For those who want to explore the villages and experience the local pahari culture amidst the spectacular locales and beautiful environ, a few select villages have been shortlisted for visit and home stays.
Kandhar:A beautiful village nestled in the lap of nature adjacent to a thick deodar jungle still maintains its old-world grandeur and charm. The environs of this quaint village are rich in the Himalayan flora and fauna. One can spend a couple of hours enjoying a leisurely walk around the village and interacting with its inhabitants..
Mungad: Located near Lokhandi, 14 km away from Chakrata along the foothills of Deoban forest, Mungad is a quaint and scenic village with picture perfect surroundings. A perfect respite from the chaotic city life, it offers insight into the local architecture and village life of a typical Jansauri village. Surrounded by fragrant deodar and pine forests, it is an ideal location to go hiking along its charming terrains, indulge in organic farming, wander around the village, meet locals, and relish the authentic locally grown food.
Lokad: A serene village tucked under the lush green slopes of Mundali (about 38 Kms from Chakrata), it is a perfect place to rest and rejuvenate while undertaking a trek from Mundali to Kathiyan. Nestled in the picturesque surroundings amidst the clearing of dense deodar forest, the place offers soothing vibes and amazing vistas of the tall mountain ranges around. Rich in diversity of flora and fauna, fresh mountain air and a number of trekking trails, it is a perfect retreat for those who want to relax in the midst of nature.
Koti Banal: A heritage village located in the Rajgarhi area of Uttarkashi district about 19 km from Barkot in Uttarakhand where centuries-old unique architectures have amazed researchers from country and abroad. Known as Koti Banal in local parlance, large number of these multi-storied traditional houses exhibit antiquity and distinct construction style. The striking feature about these houses is their remarkable capability to resist earthquakes. From the detailing and technique used in construction, one can easily infer that our ancestors – who designed these structures some 900 years ago – had fairly good understanding of the forces acting upon the structure during an earthquake event; well before the evolution of the concept of force by Sir Isaac Newton (1643 –1727)!
A picturesque meadow at an altitude of 2800m at a distance of around 30 Km from Chakrata, Budher’s Moila top is a hilly grassland with an amazing view. As soon as one reaches the top, a small temple can be seen, called “Pariyo ka Mandir” or “The Temple of the fairies”. Moila top is also home to a mysterious cave which the locals believe was used by Pandavas to escape once their castle was set on fire.
Deoban (Devban), the 'Gods own Forest' as the name signifies is a picturesque and serene meadow nestled in the middle of deodar forest. Less than a kilometre away from Deoban is the Vyas viewpoint which offers a panoramic view of the Shivaliks . A wide range of famed Himalayan peaks - a total of fifty-five of them including Bandarpunch, Swargarohini, Srikantha, Kirti Stambh, Kedarnath peak, Gangotri Massif and majestic Nanda Devi can be seen from here bathed in sunlight. Deoban is a great spot for adventure lovers and bird watchers. Different Species of birds such as White Collared Blackbirds and Himalayan Woodpeckers resides here. There are also many varied species of migratory birds which fly to Deoban in the winter season and can be spotted here.
About a mile’s hike away from Gorcha village, Gorcha caves are a sight to behold. A cave not much explored but full of geological marvels like its stalagmites going up to 20ft in height with carvings as vivid as an artist’s canvas. These natural marvels were built over lakhs of years of mineral deposited by trickling water.
Hanol Mahasu Devta Temple is located on the eastern bank of Tons River (Tamas ) Tiuni-Mori road at Hanol around 90 km from Chakrata . The temple is dedicated to Mahasu Devta and is a sort of pilgrimage place for people living in vast areas in the mountainous parts of Uttrakhand, west of Yamuna River, the trans giri area of Sirmaur district and major part of Shimla district of Himachal Pradesh. Constructed in 9th century, the temple was constructed in Huna architectural style initially but, over the years, acquired a mixed style. It is included in the Archaeological Survey of India list of ancient temple in Dehradun circle, Uttarakhand.
Ram Tal Garden is at a distance of about 12 kms from Chakrata on Chakrata-Mussoorie Route. The garden is pervade with different varieties of flora and fauna hosting a varied range of climbers, conifers, lichen, ferns, flowering plants and woody trees. With phenomenal views of the mountain ranges along the sky line and a picturesque setting amidst rolling grass lands and a seasonal pond, it is a perfect place to relax and rejuvenate.
Chilmiri Sunset point: A popular spot among tourists, Chilmiri is 4 Km away from the main Chakrata market . It offers a panoramic view of the nearby ranges and that of the sunset for which it has found acclaim. Chilmiri is also one of the few spots in the Himalayas from where the winter-line is visible.
One of Chakrata’s more popular natural offerings located at a distance of 19 kms from Chakrata, Tiger Falls is one of the Asia’s highest direct waterfalls, plunging 312 feet down into a pool. Surrounded by lush greenery of oak and rhododendron trees with roaring, gushing water and a scenic view all around makes it an ideal place for an enchanting outing.
Lakhamandal is located at a distance of around 60 km from Chakrata and 128 km from Dehradun on the road to Yamunotri. Lakhamandal gets its name from the two words: lakha (Lakh) meaning "many" and mandals meaning "temples" or "lingam". Plenty of artistic works were found in the excavations by the Archaeological Survey of India. It is built in north Indian temple architectural style bearing a historical as well as mythological significance. It is believed that Duryodhan conspired against the Pandavas to burn them alive inside the Jatugriha. But fortunately they were saved by the power of the Shakti and therefore a Shakti Temple had been constructed here to commemorate the sacred power of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. The two remarkable well executed figures cast in stone which the locals believe are of the Pandava brothers Arjuna and Bhima are guarding the temple.
Bisoi Temple is located in village Bisoi, a small picturesque village 7 kms from Chakrata consisting of ancient traditional homes made of timber and stones. An architectural marvel, this temple of Mahasu devta has been constructed in the traditional style with harmonious blend of stones and wood with intricate wooden carvings.