4 Off-Beat Places in Uttarakhand
If you hear the call of the mountains – head out to Uttarakhand that promises you nature in all its beauty and serenity. And if a mention of Uttarakhand only conjures up images of Nainital or Mussoorie, then you have a lot more to learn about the picturesque state of Uttarakhand! Yes, this small mountainous state has many beautiful and as yet unknown gems – waiting to be explored. So gear up this summer season and head out into the interiors of this state for a perfect getaway; as one thing is sure – these places promise you sheer solitude and untouched beauty, even in peak summer!
So here is our list of pretty places for an offbeat holiday in Uttarakhand.
Cradled in the interiors of Kumaon region of Uttarakhand, this bowl-shaped hamlet is a dreamy little village that lies amid lush green fields that give way to soaring snow-peaked mountains. This quaint village gives you majestic sunrise and sunset views of the glistening Himalayas and you can get spectacular views of Nanda Devi, Nanda Kot and Panchachuli peaks from here.
How to reach Chaukori: Chaukhori is almost 200 km from the nearest railhead of Kathgodam. A taxi from Kathgodam would charge approx Rs 4000 and travel time is over 6 hours. Numerous buses ply from Delhi including Volvo and other private deluxe buses till Kathgodam / Nainital. You can take a taxi from Nainital too, which will take about 5.5 hours. Then there is the small Pant Nagar airport in Kumaon region but it has infrequent flights, and is an hour further away from Kathgodam.
Where to stay in Chaukori: Chaukori has a Government run Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam (KMVN) guest house which is beautifully located with a good view. There are also a number of private options from one-star to two-star hotels and the Misty Mountains Resort – its best hotel, a three-star. Prices vary from Rs 1100 to Rs 7500 per night during summer season. In the off-season, you can get these hotels at much lower rates.
This pretty place is not even classified as a village, and as its name suggests it is, in fact, an interconnected group of seven freshwater lakes. Set amid dense leafy forests of oak and pine, the lakes make for a picturesque setting. This tranquil haven seems isolated in its solitude, though it lies just 10 km from the bustling town of Bhowali and 22 km from the tourist hotspot – Nainital. This place is great for bird lovers as the lakes attract many migratory birds. This is also the go-to place if you want to visit Uttarakhand during monsoons, as it is at its picturesque best then.
How to reach Sattal: Sattal is 35 km from the railhead of Kathgodam and cabs are easily available. It takes about 2 hours to reach here from Kathgodam. Sattal is 22kms from Nainital and a cab can easily be availed from there too.
Where to Stay in Sattal: Sattal offers luxury accommodation to those who seek it and has a 4-star as well as a 3-star property, besides a host of two-star hotels. It also offers various camping options for the adventure enthusiasts. The KMVN tourist lodge is located next to one of the lakes.
If you want to go off the beaten track – head to Gwaldam. This quaint town is nestled among tall pine woods and orchards and seems to be enveloped with an air of perfect tranquility and solitude. Gwaldam is also the base camp for treks to Roopkund and the Nanda Devi Raj Jat Yatra. A trek to the Bandhangarhi temple here gives you mesmerizing views of the Himalayas including the magnificent Trishul peak. Also visit Kausani – about 40 km from here, for a close-up view of the Himalayas including the majestic Nanda Devi, Trishul, and Panchchuli peaks.
How to reach Gwaldam: The best way to get here is from the railhead of Kathgodam, about 172 km away. Smooth roads connect it and the drive is almost 6 hours long. Taking a local taxi is the best option.
Places to stay in Gwaldam: This remote place has only a handful of hotels and of course the Government GMVN guest house. There is just one 2-star property – Nature’s Retreat Resort and the others are one-star properties. The prices range around Rs 300 to Rs 1000 maximum.
This quiet little hill station is just 26 km from Mussoorie, yet remains far from the madding crowds. Flanked by dense Oak, Deodar, and Rhododendron trees with a panoramic view of the Himalayas, it seems to be enveloped in a mystical spell. The pretty Eco-park and the mesmerizing Surkhanda Devi temple on a hilltop – about 8 km away, are some of the chief attractions of the place. In winters the town receives heavy snowfall, another reason tourists throng the place even during winters.
How to reach Dhanaulti: This quaint town is fairly accessible as it lies just 62 km from the town of Dehradun. It, however, takes over 2 hours to reach, as there are some steep stretches and loose gravel roads along the way. Local buses and taxis also ply from Mussoorie. Dehradoon is fairly well-connected by rail and Haridwar nearby is an important railhead. The Jolly Grant Airport lies 25km from Dehradun and has flights from all metros and important North Indian cities.
Places to stay in Dhanaulti: Dhanaulti offers luxury stays at its 4-star property – Classic Hill Top Resort and has a host of good 3-star and 2-star properties as well as camp stay options. There are also two Government guest houses of GMVN which are reasonably priced with good amenities. Getting a hotel room in Dhanaulti even during peak season is generally not a problem.
Best time to visit Uttarakhand: The summer season from March to April is perfect weather for a visit to this state. Temperatures vary between 20 degrees to 35-degree centigrade and the cool mountain breeze makes for a pleasant stay. For a snow experience, December to January is the best. However if a clear view of the Himalayas is what you are looking for, October to November is the right time.
Get ready for a tranquil getaway in the lap of nature as you tick off these offbeat places in Uttarakhand from your bucket list.