My Itinerary for a week long trip in Uttarakhand, India

29 Oct

Nostalgia is a good reason to travel; nostalgia coupled with Himalayas is a mighty combination. In this instance the nostalgia was of my parents for a place called Pithoragarh in the Kumaon hills of Uttarakhand. Both my grandparents worked in Uttar Pradesh (then included Uttarakhand) and at different points in time were posted in Pithoragarh for a brief period. Amongst all of their postings, this was my parents’ favorite place growing up. As kids we too had heard numerous stories from my parents about the place and have always wanted to visit it and see it for ourselves. My mom achieved a significant milestone in age this year and as part of the celebrations we decided to travel to Pithoragarh to revisit a favorite piece from my parent’s childhood.

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The Panchuli Range, Kumaon Hills, Himalayas, Munsyari, Uttarakhand, India

We (me, KJ (my sister), my parents A and A) had about 7 days for the entire trip from Delhi and wanted to keep it an easy and relaxed holiday. We also wanted to keep some additional time for bad weather, road conditions etc and decided to cover a maximum of three places. Overall we had a fantastic trip and loved every minute of our stay in the hills. We were really lucky with the weather (it was sunny throughout in mid-October and we didn’t get any rain) and we managed to cover everything that we had hoped to see and do. We loved the various moods and moments of the Himalayas, our awesome and inspiring local hosts in Munsyari, the ancient pine trees and temples of Jageshwar, our quaint stay in Jhaltola, the amazing fresh and tasty Kumaoni cuisine, stunning vistas, beautiful local flora and fauna, and so much more. While I will write detailed posts on each place,  I am sharing our overall trip itinerary with you today –

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Temples of Jageshwar, Uttarakhand, India

Day 1 – Kathgodham to Jageshwar

We landed in Delhi (from Mumbai and Dubai) and took the early morning Kathgodham NDLS Shatabdi to Kathgodham. We found our car and driver and after a few initial hiccups (car trouble and a near accident) were on our way to Jageshwar. The drive was around 4 hours and we reached Jageshwar by late afternoon – evening. In the hills it is not advisable to drive after sunset so we had decided to halt in Jageshwar enroute to Pithoragarh. But Jageshwar turned out to be quite a wonderful surprise. There are beautiful stone Shiva temples here from the 10th and 11th centuries and stunning ancient pine forests.

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Pine Forests and Van Serai, Jageshwar, Uttarakhand, India

Our Stay – We stayed at the beautiful Van Serai, a small boutique hotel in the middle of the pine tree forest. The picturesque setting of the hotel immediately transported us into Enid Blyton’s Enchanted Forest complete with old tall trees, streams, birds, monkeys and the secretive sounds of the forest. Though we stayed only one night we loved the place for its setting, tastefully done rooms, local cuisine and the awesome service.

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Views on the drive to Munsyari, Uttarakhand, India

Day 2 – Jageshwar to Munsyari via Pithoragarh

Since this day involved a (very) long drive, we left Jageshwar early in the morning and drove for around 3 hours to Pithoragarh. However Pithoragarh turned out to be a disappointment. The town from our parents’ childhood memories no longer existed and in its place we found an unplanned city haphazardly constructed as a concrete jungle as far as the eye can see (no matter what direction). We just drove around and saw the places our parents had stayed in and their schools. The kind-off development that has happened here also shows how the government is not focusing on saving the ecological balance in the Himalayas. We saw development in other big cities all over the Kumaon but not really as terribly as Pithoragarh! We then we started our long drive (around five and a half hours) towards Munsyari. The drive was beautiful and scary at the same time as we literally drove to the highest point of a mountain before making a final descent for Munsyari. However the route is full of beautiful views of mountain peaks, valleys, winding roads and many many waterfalls. Our first glimpse of the Munsyari market / city was not too promising either but thankfully we had booked a homestay in a village much further away from the market. Our stay was in a small village house with stunning and unhindered views of the Panchuli Himalayan peaks right in front of us.

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Views from our homestay in Munsyari, Uttarakhand, India

Our Stay – We had booked a homestay through Himalayan Ark, a community development venture, that helps you stay with a local family in the villages around Munsyari.  They also arrange for treks and nature walks around Munsyari. Our room was basic but clean with all the required facilities for a comfortable stay. However the highlights were our amazing hosts and the super yum and fresh (literally just harvested from their own fields and prepared) food and the gorgeous views from our room.

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River Gori and the hills around Munsyari, Uttarakhand, India

Day 3 & 4 –  Munsyari and around

We spent two easy days here doing a mix of activities – walking around the village and admiring the stunning views (especially at sunrise and sunset), bird watching (there are loads and loads of them), visiting Maati – a women’s collective, the Tribal museum and the Nanda Devi temple. Since we had a car we drove to see one of the last free-flowing rivers of Uttarakhand i.e. the Gori river and the Seraghat hotsprings. But a lot of time was spent talking with our hosts and eating the yummy food. The only thing to keep in mind is to take a scarf as the roads are still under construction and so there is a lot of loose dust wherever you travel.

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Rivers, Forests and Mountains enroute the drive to Jhaltola, Uttarakhand, India

Day 5 – Munsyari to Jhaltola (between Chaukori and Patal Bhuvaneshwar)

We sadly bid goodbye to our amazing hosts and drove for our next stay i.e. the Misty Mountain in Jhaltola. This drive was beautiful too and we also made a quick stop over at the beautiful Birthi water falls. All along the way we were accompanied by the mighty mountains, gorgeous deodar and pine forests, mountain rivers, old bridges with many a guest appearances of small mountain villages and towns. We reached Misty Mountain, after a 5 hour drive, and spent the afternoon relaxing and admiring the views of the multiple Himalayan ranges.

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Himalayan Ranges, Views from Misty Mountain, Jhaltola, Uttarakhand, India

Our Stay – Misty Mountain is a unique and offbeat estate stay in the middle of a mixed forest. We loved this place for the stunning views (I know they are all around here), the tranquility in the atmosphere and the amazing hosts and their ever helpful staff. This place is pretty remote, there is no wifi and we occasionally got cellphone signals which helps maintain its unique character and rustic charm. This also gave us a wonderful opportunity to stop fiddling with the phones, focus on the time and people around us, take the opportunity to talk to other guests who had done tonnes of different things and just switch-off.

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Sunset at Misty Mountain, Jhaltola, Uttarakhand, India

Day 6 & 7 – Misty Mountain, Jhaltola

We spent two days here in active inaction i.e. loads of mountain and bird watching, walking around the property in the pine forests, woolgathering, reading, playing with Rags (our host’s dog) etc etc. We also visited Patal Bhuvaneshwar and its caves and shopped at a local NGO, Avani. We spent our Diwali here with a beautiful sunset walk, a bonfire and meeting other fun guests and the local birds and insects. There are also options of many treks too, but we decided to take it easy and just relax.

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The long drive back to Kathgodham, Uttarakhand, India

Day 8 – Jhaltola to Kathgodham and New Delhi

Our last day here involved a long journey with a 7 hour drive to Katgodham and then a five and half hour train journey back to New Delhi via the NDLS Kathgodham Shatabdi. The drive was beautiful again and we sadly bid goodbye to these hills, till we meet them again.

Tips for the trip –

  1. It is not advisable to drive in the hills after sunset, so plan your travel and stay accordingly.
  2. A lot of places we stayed in were pretty remote with no hospitals, chemists etc. Also driving in this area is on narrow roads with loads of sharp turns and steep round bends. So keep appropriate medication with you and it is advisable to hire a driver who is experienced in driving in the hills.
  3. If you have a tendency to fall sick while driving on mountain roads then eat less and take moderate liquids before your drive.
  4. Weather in the mountains is erratic so always keep some warm clothes with you.
  5. Food in these areas is home style, local, simple but tasty. Please come prepared for the same and do not expect availability of any fancy cuisine.
  6. Resources (like water, electricity, etc) in the hills are limited and please avoid wastage.
  7. These areas are ecologically sensitive areas and please travel responsibly i.e. try and avoid using plastic, please do not litter, etc etc.
  8. Mobile connection is poor in many places and data connection is very erratic.

 

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40 Responses to “My Itinerary for a week long trip in Uttarakhand, India”

  1. raastha October 29, 2017 at 12:22 #

    Ooh my what a beauty!!!! Superb clicks….nice temple and view….thanks for the info.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Urvesh Bhatt October 29, 2017 at 14:19 #

    Very impressive and very picturesque. Nice post

    Liked by 1 person

  3. EmelyeKay October 29, 2017 at 19:22 #

    Beautiful photos! Hopefully someday I’l make it to India.

    Like

  4. Juliana Lightle October 29, 2017 at 21:39 #

    Reminds me somewhat of Kashmir. Some roads in the mountains and the views there reminded me of Colorado. I have one photo taken there that if I did not already know where it was taken, it could be numerous places in the Rockies. It is so beautiful in the Himalayas.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Juliana Lightle October 29, 2017 at 21:40 #

      Then it now dawns on me that I probably should look at the map and see exactly where this is. Traveling is full of surprises.

      Like

      • getsetandgo October 30, 2017 at 09:09 #

        Himalayas border the entire northern part of India 😊

        Like

    • getsetandgo October 30, 2017 at 09:08 #

      Thanks Juliana… Himalayas are indeed stunning and the entire area around it is beautiful and serene.. I haven’t seen the Rockies yet but will will read more on them.. in addition to the Himalayas I also loved the people living in this region and the entire ecosystem surrounding it… plan to read up more on it too…

      Liked by 1 person

  5. pushpendra dwivedi October 30, 2017 at 02:43 #

    lovely place beautiful clickings

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Anne N October 30, 2017 at 08:49 #

    Beautiful!

    Like

  7. corneliaweberphotography October 30, 2017 at 10:39 #

    Madhu, again over and over, you have captured the places beautifully, thank you for sharing. I adore your posts as an Indian lover.

    Liked by 1 person

    • getsetandgo October 30, 2017 at 15:03 #

      Hey, thanks a ton… these places are so beautiful that one doesn’t need to do anything 😊 snigdha

      Liked by 1 person

  8. arv! October 30, 2017 at 14:16 #

    Staying in a small boutique hotel with lovely environs is what makes vacation worthwhile. Lovely travelogue

    Like

    • getsetandgo October 30, 2017 at 15:04 #

      Thanks and do you also prefer this style of travel?

      Liked by 1 person

      • arv! October 30, 2017 at 18:41 #

        I generally don’t stick to one particular travel style. But it is one of my favorite ones. I generally prefer to avoid usual hotel experience because it so stereotype for any experiences! 🙂

        Like

      • getsetandgo October 31, 2017 at 15:11 #

        I totally agree with you… I too stay more at home stays and learnt that it just adds so much more to your travel experience…

        Liked by 1 person

      • arv! October 31, 2017 at 19:03 #

        Great 🙂

        Like

  9. Antarik October 30, 2017 at 17:11 #

    Good and informative post. Yet to discover these hilly towns of Uttarakhand. I haven’t been beyond Nainital, Rishikesh, Haridwar, Dehradun and Nag Tibba.

    Like

    • getsetandgo October 31, 2017 at 15:10 #

      Thanks and it’s time to venture further into the hills on your travels 😊

      Like

  10. Pooja Thapliyal October 31, 2017 at 15:21 #

    All the places that I want to visit in Uttarakhand.. beautiful post 😊

    Like

  11. Bangali Backpackers November 8, 2017 at 08:53 #

    This is a really engaging itinerary. & such lovely photos!

    Like

  12. Opinionated Man November 9, 2017 at 08:46 #

    Those are some great photos! I wouldn’t mind visiting some parts of India one day.

    Like

  13. Carlo Tuzon November 18, 2017 at 16:05 #

    Amazing! I never thought that India has these kinds of places. I had an Indian friend and he offered me a tour of their country so long as I pay for my airfare. Hope to see the place soon. 😦

    Like

    • getsetandgo November 22, 2017 at 13:38 #

      Hey, India has actually quite a variety in terms of landscapes, cultures and things to see and do… you should definitely plan a trip here and I hope you can visit sokn☺️

      Like

      • Carlo Tuzon November 22, 2017 at 13:41 #

        Yeah after seeing your post I got an idea of how much India has to offer. I am planning to see the country, soon! 🙂 Thanks!

        Liked by 1 person

      • getsetandgo November 22, 2017 at 13:42 #

        👍🏻

        Like

  14. varsha19com December 20, 2017 at 17:15 #

    Your post has embedded a deep nostalgia in me. I have started missing my hometown, and now I am planning to visit it soon.

    Like

    • getsetandgo January 5, 2018 at 12:50 #

      Did you grow up here? Loved your home town and can’t wait to visit again soon ☺️

      Liked by 1 person

  15. TravelTara December 31, 2017 at 15:30 #

    i am very exited and want to visit these places, after reading your post 🙂

    Like

  16. palampurpanorama January 3, 2018 at 15:06 #

    Reblogged this on PALAMPUR PANORAMA.

    Like

  17. Himali January 3, 2018 at 17:00 #

    Awesome

    Like

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