Manila in Kumaon !! “What?? Never heard of this place bhai, what is that and where is that; what to do there and what to see, where to stay?” Some of the questions that keep following me whenever I suggest this peaceful, calm, and amazingly beautiful offbeat place in Uttarakhand near Delhi to any of my friends or family.
In today’s article, I will try to address all these questions and present you with a comprehensive travel guide for Manila in Kumaon region of Uttarakhand.
Let's quickly dive into the details:
Manila – Kumaon, Uttarakhand
Manila is one of my favorite offbeat places in Uttarakhand near Delhi. It has completely lived up to the expectations for me or to whosoever I suggested this place. Prospering in the lap of the Himalayas, Manila Village, an abode of Manila Devi, imbibes a sense of calmness among the travelers and does not fall away an inch by its meaning “enchanting.”
Located in Almora district of Kumaon, Uttarakhand, and contoured by dense forest range along with a wide view of mighty Himalayas, this offbeat place remains un-crowded most of the year is unknown to many. Hindi is the official language in Manila, while locals also speak in local Kumaon language. So, there are no issues in communication aspects.
Apart from peace and tranquillity, Manila village offers breath-taking panoramic views of mighty Himalayas right from Trishul to Panchchulli, including Nanda Devi peaks. The experience of seeing golden glows at sunrise and sunset over this range of Himalayas is just enough to fall in love with this beautiful yet small village in the Himalayas named Manila.
Manila village is located about 85 KMs from Ranikhet in Almora district of the Kumaon region in Uttarakhand. Ramnagar near Jim Corbett is just 75 KMs from Manila. Marchulla, situated at the banks of Ramganga river and famous for its wildlife excursion being the tip of Jim Corbett National Park, is located just 45 odd KMs from Manila.
Manila resides at an altitude of 1820 Mtrs, good enough to keep it cooler in summers and quite cold with snow in winters. About 2-3 feet snow pours at a time in Manila, and you can consider it to be the closest place to Delhi to get snowfall 🙂
Best time to visit Manila
You can travel to Manila all round the year, and the average temperature over a year is around 20 degrees Celsius. The summers are cool, while winters can be quite cold with the temperature dipping down to zero degrees Celsius too.
We had a thick sheet of ice on the windshields of our cars in the morning when we woke up in December. It even snows about 2-3 feet in Manila, so take woolens with you while planning a trip to Manila in winters.
You can check my list of places to experience snowfall near Delhi in Uttarakhand.
How to Reach Manila, Kumaon from Delhi
Manila is not that far from Delhi and hence, it will be best to travel by road. However, let’s look at multiple ways you can make a trip to this beautiful place in Kumaon.
The route can be followed as Delhi – Moradabad – Kashipur – Ramnagar – Jim Corbett – Mohaan – Marchula – Maulikhal – Manila. Mohaan to Manila is 60 km. The route is Mohaan – Marchula (14 KM) – Maulikhal (35 KM) – Dotiyal (51 KM) – Manila (60 KM). Delhi to Manila is 365 KMs.
We started at 6.30 AM and ended at 3.30 PM in Manila with a decent number of breaks due to the presence of small kids. You can also take the route from Nainital – Ranikhet side and exit from this side back to Delhi, but that is a bit longer route. However, I will advise you to do a circuit only to enjoy both sides of the route and place.
By Bus: Ranikhet which is about 85 km is well connected to Delhi with both air-conditioned and non-air-conditioned buses that are available from Scindia House, New Delhi and Anand Vihar Bus Terminal, Delhi. You can also take a bus to Ramnagar or Marchulla from where you will get connecting buses to Ranikhet or Bhikiyasain.
By Taxi/ Cab: We did see a lot of shared taxis running through Manila, so assuming, it will be well connected with major towns like Ranikhet or Ramnagar or Haldwani.
By Train: Kathgodam is about 145 km and Ramnagar is about 75 km which are the railheads near to Manila
By Air: The nearest airport is Pantnagar Aiport which is about 170 km from Manila.
Most Common Itinerary for Manila Trip
Manila is a place where you can soak yourself into the tranquillity of the place, relax in peace and maybe get to know about the local culture of the region by interacting with the locals who are pretty much humble and down to earth.
Day 1 – Delhi to Manila
Enjoy the easy 8-9 Hrs drive to Manila from Delhi going through forest range of Corbett National Park, Mohaan – Marchula – Dotiyal. Finally, watch the sunset over the panoramic mountain range in front of you.
Day 2 – Rest day at Manila
Visit the temples, which are the main attractions in Manila, or have a hike in the woods. You can drive to Bhikiyasain, which is about 13 km by foot or 35 odd km by the road where you can see the confluence of three rivers Ramganga, Gagas, and Norara. There is a memorial of Quit India Movement Martyrs at Khumar, which is about 25 km from Manila.
The Manila Mata temple is in the village, and about 6 km towards the upper region towards Dotiyal, there is another temple. At this upper temple, locals believe that the hand of the Mata (goddess) is placed and worshipped.
Day 3 – Manila to Delhi OR Manila to Ranikhet / Nanital / Kausani.
You can either return back home after spending the weekend, over move to Ranikhet / Nanital / Kausani enjoying the beautiful valley views en route.
Day 4 (Optional) – Ranikhet / Nanital / Kausani – Delhi, make a turn back to Delhi on this day to reach back home.
Accommodation or stay options at Manila, Kumaon
Accommodation or stay options at Manila is mainly limited to twin block KMVN Rest House at Manila. It is about 4 KMs before Manila village on the road itself on either side. The right side is a new block, and the left side is an old block that is taken back from private lease into KMVN now. The old block also has quite decent and big rooms with running hot water.
The views are just awesome from the old block as it offers the valley views and Himalayan range view. Since you will not find Manila TRH on the KMVN website, you can call up the caretakers to block the rooms for you: Bhagat Singh Ji at +919458152950 or Harinder Bisht Ji at +919457789896 (SURAJ SINGH (9456744274) is the new caretaker as per updates from Debashish sir below).
You can refer my name Dheeraj or Devil On Wheels to them; most likely, they may recognize us 🙂 🙂 … Apart from KMVN at Manila, there are a couple of basic homestay type guest houses and a dhabha plus night stay place too.
Attractions or Sightseeing around Manila, Kumaon
Manila is a small village place in Uttarakhand to enjoy the tranquil nature around you and enjoy peace with your loved ones or get to know about the local culture too by interacting with the villagers and spending time with them. However, in case you wish to explore more around the village, then apart from the temples, you can keep Ranikhet or Kausani or Jim Corbett or Nainital in your plan.
You may also visit Bhikiyasain, which is about 13 KMs by foot or 35 odd KMs by the road where you can see the confluence of three rivers Ramganga, Gagas, and Norara. There is a memorial of Quit India Movement Martyrs at Khumar, which is about 25 KMs from Manila. The drive from Mohaan to Manila and further to Jainal is quite amazing in itself midst dense forest range.
Travel Tip: If you have a few more days in hand on your trip to Manila, you can plan to spend a couple of days at Binsar as well before returning home.
Where to eat
Food availability is barely limited to the service kitchen of KMVN Rest House at Manila if you are staying there. Otherwise, there is a dhabha just a few 100 Mtrs before KMVN TRH on the valley side, which offers quite decent food.
We had our breakfast there only before leaving for the day to Gwaldam. There are some more shops/dhabhas to eat in Manila village down the hill.
You should always carry your own water bottle and refill it as many times as you need water. It will not only keep you hydrated always, but you will also help in saving the Himalayas from plastic garbage. Remember, every tiny step counts and your step in this direction can help save the Himalayas too !! 🙂 🙂
Besides a village health center, a 24×7 ambulance services can be reached at 108/1090 telephone number. I will suggest not to rely on it heavily but always keep number handy.
For any emergency, you may need to go to Ramnagar/Kashipur or Haldwani/Almora for treatment. Hence, advise you to carry your basic medical kit along with you which you commonly need during any trip to the Himalayas.
Travel Tip: Are you looking for another remote and offbeat place in the Kumaon region? If yes, then do check out my detailed travel guide of Munsiyari.
While going to Manila from Delhi, Maulikhal has an ATM which is about 25 KMs from Manila village.
Almost all the service providers have their coverage at Manila. Still, it is always best to have BSNL when traveling in mountains or Himalayas as they generally provide excellent coverage in remote areas too. Besides one can find several STD/ISD telephone booths too in Manila village.
Travel Tip: Did you know that Lohaghat is another offbeat place near Delhi in Uttarakhand where you can travel over a weekend.
On the way to Kausani – Gwaldam from Manila, Dwarahat has a petrol pump. However, don’t worry much about fuel because unless you reach an empty tank at Manila, you will find a fuel pump for yourself nearby and you will not get stranded :).
Other Tips and Suggestions from Devil On Wheels
- GPS is quite successful in this area, but you cannot always rely on it. Hence, I always recommend taking help from shopkeepers and passers-by for directions whenever you are confused. Also, double-check the directions from a couple of people.
- Always carry some extra woolen clothes. They might come convenient in case you get your clothes wet, somehow.
- Take a few medicines that you may often need during a journey. You can reach the medical ambulance and police at telephone number 108/1090, keep this number with yourself for any such case.
- You can also check our suggested list of things to carry on a trip including medical kit.
- There are rains in monsoon and snowfall in winters, so plan your clothing accordingly. The road might also get close due to heavy snowfall or rainfall landslide for a day or two.
- If you are particular about brands in Liquor, then you should carry your own as we ended up shocked with even no availability of Old Monk.
- While in Uttarakhand, buy some packets of buns (if you like them) every day you start. They are quite a good partner for tea on a roadside tea shack.
Manila in Kumaon is quite an unexplored and offbeat destination in Uttarakhand. I feel that such places are better off without any commercialization or tourist activities, which mostly spoil the beauty of these unusually calm places. So, when you travel up there, then I request that you travel responsibly in the Himalayas.
Manila too is one of the very few places I know that can offer you a break from the bustling city life, and you will love to spend some quality time with your loved ones there in the lap of nature. It is a lovely place that takes you back in time. So, step out and experience the magic of this place where you can experience the lower Himalayan hills at its best.
If you know your friends or family are planning a trip to Manila, do share this article with them to help them make a memorable Kumaon trip.