If you live in Delhi and have a wanderer's mind then you must have visited the lake city, Nainital. Although, the lake city is a marvel in itself, there lies a little haven called Hariyal just 23 kms from the city center. The population here is nothing more than a few hundreds and that's what makes it a perfect place for people looking for solitude. The place remains covered in the snow during the most part of winters. So, best time to go there is January end till April as it is neither too hot not too cold at that time. For most of the parts you have to trek from one place to another rather than taking car or taxi making the village a great Eco-tourism site.
Here is all the information that you need about Hariyal.
How to reach there:
By Bus: One has to Board the bus to Nainital from Anand Vihar ISBT. The journey to Nainital takes 6-7 hours and you will have to spend Rs 275 to reach there. After that it's a 2 hour rough but very scenic journey on a taxi which charges you around Rs 500-600.
By Train: There are various trains running from Old Delhi to Kathgodam, which is the nearest railway station from Nainital. From Kathgodam you can take direct taxi to Hariyal.
Things to do in and near Hariyal:
Visit Pangot: Just 2-3 kms from Hariyal there lies another haven for travelers seeking natural beauty. Pangot valley is famous for the birds that inhabit here. You can easily see various exotic breeds of birds like Himalayan Griffon, Blue-Winged Minla and Rufous Bellied Woodpecker.
Trekking: There are a few trekking trails for the adventurers that takes you through lush green forest. One can also choose a quiet popular trail that starts from Hariyal goes towards Pangot ultimately leading towards Naina Peak. Another trail also leads to Jim Corbett Park.
Visit the locals: One of my favorite activities to do when in Uttarakhand is to visit the sweet locals. They make you feel at home and greet you with huge smiles. Befriend them and you will get to know some amazing stories that are related to the village.
Once Upon A Forest is hand down the best place to stay in Hariyal. The resort has 5 mini huts with best of facilities you can get at a height of 3.5 kms. You can see the whole valley from the resort and trust me the views from the huts are just mind numbing. When it rains you can see the clouds forming below you and when it snow the whole valley looks like a bride with white gown. Far away from the maddening crowds, the hosts here make sure that you have all the required things with you when you need them. Just like the view the food is also just fantabulous and is served hot three times a day. You have the provision of hot water 24 hours a day and if that's not enough there's 24*7 electricity here during the summers. Although, it's not a 5 star resort but the feel that you get while you are here is just beyond even any 7 star hotel.
Days and Budget:
The stay here for a weekend will cost you Rs 4000 which includes guided treks and 3 meals a day. You can book it at Airbnb easily. All in all, if you are looking for a budget trip option from Delhi you can mark this place off your list at a price as low as Rs 6000.