Friday, August 27, 2010

Meandering in Mukteshwar

Mukteshwar was the last leg of our Kumaon tour. We reached the place in the afternoon. Situated at a height of 2286 metres above sea level, Mukteshwar is a quiet little hill station. The tourism brochure mentioned that one can do this and that, visit this place or that in Mukteshwar or simply sit back and relax. I think there is no better way to put it right across. More than sightseeing, the town is more suitable for escaping from the fast urban life and let oneself unwind.

Our KMVN hotel was located at the very end of the town. In fact no sooner we entered the town of Mukteshwar, we reached the hotel and the road did not proceed any further. So the town was a small one. Again we got only vegetarian food at the hotel restaurant. And we got to know that the ration actually comes from a town which is located before Mukteshwar. If I remember correctly, the name of the other town is Matelia.

Lunch was late and after an hour’s rest, I thought of taking a walk and look around the place. Abhishek was not feeling well, so the others decided to stay back. An aimless walk with no one by side has its own charm in a way. The first thing I noticed was the variation in plantation. Till then, pine was predominant in the places we visited in our Kumaon trip. But here in Mukteshwar, I noticed more cedar trees. There was a good view point just in front of the hotel but due to cloud cover the mountain ranges were not much visible. After spending some time there, I was wondering which way to pursue.

The striking thing about the topography of Mukteshwar is the sharp jagged protuberance of the rocks and there is a place where this characteristic is predominant providing the place an impression of overhanging cliffs. The place is locally known as Chauli-ki-Jali. There was an arrow indicating Chauli-ki-Jali towards the left of the hotel and I started walking that way. But after a few steps only, I was at my wit’s end as there was no road to pursue. Then I realized that there was a narrow uneven road that went up by the side of a hotel. There was a notice mentioning that the road is for public and not for hotel use only. Confirmed, I went up the road, if one can actually call it a road. It was rather a lopsided narrow stretch cut from the mountains and soon I was lost to myself with no trace of humanity in vicinity. After some time I was thinking seriously whether I should pursue the road any further since it was becoming more uneven. Suddenly at a turn, there was a group of people. They were probably sitting there waiting for the sunset. But there was still some time left for the sunset. I decided not to proceed any further. Neither did I stay there and wait, but returned back.



Soon, I again reached our hotel and since there was still sunlight, I continued my walk; this time in the opposite direction. After a few minutes, I reached the footsteps of the Mukteshwar Dham, the Lord Shiva temple from which the town gets its name. A couple of hundred steps’ climb took me to the temple. It was calm and tranquil with only a lone saint doing his own silent “yagna”, quietly. He did not pay any attention to me. So I moved over to the rear side of the temple from where one can have a top view of the Chauli-ki-Jali.



I came down to the road beneath the temple in a different route and found that there was another way to the Chauli-ki-Jali from that place. That road seemed much more even and safe but I did not pursue continuing walking to the Chauli-ki-Jali then as it was approaching sunset. Instead, I thought of walking down the main road for some more time. Soon, I reached the small market with only a handful of shops and that too most of them were already closed. No wonder that the hotel brings its ration from the next town. There was a branch of SBI in a bungalow shaped small building and two men, probably employees of the bank, were playing carom outside the bank. Then there was a small post office as well. That too was closed. And there was an IVRI campus just at the staring point of the town. Within the next few minutes, I reached the starting point of the town. My guess is that if one walks along the main road from there, one will reach the KMVN rest house in less than fifteen minutes and that is probably the farthest one can go. So, one can well imagine how small a place the town of Mukteshwar is. Of course there are small hilly roads branching out off the main road that perhaps take one to the other parts where the locals live or some other places where hotels and offices are located or may be even rest houses built by outsiders to take refuge at some particular time of the year, far from the madding crowd. I took one such path that went downwards from the starting point of the town and walked for some time. There was a small church which seemed nearby, but one can never be sure with the winding hilly roads. So even after ten minutes or so, it still remained at the same distance. I gave up and returned and walked up the main road back to the hotel.

The next morning, after breakfast, I went to the temple again. This time, with Runa and Rishi. Abhishek was still not feeling well and stayed back at the hotel. After the temple visit, we went straight to the Chauli-ki-Jali. I have already mentioned before, how the odd protuberance of the overhanging rocks characterizes the place. But reading about it in the tourist pamphlet and beholding it in person are two different thing altogether. The other amazing thing was that one could view the entire valley beneath, from that place. The braves can do rock climbing at the spot with the professional gear of course. The fools can use their own hands and crawl up the slanted rocks. We were neither of the two, so we went as far as out guts permitted, posed for a few snaps to cherish afterwards and enjoyed the beauty of the place to our hearts’ content. We could have stayed there a little longer, but Rishi got thirsty and insisted to return to the hotel.




Back in the hotel we packed our luggage and checked out. We had a train to catch in the evening from Kathgodam. Our vacation in Kumaon was coming towards the end. We were hoping to sneak in a few more places on our way to Kathgodam. But the though that we have already spent our last night in Kumaon was making me gloomy. The images of miseries and worries of work life were coming back to me.

17 comments:

  1. Hay ..i think Mukteshwar is a place which i love to visit end no of time...my fav of all the hill station .....it was great to be in Mukteshwar...the narrow lane...silence that around, pine trees, and some small shops on the hills , a walk with the hills with all the natural sound around makes this place an extra ordinary place on earth....plz do read my story on MUKTESHWAR .....

    http://traveldiaryparnashree.blogspot.com/search/label/My%20Way%20into%20Uttarakhand

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  2. Yes, Mukteshwar is indeed a great place to be at. May not have many spots to tell about but overall it was a lovely experience, especially one enjoys the quietness. Loved your posts on Mukteshwar, especially the one about your walk through the forest.

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  3. did you get to see any Himalayan views from there?
    I find no himalayan photos from mukteshwar here

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  4. Yes, the peaks can be seen from Mukteshwar. But during our one day stay they were mostly covered with clouds :(

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  5. Hi, I had a quick question. I plan to go to ranikhet and mukteshwar from Delhi next month. Should I go to ranikhet first and then mukteshwar? I mean which would make more logical sense considering we dont have to travel back and forth once we decide to start back from Delhi? I see you want to mukteshwar later. Is that what we should do? I know these places are close by but what would save time while coming back to delhi? should that be from ranikhet or mukteshwar?

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    Replies
    1. Rahul both are at nearly similar distance from Delhi and the driving time is almost same as well. The road is also same till Nainital. After that Ranikhet is towards north and Mukteshwar is towards north-east. If you travel by train, nearest rail station is Kathgodam for both. So you may choose any one of them to visit first. Still if you want to compare then Mukteshwar is a bit nearer than Ranikhet, may be a few kms only.

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  6. Thanks. I will actually be driving down from Delhi to these places. Also, can you pls let me know of any hotels in these places that I should stay in? I looked up the KMVN website (http://www.kmvn.gov.in/) but didnt find any hotels in Ranikhet or Mukteshwar. I prefer to stay in the city center in both these places so I can walk to the local market etc instead of driving down everywhere. Your help is much appreciated.

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    1. There are certainly KMVN hotels in these two places. I myself stayed at the one in Mukteshwar and also at Chiliyanaula, which is a few kms away from Ranikhet. But I believe there is one hotel in proper Ranikhet as well, although not sure if it is in city centre, since usually tourism hotels are located a bit off the road; Chiliyanaula is actually quite away from market place.
      As for Mukteshwar is concerned, it is such a small town that you can walk from one end of the town to the other in less than 30 mins.Also there is not much of a market to mention, they usually bring stuff from the town beneath.

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    2. Here you may find a list of KMVN hotels -
      http://www.euttaranchal.com/tourism/adventure/kmvn.php

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  7. We are provide you all facilities coupled with Accommodation,Honeymoon,Vacations,in Mukteshwar for affable services. Hotels in Mukteshwar are available at small price suitable for all tourist.
    http://www.cottagenirvana.com/hotels-booking.html

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  8. My recent trip to the same place.. I went through your blog before the visit and trust me it came out even more scenic than even that http://nitishkumar.net/2014/08/15/travel-bug-hits-me-again-nainital-mukteshwar-it-is-this-time/

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  9. Hi Deep,

    Planning on travelling to the following places this June, Munsyari, mukteshwar, binsar, ranikhet, almora & kausani in June. For around 7 days. Could you please suggest the best itinerary for 7 days in Uttarakhand. This is my first time to Uttarakhand. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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  10. Hi Shivaprakash,

    Where are you coming from or what is your starting point? That will decide your itinerary. Anyway, 7 days may not be enough to include Munsyari. And there will be rains I think in June also. So please plan carefully.
    I am assuming your tour starts from Kathgodam. Why not stay in Nainital then to begin with. May be you have already visited.
    Anyway, I think the places you want to visit should be in this order.
    First Ranikhet/Almora, then Kausani. Then I think you need to stop over somewhere before you move to Munsyari. Chaukori can be a good place. So Kausani -> Chaukore -> Munsyari.
    Again you have to halt somewhere when you come back. May be Chaukori again and then move to Binsar. The last stop can be Mukteshwar.
    So, it can be like this.
    Ranikhet/Almora -> Kausani -> Chaulori -> Munsyari -> Chaukori -> Binsar -> Mukteshar.
    On the return trip you may stay at Bageshwar instead of Chaukori again. Also please visit Baijnath on the way. As you can see you can afford one night each at the places if you want to visit all this places in 7 days. Plus there will be travel everyday. So, you may consider leaving out Munsyari. In that case your tour will be more comfortable and relaxing. i.e, Ranikhet/Almora -> Kausani -> Binsar -> Mukteshwar.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Deep,

      Thank you for your detailed post. Really appreciate it. I am travelling from Bangalore. Can you please give me your contact info? I would love to have a quick chat with you and clarify a few more questions.

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    2. You can email me at smajumder82@gmail.com.

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  11. "Satkhol" is a small beautiful Hill Station near Mukteshwar.

    Stay option

    "Veselka cottage" is a small home stay where you can have
    a nice time With nature. (www.veselka.in)

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