A lot has been heard and said about Uttarakhand. The white-water rafting, the lofty Himalayas, a spiritual retreat, one of the best destinations in North India for the most enthralling treks, and a lot more. However, it is these popular ‘tourist destinations’, which often hide gems that go unnoticed by those who stick to mainstream itineraries. By Shubhanjana Das

1. Peora

Peora is the destination for doing nothing. Seriously, the village itself is so stunning and beautiful from every corner of every alley. Walk through the forest trails or simply gape at the unhindered 360-degree view of the towering Himalayas that Peora boasts of. Sprawling fruit orchards, gardens, and of course, a plethora of different birds that it attracts — Peora is for those who believe in slow travelling. Resort Sequester and the Dak Bungalow are the only two accommodation options in Peora, so make sure you have your reservations from way before your arrival date.

2. Chaukori

Another sit-back-and-do-nothing destination that has been our mind ever since we came to know about is Chaukori. After all, who wouldn’t want to stay in a village that wakes up to the views of all of Chaukhamba, Nanda Devi, Trishul and Panchachulu peaks? From Chaukori, you can trek all the way up to another hidden haven of Patal Bhuvaneshwar besides places like Musk Deer Park, Dharampur, and Berinag. If you’re a sucker for sunsets and sunrises, you’ll have a hard time getting over the ones you witness at Chaukori.

3. Bhimtal

While Chaukori and Peora stand on the extreme end of the spectrum of isolation, Bhimtal is the perfect equilibrium between that and the bustle of Nainital and Dehradun. It gets its name from the character of Bhima from Mahabharatha and ‘tal’ refers to the sparkling lake at the very centre of this small haven. Besides boating in Bhimtal Lake, you can also stargaze, dirt bike and paraglide. Visit Victoria Dam, Hidimba Parvat, Butterfly Research Centre and Folk Culture Museum for a deeper dive into the Kumaoni culture.

4. Mukteshwar

Hey adrenaline junkies, we have found the perfect spot in Uttarakhand for you to try your hand at rock climbing. The reward of the climb is the stunning view of the Kumaon Hills that awaits from Chauli-Ki-Jali’, located on the edge of a cliff near the 350-years-old Mukteshwar Dham Temple. Just for your information, Jim Corbett himself couldn’t refrain from falling in love with Mukteshwar, his second home.

5. Jeolikote

Jeolikote is not only coveted by the present-day solo travellers and slow travellers but was also where Sri Aurobindo and Swami Vivekananda are said to have meditated. It’s colloquially referred to as the ‘Gateway to Naini Lake’ and is close to both Ramgarh and Jim Corbett National Park. The locals here truly live with nature and have made its natural abundance a source of their living from the bee-keeping centre and occupation like floriculture and horticulture that flourish here.

Related: Johar Valley In Uttarakhand Is Every Trekker’s Dream Come True!