Pay your respects to the Queen of Hills
POPULAR AS Queen of the Hills, Mussoorie is a charming hillstation, 34 km from Dehradun, and is situated at an altitude at an altitude ranging from 1,860m to 2,300m above sea level.
Without doubt, one of India’s most beautiful hillstations, Mussoorie provides an excellent weekend escape for people in the sultry summer months. Its proximity to the key religious attractions of Kedarnath, Badrinath, Yamunotri, Haridwar and Rishikesh, and other hillstations makes it even more popular. Today, Mussoorie has evolved as an important centre of education business and tourism the star attraction of Mussoorie is gun hill in pre-independence, days a gun mounted on its top used to be fired at noon, to help people adjust their watches. The hill offers a panoramic view of key Himalayan peaks including Bunderpunch, Srikanthe, Pithwara and Gangotri group. Enjoy a thrilling 400m ropeway ride to the second highest peak of Mussoorie.
Walk down the lovely stretch of almost 3 km at Camel’s Back Road which starts from Kulri Bazaar and ends at Library Bazaar. You can walk down or go on horseback. Proceed to the bustling mall and indulge in the wide variety of cuisine. Do not forget to pay a visit to the oldest book shop, Cambridge book store.
Mussoorie is home to some spectacular waterfalls, including the Jharipani Falls, Bhatta Falls and Kempty Falls, easily accessible by car or on foot, and ideal for picnics. Other major tourist spots of the area are Naga Tibba, Dhanaulti, Surkanda Devi Temple and Lakha Mandal.
About 450m above Mussoorie is Landour, known for its large Tibetan settlement and a delicious variety of foods. The town is lined on one side by thick oak woods bordering the cantonment stroll on this road, with beautiful hill homes dotting it, and emerge at the Char Dukan square. Landour has a quiet beauty, with narrow roads and zigzagging pathways. The British developed this hill town into a convalescing centre for wounded soldiers during the mid 19th century.
GOOD TO KNOW
34 km from Dehradun the drive from there takes less the n an hours.
For an enriching experience, start with the capital
Its serene environs, mild climate and proximity to Mussoorie, Rishikesh and Haridwar make Dehradun a favoured destination for tourists, pilgrims as well as adventure enthusiasts. Dehradun once popularly referred to as a ‘retirement city’, today is a thriving business and educational centre. The capital city of Uttarakhand is not only the seat of administration, but is the headquarters of many national institutes and organisations and also one of the most important academic and research centre today. Dehradun’s best known landmark is the Clock Tower, a bustling major business centre, around which several of the city’s important schools institutions and shopping complexes are located.
During Shivratri, pilgrims flock in thousands to the nearby Tapkeshwar Temple. It is a fascinating sight to watch water droplets originating from a rock drip onto the Shivling inside the shrine.
No visit to Dehradun is complete without the 14 km drive to Sahastradhara, ‘The Thousand Fold Spring’. The water of this beautiful sulphur spring has medicinal benefits, believed to cure various kinds of skin of and stomach ailments.
Whether it is gourmet fare or hearty Indian food, the eclectic mix of students, officials and academicians, have a lot to choose from in Dehradun. Its traditional bakeries are thriving. Hip food joints and interesting cafes cater to a populace eager to experiment with the new, and savour the old. Do not forget to buy the famous long-grain basmati rice. En route to or from your excursions, stop at the fruit stalls laden with luscious litchis and Dussehri mangoes, among the many delights of Dehradun.
GOOD TO KNOW
The city has an airport and a railway station that is well connected to many major cities.
An old favourite for family getaways
SITUATED AT A height of 1,937m, Nainital is a glittering jewel in the Himalayan necklace. Dotted with lakes Nainital has earned the epithet of ‘Lake District’ of India. The most prominent of the lakes, Naini Lake in the centre of Nainital town is ringed by hills. It divides the town into the upper and lower areas of Tallital and Mallital.
The Uttarakhand hills resonate with mythological references and Nainital has its own legends woven around the lake, and its name derives from the goddess Naina Devi, the presiding idol of the region. The three sages Atri, Pulatsya and Pulaha, the story goes, had stopped over at Nainital on their pilgrimage finding no water, they dug a hole and transferred some water into it from the sacred lake of Tibet, Mansarovar. Thus came into being the Tri Rishi Sarovar, or Naini lake. Another legend says the left eye or ‘Nain’ of lord Shiva’s wife, Sati, fell in this centre and formed an emerged the city of Nainital.
Visit the Cheena Peak or Naina Peak. Do not forget to carry or hire binoculars when you visit the scenic view point. You may take the ropeway that starts at the Mall in Nainital. Watch the sunset from the Hanumangarh temple and follow this by moon watching from the observatory nearby. The British cemetery and Dorothy’s seat on the Tiffin Peak are also worth seeing. While here, do take a peek at Gurney House, of the legendary Jim Corbett. The adventurous can trek to these places. St. John’s church is one of Nainital’s oldest buildings founded in 1846 this church has been a Nainital favourite from the time the town was just about starting to flourish. One of the striking features of this Episcopal Church is a brass plaque on its altar that commemorates the victims of one of Nainital’s worst landslides in 1880.
In Nainital you can shop for handloom products, locally produced candles, as well as Kumaon woollens. The town hosts several annual festivals and an exciting regatta -sailing race-in the third week of June. You may hire the yachts from the Nainital Boat Club and enjoy! Paddle boats are also available on hire.
Visit the lakes at Sattal, Bhimtal and Naukuchiatal, located just a few hours away from the town. All three offer scenic views and tranquil boat rides
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35 km from Kathgodam the nearest rail head about 280 km from Delhi by road. It will be about a seven- hour drive.
This little gem is a honeymoon hotspot
BHIMTAL IS A small town located just 22 km away from Nainital. It is named after Bhim, the strongest of the five pandava brothers is the epic mahabharata.
Most popular for its boat rides, Bhimtal offers some of the best scenic views of the clear lake and its captivating surroundings. Hidimba Parvat, named after a demoness from the Mahabharata, overlooks the lake leisurely explore the outside periphery of the iake and walk through the forests. Wild raspberry and dog rose embellish the ravines of Bhimtal. The 12m-high victorian dam adorned by flower gardens, entices the tourist to stop over and rest in the pretty environs. The site of the dam features Bhimeshwar Temple, dating back to the 17th century. About 2 km from Bhimtal is nal Damayanti Tal, a small natural lake where the famous king nala is believed to have drowned. This is a very sacred place for the locals.
Walking down the dappled paths, among sprawling farmhouses lined with citrus trees and terraced fields, you will feel you are in paradise honeymooning couples love the sylvan beauty of Bhimtal.
GOOD TO KNOW
About 20 km from the closest railway station Kathgodam it will be a one hour drives
Attain inner peace in this quiet little town
NAUKUCHIATAL LITERALLY MEANS the lake nine corners. If you wish to experience instant nirvana stand before the lake with placid waters and identify its nine corners, and behold, according to ancient folklore your moment has come.
Bounded by deep, woody forests and lush greenery, Naukuchiatal offers some truly rewarding walks for nature lovers. In the solitude and quietness, you will delight in watching colourful butterflies and numerous bird varieties. The green mountain ranges and iridescent bluish waters reflect nature gloriously in all its bounty.
Apart from an afternoon picnic and a boat ride on the lake, you can also enjoy challenging sports in this area: paragliding, angling and fishing being some of them.
While Naukuchiatal itself has a hundred and more charms of its own, there are a number of other pretty places closeby. Nainital, the queen of Kumaon, is just an hour’s drive away. Jim Corbett National Park is another destination worth combining with a visit here.
GOOD TO KNOW
about 20 km away from the closest railway station kathgodam. It will be a one hour drive.
Come here for a glimpse of rare birds
SITUATED 2,286m ABOVE sea level Mukteshwar offers as its USP, a 180-degree view of the Himalayan ranges. It is an important hillstation in Kumaon. The town became popular after the classic novel, the man eaters of Kumaon, written by Jim Corbett apparently, Jim Corbett apparently jim corbett hunted half a dozen of the man eating tigers of kumaon like the champawat tiger and panar leopard, which had killed hundreds of people. In 1893, the british developed a research and education institute in the town. A popular spot is chauli jali with natural lattice work on the rock and believed to have the power of blessing women with a child. The overhanging cliffs are a great place for rock climbing and rappelling.
The Mukteshwar temple is devoted to Shiva. A lingam made of white marble, is surrounded by idols of Brahma, Vishnu, Ganesh, Parvati, Nandi and Hanuman. Dense conifers and fruit orchards are found in abundance. These evergreen woodlands are home to uncommon birds liks Himalayan ruby throat, whits crested laughing thrush, among others. See the peaks of Nanda Devi, Nanda Ghunti, Nandakot, Trishul and Panchachauli at sunrise and sunset, and watch glorious colurs splayed on the snowy peaks.
GOOD TO KNOW
About 70 km away from Kathgodam the nearest railway station. It will be about three hours away.
A beautiful little hillstation nestled in Pauri Garhwal
SITTING 1,706m ABOVE sea level Lansdowne is a pretty hillstation in the Pauri Garhwal region of Uttarakhand. Founded in ad 1887, the retreat grew popular with the British, who established the Garhwal rifles regimental centre here during the raj. Today, the command office of the legendary Garhwal Rifles of the Indian army is based in this town.
Thanks to the cantonment Lansdowne is quite well developed. The drive to Lansdowne is very picturesque, taking you through sleepy hamlets and thickly forested countryside roads. Tall oaks and blue pines rise like spires off the mountain side. The war memorial at the parade grounds of the Garhwal rifles is very popular with tourists.
Summers in Lansdowne are very pleasant, while winters are bracingly cold, and may experience snow sometimes. Lansdowne was the main base of independent movement activities of India during the British raj. Tourism at Lansdowne has a different face; it is not commercial but eco friendly tourism, so as not to disturb the natural beauty of this quaint town. Less than 40 km from Lansdowne and at a height of 1,800m is Tarkeshwar Mahadev, known for its Shiva Temple built by Col A.H.B Hume of the royal engineers in 1895, the St. Mary’s church here is located near the famous tip in top point. The erstwhile place of worship is now a small museum with some rare pre partition photos.
GOOD TO KNOW
Kotdwar is the nearest railway station 40 km away
Be mesmerised by the beauty of the Queen’s meadow
THE PRETTY TOWN of Ranikhet, situated about 1,829m above sea level, is in the district of Almora. This is a popular holiday spot and one with immense natural beauty. Developed by the British as a hillstation for their troops, a cantonment was established here in 1869. Today, the Indian Army’s celebrated Kumaon regiment is headquartered in Ranikhet.
Ranikhet retains an old-world charm that is hard to resist. The upper and lower mall roads connect the three forested ridges of Deolikhet, Chaubatia and Alma hill. Take a walk around, and inhale the fragrant pine air and listen to the whispering wind.
Stroll around the bungalows and you can feel the presence of the Memsahibs of the erstwhile raj. The nine-hole golf course spread over undulating meadows is a visual delight.
Every year thousands of tourists visit Ranikhet for its natural beauty, the sounds of the birds, the rich flora and fauna, and amazing mountain views. Ranikhet is also known for and wide for its delicious apples, apricots, peaches and various other alpine fruits.
Dwarahat, Sitalakhet, Tarikhet and Khaira are a few destinations that you can check out nearby.
GOOD TO KNOW
About 90 km from Kathgodam, the nearest railway station. A quaint cantonment town.
Pay a visit to the land of happy people
DHANACHULI IS AN enchanting little village located about 10-14 km from Mukteshwar. Blessed with pleasant weather, breathtaking views of the Himalayas, lush forests, Dhanachuli is perhaps one of the most beautiful weekend getaways from Delhi.
With a miniscule population of under 1,500 people, and just two hundred and twenty three households spread over many hill, it has remained unspoilt. The female ratio is very high as is the literacy rate. The people of Dhanachuli live a simple life, which is reflected in their ever smiling faces.
Due to the hilly topography, the area is abundant with potato fields and fruit orchards, placed strategically on terraces cut into the hillsides.
Fill your senses with the scent of the earth, as you trek through mountain trails, or ride with the wind on a bicycle through picturesque paths that take you on a journey of discovery. Or simply enjoy the spirit of the mountains within the exclusive environs of this little village. For those who would like to explore the region, located a few hours of driving distance are Mukteshwar, Nainital, Bhimtal and Almora.
GOOD TO KNOW
About 80 km away from Kathgodam the nearest railway station.An offbeat choice for the discerning.
A town with unparalleled charm
ALMORA IS LOCATED at an elevation of 1,651m on a ridge at the southern edge of the Kumaon hills of the Himalaya range. Shaped like a horse saddle, it is surrounded by thick forests of pine and fir trees. Flowing alongside the town are the rivers Koshi and Suyal. The view of the snow-capped Himalayas in this town is simply mesmerising. Mahatma Gandhi wrote of Almora: “I wonder whether the scenery of these hills and the climate are to be surpassed, if equalled, by any of the beauty spots of the world. After having been nearly three weeks in Almora hills, I am more the n ever amazed why our people need go in Europe in search of health”.
Roam the charming old lanes and bylanes of the town’s bazaars. If copper vessels are your passion, then visit the famous Tamta Bazaar.
Often referred to as the heartbeat of Kumaon, Almora has a rich cultural heritage. It has been home to many creative and intellectual people: noted freedom fighter Govind Ballabh Pant, poet Sumitranandan Pant, dancer Uday Shankar Nobel Laureate Sir Ronald Ross and lyricist Prasoon Joshi are some of the eminent personalities with roots in Almora.
Besides its rich cultural heritage, Almora is known for its unique handicrafts, sumptuous Kumaoni cuisine and magnificent wildlife.
The region is immensely rich with 4,000 species of plants. The flora may be classified into tropical, Himalayan sub-tropical and sub-alpine and alpine vegetation.
Almora has many noted temples, including Kasar Devi, Banari Devi, Chitai, Binsar Mahadev, Garhnath and Baijnath. Kasar Devi temple was visited by Swami Vivekananda and the area also has a chabad house. A sun temple is located at Katarmal within a short distance from this little town.
GOOD TO KNOW
About 90 km from Kathgodam. Nainital – Ranikhet – Almora make for a good circuit.
Mountain views and tea gardens
NESTLED IN THE beautiful Kumaon hills, just about 50 km from Almora the tiny and lovely hillstation of Kausani is perched at 1,852 m above sea level. It is unique for its unparalleled 250 km-wide picturesque views of the Himalayan snowpeaks. Mahatma Gandhi spent considerable time here 1929.
With its enormous mountains silhouetted against the sky a deep sense of tranquility, Kausani is often compared to Switzerland, and called ‘the jewel of the Himalayas’ – terms that sum up the essence of this hill town.
There is plenty to see in and around Kausani. Literature lovers must visit the Pant Museum, devoted to the legendary Hindi poet Sumitranandan Pant. The poet’s house-turned-museum showcases his daily use articles, drafts of his unpublished poems, letters and awards.
For trekkers there is Pinakeshwar 20 km away. Nearby Someshwar has a famous Shiva temple. The Kausani tea estate is a delight for those who love the world’s favourite brew.
GOOD TO KNOW
About 150 km from Kathgodam, the nearest railway station. Combines well with Almora.
The best view of Himalayan peaks, right here!
CHAUKORI IS A tiny hillstation in the Pithoragarh district nestled among the lofty peaks of the western Himalayas in the Kumaon division. The Mahakali river running along its eastern boundary forms the Indo-Nepal border.
With an elevation of 2,010m above sea level, Chaukori offers a spectacular view of the snowy peaks of Nanda Devi and Nanda Kot. It is approximately 10 km from Berinag, another picturesque hillstation in its vicinity.
Chaukori epitomises the breathtaking beauty of Pithoragarh district. You can enjoy magnificent views of the Panchachuli peaks, with stunning Himalayan sun rises and sunsets. Like the poet Robert Frost, dare to take the road less travelled, and enjoy the idyllic vacation you had envisioned appreciate the unspoilt magnificent beauty of Chaukori where you encounter nature at its pristine best. Forests of pine, oak and rhododendron are interspersed with cornfields, tea gardens and orchards.
GOOD TO KNOW
The closest railhead is at Kathgodam, a little more the n 200 km away.
Be charmed by the towns of this beautiful district
PITHORAGARH, THE EASTERNMOST district of the Kumaon district, shares its border with Tibet to the north and Nepal to the east. The district is rich in ecological diversity. The town is situated in a small valley and measures barely 2 km by 5 km. Popularly known as the soar valley, it at the centre of four hills – Chandak, Dhwaaj, Thal Kedar and Kundar. This lesser-known part often referred to as ‘Mini Kashmir”. The lofty snow covered peaks of Nanda Devi (east), Nanda Devi (west), Trishul, Nandakhat, Rajrambha, Panchchuli group and many others soar like sentinels above the thinly populated northern part of the district.
Charming alpine meadows and glaciers, including the Milam Glacier, Ralam Glacier, Namik Glacier and Sunderdhunga Glacier among others are a trekkers haven.
Pithoragarh a treasure trove for visitors. Mountaineers botanists as well as religious tourists. The Mansarovar Yatra route is a delight for trekkers and adventure seekers alike. Many rivers originate from the lofty Pithoragarh mountains, providing ample opportunity for water sports.
The dense forests around this town have a wide range of wild flowers. Peacocks, elephants, tiger, musk deer and snow leopards are found in the forests. The charming and colourful people of Pithoragarh celebrate all their festivals and religious ceremonies with great fanfare and devotion. Once the bastion of the chand rulers, Pithoragarh towns dotted with temples and forts belonging to that era.
Visit the famous Pithoragarh Fort, which is built on top of a hill just a little outside the town. Enjoy a picturesque view of the valley from this fort, built in 1789 by the Gorkhas. Also worth a Dekko is the Kapileshwar Mahadev Temple, dedicated to lord Shiva.
GOOD TO KNOW
The nearest airport is at Pantnagar, about 250 km away. Tanakpur about 150 km away, is the nearest railhead.
Experience the historical richness of this little town
THIS BEAUTIFUL TOWN of historical and mythological interest is located on the banks of the river Lowahati. The town has gained popularity on account of its many temples frequented by devotees from neighbouring towns. Many myths surround the Mayawati Ashram, one of the most visited places here. Located at short distances are many places of interest like Shyamal Tal, Abbot Mount, Forti Village, Gurudwara Sahib, Galchaura and Varansur fort.
This town is also famous for a ‘fight’ carnival called the Bagwal that can be witnessed at the Devidhura temple on Rakshabandhan day. The rapids in the river are ideal for ranfting and other sporting activities, and a travellers visit to experience adventure.
GOOD TO KNOW
About 90 km from Tanakpur railway station. Good adventure sports destination.