Best known for adventure sports, apple orchards, lush green meadows, and ancient heritage, Mukteshwar is a small hilly town in the Nainital district. As summers get hotter in the North, and the usual hill stations such as Shimla and Mussoorie get busier, more and more people are looking for alternatives. Thus, the last decade has seen a rise in the number of homestays in Mukteshwar.
The town has always been famous for a 350-year-old temple, built at the spot where Lord Shiva defeated a demon, thus offering him mukti (salvation). Today, Mukteshwar is one of the top destinations for Hindu devotees and anyone seeking solace from the city’s fast-paced life.
Situated 348 kilometers from Delhi, you can reach Mukteshwar easily by car, taxi, or train, which stops at the nearby Kathgodam railway station.
Somewhat similar to hotels in Landour near Mussoorie, Mukteshwar has an array of accommodations, ranging from budget hotels to luxury homestays.
Located near Chauli ki Jali, Shivaya is a heritage establishment run by the 3rd generation of the owner’s family. After 70 years of existence, one can expect the residence to showcase a charming, rustic, vintage appeal.
The homestay has five rooms, each with an individual design and basic amenities like an intercom, king-sized beds, and an attached shower. To keep the space eco-friendly, the proprietors have mud plastered the walls and exclusively kept chemical-free toiletries. For unobstructed views of the Himalayan range, opt for the Attic room with ceiling-to-floor glass panes.
Shivaya also has a glasshouse restaurant with an à la carte menu. All the seasonal vegetables and fruits come from the owner’s organic garden or nearby farms. An outdoor garden at the property further acts as the perfect spot to watch sunsets or experience snowfall. Pet parents can bring their furry kids along and watch them mingle with the resident dogs on the property.
Whistling Woods in the village of Chaukhuta is among the best places to stay in Mukteshwar for guests wanting to experience a camping lifestyle in the mountains. The abode’s location near the popular Bhalu Gaad waterfalls, roughly 4.2 kilometers, makes it a good choice for people wanting to spend their holiday exploring the region’s natural beauty.
Whistling Woods offers twin or triple-sharing Swiss tents, each with an attached bathroom and a balcony. The property has an outdoor canopy, where visitors can enjoy the picturesque views of the Himalayas and nearby forest areas.
In terms of activities, there are games, puzzles, and kids’ sports equipment. Furthermore, Whistling Woods provides an opportunity to indulge in various adventure activities like forest hikes, treks, river picnics, bird watching, and village walks.
Owners Aman and Anuradha are welcoming hosts who make the camping experience memorable by organizing live music performances and bonfires. Each resident also gets to savor local breakfast, the perfect way to kick start a refreshing day in the mountains.
Located on a ridge approximately 6 kilometers from the Mukteshwar temple, Chirping Orchard is a holiday establishment where one can experience the authentic Kumaoni lifestyle. Decked in lighter shades and minimalistic decor, the property includes a family suite and six bedrooms.
Guests wanting more privacy can book the Rosefinch or Maggie cottage. Both abodes are fully-furnished two-bedroom villas 70-80 meters from the homestay.
Chirping Orchards is among the few highly-rated homestays in Mukteshwar, particularly for its openness which includes spacious lawns and outdoor decks where people can lounge around and even order DIY barbecue setups.
Guests wishing to venture out can request the hosts to plan a hike in the forest or a visit to the nearby Kumaon village. The latter is an excellent family activity where you get to learn about local culture and partake in cattle feeding, vegetable harvesting, and fruit plucking.
Chirping Orchards serves homestyle meals from different cuisines like Indian, Continental, Chinese, and Kumaoni. You can order seasonal dishes from their kitchen garden special menu with options like aloo palak, Ram karela, and arbi masala. Should you wish for a picnic, the hosts are happy to muster up a basket with sandwiches, wraps, seasonal fruits, cookies, tea, juice, and roasted peanuts.
Ojaswi Himalayan Resort
Spanning across 1.5 acres of lush greenery and offering panoramic views of the Himalayas, Ojaswi Himalayan Resort is one of the top luxury places to stay in Mukteshwar. Located in Sitla, the boutique resort is approximately nine kilometers from Mukteshwar Dham.
At Ojaswi, guests enjoy activities like foosball, table tennis, and air hockey in the indoor gaming area. Their exclusive spa provides ayurvedic and Western therapy massages as well as outdoor orchard yoga sessions.
When it comes to accommodation, the property has deluxe rooms, a Himalayan suite, terrace rooms, a jungle retreat, and a family suite.
Beige-shaded interiors give these spaces a wooden cottage-like outlook. The suites include a four-poster bed with a private living room and balcony.
The menu at the in-house dining restaurant comprises Indian, Chinese, and Continental meals. On clear days, one can easily spot snow-covered peaks like Nanda Devi, Neelkantha, and Panchuli Group from the resort.
Nodo Living – Luxury Hill Chalet
What’s the point of booking a homestay in Mukteshwar unless it gives you that home-like atmosphere? Nodo Living does precisely that, albeit in a contemporary fashion!
The luxury hill chalet with excellent reserve forest views is a fitting option when looking for places to stay in Mukteshwar that are a little different. Located in a gated community in Sargakhet, the three-bedroom villa can host up to 6 people and is an ideal destination for those wanting a work vacation. Reaching here can be a little tough, but there’s sufficient parking space in the driveway once you do.
The large living room has floor-to-ceiling windows and a slanted wooden ceiling. Each bedroom comes with transparent window panes and an outdoor balcony area. Cream-shaded walls and wooden decor give the entire space a quaint and bright aura.
You’ll find several board games and books in the house for entertainment. The on-site caretaker family ensures homely meals and is happy to accommodate any specific requirements. Moreover, you are only a couple of kilometers from several cafes, restaurants, and departmental stores, which makes the homestay all the more convenient.
Orange County Cottages
Surrounded by Kumaoni Hills on all sides, Orange County Cottage is a two-bedroom abode 8.3 kilometers from the city center. A maximum of six guests can rent the property and enjoy various recreational activities like karaoke and adventure walks. Moreover, a small 100-meter trek from the cottage provides clear views of the Himalayan range.
Covered with foliage and hanging plant pots, the property’s facade looks quite green and goes well with the orange-painted outer walls. There are four lawns outside, each with different kinds of potted plants and stone steps. The inside has two bedrooms and a living room, each decorated with pastel colors to exude a welcoming ambiance.
The bedrooms have big windows, thus allowing plenty of natural light to seep in while offering scenic valley views. Additionally, visitors can utilize the tables on the patio to enjoy the weather. Orange County Cottage can also arrange for a professional cook during your stay, especially if you want to try out Kumaoni food.
Cottage Winterfell is a boutique homestay in Mukteshwar packed full of the magic one expects from any mountain residence. Surrounded by dense layers of coniferous trees, the property has a welcoming appeal that is down-to-earth and comforting.
Entry to the cottage is via a metal staircase that leads to an open lawn area. From here, guests can step into the living room, which also serves as a second bedroom with a Murphy bed. The upstairs space includes the primary bedroom with wood-paneled walls, a king-sized bed, and a workstation. The ground floor has a small kitchen with amenities like a microwave, kettle, and mini refrigerator.
Additionally, the garden has a bonfire area and enough space for yoga sessions or workouts. However, you have to arrange the wood for the bonfire by notifying the hosts at prior notice. A caretaker also visits the place from 10 AM to 1 PM, and a chef is available for an extra charge.
Gadeni Stays: A-frame Cabin
Situated in Naukuchiatal, A-frame Cabin by Gadeni Stays is an architecturally distinctive property. Located about 42 kilometers from Mukteshwar, the establishment stands out amongst all the listed options due to its triangle-shaped construction.
While the accommodation takes you slightly away from Mukteshwar, its unique design, based on Rudolph M Shindler’s 1934 original construction, has an unquestionable appeal amongst design lovers.
Inside the slanted structure, there’s a king-sized four-poster bed and a small kitchenette. From here, visitors can climb up to the loft area, which also serves as a second bedroom. The decor includes wooden elements, from wall panels to flooring. Although slightly congested, the transparent doors and windows help brighten the interiors by allowing natural light.
From the balcony, one can enjoy serene views of Sanguri hills and the surrounding vegetation while you enjoy a home-cooked meal. The menu includes various Indian dishes, snacks like momos and spring rolls, and beverages like fruit juices and tea. Poori bhaji, upma, paranthas, and sandwiches are available for breakfast.
Title photos – Prasenjit Bose (AstoundImage)