Unexplored Uttarakhand – The Misty Mountains retreat in Jhaltola, near Gangolihat

August 14, 2014 By:

It had been a long tiring winter and a recharging vacation had been on the cards for far too long. Sushil – a close friend, suggested a new retreat in Uttarakhand – The Misty Mountains. He had been there with his wife and another couple in his friend circle. The name itself suggested just the kind of place I wanted to go to. Reminded me of the many exotic locales from fantasy books I had read over the years. I was sufficiently intrigued to check out their website at http://themistymountains.in and was sooner convinced.

It’s a long way so we took an overnight pit stop at Nainital and started for the retreat the next morning. The five hour drive through the hills was a little tiring but extremely rewarding with some amazing views all around. From Nainital, we went through Bhowali – Kainchi mandir- Khairna – Almora – Dhaulachina – Sheraghat. We stopped for 20 minutes at The Hill view restaurant at Dhaulchinna , a surprisingly neat place for its location in the middle of nowhere.

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Snow covered peaks of the Himalayas on one side of the retreat


A little after noon , we reached The Misty Mountains Retreat wreathed by the snow capped Himalayas on one side to the green alluring canopy of forests on the other. As we entered the premises of the retreat we could not miss the warm embrace of Mother Nature welcoming us with her open arms. The journey from the main gate to the retreat was equally thrilling and we could feel the adrenalin rush as our car (a Maruti Alto – comfortable for the three of us, my sister, mom and me) negotiated the topsy turvy terrain.

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Vast forest as seen from the other side of the retreat

The intoxicating serenity and the picturesque location captured us as soon as we entered the retreat.

The silence was unbelievable and the air soothing and rejuvenating. We were assigned a rather large cottage to ourselves. It had two generous sized bedrooms and a large living room with huge picture windows which framed the snow peaks right in front of us.

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The beautiful interiors

We were here to just relax and enjoy our time together as a family but the place is ideal for all kinds of nature lovers who would also want to explore the rich flora and fauna of the Kumaon hills, adventure sports like rafting/mountain climbing or just sitting still and watching the beauty of the nature unraveling which most of us miss in the daily hustle and bustle of our city lives.

Later in the evening, as we were enjoying our tea outside our cottage, the owner of the property came by to ask if we were comfortable, we happened to mention that we wanted to see the sunset from the sunset point the guide was talking about. The views were absolutely clear so the owner insisted that we should make a dash for it. He took us in his own car to the sunset point almost a kilometer away – which we could have loved walking to, but for the time constraint. As we got out of the car, we saw the most beautiful sunset I had ever seen in my entire life. It was like a large melting fire ball – breathtakingly beautiful. We went crazy clicking pictures – looking at the pictures now, makes me nostalgic, but being there, experiencing it is something else!

That night we chatted for hours looking at the stars from our living room picture windows – I was thinking about the time we used to sleep on our roofs in summers and mom used to tell us stories. Although it seemed really late with absolute silence all around but for sounds of nature – crickets and some thrushes that sang through the night and a lone barking deer somewhere nearby, the clock ticked 10 the last I saw it.

The sunrise view from inside the cottage, next morning was equally enchanting. I am not an early riser but I had such a peaceful sleep that I woke up early the next morning all fresh and fit to embrace the day and embrace I did. – the soft golden spill through the large windows brought a peaceful smile to us all. It was amazing to see the snow capped peaks change colors from deep blue to smoldering yellow to a fiery orange and finally a blue tinted white. It was a light and color show of nature!

The retuning monsoons in April was a phenomenon I was not aware of – but we saw them from close quarters and the next few hours were of an ever-changing weather from warm calm ambience to sudden violent thunderstorm and shower that satiated all our senses. That was a treat alright!

We were at The Misty Mountains retreat for three nights and three days and it was one of the most memorable vacation I have had in recent times.

Incidentally, the area also boasts of innumerable remedial plants and some exotic species of birds, insects and animals apt for zoologists or nature lovers. One can feel the enthralling blessings of the divine in the atmosphere, the culture, the traditions and the temples located in the vicinity of the resort. The Patal bhuvneshwar cave temple, which houses a number of sayambhu lings and shrines is said to be the only place on earth where a large gathering of Gods takes place, in addition to the a huge number of gandharvas (musicians from heaven), apsaras (damsels from heaven), vidhyadharas (singers from heavens), sidhas (yogis), rakshakas (demons) and nagas (serpents) to serve the mighty lord Shiva inside the Patal., the Gangolighat Kalika temple where it is still believed that Ma Kali visits the temple premises at night with her soldiers and warriors, the Jageshwar temple which houses 125 temple shrines of various Gods and Goddesses has different and unique believes associated with each of them, one can also find the “Ardhnareshwar roop” of Lord Shiva and Parthvati in the form of the an age old Deodar tree! From the historical point of view these temples are estimated to be around 2500 years old and acknowledged to belong to the post-Gupta and pre-medieval era. Adi guru Shankracharya visited these temples in the 8th century in the Katuri Dynasty and these temples range in the period from 8th to 18 century.

Once there one will never ever feel the desire to get back to the monotonous everyday life.

The trip and more specifically the retreat totally rejuvenates one’s mind, body and soul and the haunting tranquility urges one’s innerself to return again to experience the benevolence of Mother Nature just like a child yearns to relive his childhood in the laps of his mother, no matter what the age.

About Mala Raman

Mala Raman has written 15 posts at Ghumakkar.

Travelling is exhilarating for me and the thrill of exploring things anew keeps the traveler in me ticking...Love nature and the very naive things attract me to the core...the world we know and perceive is much beyond our understanding...

37 Responses to “Unexplored Uttarakhand – The Misty Mountains retreat in Jhaltola, near Gangolihat”


  1. Mini says:

    Hi Mala Raman,

    I belong to Dehra Dun, Uttarakhand and just love the hills. Your description of the misty mountains is impressive enough to make anyone yearn to visit it. I am surely going to plan a trip to the hills soon.

    Mini.

    • mala says:

      hey! thnx for the compliment but this place is actually breath taking…u have to visit it once to experience that yourself, let me know ven u plan so that i can help u wid more information on that.
      mala

  2. testrahul says:

    Hi Mala,
    Very nice post. I am going to eastern Kumaon(Shaymalaal, Mayawati, Lohaghat, Munsiyari, Didihat, Jageshwar) this May. I will visit this place.
    Thanks you for publishing this post.
    Regards,
    Rahul

    • mala says:

      sure, u should visit the place…its awesome…especially the susrises/sunsets and the serenity of the whole place…its really alluring!! shall be happy 2 help u out wid the details of the place venever u plan to visit:)
      mala

  3. Ram says:

    Thanks for introducing us to The Misty Mountain Retreat at Jhaltola. The place looks exquisite. I love the Kumaon Hills. May be one of these days we too land up there.

    • mala says:

      surely, u shud visit d place…its beautiful…u cn get more details of the place on the website as well!:)

  4. Patrick Jones says:

    Lovely place.

    Shall make a note of it.

  5. mala says:

    lovely indeed it is:) visit smtm to experience the charm urself:)

  6. sreejata says:

    Hi Mala, lovely post! Could u give me a bit more info? How far is the resort from KGM/bhowali? I’m going with 2 kids, hence I can’t attempt very long drives in one day. Thanks. Sreejata.

    • mala says:

      Hi! Sreejata..have spoken with the contact person at the resort and guess you have got all the information.Have a wonderful stay n njoy ur trip:)
      Mala

    • sushil says:

      hi Sreejata, this is Sushil ‘ mala’ friend and know Jhaltola very well.Feel free to contact be for details. Contact me at : 9911493579 (gurgaon)

  7. Manish Khamesra says:

    Mala,

    Very nicely written post and it generated the desire to go to misty mountains. The area surrounding It is so lush green.

    I was also expecting to see some sunset photos that you have beautifully described. Please post them, it will be a visual treat for the readers. Thanks for writing this truly enjoyable post.

    • mala says:

      thnx manish,

      shall surely upload some sunset snaps…its just dat m not very updated on how to upload the snaps at different locations in an excerpt.

      mala

      • Manish Khamesra says:

        Nandan,

        Can you please help Mala in doing so?

        • nandanjha says:

          Sure.

          Mala – e-mail me with what you see when you try to do it. It should be same/similar to the way you have posted currrent pics (or was it me who did this :-)).

          let me know. My e-mail id can be seen if you login and look at this comment in the back-end s/w.

          • mala says:

            Hi Nandan,

            I guess you uploaded the pics since that was my first post:), however i did upload some pics on my next writeup “Entrancing trip to Neemrana Fort Palace”. The issue was after i finished the writeup i uploaded the pics one after the other..it does not look visually aestetic…my question is how do i put different images at different locations in a particular writeup, as you did for this writeup?

            mala

  8. Jerry Jaleel says:

    Your second photograph reminds me of the hills around Naini Tal many years ago. Unfortunately most trees were chopped down there to build houses and allowed the sewage drained into the Lake Naini Tal. Now they are experiencing soil erosion and mud slides as well as a highly polluted lake containing fish (mahseer) with high mercury level. I have seen the impact on my last visit to Kumaon as a result of aggressive developing to attract tourists. Hope that doesn’t happen to the Misty Mountains and other beautiful areas in Uttrakhand / Uttranchal.

    Thankfully, the natural beauty of Kumaon as described by Jim Corbett is still intact in many areas, for our generation to enjoy. We have an obligation to preserve these sites for our next generation.

    Informative post and beautiful images. Good luck with downloading additional photographs.

    with best wishes,

    Jerry

    • Manish Khamesra says:

      What an emotive appeal and what an observation! I wish that your voice get heard.

    • mala says:

      Hi Jerry,

      Its true how we are destroying our mother nature…this time when we went to The Misty Mountains we passed through many mountain ranges where we witnessed enormous felling of trees…i guess there has to be some way all this is stopped, its a very sorry sight to see hudreds of trees being felled for our comfort/luxury and at our whims and fancies…its often said we should not mess with mother nature..altough she is very generous, when her wrath is invoved its all destruction..guess we see the fallout in the form of never heard before diseases, tsunamis, eathquakes….

      hope there is an end to this indricriminate exploitation of nature by humans soon.

      mala

      • Manish Khamesra says:

        Mala,

        Inserting photos in between text is easy. In the edit mode, go to HTML mode and move the following portion to the place that you desire. You have to move the portion between img to portion before next img at the lines/para you want.

        In-fact you can look at the preview also to understand that its outcome is what you desire or you want to do more editing.

        I am looking forward to you being successful in it and the post getting richer in content and look. You can also look at Information tab where Nandan has provided information about how to do it.

  9. Rohit says:

    Hi Mala

    Your first photograph reminds me to Kashmir and second one to Nainital which I visited once.

    It really helps one to get peace and tranquility when you go to hills. your experience of Misty Hills really wonderful. I will suggest you to visit Amarnath also at least once. I am sure you will like to travel in the Himalayan range. I have been there couple of times.

    Sunset is really beautiful when you see from the hills and it becomes most beautiful when there is snow on the mountains.

    Best wishes Mala for your upcoming trip to Hills

  10. Even though Taj is considered a wonder of India, Patal Bhuvaneshwar is really a place that leaves people awe-stuck. The carvings inside are just marvelous…

  11. bharatt says:

    nice post…i am also going to misty mountain …tmrw morning…hope the place will be good…

  12. Sword Fish says:

    Hi! Mala!
    I love nature and its the beauty associated with it . Your description of the misty mountains is impressive enough to make me yearn to visit it. I am surely going to plan a trip to the hills soon. Hope to c a new place with your ghumakkad habbits… Its me . . ? ? ?

  13. tarun says:

    Hello,

    I would like to visit Kausani; Binsar; Ranikhet; Mukteshwar; Auli; Jhaltola in a single trip. Is it advisable to go in the month of December or January which witness snowfall as I feel it may spoil the vacation in terms of not able to see clear views or blocked roads. Also, kindly suggest mode of transportation other than cab. I think local buses may not have good frequency as we will be two adults and one child.

    Also. are there any excursion options from Jhaltola.

    I appreciate your valuable feedback.

    Kind Regards,

    Tarun Grover

  14. Ashok Sharma says:

    nice post with beautiful pics.

  15. DR ANSHUMAN says:

    dear all,
    i have been following the site since 2010 & definitely cross check with ghumakkar for any trip i take.
    most famous being the route to delhi-lucknow, suar -bazpur-kaladhungi route to nainital.
    i had been to the misty mountain resort in may 2013, but didn’t find it to be extra ordinary.
    yes the view of Himalayas from the property is breath taking.
    cons
    1. price with the service is not justifiable(my feeling)
    2. journey with kids in mountain for such along duration is very tirirng.
    3. rather than making astop over at nainital can stay at jageswar, it has a shiv temple(maha mrutyunjay) & the puja there is out of the world.
    4. patal bhubaneswar is must visit for all able bodied persons.i say so because one has to crawl down. its so good i let my wife who was 8 months expecting to go down & have a look.
    5. the connecting road to the resort is scary,
    hope it helps
    regards
    ANSHUMAN

  16. AJAY SHARMA says:

    Hi! Mala,
    Only a day before I was in Kumaon, stayed a couple of days in TRH, Chiliyanaula close to Ranikhet. Though there was a cloud burst, I wish I had read your log and surely would have visited Misty Mountains. Your enthusiastic narration is kicking me for not trying Ghumakkar during our idle 3 days trip to a so close worthy place. Surely next time.

    Keep traveling
    Ajay

  17. Sharmistha Dan says:

    Hi Mala, I place Misty Mountain on my travel list. I absolutely love such places. I have recently spent a couple of days in an almost similar resort in West Sikkim. I suppose my travelogue will be coming up soon. Keep informing us about such destinations. Thanks!

  18. Nandan Jha says:

    Thank you Mala for helping us republish this old gem. Cheers.

  19. I read many about Misty Mountain, and here is another. Well narrated, and beautifully supported by photos. Nandan was right to call it a old gem.

    Thanks



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