Chaukori – A Detailed Travel Guide

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Chaukori is a colorful little hill station of the Pithoragarh, Kumaon region of Uttarakhand. This sleepy town is shaped like a bowl (hence the name) and enveloped by Himalayan peaks all around. Fruit orchards, diverse flora-fauna and lush green dense forests of pines, oaks and rhododendrons define the landscape. However, its fame comes from the tea gardens which were established by the British, thanks to the pleasant climate.

Swinging the curvy roads of Uttarakhand
Swinging the curvy roads of Uttarakhand

About Chaukori

Famous for its tea gardens set up by the British, Chaukori is often called a heaven in Kumaon by travellers. This peaceful little town has enchanting views of the Himalayas. While the Nanda Devi, Chaukhanba, and Trishul dot the panoramic views, Chaukori firmly establishes itself as a must visit.

Why Visit Chaukori

Flying completely under the radar, Chaukori is one of those destinations that is completely untouched by tourism and the crowds. If seclusion and tranquillity appease you, then look no further than Chaukori. This dreamy village is the perfect recipe for an amazing weekend which will surely turn dreamers into artists.

Also, the most beautiful sunrise and sunsets await you here at Chaukori. The nights are pleasant and you’ll witness the opening of other worlds in the night skies. There’s something about the night sky that is so familiar yet so unique from each vantage point in the hills.

Location

Nestled in the Pithoragarh District of Uttarakhand, Chaukori is perched at a height of 2010 mts. Proud and mighty Himalayan peaks surround this sleepy little town of Kumaon region. To its north is Tibet, while south is neighboured by Terai. The Mahakali River runs along the little town.

Weather

Summer months are pleasant, winter months experience some snowfall. But, overall, Chaukori is a delight to the senses. Expect a maximum of 30 degree in the summer and the coldest winter months experience around -5 to 10 Degrees.

Best time to visit

When visiting hills, it is always advisable to avoid the monsoon season, especially if you’re a novice. Months of April – June and September – November are heaven-like and make for the perfect atmosphere to soak in the rays, the views and calm your soul. Also, it is a fair warning that sometimes in the summer months, forest fires may occur that can cause a dampener to your route.

How to reach Chaukori

Chaukori is situated at a distance of 468 KMs from Delhi. There are multiple ways to reach the hill station – so take your pick from below:

By air

The nearest Airport to Chaukori is Pantnagar, which is located approximately 227 Kms from Chaukori. You can easily fetch a cab from Pantnagar Airport for Chaukori.

By Rail

Nearest railhead is Kathgodam, which is situated at a distance of 193 Kms from Chaukori. There are two trains from Delhi to Kathgodam daily as this is a gateway for Kumaon region. Taxis/buses etc. are easily available from the railway station for Chaukori.

Driving through the jungles of Kumaon
Driving through the jungles of Kumaon

By Road

Well connected by major road routes, Chaukori can be reached by catching a bus from ISBT, Delhi, or by driving to Chaukori. Please note, direct bus from Delhi to Chaukori is not available. However, one can catch a bus heading to Nainital and hire a cab from there. If you’re driving on your own, from Delhi, Chaukori will take you 12.5 hours of driving time.

Suggested Itinerary

With lots to offer and yet not much written about the place, Chaukori can be done one of two ways – either you just go where nature calls – or you put in some (very loose) structure to your thoughts. I believe the below will help in at least point you out in the right direction. Hope this helps!

Day 0 – Let the journey begin

Leave from Delhi towards Chaukori by your chosen mode of travel. Try reaching as early in the morning the next day as possible, to fully utilize your time when in Chaukori (which involves a huge amount of chilling!)

Day 1- Explore the nature around Chaukori

The natural beauty that surrounds Chaukori cannot be missed and should be uniquely fitted to you. So pick a trail and just head on out and explore the in-and-around of Chaukori. Also, the village offers awe-inspiring views of Trishul, Chaukhamba, Nanda-Devi, Nanda Kot and Panchachuli. So, don’t forget to soak in the sun and the views. Choose a good scenic spot for a spectacular sunset. Personally, I would suggest heading out to the Hanging Rocks for your evening stroll. The trek is relatively short- less than a KM long, but the views are surreal. You might be lucky and would be able to sport Fregnance deer, which is extremely rare. In fact, you can push it further- carry foldable chairs, food and make a whole picnic out there. Chances are, you’ll have the entire place to yourself.

Day 2 – Head out on to the Tea Gardens

One of the very few places in Kumaon that has luscious green tea gardens, Chaukori does no disappoint. The acres of tea leaves with aroma wafting through the air is quite a vivid memory to hold. Established by the British during the Raj, you’ll be transported back to yesteryear charm when in Chaukori. With the birds chirping in the background and the sun kissing the snow-capped mountain peaks, you can easily spend an entire day just breezing through the gardens.

If you’re in the mood to visit some temples nearby, there are a tonne of choices. Villagers are usually happy and helpful and can fill you in on the histories and mythologies of the place.

A Mad Run to Chaukori from Nainital via Almora | Candid Kumaon
A Mad Run to Chaukori from Nainital via Almora | Candid Kumaon

Day 3 -Time to head back

After soaking in a new sunrise, and some hearty breakfast, it is now time to bid adieu to this little town and Head back to Delhi/ continue exploring Kumaon region.

Where to stay

The trusty KMVN is of course present in Chaukori . Ojaswi Resort has insanely gorgeous views and spacious rooms with an adjacent beautiful garden! Hotel Himshikhar is a simple, budget friendly place and is situated right in the Tea Garden Area, making it easily accessible. While the rooms might be a bit dated, the washrooms are decent and the in-room dining is round the clock!

Also, if you are up for new experiences, then you must venture out into homestays- and support local tourism. Check out the views from Passpas Homestay in the village. There are many other homestays, which obviously don’t have an online presence, so just you’re your sense of adventure take over and head out and speak with some people that might be happy to open their homes to you!

Where to eat

A small hamlet, Chaukori still provides decent food – in the resorts. Do try the local delicacies. Chaukori is unique in that most of the tourism is run by the local residents. Hence, they are far more hospitable and wanting you to have the best experience. If you request, I am certain most residents would happily cook the local food for you to relish.

Nearby places

There are many Hindu shrines near Chaukori, including Dhaulinag, Kalinag, Feninag, Bashukinag, Pinglenag, Mostamanu Temple, Ghunsera Temple, Kedar Temple, Kapileshwar Mahadev cave temple. The place is steeped in mythology, and being an integral part of Dev Bhoomi, this should come as no surprise.

Other places of interest includes:

  • Dharamghar: situated 9km from Chaukori, the disciple of Gandhi, Sarla Behn spent her last days at Dharamghar.
  • Berinag: Berinag is a small hamlet situated at an elevation of 1,740mts at a distance of 10kms from Chaukori. This little town provides different perspectives on the ginormous snow-capped peaks of the mighty Himalayas.
Chaukori-Snow
Chaukori-Snow

Conclusion

Nature is at her best and bountiful in places like Chaukori. When you’re visiting the small sleepy hill-towns, you’ll often by stuck by how isolated yet wonderful and slow yet peaceful life can be. I am forever grateful for the experiences of bonfires beneath the starry skies that help you reconnect with yourself. Chaukori is a perfect example of a place that helps in rejuvenation. Head on out and enjoy your own company.

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About Author

Shefali spends most of her time day dreaming about her next big vacation. A happy-go-lucky personality, she is an amalgamation of all the places she’s lived in and experienced! She is always confused as to where to call home, having lived in Chandigarh, Shimla, Dehradun, Mumbai, Hyderabad in India and Vancouver, Abbotsford in Canada. Her love for travel is only challenged by her love for reading and eating delicious food! In order to sustain her dreams, she brought out her inner geek, got an MBA and has a job in the corporate world crunching numbers. Do follow @notravelplans on Instagram for updates on her next great adventure.

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