The idea was to run away from the mundane and run to the offbeat… to run away from the heat and stress. And most importantly, from chores, chatter, crowd and cacophony…
The cooler climes of Uttarakhand, the lure of its hills and the Himalayas beckoned.. But this plan for an Uttarakhand road-trip came with a collective corollary, a clear diktat – to not venture towards the ‘popular hill stations’…..we’d bump into the noisy holiday-makers there who look for their usual routine, diet despite being on a holiday in a different terrain. We needed to go where not many go, the proverbial ‘off the beaten track’, where the usual food was not available, where they didn’t apologise for not having a television set, where they’d tell us about the wild and the ways of the wild…. And thus we dug out Jeolikote, Abbot Mount, Jhaltola, Munsiyari, Chakori, Binsar and Gagar from the Uttarakhand map.
And despite May being the month when clouds and fog like to hide the king of mountains, we went ahead to plan a 14-day roadtrip starting from Jeolikote, going up to the near lonely Abbott Mount, and then to the arms of Misty Mountains in Jhaltola, to almost the laps of the snow-capped Munsiyari, to back to Chakori, and then to the comfort and charms of the Grand Oak Manor in the Binsar Wild Reserve, and finally rounding it all off with a stay at the exclusive boutique hotel in Gagar.
With that, the Uttarakhand road-trip had been a fortnight of ogling at the Himalayas; trekking to see both the rising and the setting sun from different jungles, different angles; chasing butterflies; telling flowers that they are beautiful; digging out lizards (!!!!); climbing rocks and climbing trees; disconnecting with ‘civilisation’ and connecting with ‘self’; re-vowing to keep life simple upon return; partaking in Kumaoni gastronomical delights; learning Pahari songs; staying at some extremely exclusive home-stays, century-old lodges, charming bungalows and boutique hotels.
The roads past the pines, cedar and eucalyptus, rivers, streams and lakes, meadows, hills and ranges, unveiled to us one of the richest treasures of India. Uttarakhand, we realized, is for all times, be it during the balmy spring, or the severe winter when the Himalayas are in full view from just about any place, or even the monsoons when the rains wreathes magic in the hills. Worse, we found ourselves promising that one trip, one season was not enough, we had to come back. Let’s see when that happens. For now, should you be tempted to take the roads we did, here’s a summary of all the places, drives and experiences.
(Click the links to read in details on that respective topic)
Two-night halt at Jeolikote
One-night halt at Abbott Mount: 2nd Halt in Uttarakhand Road-trip at Abbott Mount
Three-night halt at Jhaltola
Two-night halt at Munsiyari
One-night halt at Chaukori: Chaukori — 5th halt in our Uttarakhand roadtrip
Three-night halt at Binsar
- Binsar– 6th halt in our Uttarakhand roadtrip
- Stay at the Grand Oak Manor in Binsar — Review
- Sight-seeing in Binsar
Two-night halt at Gagar
Go ahead. And plan. This will be a trip that will stay in your memories for the rest of your life…and will warm your heart whenever you look back and think about it…