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 keeps 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 a comprehensive travel guide for Manila in Kumaon region of Uttarakhand.
Manila – Kumaon, Uttarakhand
Manila is one of my favourite offbeat places in Uttarakhand near Delhi and it has completely lived up to the standards as well as expectations so far for me or to whosoever Manila has been suggested. Prospering in the lap of the Himalayas, Manila Village, an abode of Manila Devi, imbibes a sense of calmness among the travellers and does not fall away a inch by its meaning "enchanting". Located in Almora district of Kumaon, Uttarakhand and contoured by dense forest range along with wide view of mighty Himalayas, this offbeat place remains un-crowded most of the year being unknown to many. Hindi is the official language in Manila while locals also speak in local Kumaon language. So, there is 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 Nanada 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 Himalayas named Manila.
Manila village is located about 85 KMs from Ranikhet in Almora district of 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 time in Manila and you can consider it to be the closest place to Delhi to get snowfall 🙂
Seasons for Travelling to Manila
You can travel to Manila all round the year and average temperature over an year is around 20 degree Celsius. The summers are cool while winters can be quite cold with temperature dipping down to zero degree Celsius too. We had a thick sheet of frozen ice on the wind shields of our cars in the morning when we woke up in December. It even snows about 2-3 feet in Manila, so take woollens with you while planning a trip to Manila in winters.
Views on the way to Manila from Delhi
How to Reach Manila, Kumaon from Delhi
The route can be followed as Delhi – Moradabad – Kashipur – Ramnagar – Jim Corbett – Mohaan – Marchula – Maulikhal – Manila. Mohaan to Manila is 60 km. 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 at Manila with decent number of breaks due to 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 advice you to do a circuit only to enjoy both sides of the route and place.
By Bus: Ranikhet which is about 85 KMs is well connected to Delhi with both air-conditioned and non air-conditioned buses which 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 saw 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 KMs and Ramnagar is about 75 KMs which are the rail heads near to Manila
By Air: The nearest airport is Pantnagar Aiport which is about 170 KMs from Manila.
Most Common Itinerary for Manila, Kumaon
Manila is a place where you can soak yourself into the tranquillity of the place, relax in peace and may be 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, may be visit the temples which are the main attractions in Manila or have a hike in the woods or visit Bhikiyasain which is about 13 KMs by foot or 35 odd KMs by 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 Manila mata temple is in the village and about 6 KMs towards upper region towards Dotiyal there is another temple, where it is said that the hand of the mata (goddess) is supposedly 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 enroute.
- 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. Right side is a new block and left side is a old block which 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, this KMVN of Manila is not listed on the 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 debashis 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 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 so as to enjoy the tranquil nature around you and enjoy in 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 or visit Bhikiyasain which is about 13 KMs by foot or 35 odd KMs by 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.
Food availability is barely limited to the service kitchen of KMVN Rest House at Manila if you are staying there or there is a dhabha just few 100 Mtrs before KMVN TRH on 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.
Besides a village health centre, a 24×7 ambulance services can be reached at 108/1090 telephone number. I will suggest not to heavily rely on it but always keep number handy. For any emergency situation, 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 is commonly required during any journey.
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 but 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 number of STD/ISD telephone booths too in Manila village.
On the way to Kausani – Gwaldam from Manila, Dwarahat has a petrol pump. However, don’t worry much about fuel because unless you reach 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
- 1. GPS is quite successful in this area but cannot be always relied on. It is hence recommended to take help from shopkeepers and passer-by for directions whenever you are confused. Also, double check the directions from couple of people.
- 2. Always carry some extra woollen clothes. They might come very handy in case you get your clothes wet, somehow.
- 3. Bring along a few medicines that are often required during a journey. Medical ambulance and police can be reached at telephone number 108/1090, keep this number with yourself for any such case.
- 4. You can also check our suggested list of things to carry on trip including medical kit
- 5. There are rains in monsoon and snow fall in winters, so plan your clothing accordingly. Road might also get close due to heavy snowfall or rainfall landslide for a day or two.
- 6. If you are particular about brands in Liquor then it is best that you carry your own as we ended up shocked with even no availability of Old Monk
- 7. While in Uttarakhand, buy some packets of buns everyday you start in case you like them. They are quite a good partner for tea on a road side tea shack 🙂
Petrol Pump at Dwarahat
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 our request is that you travel responsibly. You can read our tips in DoW Community link: Responsible Travel in 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 hills are experienced at its best…
Feel free to post any queries here as comments or in Itinerary Advice Forum of DoW Community…