Himalayas have inspired generations. Before the wanderlusting millennial crowd was even born, writers, mystics and several creative individuals had been charmed by the beauty of these high mountains. Many of them even made it their home. Some came here to travel and never left, some returned every summer to spend sunny afternoons in quaint villages and some of them walked from town to town as mystics would. If you travel in the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand, there are several lesser-known small towns and villages where the locals still remember the summer visits of writers who made these places their creative hideouts.
Curious to know where they lived? Here are some of the popular homes of famous writers in the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand.
Thomsom House of Almora
This house has a rich history of hosting some of the most prominent personalities of Indian as well as world history. Swami Vivekanand has been known for his journey throughout Uttarakhand and the locals have long remembered his visit to various villages and towns in this region. Most of the people who have grown up here have heard the story of his visit to Almora by foot and the of enlightenment he attained under a tree near Kakrighat.
It was here at Thomson House in Almora that he started the publication of Prabudh Bharat in 1898. Although after one year he shifted to Advait Ashram or Mayavati Ashram near Champavat. Interestingly, Nobel Laureate Ronald Ross was also born in this Thomson house during the 1847 revolt when his parents fled the plains and spent sometime in the safer environs of Almora.
Advait Ashram, Mayavati in Champavat
Another famous visit of Swami Vivekanand was from the plains to Lohaghat via Dhanachuli. During one of his visits to the Kumaon Hills, Swami Vivekananda fell in love with the little town of Champawat. His disciples, later Swami Swarupananda and Captain GH Savior initiated a construction of an Ashram here which is now operated by the Ramkrishna Mission. After the death of Captain Savior Swami Vivekananda visited Advait Aashram during 1901 and stayed here for two months.
Jim Corbett's House in Kaladhungi
Jim Corbett spent a major part of his life in Nainital and Kaladhungi. His exploits in the jungle during the times when the local villagers were living under the mortal threat of man eater leopards here are well-documented in the book, Man-Eaters of Kumaon. This bungalow was built by Jim Corbett in 1922 as his winter home. Jim and his sister lived here till 1947 and the house was then sold to Chiranjee Lal before he left for Kenya. The house has now been turned into a museum. If you're visiting Nainital, do stop by on your way from Haldwani to Nainital near Kaladhungi to visit this forgotten yet beautiful house.
Anashakti Ashram in Kausani
Mahatma Gandhi visited Ananshakti Ashram in the late 1920s and ever since then the locals have relished the memories of the visit Bapu in Kausani. This Aashram in Kausani is located amidst a panoramic view of the Himalayan range. Back in 1929 when Mahatma Gandhi visited Kausani, he wrote his treatise on Anashakti ('detachment') Yoga here. Today there's a 24 room accommodation facility available for visitors who wish to stay here. The ashram offers a great library which consist of books on Mahatma Gandhi, his times, life and peers. There's a meditation room and a museum too showcasing Gandhi's visit to Kausani.
Tagore Top in Malla Ramgarh
Ramgarh is a quaint little village at a distance of 52 km from the last railhead in Kathgodam. A short drive away from Mukteshwar, in Malla Ramgarh, there's a secret hideout of the first Nobel Laureate of India. Not many people who visit Ramgarh know about this secret location. Tagore first came here in 1903 and later returned to Ramgarh and travelled to Almora quite a few times between 1927 to 37. Today the house lies in dilapidated condition and there was also a fire incident that happened here a few years ago. To reach Tagore top you have to trek for 4 km from the road-head. Although not much of that house is left now, it's still a beautiful hike.
Tagore House in Almora
As mentioned earlier during his visits to Kumaon, Tagore also visited the famous hill station of Almora. He stayed in a house which was then known as Bunglow Number 5, Saint Marks House. The house was built between 1815 and 1832. Tagore stayed in this house during the month of May and June during 1937. He wrote about his stay in this house in his book called Smarika. During his stay he completed works like Akashdeep, Navjatak and Senjuti.
Mahadevi Verma's house in Malla Ramgarh
Mahadevi Verma has often written abut her house in Malla Ramgarh in her works. There are stories about many locals visited her and brought her fresh fruits and vegetables from the terraced farms surrounding her house. Mahadevi Verma's house in Malla Ramgrah has been restored into a museum dedicated to the writer. Upon visiting this place you can visit her library, office and bedroom. Artifacts like her writing desk, drafts and utensils have been put on display. The house still inspires any creative soul who is curious enough to find this secret hideout of a much loved writer of her times.
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