Be With Nature At Sitlakhet, Almora - Trekking At Sitlakhet Uttarakhand, India
The sky was bathed in a luminous kind of blue hue. The sky was filled with clouds which were but natural given the time of the year, it was, after all, the rainy season. There were no stars visible in the sky, nor were the Himalayan peaks visible in the distance. What was visible though were the lights of the town of Almora twinkling like stars in the valley below. It was about 5.15 am and sunrise just around the corner at a charmingly secluded little place called Shitlakhet.
Shitlakhet is a quaint hill station nestled high up in the hills near Almora in Kumaon region of Uttarakhand, India, a place that in every sense of the word was a pristine getaway in the lap of nature. Sitlakhet is one of the best places to explore the Himalayas in the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand. The place is yet relatively untouched by commercialization and still preserves its natural ethos. The KMVN Tourist Rest House where we had checked in the previous evening sits prettily on the slope of a hill and overlooks the valley below. The town of Almora can be seen down below, which is at a distance of about 35 kilometers down the winding hilly roads.
Trekking At Sitlakhet Uttarakhand - The Trek To Syahidevi Temple
Sunrise is early in the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand and we were off fairly early on a trek that would take us high up in the hills to an ancient temple by the name of Syahidevi temple. We also hoped to get a good view of the Himalayan peaks as we climbed earlier, but again everything depended on the whims and fancy of the clouds that floated across the horizon in gay abandon.
We took a narrow path, that skirted the Dak Bungalow which stood defiantly in its imperial glory besides the KMVN rest house. We were told that the Dak Bungalow was more than a 100 years old and even the KMVN TRH was the same and both were surviving legacies of the British Raj.
We were five of us off on the morning trek and our dog led the way. When I say our dog, I mean adopted dog. The fact was that dog seemed to have adopted us ever since we checked in to the KMVN TRH at Sitlakhet Uttarakhand. He had greeted all of us like long lost friends and in the morning was up first thing in the morning and had taken up the onerous responsibility of escorting us on our trek.
We made good speed through the forest paths that were covered with a layer of brown and dry pine leaves weaving a carpet of sorts. But the soft looking carpet beneath our feet was deceiving as the leaves, probably because of their soft and silky texture also ensured that the path was a bit slippery. We found this out soon and especially experienced the slippery nature of the pine leaves carpet while descending down the hill.
Our dog kept ahead of us and also periodically circled back to the rear to ensure that all of us were fine. He also went off on short scouting missions to ensure that there was no threat for the approaching party and would signal an all clear!
As we ascended uphill breathing the invigorating mountain air which carried the fragrance of thousands of exotic flowers and fruits, we turned back to gaze at the distant peaks to see if the clouds had cleared. They had not, and we continued uphill enjoying the moment, hardly speaking to each other, lost in the sheer pleasure of being one with nature.
We stopped to admire some flowers here and some fruit trees there. A lily shaped like the head of a cobra drew our attention while a huge Deodhar tree awed us with its symmetrical beauty. Birds cooed in the trees to their heart's content as we strained our eyes and craned our necks to spot them but in vain.
As we moved forward swaying sunflowers enthralled us with their golden beauty. and these lines drawn from Wordsworth and corrupted to fit the occasion came to mind.
When all at once I saw a crowd,
a host of golden sunflowers
On the hill, beneath the trees,
fluttering and dancing in the breeze
Trekking At Sitlakhet Uttarakhand - The Old British Bungalow
We continued climbing the beautiful pine leaf-carpeted path in the woods, our dog still heralding us on our way. It reminded one of the incidents in the Indian mythological classic Mahabharata when the Pandavas leave the world and start ascending the peak called Swargarohini in their quest for heaven. They were followed by a dog all the way. Incidentally, we too were five. But we were not in quest of heaven, in fact, we felt that we were already in heaven. The picturesque beauty that engulfed us from all directions numbed our senses and we felt that there could be no other heaven apart from the place we were in.
We soon reached a stately looking colonial bungalow which must have been more than a hundred years old. The Bungalow, we were informed belonged to a Mr. Bora whose ancestors had bought it from a Britisher along with the huge estate around which was full of fruit orchards. The price that was paid was the princely sum of Rs.2500!
Old colonial style British bungalows have a strange old world charm and aura that is so fascinating. Ever since our visit to McCluskieganj in Jharkhand, our interest in British mansions has been heightened. So when we got an opportunity to see the Bungalow from the inside, we could not resist.
The living room along with a traditional English fireplace was indeed a blast from the past. An old ornamental fan hung from the roof and deer antlers, probably a hunting trophy hung from one of the walls.
What was really fascinating was a dark and make-shift laboratory where they extracted natural oils. It was a complete miniature processing plant.
Authentic Local Kumaon Tea with Snow Capped Peaks
After satiating our curiosity about the old British bungalow and its quaint artifacts we interacted with the family of the caretaker and also took a peep into their traditional kitchen.
We then moved towards a natural ridge behind the Bungalow where we were served cups of herbal tea which tasted like the elixir of life itself. As we lost ourselves in the aroma of the tea, the clouds shifted to unveil the top of some of the peaks of the Himalayan ranges in the distance.
The peaks that can be seen from Shitlakhet are Nanda Devi, Trisul, Chaukhamba, and Panchchuli. The tea and the glimpse of the Himalayas had made our day. That moment carved itself into our minds as a moment in time to be cherished forever in our memories.
We could see the temple of Syahi Devi in the distance, but we had spent a lot of time climbing up and also at the British Bungalow. We had truly enjoyed the journey and had not bothered with our destination. We needed to get back as we were scheduled to leave Shitlakhet shortly, hence we decided to head back in time to grab some breakfast and leave the alluring environs of Shitlakhet with the promise to ourselves that we would return one day to this paradise.
If you loved reading about our trekking experience at Sitlakhet Uttarakhand and wish to go to Sitlakhet then read on as we provide you here more information about Sitlakhet like how to reach Sitlakhet, things to do in Sitlakhet, where to stay in Sitlakhet etc.
How to reach Sitlakhet
Sitlakhet is situated in the Almora district of the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand state in the north of India. It lies at an altitude of 3870 meters above sea level.
Sitlakhet distance from Delhi, the capital of India is about 323 kilometers The nearest railway station to Sitlakhet is Kathgodam which is at a distance of 110 kilometers The nearest airport to Shitlakhet is Pantnagar Airport at a distance of about 147 kilometers Sitlakhet to Almora is about 36 kilometers
Best Time To Visit Shitlakhet
Sitlakhet weather - Best time to visit Shitlakhet is between March to June and September to October.
Things to do in Sitlakhet
Sitlakhet Almora is a lesser known destination in Uttarakhand. It is very near to Almora. It is famous for trekking, birdwatching and photography.
View Himalayan peaks - Trishul, Chaukhamba, Nanda Devi, Panchachuli at Sitalakhet, Uttarakhand, India Visit Chaubattia Orchard which is 10 kilometers away from Shitlakhet. This orchard has apples, apricots, plums and peaches Connect with nature and spot some beautiful birds. There are more than 100 species of birds found in and around Sitlakhet Trek to Syahi Devi temple Visit Jhula Devi Temple which is 7 kilometers away from Shitlakhet Visit Khoont village which is the hometown of freedom fighter Pandit Govind Vallabh Pant
Book cheap flights, hotels, bus tickets and cars on rent here.
Where To Stay When Visiting Sitlakhet Uttarakhand, India
Uttarakhand hotels - If you are planning to visit Shitlakhet Uttarakhand, India, then you must be thinking about Sitlakhet hotels. You must be wondering where to stay in Sitlakhet, Uttarakhand, India or the best hotels in Sitlakhet, Uttarakhand, India. For best accommodation - hotels in Sitlakhet, we suggest checking here. Best hotels in Uttarakhand, India can be booked through HotelsCombined or Booking.com to save huge and get best deals on booking your stay in Uttarakhand, India. Alternatively, you can also stay at KMVN Sitlakhet. Sitlakhet KMVN is ideally located overlooking the town of Almora.
Driving around Uttarakhand, India
If you are looking at getting the best deals on car rental in Uttarakhand, India, then look no further. You can rent a car in Delhi to explore and experience amazing Uttarakhand, and in and around areas and embark on a road trip of exploration and discovery of heavenly Uttarakhand. If you have a valid Indian driving license then you could rent a self-drive car from Delhi or Chandigarh.
You could also travel by bus and reach Almora and reach Sitlakhet in Uttarakhand, India. Almora is well connected with major cities of India like Delhi, Lucknow, and Kolkata.
This blog was originally published on 'Voyager'