If the mountains are calling saying has gotten too old for you because well, they seem to have your number on speed dial and keep calling over and over, then Uttarakhand is the state that can take care of this urge for you. Blessed with hills from snow capped to small towns, from spellbinding views to cozy charmers, the state does offer it all. So, if you’re planning your Uttarakhand expedition here are some places you’d enjoy visiting!
How to reach: Fly down to Dehradun and after an overnight stay travel by road to Auli. The road journey can take approximately 9-12 hours depending on the condition of roads.
Best time to visit: Auli is pleasant through November to March. If you’re travelling there specifically looking for snow, then mid-December to February offer a white side of Auli. (Note: this year it was snowing even in March! So, weather conditions are estimated)
Who doesn’t enjoy a grand entry? So, to get us started, the first and foremost is India’s own Switzerland, Auli. For hundreds of years semi-nomadic Mongolican tribes such as the Bhotiyas would frequent the lands of Auli with their yaks. Today, it has become a premier ski destination and hosts training courses as well as tournaments for snow sports. Visit Auli in winters if your heart is aching to see some snow. Take the open chair car ride for the momentary thrill where views doused in white fill your eyes! Trek up to Gurso Bugyal to reach a point where it feels as if you could touch the clouds by stretching your fingers! Try your hand at some beginner level skiing. Tumble, slip, and laugh your heart out. Have a snow fight or two and just jump into the fluffiest and coldest bed of nature for the mountains need you to unleash that madder side of yours, every now and then.
Click here to read about last villages in India!
How to reach: The nearest railway station is Kathgodam, at a distance of 177 kms from Kausani. The nearest airport is Pantnagar from where the drive to Kausani takes approximately 5-6 hours, however, flights to Pantnagar are only from New Delhi. Alternatively, reach Nainital via a taxi or bus, stay for a night and thereafter travel to Kausani by road.
Best time to visit: April to June, December to mid-February
If a short but fulfilling getaway is on your mind then its time to introduce you to Kausani! If a hot cuppa, fuzzy socks and mountains dogs are on your mind, then have that all here even as your window opens up to overlook peaks such as the Nanda Devi and Panchachuli. It even makes for an ideal summer escape from the heat to its welcoming pleasant weather. Take a day trek to Pinnath. Visit the pear farms and tea gardens. Go splash around in the waterfalls of Rudradhari. If you’re feeling lucky go to Stargate Observatory to spot stars on a clear night. And of course, catch the sunset that probably will leave you smiling even when you return to your city life.
Click here to read about Munsiyari, a beautiful hill station in Uttarakhand!
How to reach: While you could fly to Pantnagar, the fact is for that you need to first fly to New Delhi. The road trip from Pantnagar to Binsar takes about 4 hours. Instead, fly in or take a train to Delhi and from there the journey to Binsar by road is an approximate 7-8 hours only and offers you better connectivity (for reaching Delhi).
Best time to visit: October to March
Speaking of getaways, of course, you need more than one option because bunking college or office for a chutti just never gets enough, right? ? Let’s take you to the sleepy town called Binsar. With a wildlife sanctuary (named after the town itself) and a Zero Point the valley invites you. You can even pay your respects at Baijnath and Bageshwar temples. Go up the local trails and pick a spot to perch wherever your heart pleases. Let the music from your phone accompany you in these slow days. This one is for taking long walks aimlessly to let you slowdown in its easy-paced life.
How to reach: You could fly down to Jolly Grant airport which is the nearest or fly in or take a train to reach Dehradun which has better connectivity. From Dehradun travel by road to Chopta which takes approximately 6-7 hours.
Best time to visit: For a summer retreat, March to May. For some snowy fun between October to February.
Chopta is yet another gem from Uttarakhand that we here at OHOT absolutely adore. Probably best known for the Chopta Tungnath trek to a temple on the mountain top. Tungnath eventually leads you along a trail heading to the high-altitude lake trek by the name of Chandrashila. But in this trek the beauty truly isn’t just at the top. Its from when you enter the path to make your way further up because everywhere you look there are trees standing to welcome you, there are mountains gazing back and oh, the sunset is a painter’s dream lived out on the open sky.
How to reach: Pantnagar is again the closest airport but has limited connectivity. From Pantnagar the drive to Gwaldam is roughly 6 hours. If you’re travelling by train, you can take the Ranikhet Express to reach Haldwani which is 6 hours from Gwaldam. Or for better options, reach Delhi and from there the estimated travel time by road to Gwaldam is 12 hours.
Best time to visit: February to June, September to November
Nestled between the Garhwal and Kumaon regions is a shy and sweet small town called Gwaldam. It overlooks mountain peaks such as Nanda Ghunti, Nanda Devi and Trishul. Temples, Buddhist shrines and picnic spots are in store are Gwaldam. If snuggling up in shawls and blankets, getting some peace and quiet amidst the arms of nature is your idea of a holiday, then Gwaldam will please you with River Pindari glancing out in its valley. So, come on mountain child, you know where you need to head next!
Click here to check out five beautiful treks in Uttarakhand.
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