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  • Writer's pictureLieke Hulshof

5 places to visit in Uttarakhand

The Indian mountains have a special energy, other than any other mountain ranges. It is not only The Himalaya: the people, the forests, the colourful houses, the basic life - they all have charm. To absorb its energy fully, you'll have to experience it for yourself. We are fond of slow travel and invite to explore this way, as it gives you and your surroundings the most benefits. It is more sustainable too. Here are some great places to visit.


1. Adara Farmstay in Pauri

All places in this article can be easily combined with a visit to Adara Farmstay in Pauri (1800m altitude). Adara Farmstay is 1 hour drive from Srinagar, and 4 hours from the yoga backpacker place Rishikesh. Adara Farmstay gives your travel an offbeat and authentic experience. It inspires you to live more sustainable, slow, mindfully, joyfully, and simple. We call it: to live simply abundant!


2. Badrinath

Badrinath is a Himalayan pelgrim place at 3300m altitude. We did not go for the famous temple, as we rather went for the unique structures and landscape on the upper side of the town (right picture). This was a nice stroll and gave us a beautiful overview over Badrinath and the surroundings. Karan and I both fell in love with the raw wild nature around us. Truly magical.. In Badrinath itself there are many pelgrims, cafes and accommodations.


3. Mana

Close to Badrinath you'll find Mana (3200m altitude). Mana is very close to the Tibetan border, and nestled in the raw Himalayas. The village is a little touristy and has a few basic homestays to offer. We found a simple room (around 2500Rs) on arrival by asking around. It is nice to spend the night here, when the village comes to rest in the calmth of vast mountains.


From Mana you can start walking the 5km trek to the Vasudhara Falls. We went in June and it was not too busy. The trek is relatively easy, ascending while going and descending on the way back. The falls are a real reward and such a pleasure to watch and dip into. We personally recommend this experience.



4. Chopta

The area of Chopta (2600m altitude) has a unique energy with meadows and forests. Coming closer to the start of the Chopta Tungnath Trek, you'll find many accommodations, tents and stalls. This trek is a short and easy one, although relatively steep. There is one cobbled stone path that you will walk with many others: the Tungnath temple attracts a lot of Hindu pelgrims. There are also many mules carrying people who are not able (or willing) to hike themselves. For me personally, I love the more off-beaten places. Nonetheless, the atmosphere of the mountains and nature is all around you. We took 4-5 hours for this trek.


For accommodation we stayed a little away from Chopta, in the Bajwal Homestay in Rudraprayag. This was a true hidden gem for us. So local, friendly, simple, pure. The owner is very kind. Prices are reasonable. This homestay is placed in a small local village with a beautiful river nearby (4 mins walk).


Another trek we did and loved was the Deoria Tal Trek, which is close to Chopta and Rudraprayag. It has less crowd and is relatively easy. You do need to pay some entrance fees which seems fair - to keep the area clean. You can have a picnic at the lake or enjoy a walk around it. We took around 4 hours, including wandering around the lake.


5. Shivanandi River Lodge

On the way from Srinagar to Badhrinath and Mana, we stopped at the Shivanandi River Lodge in Rudraprayag for a night's stay. This gave our journey a calm pace, breaking up the travel. What a beautiful, humble place with its stone and wooden traditional buildings. It has access to the Ganga river, a tropical climate (which I personally love) and a natural pool. A great experience to complement the mountain travel.



Best seasons to visit Uttarakhand

  • Lansdowne is pleasant all year round, May and June being quite warm. The same goes for Adara Farmstay in Pauri, although even May and June can be a nice escape from the heat in the rest of India. Nights are relatively cool in the mountains. Winters have their own magic and cosiness. Beautiful views. Just make sure to have warm clothes and you'll enjoy.

  • Going to higher altitude for Badrinath, Mana and Chopta, the best trekking times are April, May and June (before the rainy season) and September and October (after the rainy season). The rainy season (July and August) is not recommended, as landslides may occur and block roads. In winters (November to April) these higher regions are largely inaccessible due to snowfall.


Accessibility

To access many treks and mountain temples in the Uttarakhand region, you'll have to pass Srinagar. From Srinagar you can go to Chopta, Badrinath or Kedarnath. All are pelgrim places with special temples. Chopta and Kedarnath temples are accessible a hike on foot. The best way is to travel the road to those places is per scooter or bike, car or taxi. Taxi prices in India are relatively low. Going in July and August is not recommended because of heavy rain and landslides.


Distances from Pauri by car or taxi

Badrinath - 7 hours, 200 km

Govindghat - 7 hours, 200 hours

Mana - 7 hours, 200 km

Chopta - 3.5 hours, 100 km

Lansdowne - 2.5 hours, 85 km


Slow travel

Again, we recommend staying in the more off-beat places, local homestays with local home-made food. We also see great value to take your time and stay multiple night. This way so you can soak in the environment. It is not about the destination, but the journey. It is not about ticking off bucket lists, but about the way you travel. With connection, with peace, with love. Read more about how to slow travel.



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