Uttarakhand tourism offerings range from the best of natural splendours to unrivalled adrenaline-inducing adventures. But before you decide on your itinerary, we suggest you spare some thought for these little-known wonders in Uttarakhand that are a true traveller’s delight!
Famed as the ‘Mini Kashmir of Uttarakhand’, Munsiyari (288 km from Nainital) literally means ‘a place with snow’. The hill station is perched at an altitude of 2,135 metres above the sea level, surrounded by snow-capped Kumaon Himalayas in Pithoragarh district. Munsiyari tourism is a recent phenomenon, as the place opened up for tourists only recently, making it a relatively unexplored destination.
When it comes to places to visit in Munsiyari, there’s the Birthi Waterfalls, Kalamuni Temple and Tribal Museum, among other natural attractions. The Panchuli quintuplets look like five gorgeous chimneys from this region. Munsiyari is not just a nature lover’s paradise, but has something in store for mountaineers and glacier trekkers as well. Located on the banks of river Goriganga, the place serves as a base camp for treks to glaciers like Ralam and Milam.
Given the nascent tourism initiatives here, hotels in Munsiyari are more comfortable than luxurious. There are quite a few resorts, guesthouses and campsites with Swiss-cottage tents on offer here.
Around 94 km from Munsiyari, you’ll find one of the best honeymoon destinations in India. And the good news is that not many people know of the place. Not yet. Located at an altitude of 2,010 metres, Chaukori (so named because of its bowl-like shape) offers grand views of the Trishul, Chaukhamba, Nanda Devi, Nanda Kot and Panchachuli peaks.
In this Himalayan heartland of Uttarakhand, you’ll be surrounded by dense forests of pines, oaks and rhododendrons as well as lovely fruit orchards. The USP of Chaukori hotels is the splendid views of the sunrise and sunset. Not to forget, the clear night skies bejewelled with stars! So, whether you choose a star hotel or a modest guest house, get ready to be dazzled by majestic views!
One of the most phenomenal places in Uttarakhand, Patal Bhuvaneshwar is barely 38 km from Chaukori. This hidden pilgrimage centre, dedicated to Lord Shiva, is located at an elevation of about 1350 metres in Pithoragarh district in the Kumaon region.
Patal Bhuvaneshwar history is as intriguing as the intricate network of cave within caves, wherein each stone, each stalagmite, each Patal Bhuvaneswari image formed out of limestone rock, is believed to reveal the legendary tales of Hindu mythology.
You need to descend nearly 100 steps into the cave – 160 metres long and 90 feet deep – to reach the sanctum sanctorum, where time seems to stand still. The serene ambience of the place is reminiscent of the Babaji Caves in Kukuchina in Raniket. Praying at Patal Bhuvaneshwar is considered to be equivalent to undertaking the Char Dham Yatra of Uttarakhand. To know more about the legends associated with this place, chat with the priest family that has been performing religious rites at the cave for more than 20 generations.