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Mukteshwer

Uttarakhand Kumaon Hills are dotted with many numbers of gorgeous hill stations, each with its own special charm and easy accessibility. One such splendid hill resort is Mukteshwar, 2300 m, a secluded retreat blessed with pleasant weather and heart-stopping vistas of the Himalayas.

The town of Mukteshwar is associated with a legend of Shiva who gifted immortality or Mukti to a demon that he slew. Mukteshwar was a quiet mountain hamlet till the turn of the last century. It owes much of its present day status to the Indian Veterinary Research Institute, which possesses a large part of the land and most of the deep forests that surround Mukteshwar. Rhesus monkeys and langurs jabber in the trees, deer and birds abound, and the occasional mountain leopard and Himalayan black bear can be spotted.

The evergreen forests and deciduous woodlands are home to the Himalayan ruby throat, white-crested laughing thrush, red-billed leothrix, black winged kite and a host of other mountain birds. The elusive Himalayan Mountain Quail was last seen in the Nainital vicinity near Mukteshwar. Beyond the forests, past fields and farms are lush fruit orchards that grow apples, plums, peaches, apricots and pears.

What to See Around

Mukteshwar Temple: Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the hilltop temple with white marble Shiva Linga and Copper Yoni is surrounded by idols of Brahma, Vishnu, Parvati, Hanuman, Ganesh and Nandi. You have to climb a series of winding steep stone stairs to reach the sanctum.

Sitla: 6000 ft high, Sitla is a hill station popular for its colonial style bungalows. Tourists can engage in trekking expeditions of varying difficulty levels organised by the resorts in this area.

Chauthi Jaali: Next to Mukteshwar temple is Chauthi Jaali, and area where it is believed that a Demon and a Goddess fought a battle. The place is marked with what is believed to be faint outlines of a sword, a shield and a trunk of an elephant.

Indian Veterinary Research Institute: Yuksom, an ancient town in Geyzing subdivision of West Sikkim in the Northeast Indian state of Sikkim was the first capital of Sikkim established by Phuntsog Namgyal who was the first temporal and religious king of the place. The coronation spot of the first monarch of Sikkim is known as the "Throne of Norbugang". Yuksom is where lies the Norbugang Chorten near the Norbugang throne, the place Namgyal was crowned, several monasteries and a lake. The Chogyal dynasty ruled over for 333 years.

View of Nanda Devi : Nanda Devi is the 2nd highest mountain peak in India and overall 23rd in the world. It stands as tall as 7,816 m above the sea level. This mountain peak is clearly visible from Mukteswar and tourists visiting Mukteswar must have a clear look at this mesmerizing beauty.

How to Reach

Air - Pantnagar airport is the nearest airport, which is located about 100 km from Mukteshwar. Pre-paid taxi services charge about Rs 1,700 from the airport to Mukteshwar. Pantnagar is connected to Delhi with daily flights. Delhi is the nearest major international airport, which is connected to most of the Indian cities and cities abroad.
Road -State owned bus services connect Mukteshwar with other cities in the state. Many private bus service providers operate luxury buses between Delhi and Kathgodam. Buses start from Delhi's ISBT Vivekananda terminal.
Rail -Nearest Railhead is Kathgodam station, which is 70 km away from Mukteshwar. Kathgodam is well connected with other major cities in India by rail. Taxi cabs cost about Rs 1,200 for one way journey from Kathgodam to Mukteshwar.