Uttarakhand, nestled in the lap of the majestic Himalayas, is a popular tourist destination known for its breathtaking landscapes and spiritual significance. However, beyond the well-trodden paths lie the hidden gems—offbeat places that offer unique experiences to the discerning traveler. Exploring these lesser-known destinations provides an opportunity to connect with nature, immerse yourself in local cultures, and escape the crowds. Let’s embark on a journey to discover the beauty and allure of offbeat places in Uttarakhand.
Uttarakhand, also known as Devbhumi (Land of the Gods), is a state in northern India. Blessed with snow-capped peaks, glistening rivers, dense forests, and sacred shrines, it has long been a favorite destination for pilgrims, adventurers, and nature lovers alike.
While popular destinations in Uttarakhand undoubtedly have their charm, venturing off the beaten path allows travelers to experience the raw and unfiltered beauty of nature. It also promotes sustainable tourism by diverting the tourist influx from crowded places and supporting local economies.
Offbeat places refer to lesser-known destinations that are not frequented by masses of tourists. These spots retain their untouched beauty, offering a sense of tranquility and a chance to explore hidden treasures away from the hustle and bustle to experience the raw and unfiltered beauty of nature. It also promotes sustainable tourism by diverting the tourist influx from crowded places and supporting local economies.
1.The Enchanting Kausani
Nestled at an altitude of 1,890 meters, Kausani is a small hill station in the Bageshwar district of Uttarakhand. Renowned for its panoramic views of the Nanda Devi and Trishul peaks, Kausani is often referred to as the “Switzerland of India.”
The charming beauty of Kausani makes it an ideal destination for nature lovers and photographers. The unobstructed vistas of the Himalayan range and lush valleys offer a serene retreat for those seeking solace in the lap of nature.
Some of the places you can visit in Kausani are –
- Baijnath Temple: The ancient Baijnath Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, showcases intricate architecture and holds immense historical and religious significance.
- Rudradhari Falls and Caves: A short trek leads to the captivating Rudradhari Falls, where water cascades down the rocky cliffs amidst dense forests. Nearby, the Rudradhari Caves house ancient idols and offer a spiritual experience.
- Kausani Tea Estate: Explore the lush tea gardens of Kausani and learn about the tea-making process while sipping on some fresh, aromatic tea.
- Sumitranandan Pant Gallery: Pay homage to the renowned Hindi poet Sumitranandan Pant by visiting his birthplace, now converted into a museum displaying his works and personal belongings.
2. Peora: A Hidden Gem of offbeat places in Uttarakhand
Nestled amidst the Kumaon hills, Peora is a charming village that offers a peaceful and rejuvenating escape from the chaos of city life. Its pristine surroundings and serene ambiance make it an offbeat gem worth exploring. Peora’s tranquil ambiance, complemented by the panoramic views of the Himalayan peaks, lush forests, and terraced fields, creates an idyllic setting for nature enthusiasts and artists seeking inspiration.
Some of the places you can visit in Peora are –
- Mukteshwar Temple: Visit the ancient Mukteshwar Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, known for its intricate stone carvings and the mesmerizing 180-degree view of the Himalayan range it offers.
- Chauli Ki Jali: Explore the mystical Chauli Ki Jali, a natural rock formation surrounded by dense forests, known for its panoramic views and its association with local legends.
- Bhalu Gaad Waterfalls: Embark on a trek to the Bhalu Gaad Waterfalls, where cascading water gushes down amidst lush greenery, creating a serene and rejuvenating atmosphere.
- Peora Forest Retreat: Immerse yourself in the serene surroundings of Peora by staying in eco-friendly cottages and retreats, offering a perfect blend of comfort and sustainability.
3. Munsyari: Gateway to Adventure
Situated in the Pithoragarh district, Munsyari is a quaint hamlet renowned for its proximity to the majestic peaks of the Himalayas. It serves as a gateway to several thrilling trekking expeditions and offers panoramic views of snow-capped mountains. Munsyari’s strategic location, nestled in the Johar Valley, makes it an ideal base for trekking enthusiasts, providing access to popular treks like the Milam Glacier Trek and the Nanda Devi Trek.
Here are some of the places to visit in Munsyari
- Panchachuli Peaks: Behold the awe-inspiring Panchachuli Peaks, a group of five snow-clad peaks that shimmer under the sunlight, creating a breathtaking spectacle.
- Nanda Devi Temple: Pay homage to Goddess Nanda Devi at the ancient Nanda Devi Temple, a revered shrine for both locals and devotees seeking spiritual solace.
- Maheshwari Kund: Visit Maheshwari Kund, a serene lake believed to have medicinal properties, offering a tranquil environment for meditation and relaxation.
- Darkot Village: Explore the traditional Darkot Village, known for its woolen shawls, blankets, and other handcrafted products created by skilled local artisans.
4. Didihat: Where Time Stands Still
Tucked away in the Pithoragarh district, Didihat is a hidden gem that offers a blend of natural beauty, historical significance, and cultural heritage. Didihat exudes a rustic charm with its quaint streets, ancient temples, and panoramic views of the surrounding mountains. It is also steeped in history, with several mythological and historical legends associated with the region.
Here are some of the places that you can visit in Didihat –
- Didihat Fort: Explore the ancient ruins of Didihat Fort, an architectural marvel that stands as a testimony to the region’s rich historical past.
- Askot Musk Deer Sanctuary: Visit the Askot Musk Deer Sanctuary, home to the endangered musk deer species, and immerse yourself in the serene and untouched wilderness.
- Patal Bhuvaneshwar: Discover the mystical underground cave temple of Patal Bhuvaneshwar, where intricate rock formations and natural sculptures create a surreal atmosphere.
- Berinag: Witness the panoramic views of the Himalayan peaks from Berinag, a small town famous for its tea gardens and the Nag Devta Temple.
Best Time to Visit Here:-
Uttarakhand experiences distinct seasons. Summers (April to June) offer pleasant weather, while monsoons (July to September) bring rainfall and lush greenery. Winters (October to March) are chilly, with snowfall at higher altitudes. Each offbeat place in Uttarakhand has its weather patterns. It is advisable to check the local weather forecasts before planning a visit to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable experience.
The ideal time to visit Kausani and Peora is during the summer months when the weather is pleasant and the clear skies offer breathtaking views. Munsyari is best visited during the summer and autumn months for trekking, while Didihat is charming throughout the year, with the fairs adding a festive touch.
Uttarakhand’s offbeat places offer a gateway to serene retreats, enchanting villages, and the gateway to the Himalayas. Exploring Kausani, Peora, Munsyari, and Didihat unveils a world of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and unique experiences. By venturing off the beaten path, we not only discover hidden gems but also contribute to sustainable tourism and create memories that will last a lifetime. So, pack your bags and embark on an extraordinary journey to explore the lesser-known treasures of Uttarakhand.