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10 Amazing Offbeat places to visit in Uttarakhand

By Amitabh Das - May 15, 2020
Uttarakhand

The land of mist, lakes, and mountains; Uttarakhand – is one of the most popular destinations among nature-loving tourists. We bring to you some of the offbeat places to visit in Uttarakhand in this curated list. Though there are a lot of popular places and must-visits in the destination, you are sure to be awed by the hidden gems in the list of offbeat places to visit in Uttarakhand. So pack your bags and experience this beautiful Indian state like never before by planning a trip to these offbeat getaways.

Person hiking to top of mountains from an offbeat places to visit in Uttarakhand
The Hills calling (Credits: Pixabay)

Top 10 Offbeat places in Uttarkhand to visit in 2020

  • Pangoot – birdwatching and nature treks
  • Nanda Devi national park – a high altitude getaway
  • Landsdowne – perfect for camping
  • Rajaji national park – Indulge in some Eco-tourism
  • Chaukori – set amidst the picturesque mountains
  • Lohajung – base for winter treks
  • Auli – Skiing midst the might slopes
  • Mana – The last Indian Village
  • Chakrata – Forests and waterfalls
  • Barkot – scenic offbeat town

1. Pangoot – birdwatching and nature treks

Beautiful Pangoot village one of the offbeat places to visit in Uttarakhand
Pangoot: A Birdwatchers’ paradise (Credits: Susmita Debnath|Wikimedia commons)

A picturesque hamlet tucked in the Naina Devi range and accessible from Nainital and Kathgodam, Pangoot is a quaint and serene quick getaway from Delhi for nature and bird watching enthusiasts. Good to go in any seasons except monsoons, you can also expect a fair amount of snow in the winter months and very mild climate all year around. There are quite a few stay and camp options that range from affordable to sustainable luxury and sure can lift up your spirits up by letting you bask in the quiet glory of mother nature. Pangoot surely qualifies as one of the top offbeat places to visit in Uttarakhand.

Best time for visiting: Except monsoons, can visit anytime in the year
Ideal duration of stay: 2-3 nights.
Things to do: Stay in an Eco-resort or camp, right in the middle of the wilderness, go for a small nature hike to one of the local villages, trek to a waterfall a short distance from the village
Suited for: Couples, families, friends group, elderly people.
Accessibility from: A 6-7 hrs drive from Delhi. The nearest railway-head/airport is Kathgodam/Pantnagar both a 1-2 hours drive away.
Popular Places to stay:
Tips and Tricks: Please carry all the necessary things for your stay from Kathgodam or Nainital as very limited options are available in the village. Mobile networks can be very shady, BSNL only works well. Look out for Leeches while going for nature hikes in the forest trail, recommended to take a local guide, usually the property will arrange that with a smile 🙂

2. Nanda Devi national park – a high altitude getaway and a great offbeat places to visit in Uttarakhand

View of Nanda Devi peak from the national park one of the offbeat places to visit in Uttarakhand
View of Nanda Devi peak from the national park (Credits: Anirban | Wikimedia Commons)

High on the list of offbeat places to visit in Uttarakhand, this national park was created around the Nanda Devi peak to protect protects a range of severely endangered flora and fauna in a very fragile ecosystem. This UNESCO world heritage site remains covered in snow for about 6 months a year and is inaccessible during that period from Oct-Apr. During the other months, the park can be accessed from Lata Village which is about 23 km from Joshimath. Only basic camping activities are permitted as it is a notified biosphere reserve.

Best time for visiting: April to June, accessible till Sep, monsoon month to be avoided as its a heavy landslide-prone area
Ideal duration of stay: 2-3 nights.
Things to do: Bask in the panoramic view of peaks, nature trails, hiking, and camping.
Suited for: Adventure seekers, couples, group of friends
Accessibility from: Dehradun is the nearest airport – about 14-16 hours away, its recommended to break the journey at Rishikesh and Joshimath as altitude is very high.
Popular Places to stay: Only basic homestays in late village, camp stays in park vicinity.
Tips and Tricks: Please take help of licenced guides who organise treks to the interior of the park, mobile network is almost non-existence and all essentials have to be bought from Joshimath.

3. Landsdowne – perfect for camping

Tucked perfectly in sylvan surroundings of Garhwal region, this picture-perfect cantonment town gives you an unparalleled view of the lofty peaks with a serene lake view. It is also surrounded by lush green vegetation during Sep-Nov making this an ideal time to check out nature in its best form. Also being an army base it is very properly maintained and is a recent addition to the offbeat sights in the Pauri-Garhwal region. Lal being near to the capital, these places qualifies as an ideal short getaway from Delhi for a quick weekend trip to relax and rejuvenate.

Bhulla Tal lake view one of the offbeat places to visit in Uttarakhand
Bhulla Tal Lake in Landsdowne (Credits: Priyambada Nath | Wikimedia Commons)

Best time for visiting: All year round except monsoon season
Ideal duration of stay: 2-3 nights.
Things to do: Camping, nature hikes, visit Garwhali museum, Bhulla Tal, St. Mary’s Church
Suited for: Couples, family, group of friends
Accessibility from: A 5-6 hours drive from Delhi or 3-4 hours from Dehradun, the Nearest railhead/airport is Dehradun.
Popular Places to stay: The Alpine resort, Van Vilas, Seclude Landsdowne, Blue pine resort, Eden resort
Tips and Tricks: Try getting a room with a view of the lake Bhulla Tal for an idyllic mountain/lake setting.

4. Rajaji national park – Indulge in some Eco-tourism from the offbeat places to visit in Uttarakhand

An alternate to its more famous cousin Jim Corbett, it is one of the offbeat places to visit in Uttarakhand. In contrast to Corbett, a visit to this park is highly recommended if you want to enjoy nature sustainably through a lot of its Eco-tourism offering. Easily accessible from both Haridwar and Rishikesh, this park is situated on both flanks of the holy river Ganges. Also, a variety of flora and fauna are protected within the environs of the park, the notable among them tigers, leopards, and elephants.

A view of Rajaji National park from Safari one of the offbeat places to visit in Uttarakhand
Rajaji National Park (Credits: Deepak Berwal | Wikimedia Commons)

Best time for visiting: November to June
Ideal duration of stay: 2-3 nights.
Things to do: Safari, Elephant rides, boating
Suited for: Couples, family, group of friends
Accessibility from: An hours drive from Rishikesh or Haridwar, the nearest airport is Dehradun.
Popular Places to stay: Wild Brook retreat, V resorts, Veda5 Ayurveda & Yoga Retreat, NaturOville Himalayan Wellness Retreat
Tips and Tricks: Try booking an Eco-Luxury Resort by the banks of Ganges- the feel of staying in luxury amidst the wilderness.

5. Chaukori – set amidst the picturesque mountains

Set among the peaks of western Himalayas, Chaukori is an offbeat hill station. Interestingly, the name Chaukori in Hindi literally translates to a bowl and that’s how the neat town is tucked in within the valleys demarcated by lofty mountains. It is also one of the few places where you will get to see tea gardens in the Kumaon range with the backdrop of mighty Nanda Devi and Panchchuli peaks. This surely qualifies as one among the scenic offbeat places to visit in Uttarakhand. The locals are heartwarming and will happily share with you the legends of the many temples which are in the vicinity of the picture-perfect hamlet.

Backdrop of Chaukori village a beautiful hamlet among offbeat places to visit in Uttarakhand
Backdrop of Chaukori (Credits: Shubhachemu | Wikimedia Commons)

Best time for visiting: All round the year except monsoons, monsoon month to be avoided as its a heavy landslide-prone area
Ideal duration of stay: 2-3 nights.
Things to do: Visit Arjuneshwar Shiva Temple, Visit hanging rocks, visit Patal Bhubaneshwari
Suited for: Couples, family, group of friends, Pilgrimage groups
Accessibility from: Delhi is about 10-12 hrs by road with an all year connectivity. The nearest airport is Pantnagar about 5-6 hrs drive
Popular Places to stay: Summit Parwati, The Misty mountains, Ojaswi resort, KMVN tourist rest house.
Tips and Tricks: Ideally suited for just relaxing and taking in the mountain views and enjoy the nature – no adventure activity as such. The roads might get bumpy especially in the rainy season.

6. Lohajung – base for winter treks among the offbeat places to visit in Uttarakhand

This place fits the saying “the drive is more important than the destination as such“. A hidden gem in the upper reaches of Chamoli district, this small hamlet is the base of many popular trekking routes like Roopkund, Brahmatal, Ali Bugyal, etc. Also, if you are approaching the hamlet from Nainital or Haldwani you are bound to be mesmerized by one of the most scenic drives in this region of Himalayas. Secondly, most of the road is well maintained and crosses numerous river crossings, postcard villages and Lush oak, pine, and rhododendron forests. The good part is the road is accessible throughout the year, though it might get a coat of snow in the winters.

An idyllic river on the way to Lohajung one of the offbeat places to visit in Uttarakhand
On the way to Lohagunj (Credits: Arijit | Wikimedia Commons)

Best time for visiting: All round the year except monsoons, monsoon month to be avoided as its a heavy landslide-prone area
Ideal duration of stay: 2-3 nights.
Things to do: Base camp for Roopkund, Brahmatal treks.
Suited for: Trekking groups
Accessibility from: Pantnagar/Kathgodam is about 10-12 hrs by road with an all year connectivity. The nearest airport is Pantnagar.
Popular Places to stay: Basic homestays, there is a Govt guest house which requires prior reservation
Tips and Tricks: Go for an all-inclusive trek package that will take care of your food and stay.

7. Auli – Skiing midst the might slopes

Auli is arguable of the best Ski resorts in the Himalayas which gives commanding views of the Garhwal and Kumaon mountain ranges. It can be accessed by a cable car ride from Joshimath, which is also one of the longest cable car connection in India. The Skiing activities are popular in winter months, though you can visit the charming town all throughout the year. You can also opt for professional Ski packages which are provided by registered service providers. Also, there is a lot of resort stays coming up in recent times near the hill station, in case you just want to relax and let the magical sight of snow seep into your senses!

View of Auli ski slopes
View of Auli in winters (Credits: Amit Shaw | Wikimedia commons)

Best time for visiting: All round the year except monsoons. Winter months From Dec-Feb for Skiing. Monsoon month to be avoided as its a heavy landslide-prone area
Ideal duration of stay: 2-3 nights.
Things to do: Skiing, nature treks
Suited for: Adventure sports enthusiasts, Trekking groups
Accessibility from: 10-12 hours from Rishikesh/Dehradun. Recommended to take a halt in Rishikesh if you are driving from Delhi. The nearest airport is Dehradun.
Popular Places to stay: Clifftop club, Blue poppy resort, Manik resort, Royal Village
Tips and Tricks: Please come prepared with Ski gear. Or go for a pre-paid package by contacting your resort as on the spot rentals are very high. You can also choose for an economical stay in Joshimath, and take the cable car to reach Auli.

8. Mana – This last Indian Village – farthest among the offbeat places to visit in Uttarakhand.

This beautiful hamlet by the banks of river Saraswati is as far as you can go in the upper reaches of the Himalayas in the Chamoli region. Surely one of the best offbeat places to visit in Uttarakhand, the high altitude picturesque location is just 24 km away from the Indo-Tibet border and is officially recognized as the last village of India. Though connected by motorable road from Joshimath, this village is cut off totally for the better part of the year. You will find interesting anecdotes here on the lines of the last village like the last Indian coffee, last tea shop, etc. Mana also holds religious significance as its believed to be the place where Pandavas of the Mahabharat legend made their way towards heaven. Also, the sights of heavenly mountains and sounds of waterfalls are literally not comparable to any other offbeat destination.

Mana - the last Indian village the farthest among offbeat places to visit in Uttarakhand
Mana Village (Credits: Manoj Khurana | Wikimedia Commons)

Best time for visiting: May to June, accessible till late Sep. Monsoon months to be avoided due to chances of heavy landslides
Ideal duration of stay: 1-2 nights.
Things to do: Neelkanth peak view, Tapt kund, Vasundhara waterfalls, Bheema pul
Suited for: Adventure seekers, pilgrimage groups.
Accessibility from: 14-18 hours from Rishikesh/Dehradun. Recommended to take a halt in Rishikesh and Joshimath if you are driving from Delhi. The nearest airport is Dehradun.
Popular Places to stay: Stay options are better near Badrinath, only a few homestay or camp stay options available in the Village.
Tips and Tricks: Very basic stay options – so you can surely carry your camping gear. Get up close with the locals in a tea stall to hear mythical stories surrounding this place.

9. Chakrata – Forests and waterfalls

If you are looking to visit a mesmerizing and offbeat place away from the crowds near Dehradun, Chakrata is an idyllic getaway. Offering an ideal weather all throughout the year coupled with the gorgeous landscape of the village surely makes this place a dreamy hill station. Also, if you fancy snowfall, this place receives its fair share during the winter months from Jan to mid-Feb. Secondly, there are a lot of nature-based activities you can take up nearby which will keep tourists of all age groups pretty occupied. Also our recommendation – just relax with a piping cup of coffee with a view of the gorgeous mountain backdrop through your windows.

A view of scenic Chakrata town an nature getaway among offbeat places to visit in Uttarakhand
Chakrata (Credits: Manoj Panchal | Wikimedia commons)

Best time for visiting: All throughout the year
Ideal duration of stay: 2-3 nights.
Things to do: Tiger falls, Kanasar, adventure parks, Deoban forest, Kimona falls
Suited for: Couples, families, elderlies
Accessibility from: 2-3 hours from Dehradun, nearest airport/railhead is Dehradun
Popular Places to stay: Himalayan Eco-lodge, Deodar dream resort, Kanasar Eco-lodge
Tips and Tricks: For active groups – check out Yamuna adventure park for some water activities. Try out waterfall rappelling in Kimona falls. Enjoy the local cuisine. Camping activities are very popular but please pre-book the same with experienced agencies. You might need a camping guide too.

10. Barkot – A scenic town among the offbeat places to visit in Uttarakhand

A sleepy town frozen in time and tucked away in the laps of Uttarkashi, Barkot figures in our list of offbeat places to visit in Uttarakhand. Lost in time and Away from hustles of the city, this place offers an uninterrupted view of some great massifs like Banderpunch peak. Also, Yamunotri Glacier is just 50 km away from this scenic town. And there are a lot of Ashrams and sanctuaries in this hamlet if you are looking for a spiritual and enlightening experience. In addition, for adventure seekers, there are a lot of treks starting in the Yamunotri region from Barkot.

A view of Barkot town
Barkot (Credits: Ankit Bijiwan | Wikimedia commons)

Best time for visiting: Unlike other places this town is best visited during the monsoon months. But you can visit it all throughout the year
Ideal duration of stay: 1-2 nights.
Things to do: Visit Yamunotri, hot springs in Surya Kund, trekking routes like Dawra top, Dodi Tal
Suited for: Couples, families, pilgrimage groups
Accessibility from: 4-5 hours from Dehradun, nearest airport/railhead is Dehradun
Popular Places to stay: Garhwal palace, Rigveda resort, many camp stay options available.
Tips and Tricks: Do check out some short nature treks to Dodi tall. Take a dip in Surya Kund – hot water springs known for its healing properties.

So next time the hills are calling and you want to plan your trip. Do pick one of the curated offbeat places from our list and discover the beautiful Uttaranchal in a new avatar. Also, you can leave a query on our website Pickyourtrail.com so that we can reach out to you.

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