Mukteshwar - Unexplored Heaven amidst Scenic Himalayas...

Mukteshwar is a quaint town in the Kumaon Himalayas set at an altitude of 2286 meters (7500 feet), with mesmerizing views of the Kumaon Himalayan peaks, situated 51 km from Nainital, 70 km from Kathgodam, and 343 km from Delhi.

It is said that Jim Corbett, the world renowned hunter and nature lover came to shoot a tiger here and fell in love with its natural beauty. Set amidst the conifer forests and orchards, Mukteshwar offers the most majestic view of the Himalaya and its snow bound peaks. Abundant with apple, plum, peach, and apricot trees, this place is a hidden beauty, mostly unexplored. Mukteshwar's colonial past is vivid in many an old British bungalows as if telling many a stories...

We plan your stay in this unexplored paradise at an equally exotic heritage property - the Somerset Lodge. It is a 99-year old property the typical colonial-style cottage with flowers in full bloom all around its well spread campus that extends to a huge apple orchards down below. A neatly manicured lawn in front of the cottage, serving as a sit out and up ahead in the horizon the panoramic view of the Nepal Himalayas - what else could you have wished for.

Spread over several acres of mountain terrain, this property located in Sargakhet Village in Nainital district of Uttarakhand, is the ancestral home of the Mehra family. It was built by ADC Bacchi Singh Mehra, aide to the Maharaja Jind of Patiala, from 1942-55. The property, which lies 3 kms ahead of Mukteshwar, was opened to visitors some 20 years ago. It has two guest houses – the Somerset Lodge and Oak Chalet -- that are today run by Bacchi Singh ji's grandson Manoj.


 
 

Around is home to wild cats such as leopards and various mountain birds including the Chakors, Magpies, Mynas, Jungle fowl, Babblers and Whistling thrush. The heritage tag of this property is evident in its high ceilings, the cute fireplace, the antique furniture, the well stocked library located in the reading room - the overall feel as you would entered the suit, would surely take you back a hundred years.

For the adventure seeker, tucked away amidst the huge Gahana Orchard, a 15 minute walk through an Oak forest would lead to their other hidden jewel - the Oak Chalet - an all-stone and wood construction - a typical Kumaoni style structure. The walk through the forest inter-speared by the apple orchards through this beautiful Gahana Orchards is undoubtedly very refreshing.

It is an imposing structure having four warm rooms, fitted with all the modern amenities. A separate unit serves as the dinning area. Just ahead of the chalet is a nice all wooden sit-out where the bonfires would light up the night sky and warm up the souls.

As you go exploring Mukteshwar do visit the the Mukteshwar temple area. Take the paved path which offered an awesome valley views as you approach the Chauli ki Jali - an over hanging cliff - a natural latticework on the rock. As per local legends it is believed that if a childless women touches this jali she usually is blessed with a child soon. It is at this rock cliff most of the rappelling and rock climbing is carried out. Its panoramic views are sheer magic difficult perhaps to capture its beauty is mere words.

Thereafter, visit the Mukteshwar temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and has a 'lingam' made of white marbels. The idols of Brahma, Vishnu, Parvati, Ganesha, Nandi & Hanuman surround the lingam. In fact, Mukteshwar gets its name from this 350-year-old temple of Shiva, known as Mukteshwar Dham, situated atop the highest point in the town, on the Indian Veterinary Research Institute's campus. paying your obeisance to the Lord do sit in the serene environment for quite some time meditating.

After that holy communion move a litle further up-hill to the ultimate spot of Mukteshwar. The PWD guest house is located on a ridge and beyond which is sheer wilderness in the backdrop of a jaw dropping views of the almost 280 degree views of the Himalayan snow peaks. Lines of peaks stood out including the Nanda Devi (25,646fts.) Nanda Kot (6926mtr.) Nandaghunti (6380mtrs.) Trishul and the Panchachuli range. Even beyond the Nepal Himalayan ranges can be clearly viewed from here. Soak yourself in this heavenly environment for a long long time and try connecting to the higher self.

In winters Mukteshwar is a truely snowy whitish affair...


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