, the temple lies hidden amidst thick forests of pines & deodars and provides for some enchanting views of the magnificent Himalayan range veiled under layers of mists and clouds. If you are here in the month of December, do attend the annual ‘Anusuya Mata Festival’ wherein devotees, especially childless couples pray to goddess the whole night with lighted lamps in their hands – truly a sight to behold and witness some unusual customs and traditions of rural India. 2 km. from the temple, ‘Atri Muni Ashram’, a small holy cave with a pristine waterfall just adjacent to it, is another great attraction worth visiting. All in all, if you are amongst those who are tired of holidaying in the same commercialized tourist hill station year after year and wanting to explore a new destination that yet remains unexplored and untouched from the hands of human exploitation, Mandal gives you many convincing reasons to plan for a trip here.
Kanatal – the land of a lost lake
The toy town of Kanatal perched at an elevation of 8500 ft. amidst awe-inspiring settings of Garhwal Himalayas, truly makes for a destination must see once in lifetime of every holiday seeker and nature lover. The charming hill town, whose name originally comes from once an enchanting lake that is believed to have now dried up, offers every visitor with endless choices for nature explorations, sightseeing and adventurous activities to indulge into during their stay here. Most likely, the itineraries in this little hill town include but are not limited to leisure walks across rolling hills and emerald meadows, thrilling jeep rides into thick jungles and short excursions to various vantage points in and around the area. And before you indulge in all these activities, do make sure to kick start your holidays in Kanatal by first making an early morning trip to the famous ‘Surkanda Devi Temple’ that lies just 10 km. from the main city centre. Dedicated to Goddess Sati (the first consort of Lord Shiva who immolated herself in a yajna to prove her loyalty to her husband), the temple sits in extreme wilderness and leaves every visitor with unmatched peace and solace, wrapped in unrivalled bounty of nature.
In case you are an avid nature photographer, a visit to ‘Kodia Jungle’ is surely going to amaze you with its hidden wealth of mystical valleys and beautiful natural springs; and as you engross yourself in capturing the panoramas of nature in your lenses here, do keep an attentive eye for musk deer, ghorals, wild boars and numerous endemic birds of the region, sudden appearances of which make the excursions in the jungle all the more exciting and enthralling. While there are many more activities to do and scenic sites to see in Kanatal, an attraction that needs a special mention is the famous ‘Tehri Dam’. Built at a height of 260 metres over confluence of Bhagirathi and Bhilangna Rivers, it is the highest dam in the country and one of the top 10 highest dams in the world. Witnessing the mighty Himalayas at the dam, parting ways to let the backwaters of the roaring rivers flow in, is truly a sight to behold and a magical scenery to etch in your memories forever.
Chaukori – land of hypnotizing sunrise and sunset
A dreamy village tucked at an elevation of 2010 metres above sea level in Pithoragarh district of Uttarakhand, Chaukori is one of the most unconventional and peaceful places in India, deeply steeped in sweet aroma of tea gardens spread across its length and breadth. Besides tea plantations, the idyllic village is further bestowed with nature’s splendour of thick woodlands, vibrant flora and glistening fruit gardens. And above all! the soaring mountain peaks of Chaukhamba, Trishul, Nanda Devi and Panchachuli lend it a bewitching scenery that magnetizes travellers from all across the nation.
Additionally, what makes this charming little town even more fascinating is its magnificent sunrise that unveils the snowy peaks from many layers of mist, imparting them with a golden-rosy hue that even birds raise a toast to. For those who are greatly awed by the night views in the wilderness of mountains, Chaukori treats them too with a beautiful dark sky studded with millions of stars blinking like small jewels. As far as tourist hotspots are concerned in this little hill town, there are not many of them which means, you have ample of time with yourself to bask in the blissful sunshine and breath-taking mountain scenery around you. And even still, if you crave for some sightseeing or mountain excursion, head to Berinag, another small hamlet in the vicinity famed for its numerous snake temples. From Berinag, you can further continue your journey towards ‘Patal Bhuvaneshwar’, a series of underground caves associated with intriguing stories from mythology and known for some brilliant stalactite and stalagmite formations of different shapes and sizes. For a more splendid experience, take a trip to Dharamghar from where clear Himalayan views give you a feast of lifetime. In case a wildlife expedition is on your minds, visit the ‘Musk Deer Park’; more of a breeding ground for these rare animals, it is a unique place where you can actually see the process of musk extraction.
Ranikhet – where two loving souls bask in nature’s bounteousness
The erstwhile summer capital for British in India, Ranikhet is a picturesque hill station and an offbeat honeymoon destination nestled in the lap of Kumaon hills in Uttarakhand. The unmatched colonial charm and superb natural grandeur of this little hill town truly makes it an ideal destination to spend some quiet and intimate time with your soulmate; head out for serene and romantic strolls along the pine shaded trails while basking in the glory of Nanda Devi, Trishul and Nilkanth peaks that seem to be bestowing you with a blissful married life ahead or take a short walk up to the ‘Bhalu Dam’ where tranquil aura of the enchanting lake and sweet melodious music of singing birds fill the air with utmost romance and solitude. And If your better half loves the mesmerizing beauty of the rising sun, take her to ‘Sitlakhet’ and surprise her with a spectacular visual spectacle of a natural painting drawn by the crimson sun with its sprinklings of golden hues over milky white summits of the Himalayas.
Not to forget! when you are here on a honeymoon trip, give your new lives a pious start by seeking blessings of Goddess Durga at the ‘Jhula Devi Temple’; do make sure to tie a bell on the temple wall making a wish for two of you and with Maa’s blessings your wish would definitely be fulfilled in no time. While honeymoon is a dreamy time wherein normally couples like to keep things sweet and simple without indulging much into adventurous fun, in case you are a couple who is a bit out of the league wanting to add that extra zing to your honeymoon memories in Ranikhet, set out for a memorable excursion to ‘Daan-Kurhi’ a breath-taking camping spot cuddled amidst rolling hills, verdant forests and pristine water streams. Located just 12 km. ahead of the charming township of Ranikhet, the place is a hub of adventure activities and offers an endless array of options for couples and families to indulge into exhilarating fun of jungle trekking, paragliding, rock climbing, rappelling, mountain biking and river crossing. Needless to say, taste a bit of adventure here and make your honeymoon an interesting affair to remember forever.
Chopta – where time stands still
Home to beautiful emerald meadows, evergreen forests and undulating hills, Chopta is another small hill hamlet in Uttarakhand that remains relatively unexplored by the travellers. Perched at a height of 8790 ft. in Rudraprayag district, the village primarily finds its name listed on the map of pilgrims heading to one of the highly revered shrines of Lord Shiva, the ‘Tungnath Temple’. Third of the ‘Panch Kedar’ shrines, the temple is highest in the world and boasts of an unrivalled natural scenery. 1 km. ahead of Tungnath lies the daunting yet awe-inspiring ‘Chandrashila Peak’ which is often registered on the itineraries of avid trekkers. Owing to not much civilization in this heavenly beautiful valley, the accommodation and food options here are quite limited with only a couple of guesthouses to serve the tourists.
Needless to say, if you are a solace-seeker and want to break free from the cacophony of city life for few days, there can be no better choice than Chopta. As you holiday here in the lap of Mother Nature where time seems to stand still, listen to the whispers of the trees woken by the early morning breeze, immerse your souls in tinkling sounds of the tranquil streams or just get hypnotized with the charm of the setting sun painting the sky with myriad shades of orange, crimson and gold. And if you are a passionate birdwatcher, Chopta is sure to treat you with captivating sightings of Himalayan Swiftlets, Himalayan Monals, Koklas & Cheer Pheasants, Long-Billed Pied Thrush, Blue Whistling Thrush, Sunbirds, White-Throated Needletails and Chestnut-Crowned Warblers. Best of the birding trails lie close to ‘Deoria Tal’, a serene lake flanked by the sky-touching peaks of Chaukhamba, Kedar, Trishul and Mt. Nanda Devi. The lake is also a beautiful camping destination near Chopta and offers an amazing experience to those who wish to spend a night amidst overwhelming wilderness of nature.
Khati Village – last inhabited abode before the Pindari Glacier
Huddled in Bageshwar district of Uttarakhand, Khati Village is one of the least known holiday destinations in India, located enroute to the popular ‘Pindari Glacier’ trek. The dreamy village sitting on the edge of gurgling Pindar River and flanked by plush forests of oaks and rhododendrons and swaying fields of potatoes and rice, makes for a perfect ground to experience a union with nature in its unpretentious form. This picturesque village that has till date remained untouched from clinches of commercialization, needless to say, lends the weary souls a perfect ambience to slow down their fast paced lives and immerse their souls in soothing sights and sounds of nature. During your holidays here, soak your senses in scenic vistas of imposing snow-clad peaks of the Himalayas, go cycling around its snaking roads lined with oaks and other vivid flora, take a soul-soothing walk along the river amidst the jungles or simply sit back and enjoy a sip of hot ginger tea while watching the morning sun and hearing the bird chirpings. Nothing can be more rewarding and invigorating than a short holiday trip here where it’s only you and the nature around.
Well! this is just a short glimpse at the hidden and scenic hamlets in Uttarakhand, if you know of any other hill towns that you discovered while exploring the gorgeous state, please feel free to share them with us.