A quaint village sitting about 7,500 feet above sea level, Mukteshwar in Uttarakhand is the perfect getaway for the calm, soft-souled traveler, the adrenaline-junkie adventurer, and everyone in between. Known for its grand views of the coniferous forests, the orchards, and the rolling meadows, this place has so much to offer that even Dr. Strange wouldn’t bargain when visiting!
Nainital, the district in which Mukteshwar lies, is famous for a lot of reasons and attracts a crowd that suits the hype. Mukteshwar, somehow, manages to slide under the radar just enough to maintain its quiet and calm vibe. Not to be mistaken, though. This place still has a lot to offer. Here are the 10 best things to do in Mukteshwar that we think you really shouldn’t miss!
Mukteshwar has a collection of trails that you can choose from. These trails vary vastly in terms of difficulty, though. While some can be considered ‘nature walks’, some of the more challenging ones will be a great gauge for the thrill in every thrill seeker.
Different trails offer different views to the trekker. While some treks in Mukteshwar bring you to the open and windy meadows, some will leave you by the higher cliffs, looking down on a combination of clouds and the thick forest cover that surrounds the place. On the other hand, some lead you to places like Peora, Almora, Binsar, and Artola.
All of the four places mentioned above have some remnants of their time under colonization and are majorly untouched by industrialization. However, we recommend visiting Peora. This hamlet is inhabited by a very friendly community and is a treat for all bird-watchers. That being said, the serenity and beauty of this place is out of this world.
There are multiple camp organizers spread out through Mukteshwar offering a different view with every location. Do not expect all creature comforts to be readily available, though. Basic camping amenities are provided by the organizers but we would carry a couple of power banks for our phones.
One thing that makes camping in Mukteshwar much more exciting is that unlike the majority of India, there are no restrictions on where and when to camp. If you have your own gear, you can just pick a trail, walk until you’re tired and set up camp!
The freedom to explore the wilderness and stay in it without any interruption makes Mukteshwar every nature lover’s Disneyland.
Also read: 6 Interesting Camping Experiences In India
Mukteshwar’s rock-and-hill terrain provides ample opportunities for rock climbing and rappeling. Not just that, but even the cliffs and hills that surround the town are great spots for the sport as well.
Regardless of whether you’re a beginner or an expert, you’ll find spots suiting your expertise along with professional help and gear on rent, wherever needed.
The one spot that we recommend you to definitely check out is Chauli Ki Jali. Chauli Ki Jali, or Chauthi Jali is a cliff right behind the Mukteshwar Dham Temple. It is of moderate to high difficulty. However, you have plenty of organizers available to help you out. The best part about this spot is that once you do climb atop Chauli Ki Jali, you get a panoramic view of the temple and its surroundings.
Also Read: Best Homestays In Haridwar
You can jump off rocks, but with parachutes, of course. Paragliding is a huge sport in Mukteshwar and you have many spots to jump from and even more organizers and professionals to help you out.
An average paragliding trip lasts about 10-15 minutes here. When it comes to expenses, paragliding in Mukteshwar comes within the INR 1,500 to INR 2,500 bracket, the costs for videos and photos of a flying you are on the higher end.
Paragliding is one activity that we push you to do. The bird’s eye view of this place and the experience of floating amongst the clouds will make you feel literally like that. Even in hindsight!
There are multiple organizers who sell paragliding and paragliding courses as an activity in their camping packages. Nainital Paragliding, Flying Bird Adventure, Golden Bird Adventure Paragliding, and Eagle Eye Adventure are some of the better-known organizers.
Also read: 11 Enthralling Adventure Activities In India
The town of Mukteshwar is named after a temple devoted to Lord Shiva, called Mukteshwar Dham. Situated at the top of the hill, this shrine has a Shivling carved out of white marble. You’ll also find statues of other deities like Lord Ganesha, Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu, Goddess Parvati, and Lord Hanuman.
The temple is surrounded by a few caves and it is said that the Pandavas, during their Agayatvas (time of living in disguise), took shelter in these caves for about six months and crafted the Shivling that is still seen in the temple, along with four of the caves.
Also Read: 4 Of The Best Hostels In Mussoorie
The horizon from the top of Mukteshwar is quite something. Offering a 270° view of the Himalayas and the lush green mountainside of Mukteshwar itself, just the view itself is worth the trip.
You can see the sun shining on the snow-clad peaks for almost the entire day. Watch the changing hues from the bright white to streaks of orange and yellow as the sun makes its trip around and finally, a vibrant orange as it sets, still reflecting on the peaks of Nanda Devi, Nanda Khat, Nanda Kot, Hathi Parvat, Nandaghunti, Trishul, Rajrambha, and Panchachuli. And of course, these are some of the most beautiful peaks that the Himalayas has to offer.
Mukteshwar and the areas surrounding it still have a lot of structures that the colonizers built when we were under British rule. Some of those buildings are even in use today.
IVRI, or the Indian Veterinary Research Institute is the pioneer of British rule in the region. It is known for its livestock research and experimentation on small animals. So, the geek in you will be excited, too! As for the history buff, check out the PWD inspection bungalow that shares the premises with IVRI to see the British style of interior as well as exterior architecture.
Other than that, you’ll see buildings with a similar style of architecture and a similar birthdate scattered around the hamlet and its surroundings.
When it comes to shopping in Mukteshwar, keep an eye out for the hand-woven shawls and stoles, hand-knitted apparel, skin and cosmetic products along with delicious apple jams and, unusually enough, rhododendron juice. Since Mukteshwar is such a small place and so far away from commercialism, the goods sold here have also remained small-scale.
Not-so-surprisingly, there’s a single store in this tiny town where you can find almost all the souvenirs you would look for. It’s called Kilmora Shop and you can find where it is by asking any passerby, in any part of town!
Sitla is a hill station that is about 5 km away from Mukteshwar. It’s essentially a 40-acre tabletop full of lush green oak trees, pine trees and orchards. Sitla boasts a bungalow that was built during the British Raj about a century ago and still stands strong called the Sitla Estate.
Tourists can avail themselves of rooms in the Sitla Estate by speaking to the owner, Mr. Vikram Maira, and taking a day or two to explore the hill station. We recommend the guided tour that is offered by the operators of the Estate and takes you around to see the flora in all its glory.
All the hotels and resorts in Mukteshwar do offer great food. There are also a few restaurants that offer everything from Indian to continental cuisines and everything in between. But some of the best food in this town will be found in the local dhabas offering proper Kumaon cuisine and the recommendation for the best ones can only be found by asking a resident of Mukteshwar.
However, we do have the best restaurants in town for you. Nirvana Organic Kitchen, known for its Indian and Chinese food, also serves amazing Thai and Continental dishes. Nirvana is known to be a pocket-friendly option.
The Hideout Crimson Hills, on the other hand, is a multi-cuisine restaurant mostly famous for its local dishes. It may be a little heavier on the wallet.
Also read: Experiencing The Food In Dharamshala
After everything is said and done, it’s places like Mukteshwar where you actually get to ‘experience’ anything. Without the intrusion of commercialism, everything you see isn’t a display. While doing all the things to do in Mukteshwar here, the real pleasure is getting to actually connect with the people and get in touch with the culture, the nature and the feeling of belonging, even as a tourist. Mukteshwar is one on our very large list of places that we would go to rather than any star-spangled awesome, big-name tourist spot.
Let us know which place you think we should cover next. Last but not the least, places like these are so beautiful because the city didn’t get a chance to dump anything there. If you visit, please make sure you avoid that too. Cheers!
What Is The Best Time To Visit Mukteshwar?
Mukteshwar is pleasant throughout the year. If you want to visit the place in relatively comfortable weather, visit Mukteshwar in the summer season, which lasts from March to May. In order to see the town under a sheet of snow, visit in the months of December and January.
How Many Days Are Sufficient To Explore Mukteshwar?
You can visit all the main tourist attractions in 2 days. Visiting the ones that aren’t mainstream will require you to stay for 3-4 days in total.
How Do I Reach Mukteshwar?
Mukteshwar is very well connected to all the major towns and cities in Uttarakhand you can get there by air, by train and by road. All options being relatively convenient.
By Air: The closest airport to Mukteshwar is the Pantnagar airport. It is about 94 km away from Mukteshwar and has taxis readily available.
By Train: Kathgodam Railway Station is the closest railway station to this town. It is at a distance of 62 km and is well connected to cities like Kolkata, Lucknow, and Delhi. There are two trains that run daily between Kathgodam and Delhi.
By Road: Since Mukteshwar is very close to Nainital, the road network around and towards the town is very good. Buses and taxis are available from all nearby destinations and if you decide to drive, the highway connecting Delhi and Mukteshwar is known to be a smooth drive.
How Far Is Mukteshwar From Delhi?
Mukteshwar is 350 km from Delhi by road.
Are There Any Landslides In Mukteshwar?
Mukteshwar during the monsoons are prone to frequent landslides. That's why it's better if you visit this destination after the monsoons have ended.