Recently I was itching to get out of Gurgaon because of heat / power cuts etc, when I came across a post on FB by a friend’s friend…. about Mukteshwar.
So without thinking too much, I joined the Group and on Thursday night reached the meeting point. We left in a Toyota Innova along with 5 others and from the word go, I realised that this was going to be a trip of a life time.
We reached Mukteshwar early morning around 6 am and was greeted by this sight.
Mukteshwar is part of the Nainital district and lies at 2315m or 7500feet above the sea level, 343 kms away from New Delhi. In clear weather, it offers a clear stunning view of the Great Himalayas. The name comes from two words – ‘mukti’ meaning eternal life and ‘ishwar’ meaning GOD. It comes from an ancient legend in which a demon fought with Lord Shiva and even though the Demon faced defeat, he became immortal.
Mukteshwar also happens to be the fruit basket of Uttarakhand, so no wonder you find fruit laden trees everywhere.
Apart from the good weather and lovely people, fruits you can also visit the following attractions while you are here.
Mukteshwar Dham – Inside the Indian Veterinary Research Institute, there is a 350 years old Shiv temple where every year a huge fair is held on the occasion of Shivratri.
Next to it, is a range of overhanging cliffs which are used for rock climbing and rappelling. These cliffs are called Chauli Ki Jaali. In Hindi, Chauli means rock and Jali means a hole.
According to Hindu mythology, there was a fierce battle between Demons and Gods. The hole in the cliff is a testament of the battle, as there is a trunk of an elephant, a shield and an indefinite outline of a sword. According to a legend, if a “barren” women passes through this hole during Shivratri, she will be blessed with a child.
Another legend is about how the jali was formed. It is believed that some pilgrims, who were headed to Mount Kailash and Mansarover stopped here to pray to Lord Shiva. Happy with their prayers, Lord Shiva granted them extra powers and asked their leader to hit the rock hard. Such was the power, that it made a hole on the cliff. The scientific explanation off course is that it has been caused by erosion and other forces. It is entirely up to you, which explanation you want to accept.
Among the other attractions are PWD Guest House, which provides a beautiful view of the sunrise. Jim Corbett, the famous hunter stayed here for long periods of time and killed the most infamous man eater tigress here.
Bhalu Gaad Waterfalls, is another attraction famous for day picnics, cliff jumping and bird watching. It is a beautiful 60 feet high waterfall.
The other attractions which we could not visit are Vishnu Temple, Dol Ashram, Manager Trek, Kapileshwar Temple and Devsthal.
Our stay at the Colonel’s Cottage in Village Gajar was also great. The views of the valley below and sunrise were awesome. In short it was a great weekend break.