Trip to Mukteshwar
Also known as the ‘Apple Country’, Mukteshwar is a tranquil and secluded hill town in the Nainital district of Uttarakhand, India. Located at an altitude of 2,286 meters above from the sea level, Mukteshwar is an offbeat tourist destination decked with fruit and vegetable orchards and coniferous forests.
The name Mukteshwar has been derived from a 350-year-old Mukteshwar temple here, which is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is believed that Lord Shiva killed a demon here and gave him Mukti or salvation. On clear weather days, one gets the mesmerizing view of the snow-capped majestic Himalayan range. A trip to Mukteshwar, an offbeat destination is something that you will like a lot as it is not much crowded like the other hill stations, so one can feel the unpolluted fresh air and the serenity of this place. Hear the beautiful chirping of the birds here with scenic views around.
Mukteshwar is such a destination that can be visited on weekends from Delhi and the adjoining cities. One can spend a good break here away from the hustle and bustle of the city’s life.
How to plan and execute the trip to Mukteshwar?
If you are living in Delhi NCR and working in a multi-national company where you get two days off in a week (Saturday and Sunday) then it’s very easy for you to plan out a weekend trip to Mukteshwar. Even if you are staying somewhere else in north India, you can make out this trip in just 3-4 days. On Friday night, catch a bus or train from Anand Vihar in Delhi to Haldwani. Early morning, you will reach Haldwani from where you can board any bus to Bhimtal. From Bhimtal, you will get shared jeeps till Mukteshwar. Or, from Haldwani, you may even get a direct bus or a shared jeep till Mukteshwar.
The distance from Haldwani to Mukteshwar is 65 km and it will take around 3 hours to reach there. So, by 9 or 10 am you will reach Mukteshwar. Check-in at your resort/hotel and take some rest. Late afternoon, visit the local attractions of the place.
In the evening, you can enjoy the beautiful views around. Spend your night in the resort.
Next day, wake up early in the morning and proceed for a short hike to the hilltop (Inspection Bungalow or somewhere else) from where you get to see the magnificent sunrise. Later come back to your resort and after freshen up and breakfast, take a village tour near Mukteshwar where you will get to see the lifestyle, culture, and tradition of the villagers. Interact with a few of them and learn about their life and source of livelihood. You will realize how these people use their skills and hard work to live a simple and modest life.
Post lunch, take a shared jeep till Bhimtal or Haldwani, and in the evening catch your return train/bus to Delhi or other destination.
Places to visit in Mukteshwar
Mukteshwar Temple – This is the main attraction of Mukteshwar and the town got its name from this temple only. Mukteshwar temple is one of the ancient temples that is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is 350 years old temple and is identified as one of the 18 most important temples of Lord Shiva. It is located at the highest point in Mukteshwar and is at an altitude of 2,310 meters above from the sea level. As per beliefs, a demon was killed here by Lord Shiva and after that, he got Mukti or salvation. Get a beautiful view of the Himalayan ranges from here.
Chauli Ki Jali – Around 250 meters just behind the Mukteshwar temple lies Chauli ki Jali, a rock cliff with a hole in between. The term Chauli ki Jali has been derived from two separate words – “Chauli” which means rock and “Jali” which means hole. It is also the most visited place in Mukteshwar. As per the Hindu mythology, the goddess and demon fought a battle here. As per local beliefs, during Shivratri, if a woman not having a baby, crosses the hole of Chauli ki Jali, then she is blessed with a child.
Mukteshwar Inspection Bungalow – Located close to the Mukteshwar temple, the Inspection Bungalow is known for its lush green surroundings and the beautiful views of the Himalayas. The beautiful architecture of the bungalow will amaze you. It also offers accommodation options to visitors who are planning their vacation to Mukteshwar but the arrangements should be done well in advance. Inspection Bungalow is also a famous landmark of Mukteshwar town.
Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI) – IVRI in Mukteshwar is one of the leading advanced research institutes in the field of livestock research. The Imperial Bacteriological Laboratory that was established in Pune was decided to shift to some region in the Himalayas and Mukteshwar was selected as the new site in the year 1893 and the lab was shifted there. Later, in 1925, the name of the Imperial Bacteriological Laboratory was changed as the Imperial Institute of Veterinary Research. There are a library and a museum as well in the institute.
Nearby Villages (A Village Walk) – There are few villages near to Mukteshwar town and it is always a good idea to take a walking tour of these villages where you interact with the locals, they will share their experience of this place and will acknowledge you about the history of this hamlet. Also, you get to know in detail about the lifestyle, culture, and tradition of these villagers. Get a sight of organic vegetable and fruit orchards in these villages.
Accommodation during your trip to Mukteshwar
Earlier there were very limited stay options in Mukteshwar including few rest houses and some standalone small properties. But, with the rise in number of visitors every year, the place witnessed the mushrooming of luxury to budget resorts, camps, homestays and guest houses. Today, there are many options for your accommodation in Mukteshwar. With tented accommodation and hostels starting from INR 600 to luxury resorts at around INR 7000-8000 you will get all kind of stay options in Mukteshwar.
If you are travelling in a peak season (April – June or Mid Dec – Mid Jan) then you should book your stay well in advance. Few online portals like zostel.com, makemytrip.com, goibibo.com, booking.com etc. provide you to book your stay in advance and in fact you can also get some good deals there.
How to reach?
By Train – Kathgodam is the nearest railway station to Mukteshwar which is at a distance of 58 km with approximately 2.5 hrs driving time. So, you can check the train connectivity to Kathgodam from your nearest railway station.
By Flight – The nearest airport to Mukteshwar is at Pantnagar which is at a distance of 96 km from here/approx. 3 hours of driving time. From Pantnagar, there is an Air India flight available for Delhi. So, you can check the connectivity.
By Road – Mukteshwar is very well connected by roads to other towns and cities in North India. The road from Haldwani/Kathgodam is although zig zag but it is very smooth. From Nainital also, the driving to Mukteshwar is very pleasant providing you some good scenic views as well. Thus, no matter from which direction you want to make a trip to Mukteshwar, you will find good roads everywhere. Bus and shared jeeps connectivity to Mukteshwar is fine and you will easily get them from Haldwani bus station or Kathgodam railway station.