Mukteshwar a Weekend Trip- Snow play in Icy December

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Excited! We all left for a weekend trip to Mukteshwar to watch the snow in this icy period. I’m sure you can call us crazy. It was 5 a.m., as I recall, and everyone in the car was sleeping except for Hitesh and me. It was cold and misty everywhere when we crossed Ramgarh. And the radio played a beautiful song- “Rooh Se Behti Hui Dhun Ye Ishare de, Kuch mere Raaz Tere Raaz Aawara Se, Kho Gaye hum Kahan, Rangon Sa ye Jahan.” And we silently led our way to Mutkeshwar, sensing the fresh air and waiting to see the snow in the cold of December.

A snowy trip to Nainital
The morning mist

It was December last year, and after the office, five people, myself, Utkarsh, Priyanka, Anubhuti & Hitesh, decided on a weekend trip. The only reason was that Priyanka, Anubhuti & Hitesh had never seen snow, so we should have the best time enjoying the snow. We had scheduled to leave after the office for Mukteshwar on Friday, and our reservations were also made. It was an 8hrs 15min drive approx 363 km, hence decided on minimum halts. We packed warm clothes, snacks, and a bottle of water & all set for our trip.

A snowy trip to Nainital
Full Moon night

Why did we choose Mukteshwar? It’s a wilderness paradise in Uttarakhand. A small town Mukteshwar settled at the top of the Kumaon Hills at an altitude of about 2287 metres above sea level. A perfect place to pause the chaos and noise of urban life and take a trip to this magical land. An interesting legend behind the name Mukteshwar of the area is there- it is believed that Lord Shiva killed a demon king here and bestowed salvation upon him. At the top of the hills of Chauli ki Jali, there is a 350-year-old Mutkeshwar temple. It is believed to be where the Pandavas sought salvation from Lord Shiva.

Mukteshwar a Weekend Trip- Snow play in Icy December
The Foggy Morning

We were thrilled to explore all of that. I was more enthused by the magnificent views of the peaks of Kumaon Himalaya, such as Chaukhamba and Nanda Devi and the mighty mountains of Adi Nampa of Nepal, which could be seen from Mukteshwar. But you never get what you want, and I get that a lot of the time. Due to the heavy snowfall, we could not pass through Bhowali and reach Mukteshwar. But I didn’t regret it; I could see snow twinkling like a million little sun rays. And we saw Hitesh & Priyanka running out of the car and jumping onto the snow bed like toddlers. We tried to stop them as they may have a snow bite. But who cared since it was their first snow? Laughing, joking, they played.

Mukteshwar a Weekend Trip- Snow play in Icy December
Snowy trail

It wasn’t my first snow, but I remember my first snow at Rothnag with my dad, where I held his finger and walked on the snowy track. Suddenly, I raised my eyes to the sky, and a bright light shone through my eyes, which brought me back to reality. I began to walk through the bumpy road where the cars were covered with snow, some fresh brilliant like diamonds, and others old ones covered with mud. And the cold air pricked my cheeks, so I moved my scarf to my face. If not Mukteshwar, Bhowali is also enticing.

Mukteshwar a Weekend Trip- Snow play in Icy December
The roads were blocked with snow.

Looking around me, I noticed a layer of white snow covering trees, land and houses. I was amazed to see how quiet everything seemed. The only sound I could hear was my crispy boots in the snow, the laughter of my friends, and car honks updating us on the new company. The scent of wet pines made the air feel fresh and clean. It was eight in the morning, three hours flying in a second whip. We got together and drove to Bhowali to find night accommodation, and we cancelled our previous reservation at Mukteshwar.

Mukteshwar a Weekend Trip- Snow play in Icy December
A sleepy, snowy town

As we drove down the hills, we saw a little tea stand. We stopped for a steaming cup of tea & Pahari maggie, and you cannot miss out. These are celestial moments, as the owner of the tea stand burned a few blocks of wood for us to be warm. We just enjoyed our time and looked for accommodation.

A snowy trip to Nainital
Chai & Pahari Maggi

At last found a nearby one- Nainital Homes Bamboo Cottages, Bhowali. Although Hitesh was upset because the location of the Mukteshwar property was beautiful, our bad luck due to the blocking of the road, we were not able to reach Mukteshwar.

Mukteshwar a Weekend Trip- Snow play in Icy December
The hotel at Bhowali

It was 10 o’clock. We arrived at our cottages, checked in, and ordered breakfast. Other bad news awaited us, due to heavy snowfall, there has been no electricity since yesterday. Phew! This trip couldn’t have gone any better, and we started laughing. We asked the owner to give us hot water for refreshment while they served breakfast. And fortunately, they also gave us a few candles because electricity will take some time to return. We all freshened up and got a hearty breakfast. Since we’d been driving all night, exhausted, my folks were asleep in their beds.

A snowy trip to Nainital
Happy faces

But I decided to walk around; there were four cabins and an area for the campfire. The property was in a quiet location, where the forest was hazel brown with tall pines and deodar trees, and the fields were parsley green with dewdrops shimmering over them. The chirping birds filled the air, and the dense pillow-shaped clouds slowly rolled through the sky. And the frosty winter was stifling the world with its icy breath. 

A snowy trip to Nainital
Pristine Location

There were other rooms too, but at the backend. And as I walked the lawn, my wheezy, wind-filled lungs were spewing out steam. My hand was cold, despite the jersey and the shawls that covered me completely. I walked to the reception and asked about this area and the places we could visit.


A snowy trip to Nainital
Snow-capped mountains

The person sitting at the front desk told me this hamlet attracts travellers to camping, picnic and trekking activities. Lush greenery, panoramic views, fruits, and snow-covered hills are other parts that draw travellers to Bhowali. He even confirmed that Bhowali is also known as the Fruit Paradise, as apples, apricots or pears are cultivated here. Quite! Interesting.

A snowy trip to Nainital
Winter Weather

Later, I went to bed since my body did not allow me to walk further. When we woke up, it was noon, and we ordered lunch. After lunch, we all went to Golu Devta Temple in Ghorakhal, located on a hill above a military school. It was founded in 1966 in the Ghorakhal area of the Nawab of Rampur. As we entered, we might see billions of bells of all sizes hanging over the temple’s premises, with piles of letters pinned to these bells.

Mukteshwar a Weekend Trip- Snow play in Icy December
Golu Devta Temple

My friends were surprised to see the temple, but I offered my prayers because I had already visited the temple of Golu Devta in Chitai. Golu Devta is the presiding deity in the hills of Kumaon, famed as the God of justice. While making a good tour of the temple, I could see Lake Bhimtal from the temple, and the view was amazing.

A snowy trip to Nainital
Bhimtal view from the top

The evening unfolded around the campfire, with good music and food. We slept early, as we were still wary of the long road. 

A snowy trip to Nainital

The following morning, we drove to Nainital. Upon reaching, we went down the street to the Mall and got our car parked. Then made it to Machan for breakfast and ordered a variety of platters for ourselves. After a lavish breakfast, we walked along the road to the Mall. 

A snowy trip to Nainital

The Mall road runs parallel to Lake Naini, connecting the two ends of the hill city; the principal commercial, food and cultural centre of the wonder is Nainital.

A snowy trip to Nainital
Naini Lake

From there, the view of the mountains covered with large pines and the snow at the top is spectacular. We also made some purchases for wool products.


Mukteshwar a Weekend Trip- Snow play in Icy December
Walk on mall road

We also visited the temple of Naina Devi, considered and worshipped as one of the fifty-one Shakti Peeths. The divine presiding over the Naina Devi Temple is Maa Naina Devi or Mata Sati. It is believed to have been built where the eyes of the goddess Sati fell upon the Earth. We offered our prayers and spent a while in the serenity of the temple.

Mukteshwar a Weekend Trip- Snow play in Icy December
Naina Devi temple

We had planned to visit Bhimtal & Nakuchiyatal, but we had to skip it due to time limitations. Then we only got hot chocolate and cookies from a roadside stall. After leaving the mall road, we went to Tiffin Top, also popularly called Dorothy’s Seat. One obtains a complete view of the city of Nainital and its surrounding hills in the Kumaon region of this place. Adventure activities, including rappelling and rock climbing, are also offered.

A snowy trip to Nainital
View from the Tiffin top

We were all happy because our primary motivation was to look at the snow. It’s been taken care of. We tossed our purchases into the car and started our way to Gurgaon. Although we stopped on the Ramgargh road to take some photos, the tall trees, the luscious smell of the forest, and the sun through the leaves were perfect to be caught in the lens.

Mukteshwar a Weekend Trip- Snow play in Icy December
Ramgarh road

On my way back, I thought, we need to “Fill your life with experiences, not things. Have stories to share, not things to show.”

Mukteshwar a Weekend Trip- Snow play in Icy December
The love for Snow

How to Reach

By Air:

Nainital has no direct airborne connectivity. The closest airport is Indira Gandhi International Airport. Private cabs in Delhi can be rented to reach Nainital.


By Rail:

The Kathgodham Railway Station, about 34 km away, is the closest to Nainital. Numerous trains link Nainital with Delhi and Dehradun. You can hire a private cab or shared taxi for Nainital.

By Road:

Nainital has excellent road connectivity with many cities and small towns of northern India. There is a daily bus service for Nainital from Delhi and Kathgodam. Buses such as Volvo, AC and non-AC are available on the course. Boarding a night bus from Delhi is the most practical way to get to Nainital. However, you can drive yourself or book a taxi.





2 thoughts on “Mukteshwar a Weekend Trip- Snow play in Icy December

  1. Beautifully put in words and pictures, felt like I was there right through the article. Hope to be in Nainital after I come back.

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