Mukteshwar is a gorgeous destination situated at an altitude of 2,285 mts in Nainital district, Uttarakhand. With a mountainous landscape and spectacular fruit orchards and lush forests, this little settlement is a calm and secluded town, famous for the Mukteshwar Temple of Shiv ji known to offer Moksha (salvation). An integral site in the Kumaon hills, the city is a major tourist and pilgrim attraction, with Chauli ka Jali as an integral event.
Mukteshwar has stunning scenic splendor and commands a breathtaking view of the Himalayas with sites on Nanda Devi – India’s second highest peak.
Given the presence of multiple holiday homes, you could even go on an extended holiday (or a work-from-vacation mode), if your schedule and lifestyle permits!
Let's quickly dive into the details:
The town is adorned with beautiful Pahadi homes with red roofs, ancient style window frames made of wood as well as picket barriers. Reminiscent of the British Raj, the town takes you back in time to a slower pace and yearns for you to join its rhythm.
Situated around 336 Kms from Delhi – Mukteshwar is a great place to explore and learn more about history, mythology while being submerged in stunning natural landscapes! Also, the region is famous for the Indian Veterinary Research Institute which was set up in 1893. Here, you’ll also come across a Renewable park, set up by the Energy and Resources Institute.
Erstwhile Muktesaar (as cited by Jim Corbett in his book – The Temple Tiger) came to be known by its current name in 1947. The place remained in craters till 1893 and was then known for ancient temples & ruins.
As per Hindu Legends, Mukteshwar got its name from a 350-year-old temple Mukteshwar Dham whose residing deity is Lord Shiva. The top of the mountain on which Mukteshwar Temple stands offers astonishing and marvelous views of the imposing Himalayan range.
While summers experience temperatures in the range of 15 to 30°C, winters are colder with the maximums ranging from 0 to 24°C. Of course, monsoon months of July – September are the greenest months – with the mountains and the orchards coming alive with color.
Best time to visit
The best time to visit the hill station is from March to June and October – November. This is when the temperatures are just perfect, the fruits are blossoming and there is limited danger from landslides. If you like you may visit the place in the winter months, although be warned that snow is not as common as in some other hill stations. I would like to say here that given the road connectivity is decent – Mukteshwar truly is an all season visit!
Why visit Mukteshwar
Mukteshwar offers stunning 180 degree views of the majestic Himalayan range! Mukteshwar is still pretty pristine and mostly untouched by commercial tourism. Though the scope of tourism is quite limited – the accommodation options are growing. The unspoiled beauty of Mukteshwar along with comforts of stunning hotel properties has a lot of offer. Here, you’ll wake up to the chirping birds, stunning sunrises, beautiful views and get to enjoy short treks throughout the day! Jim Corbett, the world renowned hunter – came here to hunt a tiger – and fell in love with all that nature has to offer!
Furthermore, it is believed that Shiv ji killed a demon here and granted him salvation.
How to get there
Mukteshwar is well connected to important towns and cities by road. Here’s how you can reach the beautiful town of Mukteshwar
The nearest Airport is the Pantnagar Airport, about 94 Kms from the city centre. Taxis are easily available from the airport to Mukteshwar. The Pantnagar airport is connected to Delhi with 4 round trip flights per week.
In order to reach by rail, you’ll need to catch a train to Kathgodam railway station. This station is situated around 62 KMs from Mukteshwar. Kathgodam is very well connected to major Indian cities and there are two trains daily from Delhi to Kathgodam. As this is the gateway into the Kumaon region, many trains frequent this station – finding one should not be an issue. You’ll easily find taxis and buses taking you to Mukteshwar.
You will be able to find buses easily from ISBT Anand Vihar towards Haldwani, Nainital, Almora as well as Mukteshwar. Furthermore, you’ll get taxis from all major cities to reach Mukteshwar. Many private operators run this route with luxury buses as well.
Things to do in Mukteshwar
Nature walks are a must for when you’re here. There are a lot of little trails for those who want to get lost in nature! This is an ideal location to explore and go out on quiet walks. Early mornings can make for the ideal setting especially if you’re visiting the place in the summer months
Also, Mukteshwar is quite famous for trekking. Some routes you can take include Peora, Almora and my favorite – The riverside trek.
Mukteshwar even offers rock climbing opportunities as well as rappelling. The Chauli-ki Jaali cliffs is an excellent site to partake in this activity. Of course, you MUST take all proper precautions against any danger and thus, I suggest to take professional instructors – especially if you’re a beginner!
Last but not least – you MUST go camping at least for a night when here. Your hotel will probably help you with the same. Waking up in nature is a great way to rejuvenate and reconnect with yourself.
Places to Visit
When you’re in Mukteshwar, it goes without saying that you should visit the Mukteshwar Temple. This 350-year-old temple is a stunning historical and religious place and makes for a great way to connect with the history of the region.
Dhanachuli is situated 14 KMs from Mukteshwar. The tiny settlement is perched at an elevation of 7,000 ft and has some of the most stunning views of the hills.
Places to stay in Mukteshwar
Thanks to its bonafide pilgrimage status, proximity to other hill stations such as Nainital and Ranikhet – there are plenty of options of stay in Mukteshwar as well. You can find anything from luxury hotels & resorts to budget accommodations and home stays here. Since this is truly an all-year-round vacation spot- almost all amenities remain pretty standard throughout the year.
What to eat
Mukteshwar enjoys quite a few restaurants and eating joints which offer myriad of food options ranging from Indian to Continental. Also, to add to the flavor road side dhabas serve up some lip smacking local delicacies.
If I have to give you the run-down – you MUST visit the Chirping Tales café for the stunning views and feeling of being in the clouds (you will be literally). Do remember to try the cakes here – a slice of heaven, while in heaven! Also the Nirvana Organic kitchen is quite nice for its Italian cuisine and has great outdoor seating options also. I would suggest you go here for a late breakfast and laze around for all the time you want to! It truly is one of the most beautiful settings and the quality of the ingredients is just the finest! If you’re I the mood for a romantic dinner while on vacation – restaurant at the Birdcage has the perfect dreamy ambience. While it is slightly expensive – the quality of the food is brilliant. I highly recommend the Burgers here!
Shopping in Mukteshwar
While there is not a lot to offer in terms of shopping – I do suggest you buy some of the famous Rhododendron Juice and some delicious apple jams when you’re here. You can also buy some pure wool hand-woven shawls and stoles.
If relaxation, rejuvenation and some adventure is on the cards for you on your next holiday – head on over to Mukteshwar. Untouched by commercial tourism – Mukteshwar will take you back to a time of simplicity and authenticity. You will fall in love with the quaint little town and want to spend a lot of time exploring. Given that there is so much to do here you can easily take an entire week to explore the region and the nearby places. If you have any questions regarding this beautiful wonderland – do comment below and I will be happy to answer any of your queries. Happy travelling!