We don't travel to hill stations just to escape the summer heat but also to take in the peace and to escape the daily hustle. However, not all of these destinations, especially in the northern India, have been given due credit. The Kumaoni village of Kasar Devi near Almora in Uttarakhand is one of those. Apart from the utter peace and tranquility, you can also get sweeping views of Nanda Devi and Panchachuli on a clear day from the Crank's Ridge in Kasar Devi. Surprisingly, it is another underrated hill station despite its natural beauty and serenity.Best time to visit: May - JuneMost preferred way to reach: Either get down at Kathgodam railway station and travel to Almora by bus or taxi. From Almora bus stand, it's only 8 km.
On a beautiful morning, all-encompassing views of the Himalayas—from Nanda Devi to the five snow-topped peaks of Panchachuli—spreads out above Kasar Devi, a village close to Almora in Uttarakhand. A solitary street keeps running along the highest point of the edge, with few homes spotting the inclines on either side. I first went to Kasar Hills while working on a travel project; I stayed in the mystical village for a month. I never expected such mind-boggling stories from a small Kumaoni village.This area which is also known as the Cranks Ridge has been a hub of art, poetry, mysticism, and hippie subculture. The mystical history of the village still attracts many backpackers to the area, you may witness many homestays, general stores, cafes, and bakeries to cater to the needs of these backpackers.This small village in the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand has been a place for the legends and knowns. Bob Dylan, Swami Vivekananda, Timothy Leary, Jawahar Lal Nehru, and many more, high intellect and mystical personalities have spent time in this part of the Almora district.A group of hippies made this place popular in the 1960s, one of them was a famous psychologist Timothy Leary from Harvard University who said that this place has radiation that encompasses the earth (called the Van Allen Belt) endow certain spots, just same as Machu Picchu in Peru and Stonehenge in England with exceptional cosmic energy, he trusted Kasar Devi was one such spot.Swami Vivekananda has also mentioned about meditating at this place in 1890 in his diary.Whenever I got time from work, I used to walk down to the streets of Kasar, each time I have met a person who is living or visiting this place for a reason which might not seem very usual from a city man's point of view.I had a good fortune of meeting Mr. Rahul Godara originally from Punjab who has been spending summers at Kasar hills for the last 4 years, owns a Yoga and Spiritual Tour Company. Mr. Rahul has spent a lot of time in London, studying, working as a Broadway actor and later shifted to Kasar hills. His in-depth knowledge about Hindu Culture and Mythologies made me spent most of my time in the village with him.I had met another amazing personality during my stay in the mystic village, Mr. Shishir Vikas Jain, an entreprenuer, writer, and philosopher who spends most of his time researching in Kasar. This 34-year-old young man has changed the way I think, surpassing all societal norms, he is doing things his way, inspiring people and bringing change in people lives.Some places have such a strong effect on you that it changes a part of you from within. Kasar is one of those places which pushes you to think beyond. This place has such a strong vibration that you can't stop yourself from thinking about life from a different perspective. From strong aura to the picturesque views, from delicious food to cooperative locals, Kasar has triggered something extraordinary which is yet to be explored even by myself.You know that is the thing about traveling, it helps you in moving on. Not only from people and places but from one state of mind to another, to the higher one.
On Day 3 I found my way down to Jeolikote. It was with a few fellow bikers going to Nainital from Hots. Otherwise, it is also pretty easy to get a bus from Almora or hitch a hike, you only need to stick out your arm shamelessly.There is more that Kasar Devi has to offer. A lot of hikes and treks known by the locals are being made famous steadily, and with more travellers finding their way to this quiet haven, the village is also slowly growing in terms of amenities and facilities. Apart from the activities around the place, Kasar is also developing as a Yoga and meditation center.It is a beautiful village not much trampled by the in-humans, and the locals are striving to keep it clean and holy. If you visit Kasar at any point in time, do make it a point to live by their carefully crafted living means, and don't miss the sunrise.
I headed back to Kasar Devi for my last few days, before my dad threatened to disown me if I didn't return. This time, I discovered a new love for music as I spent each evening at Baba Cake, which got its name from the Baba who runs the place and his wife who bakes the most delicious cakes! Jam sessions ensued as people from different cultures got together with the universal language of music.I spent my last day having chai at a stranger's home with Moku singing his original song as the sun set behind the mountains in the backdrop.And I left my home and returned to Mumbai.