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Uttarakhand’s best hidden secret destination you will fall in love with!

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“The mountains are calling and I must go.” I know, I know it’s such a cliché thing to say. But I don’t mind these clichés as long as they keep the travel bug alive. However, visiting the same old touristy hill station is what I’d like to change. There are still so many unexplored or should I say relatively unexplored places around us that it’s hard to count. So today let’s talk about some of the offbeat hamlets of Uttarakhand you must visit to quench tat  wanderlust:

Peora

One visit to Peora and you would have visited one of those fairy tale villages that you either heard of or saw in the movies. Nestled between the Kumaon Hills in the state of Uttarakhand, this place is serene and tranquil with natural beauty in abundance. The scenic beauty with snow-capped mountains, juicy fruit-laden trees, green meadows and a variety of fauna is inexpressible. You can walk here on the secluded zig-zag trails, breathing in the fresh mountain air and plucking fresh apples and plums from the countless fruit-laden orchards.

There is absolutely nothing here except for a few houses of the villagers and this is what makes this place unique. It stands still in time and gives a perfect chance to spend some time close to mother-nature. This small village is at an elevation of 6,600 feet and provide picture perfect view of Shivalik ranges of Kumaon. If you are into photography, Peora will definitely be a place of interest to you.

things to do in peora
Source: IG handle @merakiliving.in

How to reach: Peora is 23 kms from Almora and can be easily reached from Kathgodam, which is the nearest rail station.

Best time to visit: Peora is good for a visit all-round the year. In the summer, the days are warm and mornings & evenings pleasant, making it an ideal place to escape the city heat and the crowds of popular hill stations. Winters are typically cold and September to March is the best time to soak in the views of the snow-capped Himalayan peaks.

Kanatal

kanatal
Source: IG handle @peaceaurparvat

If you are tired of taking a trip to the touristy Mussorie, let me tell you about a quaint little hamlet. Just 38 km ahead of Mussorie perched at an elevation of 8500 ft. amidst awe-inspiring settings of Garhwal Himalayas lies Kanatal. Kanatal is said to be named after a lake that once existed there. The lake is dried out but the hill town offers has endless choices for nature explorations, sightseeing and adventurous activities to indulge into during your stay here.

There are splendid views of the snow covered mountains all around with lush green forests completing the scenery. An early morning hike to the famous ‘Surkanda Devi Temple’ should be in your agenda. Then there is ‘Kodia Jungle’ that is surely going to amaze you with its hidden wealth of mystical valleys and beautiful natural springs. You might even get a peek of a musk deergalloping nearby. The region is rich in wildlife, and is especially a treat for all the photographers out there. Tehri Dam also deserves a special mention. Built at a height of 260 metres over confluence of Bhagirathi and Bhilangna Rivers, it is the highest dam in the country and one of the top 10 highest dams in the world. Witnessing the mighty Himalayas at the dam, parting ways to let the backwaters of the roaring rivers flow in, is truly a sight to behold and a magical scenery to etch in your memories forever.

things to do in kanatal
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How to reach: Regular buses and private cabs travel from Dehradun up to Kanatal, which is 77 kms away.

Best time to visit: Kanatal is a perfect summer getaway as it still enjoys a relatively cooler climate even in the hottest part of the year. All outdoor activities like trekking, camping and exploring can be enjoyed during this season.

Kausani

kausani
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Breathtaking beautiful, Kausani had been named ‘Switzerland in India’ by Mahatma Gandhi. Offering a panoramic view of the massive Himalayan peaks such as Trishul Nanda Devi and the mighty Panchachuli peaks, the town is ethereal. Wake up early morning and witness one of the best places to visit a distant and panoramic Sunrise in the Himalayas. You should also visit the apricot and pear farms in Kausani. Roam around Kausani long enough and you’ll surely be able to locate some patches of land where apricots and pears are grown in Kausani either by farmers or by hotel owners (maybe your hotel has one, look in the backyard!).

The ancient baijnath Temole should not be missed when in the area. There are many ashrams here which you can visit. One of the much revered Kausani sightseeing activities is bird watching in Kausani. Home to more than 50 different species of birds, Kausani is a bird lover’s delight. Birds like woodpecker, barbet, parakeet, robin and forktail are found in abundance here. But the best thing to do is going for long strolls in the evenings. The cool mountain breeze will be your partner all along. And while at it, you can also check out the Kausani Tea Estate. Don’t be surprised. The tea estate is spread out over 200 hectares and forms the biggest industry in the small and quaint Hill station.

things to do in kausani
Source: IG handle @musafir_dil_harshi

How to reach: Nearest railhead to Kausani is at Kathgodam, 136 km away. From there take a bus or hire cab to reach Kausani. Driving time is approximately 4 hours. Nearest airport to Kausani is at Pantnagar- 162 kms away.

Best time to visit: The summer months of April to June is the ideal time to visit Kausani.

Chaukori

chaukori
Source: IG handle @theroutecause

Settled in the lap of Himalayas, Chaukori is a dreamy town. Imagine waking up to the Himalayan scenery every morning – out your window. With days of exploring the wilderness, bird watching and walks in the lush meadows or planning a day out, visiting the spiritual retreats that are the helm of the town, Chaukori lets you sit back and let its scenery and hospitality do the talking.

The bowl shaped town in Pithoragarh district is an ideal holiday destination for those who are in search of peace and tranquility.  Chakori is deeply steeped in sweet aroma of tea gardens spread across its length and breadth. Besides tea plantations, the idyllic village is further bestowed with nature’s splendour of thick woodlands, vibrant flora and glistening fruit gardens. And above all, the soaring mountain peaks of Chaukhamba, Trishul, Nanda Devi and Panchachuli lend it a bewitching scenery that is very hard to compete with. From the peaceful sunrise and sunsets to the bejewelled night skies with the light of a million stars, Chaukori is magic!

things to do in chaukori
Source: IG handle @abhishwanders

How to reach: Almora is the nearest easily accessible town to get to Chaukori. Pant Nagar Airport is situated at a distance of 205 km while the nearest railway station is at a distance of 180 km.

Best time to visit: March to June and September to November.

Binsar

binsar
Source: IG handle @its_me_soham

The sleepy town of Binsar welcomes you with open arms. The Binsar Wildlife sanctuary is the main attraction here. Enjoy jeep safaris and jungle treks and spot endangered wildlife and birds. You can even stay inside the sanctuary, and with a complete cutoff from the outside world, this is the time to connect with yourself.

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. Snuggled in the Jhandi Dhar Hills, Binsar is a paradise for nature buffs, wildlife and bird lovers and peace seekers. With the terrific views of 4 gorgeous Himalayan peaks: Nanda Devi, Kedarnath, Shivling and Trishul, Binsar is a pure bliss in the lap of Garhwal Himalayas.

things to do in binsar
Source: IG handle @thebalconyofinfinity

How to reach: You can drive from Kathgodam, the nearest railhead at a distance of 119 kms or from Pantnagar – the nearest airport located 152 kms away.

Best time to visit: October to March

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