This is the purfle of heaven. If you want to learn slow travel and a serene place where you can sit back and soak yourself in the surroundings, then you are at the right place. I never experienced slow travel until I visited Mukteshwar to avoid the scorching heat of Delhi and at a very glance, I found my affection for this place. For me, I always loved to explore the places, enjoy the local food while hopping to the local market. But this time, I thought to give myself a break and enjoy some me-time with good food, books and nature walks.
The reason why Mukteshwar is a hidden gem near Nainital which should be your next weekend destination is because of the cleanliness, the quietness and the amazing nature view with different species of birds. Here is the detailed guide of Mukteshwar, an unfinished affair of mine – where I learned slow travel and a brief for you which will help you in planning your vacation.
Mukteshwar is a little known hill station in Uttarakhand about 48 km away from Nainital. From Kathgodam railway station it is about 60 km away which is the nearest railway station. From there you can book a cab and reach Mukteshwar after 2 hours.
Mukteshwar is located at the hilltop of Kumaon hills and is mostly pleasant throughout the year. One can experience snowfalls in the winter season.
Day 1 – Start from Delhi via Kathgodam Shatabdi in the morning. Reach Kathgodam around 12-12.30 and take a cab to reach Mukteshwar. It will take 2.5 hours to reach Mukteshwar and in the midway, you can halt at Bhimtal lake for 15 minutes to cherish the lake view.
Reach Mukteshwar at noon, and spend the day at leisure enjoying kumaoni food and the natural beauty of Mukteshwar. Spend the evening watching the birds and sunset in the mountains. Call it a day after a delicious dinner.
Day 2– Start the day early with a breathtaking nature trail and enjoy the sound of mountains. Post breakfast go to Mukteshwar town to visit Doll Museum, chauli ki jali and Mukteshwar Temple. Take a walk to the road and enjoy the scenic views.
Return to the staycation and enjoy a hot cup of tea while reading your favourite book.
Day 3: Start trekking Bhalugaad waterfalls after a delicious breakfast. Come back enjoy a good rest and start for Kathgodam to catch the kathgodam Shatabdi to New Delhi. Reach New Delhi by 8.30 pm with a full bag of memories.
Mukteshwar is not for every traveller. There are no shopping malls, no fancy restaurants, no amazing markets, no 5-star hotels, Even the place is not easy to reach. If you have an idea to visit a place like Nainital in that case this tiny sleepy hamlet might disappoint you. Surrounded by breathtaking mountains and dense forest, Mukteshwar is all about natural beauty and slow travel.
Here are the places to visit in Mukteshwar
Doll Museum is in Mukteshwar, the fare is INR 40 and it is all about a hall with 20 to 25 dolls in that hall. If you consider a hall to be a museum then you can give it a try.
My personal recommendation does not to try to visit if you do not have much time in hand. It is not so worthy to be considered as a must-visit place.
Mukteshwar Mahadev Temple is a popular shrine to Shiva. The Mukteshwar town owes its name to this 350 years old Shiva temple. This hill temple is perched at an elevation of 2,312 metres above sea level and offers an enchanting view of the splendid landscape.
‘Chauli’ means rock and ‘Jali’ means hole. Chauli Ki Jali also known as Chauthi Jali is a visitor’s attraction located behind the cliff of Mukteshwar temple. These cliffs are such a beauty of the place and you can see the breathtaking view of the Mountains and cherish such a spectacular sunset from this place.
Tip: Reach the place in the evening to cherish the best sunset from here.
Sometimes you find magic without any expectation. The way I found this magical fall when I did a small trek at Mukteshwar. Bhalu means Bear and Gaad means Stream in Kumaoni language. This is situated around 7 km from the main Mukteshwar. There’s a beautiful entry made by the local tourism authority to this waterfall and the entry fee is INR20. Trek for around 2 Kms which takes you through dense forest, streams, and rocks to reach Bhalu Gaad.
Tip: Best time to visit is right after the rains – from July to October.
I checked into Cottage Nirvana which found a place to be remembered. Aditya Amar is the founder and most energetic soul I ever met. The view from the cottage was just incredible. The welcoming staff, the delicious meals and the stargazing nights were the best moments of my life. But among all my favourite corners was the bookshelf in the drawing cum dining area I could not forget.
Apart from this cottage there are a few properties there and I found zostel too, so you can check accordingly your budget but in my opinion cottage, nirvana offers a breathtaking view and full-fledged wifi to enjoy a remote stay.
Trust me, I kinda loved the slow travel concept where you can enjoy the tea with a book or can walk slowly to cherish the sunset or sunrise. There’s no pressure to see everything and experience it all within a limited time.
If you want to take a virtual tour of Mukteshwar, check this video :
So, what’s your verdict – should you go to Mukteshwar or not? Are there any other offbeat places in Uttarakhand that you would recommend visiting?
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