Truly, time spent in the hills has something exceptional about it, the surroundings here are often so surreal and captivating that one eventually never desires to return home. Some of the charming villages in Uttarakhand are the best example of this, picturesque, pristine, and poise, these rural places have views to die for with minor and greater Himalayas in the background and the carpets of flower-strewn meadows rolled out everywhere. Indeed these villages are the perfect escape from the maddening rush and experience what an ideal life should be. Here is the list of some of the most beautiful villages in Uttarakhand that can be your hiding in the time you feel exhausted.
‘Out in the emerald hills, before the sunrise, the cotton clouds come to greet you… The crisp air at the crack of the dawn caresses your unruly hair, and the slowly illuminating landscape balms your weary eyes… Out in the emerald hills, sustains a life full of peace and contentment, delved deep in enriching culture.’
The last inhabited village on Indo-China Border in Uttarakhand, Mana is no less than a dreamland. A short distance away from the famous pilgrimage destination in India- Badrinath, Mana is perched at a height of 3219m and is as beautiful as your imagination, dressed in green, and surrounded by snow-capped mighty Himalayas, this last village in Uttarakhand is set on the bank of River Saraswati. I am sure the Pandavas, who happened to cross this destination while accessing Swargarohini must have got enamored of the beauty of Mana. There are small decorated/carved cottages that the locals who practice agriculture of potatoes and kidney beans call home. The village is also known for sheep wool products like shawls, caps, mufflers, etc. Mana is even a base for a few treks in the Himalayas and is also flanked by numerous waterfalls, natural bridges, and hot springs.
A friend of mine visited Chaukori some two years ago; he claims this place is where the bug of wanderlust bit him. Today, he has seen almost every part of the state of Uttarakhand that includes all the unknown and popular trekking trails. Indeed, some places can have a life-changing effect on you, and Chaukori certainly is one of them. With the background of Nanda Devi and Panchachuli Peaks, this surreal village in Uttarakhand boasts of solitary places, untouched by the maddening rush of the tourists. In the name of accommodation options, one can only find KMVN Rest House and two or three private resorts. Chaukori does have few attractions to see in the form of temples, however, the major attraction of this place is its landscape and the fact that it is unexploited.
In the Kumaon Hill, some 2298 m above sea level, exists a destination that might compel you to never return home. Mark my words, Munsiyari is breathtakingly beautiful; encircled by the Himalayan Range of mountains and the Panchachuli Peaks that include, Nandakot, Nanda Devi, and Rajarambha, Munsiyari is a fairytale destination reflecting the untouched beauty of Uttarakhand. In fact, it is one of those places where camping is a boon, especially on a hilltop called Khalia Top. Advance trekkers can also plan a trekking expedition to Namik and Milan Glaciers from here. Munsiyari is a distant place, and thus has remained the best-kept secret of Uttarakhand, therefore, any day that you feel like exploring the real beauty of the state, you know where to plan a trip in India.
The gem of Garhwal Hills, Khirsu is a lesser-known village in Uttarakhand that boasts of its dreamy beauty and tranquil ambiance. This scenic village is again unexploited, and is nestled amidst orchards of apple, and has dense oak and deodar forests which further adorns the place. Khirsu also offers an unbeatable view of the Himalayan Range that looks like the high foamy waves. The crisp air almost all through the year, the solitude, and the rustic charm make Khirsu an undeniably mesmerizing destination in Uttarakhand.
Away from the urban cacophony, Kalap, the paradisiacal and remote village in Uttarakhand can be your hideout. An ideal destination for trekkers, Kalap which is situated in the remote upper region of Tons Valley in Uttarakashi is blessed with the best of nature’s beauty, the sparkly snow-clad Bandarpunch Range; accompanied by green rolling hills; pine, deodar, and wild lavender forests; and scintillating Supin River. Kalap is home to traditional Garhwali architecture and is a land of legends. Though an offbeat destination in Uttarakhand, Kalap has gained some fame, all thanks to the Responsible Tourism Project run here by a professional photojournalist, Anand. His project has not only let Kalap gain recognition but has also helped the locals get employment.
On the bank of the gurgling Tons River, sits a sleepy hamlet whose beauty is hypnotic. Mori is known for housing Asia’s tallest pine forest, and that pretty much says everything. Since the village is set on the bank of the Tons River, it boasts being one of the best places for water sports activities in Uttarakhand. Along with this, Mori also is an ideal place to go trekking in the state. A trek to the ancient historic temple where Duryodhan is the main deity; and the Lunagad Creek, a place with a narrow ravine, a scenic pond, and a small but fascinating waterfall is a must-do.
The last inhabited village near the Pindari and Kafni Glacier in Kumaon Region, Khati is a super scenic terraced village that guarantees to leave you awestruck. This beautiful village’s tale of hospitality dates back to Pandavas, who crossed through this place while trudging Swargarohini; it is said the congenial locals not only provided the five Pandavas a shelter at night but also won their heart with hospitality. The stone-made houses in Khati add more charm to the place, and the quiet surroundings to is an allurement to plan a visit to this lovely Kumaon Village.
On the Rudraprayag-Pokhri Road, a beautiful village called Kanakchauri sits to offer you some incredible views of the sunrise and sunsets and that of the majestic Greater Himalayan Mountains. What makes Kanakchauri, a place worth stopping by is the Kartik Swami Temple, an important Hindu pilgrimage site in Uttarakhand that is perched atop a hill and has a 360-degree vista to die for. A beautiful trekking trail of 3kms from the village connects it with the temple that is situated at an elevation of 3050m. However, apart from Kartik Swami Temple, this quaint village is perfect to enjoy birdwatching and of course relaxing.
The heart-shaped village, Pangot needs no introduction. The village is situated in the proximity of a popular tourist destination in Nainital, Uttarakhand. Pangot, for long, has been recognized as an ideal birdwatching place in the state, however, what people did not promote it as, is an incredibly stunning village that sits in a valley. Covered in thick oak, pine, and rhododendron forest, and budding resorts and lodges, Pangot looks quite surreal and a place worth planning a holiday if basking amidst the nature and sighting of innumerable bird species is what you have in mind.
The Goat Village
In the Garhwal Hills, some odd 57kms from Mussoorie is one of its kind places to see in Uttarakhand. The Goat Village (TGV) is a farm retreat and homestay managed by The Green People. The only way to reach here is to trek for 2kms from a place called Laser Gaun. A short distance from the famous tourist attraction, Nag Tibba, The Goat Village is a small village that is obviously quite scenic but more than this is an experience that can change one’s perspective. The idea to set up a village like this is to demonstrate the basic lifestyle of the locals to the visitors and to make them financially independent by engaging in goat farming and several other agro practices. Not only this, the village has also learned to live without electricity, as well as with minimal mobile network connectivity. So, while you are here you also will be able to understand the importance of a simple life that is flourishing even after not being a concrete jungle. Overlooking the mesmerizing Garhwal Himalayas, TGV is indeed one of the most beautiful villages in Uttarakhand that is not only ideal for relaxing but to get an entirely different experience.
The beautiful and quaint villages in Uttarakhand are certain destinations that are worth exploring. Enriched with nature’s beauty and nourished with the humble people, these villages will transport you to another world. So, without any delays, plan a visit to these paradisiacal Uttarakhand villages and come back to us to share your story.