Life in a big city can be quite pressing with a constant need to perform that leaves most of us drained and totally stressed out. At The White Peaks, you just need to let go and keep all your worries aside.
• Gorge on some delightful, home-cooked food, sit around our cozy fire-place, playing board games with friends and family or just browse through the large collection of books that are housed in the library.
• If you love the outdoors, then just step out into the courtyard, have a cup of Earl Grey or Masala chai over endless rounds of conversations, admiring stunning vistas of the snow-capped Himalayas, beckoning you to gaze as long as you can.
• The sprawling oak forests are home to innumerable species of birds and also to the elusive leopard. You could go for a day-long trek.
The White Peaks can be a peaceful base camp for you to explore the more touristy parts of Kumaon. Quite a few day trips can be planned from here.
Nainital- Barely a 45 minute drive from The White Peaks takes you to the town of Nainital, buzzing with activity. The emerald green Naini Lake, cradled amidst seven mountains offers a walk around its periphery, which could be quite nice during off-season. The Mall road is dotted with numerous curio shops, hotels and restaurants. Some of the common activities include boating and horse riding. Nainital is also known for its handmade candles. There are several local attractions such as the Land’s End view point (2881m), Naina Peak, Church of St. John’s in the Wilderness (1846) at Mallital, the Mall and lake promenade, cave garden, ropeway to Snow View (2270m) at the Sher-ka-Danda Ridge, the Raj Bhawan, the State Observatory, Tiffin Top or Ayarpatta Hill, Dorothy’s Seat view point, the Tibetan Bhutia market, Barra Bazaar, Aurobindo Ashram and Gurney House (Jim Corbett’s home at one time) at Ayarpatta Hill.
Binsar- Binsar is a quiet and elusive hill-station at an altitude of 8000 ft, with 50 sq.kms. of protected forests of pine and rhododendron. The untouched beauty of Binsar and its stunning panoramic views of the greater Himalayas, including the snow clad peaks of Kedranath, Chaukhamba, Trishul, Nandadevi, Nandakot and Pachachuli are an added tourist attraction. Binsar is an ancient hill town named after Bineshwar, an ancient Shiva Temple built by the King Kalyan.. It was the summer capital of the Chand Rajas. The Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary is replete with wildlife and has almost 166 identified bird species.
Mukteshwar- About 20 kms away from The White Peaks is the little hill town of Mukteshwar, surrounded by thick pine forests, known for its fruit orchards. The 350 year old Shiva temple in Mukteshwar is an attraction. Mukteshwar also offers splendid views of the valley and some of the major Himalayan peaks like Nanda Devi, Panchachuli and Trishul.
Naukuchiyatal- If you are a keen bird watcher, Naukuchiyatal is a place that will steal your heart. Calm and serene, the Naukuchiya Lake is clean and beautiful and is a bird watcher’s paradise. It is also ideal for long walks. Paddle and Rowing boats are available on rent.
Pangot- A 2 hour drive from The White Peaks will take you to the picturesque hill-town of Pangot. Pangot is known for its pleasant climate and laidback charm. Pangot is also a popular place for bird watching. Over 150 bird species, including blue winged minla, spotted and slaty backed forktail, rufous-bellied woodpecker, yellow throated Himalayan martens and khalij pheasant can be spotted in this region. If you are lucky, you could also spot the barking deer or even leopards and civets.
Mahesh Khan Forest and Forest Rest House - Walk or drive 5km on the Bhowali – Ramgarh Road and then enter the Mahesh Khan Reserve Forest, through the Forest Entry Gate. The shady forested road is a great option for a day-trip to spot birds and other wildlife.
The Naina Devi Himalayan Bird Conservation Reserve - Notified on 9th March 2015 by the Uttarakhand government, it is the country’s newest bird conservation reserve. Encompassing an area of 111.9 sq km in the Nainital district of Kumaon, the reserve homes a wide diversity of birds including spectacular pheasants. Along with over 250 species of birds, it also has Himalayan gorals, leopards and wild boars. The forests are rich in flora with many species of oak and an abundance of rhododendron. End your bird watching walk with a plateful of hot Maggi at the local dhabha in Pangot village. It is about a 2 hour drive from the cottage.
Sattal - A cluster of seven fresh water lakes including Nal, Damyanti, Garuda, Bharat, Ram, Sita, Lakhshman, Hanuman and Panna, Sattal is home to several migratory birds. Birds like red-billed blue magpie, kingfishers, blue-throated and brown-headed barbets are easily spotted here. Besides birds, the town is also home to 525 species of butterflies, more than 11,000 species of moths, beetles and about 20 species of mammals. Hills around Sattal are ideal for activities like trekking, rappelling, mountain biking and rock climbing. Activities like boating and angling can also be enjoyed at the lakes. Another attraction of the town is the Butterfly museum.
Bhimtal - Bhimtal has a picturesque lake with small island in the middle. Perched at an altitude of 1370 meters above sea level, it is named after the legendary mythological character, ‘Bhim’ of Mahabharata. The salubrious weather makes is a perfect choice holiday makers. Stop by at the local Fruitage shop in Farsauli to buy some Litchi, Apricot and Peach squashes and jams.
Ramgarh - At an altitude of 1789m, with views of the Himalayan peaks, including Nanda Devi, Trishul and the Panchachuli range, Ramgarh is especially known as a fruit bowl for its fruit orchards. Several famous personalities such as Rabindranath Tagore, Narain Swami and Mahadevi Verma had established their ashrams here. Today it is a popular destination for vacation homes.
Dhanachuli - Just about an hour and a half from The White Peaks cottage is a charming little village called Dhanachuli. Offering some of the best views of the Himalayan ranges, it is a popular holiday destination for many.
Almora - Almora is situated approximately 50km from Bhowali. From here one could visit the Katarmal Sun temple, Chitai Temple and the Kasar Devi temple. Almora is otherwise a bustling hill-town with many shopping centers including the 200 year old Lal Bazaar. The Famous Nanda Devi Mela is held here at the 100 year old Nanda Devi Temple. The Gobind Vallabh Pant Public Museum is a good place to get a glimpse of ethnic Kumaoni art and culture.
Ranikhet - Ranikhet is a quiet cantonment town with the absence of the hustle and bustle of a usual touristy hill station. Pretty Victorian cottages dot the town, taking you back in time. But the best things about Ranikhet are the serene walkways surrounded by pine and deodar trees. There are also several apple orchards in the area which the locals would gladly give you a tour of. The forest area around Ranikhet is home to wild animals like leopards, jackals and mountain cats.
Jim Corbett National Park - India’s oldest national park, it was named after the famous hunter turned conservationist Jim Corbett who has also authored the book, ‘Maneaters of Kumaon’. With over 400 different species of plants and several wild animals like the royal bengal tiger, leopards, elephants, wild boar, muntjac, sambhar and cheetal, the park attracts thousands of Indian and foreign tourists each year. It is an ideal place for bird watchers, wildlife enthusiasts, adventure freaks, anglers and animal lovers. Corbett has four safari zones- Jhirna, Bijrani, Sonanadi, Dhikala and Durgadevi.