The Hidden Gems of Kumaon

Even if you are not an avid traveller the chances are you would have still heard about Kumaon hills. Uttarakhand, a popular domestic destination is divided between Kumaon and Garhwal hills dotted by hill stations that are staple holiday destinations of North Indians. Nainital and Bhimtal are Kumaon’s tourist hotspots. In this article we look beyond the mall-road hotels and explore quaint boutique properties, not far from Nainital, that offer unique holiday experiences. The closest railway station for all these properties is Kathgodam.

Two Chimneys, Gethia 

two chimneys

Badal and Bijli were busy playing when I checked in. But once we were at the lunch table, these two adorable pahari canines came to say hello. Welcome to Two Chimneys. This small, seven room to be precise, property is tucked in the little town of Gethia which is 17kms from Kathgodam. Rooms with ample of natural lighting, attics you can climb up and big bathrooms make Two Chimneys a total delight. If you are looking for a home away from home kind of holiday experience in a quaint setting this place is for you. Game room that houses pool and tennis table, study room, library, a basketball court, bar and a lovely little swimming pool ensure that there is never a dull moment at this resort. Then there is Manjuji, on paper manager of the property, but to guests she is a caretaker as she walks that extra mile to take care of her guests, friend because you can have endless conversations with her and a guide as she narrates stories of Kumaon and lists all the things to do in the region. Owned by the Tejpals (of Tehelka), this little known resort charms it’s guests. Bonus? The food that is delectable. Must try the fish cutlets and Malabari Parantha from their kitchen.

Tariff (per night): Rs 4000 onwards

For more information visit:

Te Aroha, Dhanachuli 

Te Aroha- final

Te Aroha redefines the word luxury holiday. This place of love (that’s what Te Aroha means) is all about exploring the unexplored, experiencing the rare and having access to something priceless. Te Aroha is located in a little quaint village of Dhanachuli, near Mukteshwar and houses restored antiques. It also now has India’s first graphic art museum- Chitrashala. It has about 12 theme rooms, each one with a full blown view of the mountains. If you check into this boutique hotel you will realise that each piece of furniture has a story to narrate, your bed might tell you the story of old Bengali households, the Piano and Poker of the Raj era and the gramophone about music aficionados who spent hours with the sexy looking machine. You call that luxury? Te Aroha’s location is what makes it a total treat….you can go for long walks on the serpentine roads or for a jungle picnic. You can even go to the village and talk to the locals. Te Aroha is retro but appeals to the modern discerning traveller. The man who built this lovely holiday getaway and brought Dhanachuli on the tourist map is ace corporate lawyer Sumant Batra. He is a collector and Chitrashala is his lovechild. The museum houses old film posters and other graphic trivia- calendars, packaging material and covers of novels. Te Aroha is for the discerning and a perfect romantic getaway.

Tariff (per night): Rs 6500 onwards

For more information visit:

Soulitude in the Himalayas

Soulitude in the Himalayas

This is where you come face-to-face with the Kumaon Himalayas. Soulitude is located on a quiet hillside in Gagar, Ramgarh. Besides the fresh mountain air it offers spectacular 180-degree snow views. This 10-room property offers all the luxuries of a hotel but in a vacation home style.  Gagar (near Nainital, Uttarakhand), located at an altitude of 7,000, feet is an idyllic hamlet. The joy peaks at Soulitude as one can enjoy panoramic view of Nanda Devi, Trishul, Panchachuli, Pindari Glacier, Nandakot, Nandaghunti, Kamet and some other Himalayan peaks. How scenic its location is can be gauged from the fact that Ramgarh has inspired many a famous writers. Rabindranath Tagore, it is said, wrote one of his most famous works ‘Gitanjali’ from a hilltop in Ramgarh, where he lived for six years. Renowned poetess Mahadevi Verma too lived in Ramgarh and her home is now converted into a library of her works. Soulitude was initially a five bedroom vacation home of Delhi-based asset management and investment advisor Manish Chandra before he decided to add more rooms and open it for guests to rent. Chandra and his family still visit the place 8-10 times a year. That’s why Soulitude has not just a soul but a heart too.

Tariff (per night): Rs 6000 onwards

For more information visit: