It rained on the very first evening and I knew this was nature’s way of bestowing an auspicious welcome to me. I was in Parvada, a village in South Gola Range, which sits cool, green, vibrant and refreshing all through the year. You might think, its just a village but trust me there is a heap to explore, ramble around and relish.
Since, Delhi is sweltering with heat, its time to hit the mountains. How about travelling to Parvada?
The state of Uttarakhand always surprises me with its unbeaten paths, mountain life, breathtaking scenery and local cuisines. And this time, a hidden gem called Parvada near Nainital has got my heart. The lush surroundings of the village, loveliest weather, cosy home-stay and the heartwarming affection of the locals made for a memorable trip. Interestingly, there are no fans in the village and they don’t need them ever. And by the way, Parvada received good amount of unexpected snow in the month of February. I am sure you want to know more about it. While you read this one, you may also check out four other offbeat places.
Slice of Village Life in Parvada
My agenda of visiting Parvada was not about putting a check-in-the-box or visiting the popular attractions of Mukteshwar, Almora, Bhimtal or Nainital, it was about taking a break from the hectic city life and enjoying the smaller joys of life, like walking around aimlessly, staring at the green mountains, chasing the butterflies, admiring the Himalayan birds, hiking to the vantage points, talking to the villagers, eating the delicious Kumaoni food, practicing some yoga and gazing at the stars in the night. Of course, the views of unspoilt greenery and sublime majesty of thick jungles, from the window of the room are strong enough reasons to perch at one place, do nothing at all and bask in the changing colours of the day. Some holidays should be about no itinerary at all. Parvada is one of the places, where you can actually pull off a holiday without an agenda. Just pack your pack, book your tickets and leave the rest to the people of Parvada Bungalows.
Even though our Indian villages are not straight out of fairy tale books, they have an old-world charm, cliff edge roads, unpretentious vibes, narrow alleyways, age-old houses and a whole lot of character about themselves. In the first impression, Parvada might come across as any other village but after your first stroll, a little further away from the main road, on a winding road, you will fall for its flowers, wild growth, trees, time-warped elegance and ever-smiling children (who greet you with a Namaste every time they meet).
So if you want to wake up before your noisy alarm, listen to the chirping of the birds, sip your tea in the lap of nature, eat your breakfast with a view of the mountains and greenery, learn some crochet or arm knitting, relish some local music and be pampered with food of your choices, Parvada is the place to go. There is something so beautiful about the village and the hand-crafted home-stay, that it gets to your heart, straightaway. The train to take from Delhi is the Kathgodam Shatabdi which leaves New Delhi station at 6am and reaches Kathgodam at 1140am. From the train station, Parvada Bungalows is a 2-hour drive. With the rosy rhododendrons, gurgling streams, winding roads, fresh air and ecosystem dominated by oak and cedar trees, the way to Parvada is full of cheer.
Located at an altitude of 7000 ft (2135 mt) and at a distance of 10 km from Mukteshwar, 20km from Ramgarh and 5 km from Kasia Lekh, Parvada Bungalows is a home, away from home. I say so because the owners have left no stone un-turned in making it a place that they would call their own. Every little decor has a purpose. The double-storey cottages are gorgeous, the rooms are absolutely cozy and the decor is impeccable. There is a lounge room dedicated to books while an equally spacious hall is open for yoga. A beautiful temple on the outside, a terrace, large dining area makes it a complete house. I loved the fact that the rooms don’t come with a television because you definitely need a break from the idiot box. All the meals are traditional home-made prepared by the in-house chefs. The chef also makes some great Italian food. I was in love with the attic portion of my room. If I had my way, I wouldn’t vacate it ever. It felt like my own den, away from the chaos of the world.
All that you can make of your holiday
For the wandering souls who really can’t stay at one place, you will be spoiled for choices to explore in and around Parvada. You must climb up and pray at the 350-year-old temple of Shiva, known as Mukteshwar dham, capture the dramatic sunset at the overhanging cliffs of Chauli-ki-Jali, check out the Bhatelia market and hike to the Bhaalugaad waterfalls. The walk to the waterfall is thrilling, while the sunset at Chauli ki Jali is one of the best that you will get to see in Mukteshwar.
If you have an extended weekend, do dedicate a day for my all-time favorite town of Almora too. If you wish to do more, also visit Kainchi Dham or take a ride through the IVRI jungle trail (Indian Veterinary Research Institute at Mukteshwar). But if I had to pick my favorite, I would insist on early morning nature-walks and visiting one-of-it-kind, Jageshwar Temple and the museum in its vicinity.
Celebrate an Occasion like me
Last but not the least, the highlight of my trip was also that I also celebrated my birthday in Parvada, in the company of four lovely ladies, whom I had met for the first time. They were all hard-core travelers and shared the same interests as mine. While I cut a cake, they sang wishes for me. Some may wonder what made me go to a village for my birthday but I really wanted to do something different this year. Since it was the 4th day, I also got back to Delhi by night, to be with my parents and husband, so I got the best of both the worlds. This was a little gift to myself. You can do something similar.
If you need to know anything about Parvada or need my help in planning a trip to this offbeat place, don’t hesitate to shoot a mail at firstname.lastname@example.org