To travel is to live... weekend & mountains !! (Ramgarh & Shitlakhet)

Tripoto
21st Mar 2019
Photo of To travel is to live... weekend & mountains !! (Ramgarh & Shitlakhet) 1/1 by Amer Ghauri
" The view"

Ramgarh - Uttarakhand

History & Info:

Ramgarh also known as “fruit bowl of Kumaon” was founded by Podar family and history dates back to 1791. It is situated at 1500 m above sea level. British used it as cantonment resulting in some beautiful architecture in the region in form of stays and private bungalows. It is said that during the 19th century Ramgarh was one of the richest settlements of India. Few famous personalities are connected to this place like Sri Gorakh Ramji Verma, Rabindra Nath Tagore, Mahadevi Verma & Narain Swami. Place has rich grooves of Peaches, Pears, Apples & Apricots. On a clear day Himalayan range can be seen from here. It is surrounded by thick and dense forests as well.

Day 1

"Himalayas can be seen from Ramgarh"

Photo of Ramgarh, Uttarakhand, India by Amer Ghauri

Options to Explore:

There are many temples you can visit during your stay in Ramgarh, Tuti Jharna temple around 7 km, Mayatungri temple around 5 km, Mata Vaishno Devi temple in Ramgarh cantonment & Kaitha shiv temple around 3 km.

A hilltop called Hartola can be visited it is surrounded by forests & you get a beautiful view of the Himalayas. Nainital is just 35 km so you can visit Nainital attractions as a part of Ramgarh as well.

For waterfall lovers, there is a small yet beautiful bhalu gad falls around 28 km away towards Mukteshwar.

"Mountain dog"

Photo of Ramgarh, Uttarakhand, India by Amer Ghauri

Climate:

Climate is beautiful throughout the year; Summers are starting from April to June during these months weather varies between 30 to 15-degree C. Monsoons occupy most of July & August I would not recommend to visit during monsoons as you cannot move too much around moreover the road conditions can get bad. Autumns from September to November again a good time to visit. December & January can be a little harsh but good for snow lovers, temperature varies between 2 to 10-degree C. February & march spring season also can be visited as it has clear views and blue skies.

Accommodation:

It offers variety of accommodation from luxurious cottages to budget home stay & some commercial hotels. I selected Sara’s Chalet in Dudkhanedar which is around 14 km ahead of Ramgarh for 1st halt.

Recommended properties in the region: Sara’s Chalet, Bob’s Place, Woodnotes, The Barkat cottages, Taradale cottage & Versha homestay.

Experience:

Time has been a major constraint when it comes on deciding where to go, I believe even if we spend our entire life traveling the Himalayas it's not enough. We were a group of nine people, seven coming from Delhi & two of them from Kanpur so we decided Uttarakhand as its closer from Delhi & Kanpur both. I have been traveling in Uttarakhand since I was a child so I have a fair bit of knowledge of the region & good places within the state. Idea of this trip was more of a relaxing & spending time amongst friends, so I had to make sure we don't spend most our time on road just driving and reaching destinations & repeat.

I picked the higher point of Ramgarh, we can be away from the noise and crowd of Nainital and also enjoy the nature and my favorite view of "the Himalayas". Roads are mostly good to drive & snow lovers can witness snow in winters as well. In my opinion it's a good halt for first night for people coming from plains. I'm choosy when it comes to accommodations, particularly when we have many to choose from, I went through many properties and finalized one of the best cottages in the region called the Sara's Chalet.

"Sara's Chalet"

Photo of Dudkanedhar, Bhowali Range, Uttarakhand by Amer Ghauri

As the name suggests it is purely a chalet, cottages are not too clustered, Exteriors & interiors are excellent it has a contemporary touch to it. It was clean and had a nice view of valley and the Himalayan range on a clear day. They have a great team of staff very kind & helpful as most of the mountain people. We had our refreshments of tea & coffee and requested them to prepare lunch as all of us were very hungry. We had lunch in open air just outside the cottage where we could hear birds singing, cottage was surrounded with apple orchards with flowers on them giving them the rustic look of nature. Cozy breeze blowing with sunshine just enough to make you feel the vibes. After relaxing a little.

"porch outside the cottage"

Photo of Dudkanedhar, Bhowali Range, Uttarakhand by Amer Ghauri

We decided to take a walk around the village we came across some local people from the village with innocent eyes and ever smiling faces, these little things can make me happy. Just above the cottage there was a temple which was closed but it had stunning view in all directions. One side you can see entire village of Dudkanedhar, on one side you can see the valley towards Ramgarh and the other side were the mountains. sky was fascinating blue what we generally witness in the mountains, I wish I could see the same color of sky one day in cities.

"blue sky & the apple orchards with flowers"

Photo of Dudkanedhar, Bhowali Range, Uttarakhand by Amer Ghauri

Sun was setting and we did not have too much of time to explore so we decided to have refreshments and head back to our cottages. We spent some quality time with friends as most of us knew each other since school with music in the background & drinking on the table. Wonderful barbecue was organized by the staff which added on the pleasure, weather was just perfect, bonfire in place, full moon in the background and delicious food to end a well spent day.

"view towards Ramgarh from temple"

Photo of Dudkanedhar, Bhowali Range, Uttarakhand by Amer Ghauri

"local house near the temple"

Photo of Dudkanedhar, Bhowali Range, Uttarakhand by Amer Ghauri

"local house & the lady"

Photo of Dudkanedhar, Bhowali Range, Uttarakhand by Amer Ghauri

"a road to find out"

Photo of Dudkanedhar, Bhowali Range, Uttarakhand by Amer Ghauri

"bonfire with a full moon"

Photo of Dudkanedhar, Bhowali Range, Uttarakhand by Amer Ghauri

Shitlakhet – Uttarakhand

History & Info:

Shitlakhet, situated at 1785 m above sea level is truly a hidden gem, a tiny village situated in the Almora district of Uttarakhand. It is just 25 km away from a well known Ranikhet. Not so common amongst the tourist it makes the village a must see in my opinion. I couldn't find much about its history but yes, its name “Shitlakhet” means Cool farms.

Day 2

"terrace farms & the valley view from Shitlakhet"

Photo of Shitlakhet, Uttarakhand, India by Amer Ghauri

Options to Explore:

Uttarakhand is land of temples & gods and yet again on a hill top you can visit Syahi devi temple for the enthralling views of the mountains. Golu devta mandir around 2 km, Mahadev temple around 3 km, Katarmal surya temple around 4 km.

As it does not offer tourists spots which is ideal for a nature lover, you can walk around the beautiful terrace farms. Entire valley is engrossed by pine forests and somehow, I felt very positive energy in the area.

Looking at the commercial aspect Ranikhet is the nearest big settlement from Shitlakhet approximately 30 km away.

" forest fuel"

Photo of Salla Rautela, Uttarakhand, India by Amer Ghauri

Climate:

Weather is nice throughout the year, like other regions of Uttarakhand good time to visit is February to June & September to October. Snow lovers will definitely witness a snowfall during winters when temperature drops to 1 to 2-degree C.

Accommodation:

It does not offer too much of options but there are few good ones close to the village. I chose a perfect glamping place called Nayalap just 2.5 km from Shitlakhet.

Recommended properties in the region Nayalap, KMVN guest house, Onella, Anant rasa & Pinewood cliff.

Experience:

From Ramgarh, we took the road lesser known for Shitlakhet. Drive on this road was best of the trip. Changing landscapes from terrace farms to alpine forests, with Rhododendrons in full bloom took me to another level of so called “life in nature”. Road was that narrow that at many points only a single vehicle can pass, irony is hardly 1 or 2 vehicles crossed us & that was my preference & intention which paid off well.

"en route Shitlakhet"

Photo of Shitlakhet, Uttarakhand, India by Amer Ghauri

After few hours of drive we reached to our glamping sight, a hidden Zion called "Nayalap" hosted by Tanuja. Every luxurious tent is situated far from each other considering the privacy which I loved. Tents were spacious, clean and designed with a great taste of interiors. We were welcomed with Rhododendron juice on the house. As usual we had refreshments upon arrival which for me was a strong coffee to get back the energy as I try my best not to waste even a minute when I'm in the mountains. It was small and quiet village called Salla Rautela near Shitlakhet where Nayalap is situated.

"Nayalap"

Photo of Nayalap - Rural Himalayan Glamping, Post Shitlakhet, Uttarakhand, India by Amer Ghauri

After a bit of stretching we asked Tanuja if we could see the sunset & the peaks as it was already late afternoon, she drove us to a point approximately 2-3 km from the property and from there we started to walk uphill through the pine forest & the walk was just perfect due to the orange shade of dried up grass & the pines around gives us a typical "Almora feel"

"walk through the forest"

Photo of Salla Rautela, Uttarakhand, India by Amer Ghauri

We could witness both the beautiful sunset & the majestic peaks Trishul, Nandadevi & Nandakot from the spot. Got some very good pictures, as the sky was dancing with different colors on one side and the peaks glazing on the other. It’s never easy to decide where to keep your eyes when you have so much to see in a moment. We also got lucky to see 3 Jackals in that forest though it was hardly for seconds as they just ran away. I can sit for hours there and stare at the nature. The sun was almost down, we decided to walk back to Nayalap as we were not equipped to walk after dark through the forests not even torch. But the memory of being there was deep

"sunset near Salla Rautela"

Photo of Salla Rautela, Uttarakhand, India by Amer Ghauri

"the peaks on the other side"

Photo of Salla Rautela, Uttarakhand, India by Amer Ghauri

We arrived back to Nayalap and it felt so nice as it was so quiet, serene & in the background we could see Almora glittering which added the wow factor to the place. We decided to take a break as some needed shower some needed to stretch and we will catch up after a while. Bonfire was arranged by the staff, drinks on the table, old friends around, combination of Kumaoni & Indian food, soft music in the background & forest essence, what could have been a better way to call off a night.

"Almora glittering"

Photo of Nayalap - Rural Himalayan Glamping, Post Shitlakhet, Uttarakhand, India by Amer Ghauri

"Nayalap at night"

Photo of Nayalap - Rural Himalayan Glamping, Post Shitlakhet, Uttarakhand, India by Amer Ghauri

"dinner with friends"

Photo of Nayalap - Rural Himalayan Glamping, Post Shitlakhet, Uttarakhand, India by Amer Ghauri

March is usually not the best of the months to capture still motivated from the energy I feel in the mountains I started my day early, despite missing the sunrise marginally I got lucky to see the clear view of peaks. Early mornings are entirely different than days and evenings in the mountains, that aura, the mist, mountains forming layers, peaks shining in the horizon, music of nature, early morning sunshine can spruce my life.

Day 3

"dawn breaks at Nayalap"

Photo of Nayalap - Rural Himalayan Glamping, Post Shitlakhet, Uttarakhand, India by Amer Ghauri

"early morning view from Nayalap"

Photo of Nayalap - Rural Himalayan Glamping, Post Shitlakhet, Uttarakhand, India by Amer Ghauri

After spending some time alone, I joined the group for breakfast as it was our last day, I was already feeling not so good about it, that's what friends are for right? We had delicious breakfast together and before we could head back, we asked Tanuja again if we could do just about something on the way back, Farm tour was perfect option as it was close and would not take too much of time so we decided to visit a local farm. I couldn't go because I was traveling with my two cats (Coco & Mishy) probably the next time but my friends loved the experience & they also bought organic veggies, some spices to help the farmer.

"breakfast"

Photo of Nayalap - Rural Himalayan Glamping, Post Shitlakhet, Uttarakhand, India by Amer Ghauri

"around the property"

Photo of Nayalap - Rural Himalayan Glamping, Post Shitlakhet, Uttarakhand, India by Amer Ghauri

"view from our tent"

Photo of Nayalap - Rural Himalayan Glamping, Post Shitlakhet, Uttarakhand, India by Amer Ghauri

Summarizing the mountain trips are always depressing to me, I take few days to recover when I reach back to the chaos in cities. I wish one day I could be a part of life in the mountains and help myself to become a better human being than I am today. I strongly believe that travel is the best form of education.

"time to say ciao"

Photo of Nayalap - Rural Himalayan Glamping, Post Shitlakhet, Uttarakhand, India by Amer Ghauri

Road map:

Noida to Rampur through NH9 is a total of 190 km , with a lot of options to gobble up in Gajraula, Everyone will be satisfied to see options like, Moga, KFC, Mc Donald's, Udupiwala providing a variety in accordance with cuisine and budget.

From Rampur to Ramgarh is a distance of 145 km which you can do with 2 options available, providing google map reference for your better understanding.

Route 1: Via Bazpur to Kaladhungi and then crossing Nainital to Ramgarh. I took this route as its more quiet, moreover you get to see the mountains a little sooner plus it covers a good patch of forest and the way is more scenic. Road conditions are good with minimum lags.

Route 2: Via Rudrapur to Haldwani then reach Kathgodam, and then drive further to Bhimtal from there you join route 1 at Bhowali till Ramgarh. It is the shortest road, driving conditions are good. this route also offers well equipped market in Haldwani where you can get what you need.

Rampur to Ramgarh (Route 1 & 2)

Photo of To travel is to live... weekend & mountains !! (Ramgarh & Shitlakhet) by Amer Ghauri

On Day two from Ramgarh to Shitlakhet there are three options, you can take what suits you.

Route 1: 70 km of road is the fastest through NH109 via Bhowali, it is a good option in case you are short on time or want to drive straight to the location with minimum risks.

Route 2: Via Nathuakhan & Peora ( 76km) which we took, is less traveled by tourists resulting in no traffic at all, only one vehicle overtook us during our entire drive. It is more scenic and you get a glimpse of the rural Kumaon.

Route 3: Via Bhatelia & Mukteshwar is 80 km long, again a rural drive mostly locals are commuting through the road. You can enjoy a lovely waterfall of bhalu gaad, It will connect you to route 2 in Kaphura to Shitlakhet.

Ramgarh to Shitlakhet route options

Photo of To travel is to live... weekend & mountains !! (Ramgarh & Shitlakhet) by Amer Ghauri

On the way back instead of coming back from same road, we chose to drove via Ranikhet & Ramnagar (Jim Corbett) and then back to Delhi. If you have an hour or two to spare i would recommend this route. You get to see a scenic views from Ranikhet and also drive is better in terms of traffic, noise & scenery. Nonetheless you also get to drive through Jim Corbett and if you are lucky enough can spot wild animals on the way.

Conclusion:

Guys suggestions, questions & opinions would be highly appreciated, i would love to hear from you, improve the way i can share the experience & information to help the travel community. Happy traveling to all the good souls out there. You can reach me on Instagram-Opulentnature & Facebook-Amer Ghauri.

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