The Kumaon Himalayas of Uttarakhand, with their colourful traditions and customs, have been a largely unexplored jewel of India. Its lush green terraced fields, temple clusters, a singsong local dialect and delectable cuisine render it a place worth cherishing. Nyoli promises to be the corridor with glimpses of everything that Kumaon is all about – the temple of Kainchi visited by the likes of Steve Jobs, Jageshwar Dham famous for Nagesh Jyotirling, the temple of Chitai with its thousand bells, lush green forests for miles, a small trek to a river downhill and a Himalayan view right from the comfort of cozy rooms in a traditional house. Nyoli is much more than just a home-stay, it is a lovely memory that would last a lifetime.
Around noon we drive from Pantnagar to Almora via Kathgodam. On the way we stop at Kainchi Dham which has been visited by Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg and Kasar Devi temple.
The culture of Himalayas is a unique blend of ancient tribal traditions and many subsequent waves of Hinduism from Shankaracharya to Swami Vivekananda and Uttarakhand is also known as Dev Bhoomi. Today is the day to visit famous temples of Manaskhand (name of Kumaon region in Purans) while travelling to Nyoli. First we would visit the cluster of Temples at Jageshwar dating from 8 th -14 century CE. Thereafter we visit a huge limestone cave of Patal Bhuwaneshwar known for rock formations that have created beautiful stalactite and stalagmite figures of various hues and forms. The mythology and folklore associated with the cave adds to its natural splendour. One needs to descend 90ft underground before the cave opens up. Afterwards we head for Nyoli which is a village homestay and is short 1km downhill walk through pine jungle from nearest road head.
Today we go for leisure walks around the village and visit the traditional water harvesting systems in the hills to understand the local method of conservation and delivery of water that has been used for centuries in this region. During the visit one would be educated about how Naulas were constructed and importance of this dying traditional practice which is very important for self-sustained lifestyle of Pahadi villages cut off from outside world. We will visit the village and interact with villagers. As the wintery night falls, guests will be treated with heartwarming cultural programme involving famous Choliya Dance, session of village folk tales in the evening around a campfire. Night would end with interesting stargazing session.
An easy day hike in the Himalayas to feel the pulse of hills and connect to the glorious history of these mountains and thousands of adventurers who have roamed the highest mountain range in the world. Day hike in the Himalayas complemented by sessions on basics of trekking/mountaineering in the Himalayas spiced with interesting stories from the mountains. In the evening enjoy Nov winter besides a campfire and relish barbeque.
Leave Berinag in the morning after breakfast and drive back to Kathgodam. En route visit the Folk and Culture Museum in Bhimtal. If lucky, team can meet archaeologist, painter and curator of the museum Padma Shri Dr Yashodhar Mathpal.