If you had some money in your wallet and want to go to the hills for a couple of days away from the hectic city life, where would you go?
If this question is asked to me, my answer would be ‘Peora’. You may wonder, why not Manali, Shimla, or any other popular hill station? Well, to know that, please read on…
Peora is a small hamlet with traditional tile-roof huts found in the Kumaun region of the Himalayas. The entire village is made up of such huts scattered on the slopes of the contoured valley surrounded by tall mountain peaks and dense pine forests. The daily life of the people here revolves around fruit cultivation. The fruits that are grown here are apple, walnut, chestnut, pear, apricot, and peach. The people here form a close-knit community where everyone knows everyone else and is intertwined with colorful mountain festivities.
If you are coming here, you can experience the beauty of nature in its true and untampered form. This place is a heaven for bird enthusiasts, nature lovers, and photographers, who will find enough to feast their eyes on the dazzling color of the blue magpie, countryside village walks through the colorful pine forests, the amazing night sky with the amazing number of stars and lights of the Almora town across the valley. If are into the more adventurous kind of person, the most thrilling adventure you can get here is a trek through the surrounding mountains. Also, there is no fixed trekking route, so, you can build your own trekking route. This place also offers unparalleled views of the distant snow-clad mountains.
Now that you have an idea about what to expect in here, let’s look at how to reach Peora.
This place is located in the district of Nainital and can be reached from either Almora which is 23 km from here or Mukteshwar which is just 10 km. The easiest way to reach here is by train. You can take the Kathgodam-Shatabdi express from Delhi and take a taxi from the railway station for the remaining journey of about 2 – 2.5 hours.
If you are coming by air, the nearest airport is at Dehradun which is approximately 290kms away. But the most interesting way to reach here is to drive yourself.
Once you reach there, you need a place to stay. If you are someone who loves being in nature, the best place to stay here would be The Dak Bungalow. The Dak Bungalow or locally called ‘Bangla’ is a magnificent old bungalow built by the British in 1905. This was an inspection bungalow built along the then silk-route, which connected Kathgodam - Almora – Bageshwar. After years of left abandoned, the bungalow was leased by a couple, Pradeep and Shubha from the Indian government in 2005, and the refurbished it as a homestay. However, the best part is that even after the renovation, most of its original architectures, fireplaces, wooden ceilings, and of course, the grand verandas were retained. As per me, I’d love to spend some time relaxing on the veranda on an armchair sipping some perfectly brewed masala tea.
Left: The Dak Bungalow.
Right: Shubha and Pradeep
Let me know in the comments what would you love.
You may ask, what is the best time to visit?
Well, like most amazing places, Peora is good for a visit all round the year. It completely depends upon your preference of seasons.
In the summer, the days are fairly warm and mornings and evenings are pleasant. This makes it an ideal place to go away from the hot and polluted cities and also away from the crowds of the more popular hill stations. Winters are generally cold but it doesn't snow every winter. The days are fairly pleasant on the colder side and nights are chilly. September to March is the best time to go if you want a view of the snow-capped peaks of the Himalayan Ranges in the distance. Monsoons are the best as they appear to paint the whole valley in lush green color. The petrichor dominates the air, making it the best time to spend a couple of days in this village away from any crowded city.
Stuff to carry on your visit:
Regardless of which season you are visiting, carry at least one woolen cloth as nights may feel chilly if you are hailing from a part of the country that is more on the hotter side.
Leave those heels and fancy shoes at home. Bring some walking or trekking shoes as you'll be doing that a lot here.
As there is no internet or Tv here, bring books to read or stationery to write. Basically, anything that you love to do. You'll have more than enough time to indulge in those activities here.
If you want to do birdwatching, carry a pair of good binoculars. If you are into photography, do not forget to carry that long lens, you'll get ample opportunity to use it here.
Carry any medicines and cosmetics that you need.
Carry spare batteries (for Camera, torch, etc) and power banks of considerable capacity.
Don't forget to carry a torch. You may need it when you least expect it to. Remember, this is in the midst of a jungle and not a city.
Things to keep in mind while visiting Peora:
Only cash is accepted at the homestay and the nearby villages. The nearest ATM is located in Almora.
No wifi is available and the cellular connection is also limited and mostly non-existent. So online transactions cannot be done here.
Powercuts are not common but are present. It is advised to be prepared and carry extra batteries and torches. Moreover, the entire place is in the midst of a jungle, so carry torches if you are stepping out after dark.