Mukteshwar, a small town nestled in the Kumaon Hills (Lower Himalayas in the Northern part of India) at an altitude of 2286 meters from sea level, offers a quick escape from Delhi. At a distance of 395 km from Delhi and well connected with highways and motorable roads, it is a quick weekend destination in any season round the year.

I had my opportunity in November 2011 when I tagged along with my brother and his friends. We set out on a pleasant Friday evening after work in a 13 seater Tempo Traveller.

The Bad Begining (day 0)

Well, lets just say we ran behind schedule – mostly due to a bad choice of transport provider. The driver kept us swirling in Delhi for hours for this tax payment and that paperwork. It was only by midnight that we could see the NCR fading past in the rear-view mirrors. No lesson here – we all know it really helps to have a smart driver and all papers are in order. We drove the night, near Moradabad it was very thick fog and we might have crawled.

Rise and Shine – its mountain time (day 1)

We woke up, though a few of us did not sleep, to a beautiful bright morning with snow capped mountains in distant view. Photo-enthusiasts couldn’t hold it any longer and we stopped for 10 minutes to click.

Part of the Himalayan Range in distant view

After some more getting lost and U-turns we managed to reach Mountain Trail at Mukteshwar by noon.

The Resort

The resort staff was very courteous. After formalities we were in our respective deluxe rooms. Each room had attached bath with hot water and a sit-out area to enjoy the view. After freshening up and having lunch we decided to go for a small trek. The plan was to come back in time to watch the sunset.

Mountain Trail entry
the other side
A small trek to Lamahanga waterfall (day 1)

One of the hotel staff took us to a nearby waterfall called Lamahanga – reaching there involved a small but dangerous trek down the mountain. After the overload of calories during lunch, this activity was well deserved.

The small trek to the waterfall was a bit risky and a lot more taxing
From top of the fall

After some playfull time at the nearly dried up water fall we were all excited to witness the magical sunset by the resort.

The Salubrious Sunset (day 1)

We climbed about a km to reach the Sunset View Point, which is located inside a private property. We were offered herb teas there: at INR50, it was quite pricey and a single sip told us it was totally worthless. If you happen to be there, you might want to avoid it.

Colors of sunset

Back at the resort, against the resort staff’s warning about bitterly cold nights, we had a star-lit dinner by the bonfire. Targeting an early rise to witness the sunrise, I slept peacefully.

The Magical Morning (day 2)

I woke to panic because it was not much time to the sunrise, took my camera, heavier jacket and headed to the view point again along with two of other friends. We were at the peak by 5:30 AM, and soon after the magic started unfolding.

The breaking dawn
Here he comes after all that hoopla
Some Adrenaline (day 2)

Breakfast was another heavy affair – I keep on talking about ‘feasting’ because at Mountain Trail, they fed us really well. Every meal exceeded our expectations. The variety, quantity, and quality of food was value for money – it didn’t seem that pricey either.

The resort called upon local rappelling and climbing experts for us and we set out on winning over our fears at the area’s steepest Mukteshwar Cliff called ‘Chauthi ki Jali’. A single flight of rappelling and climbing for one person cost INR 300.

Rappelling at Mukhteshwar Cliff (Chauti ki Jali)
Climbing at Mukteshwar Cliff (Chauthi ki Jali)

The area also offers paragliding activities (@ INR2500 per person for a single flight the last we checked) – may be next time. We ended our Mukteshwar vacation by paying a quick visit to the nearby Shiva Temple by 11:30 AM and headed back.

Now it would be an injustice if you leave the district of Nainital without visiting Nainital. Hence, out of respect and a lot out of cannibalising hunger (side effects of rappelling and climbing), we decided to take a slight detour to Nainital.

The Nainital (day 2)

It was a quick visit but we managed to accomodate boating in the Nainital lake and lunch at a lakeside hotel.

A partial view of the Nainital Lake and town
From steering wheel to rows, from city traffic to open lake
The lanes of sleepy mountain towns have so much to offer

By 3:30 PM we set out of Nainital. We will take one more stop for dinner enroute Delhi and reach home by midnight.

The closing notes –

  • It cost us INR5000 per person for the entire trip.
  • Hot water and sometimes water may not be readily available on the mountains and hence use it respectfully.
  • Carry sufficient clothes so that you don’t have to indulge in laundry during your stay in these resorts. Water is scarce there and any Laundry is costly.
  • Carry a driving map – it is easy to get lost.
  • Phone signals don’t vanish and ATMs are available – not a worry!

Have a good time if you are going to be there any weekend. 🙂

Some more pictures: