I’ve been adding stories to my travel journal and realising the fact that no matter where or why you travel to, there is always something new to discover. Due to my growing love for the mountains, I was more than ready to make a journey to Gagar and visit one of the most pleasant home stays in Uttarakhand.
Traveling from New Delhi to Gagar was rather an enjoyable train ride which took about 6 hours and covered 350 Kms. I would definitely suggest the early morning train from New Delhi Railway Station to Kathgodam Station, not just for the scenic view on the way but also to reach early and kickstart your adventure! From Kathgodam, you would need to hire a cab and cover 40 Kms, approximately 1.5 hours to reach the homestay. If you’re prone to motion sickness or nausea, it is a wise idea to keep antihistamines such as Avomine handy for a smooth cab ride.
Uttarakhand offers pleasing weather all round the year – summer months being the busiest of all, but winter enthusiasts can plan a trip in December-January as well.
The White Peaks was my little home in the hills for 3 glorious days proving to be one of the rare places to seek peace and stillness from the blaring city life. The approximate elevation of Gagar village is 7000 ft. where the home stay stands sheltered by the mighty Silver Oaks, overlooking the Himalayas.
The homestay possesses a very balmy undertone to it which instantly makes you feel very much at home. What I admired the most about the owners of the property was that, they aren’t physically present but trust their guests enough and provide ample amount of privacy to them. Ms. Aparupa Ray Ganguly, Owner at The White Peaks invited me to experience her magical world which left me wanting for more.
If you’re not a morning person, I would urge you to set your alarm for 6:30 AM and witness the rapturous sunrise. The sky changed colours from amber to orange, eventually turning blue and white.
The homestay includes a private cottage with two rooms on the first floor, each providing a double bed, a study table, a wardrobe and plenty of natural light! My room had an attached bath with adequate hot water supply. Although, water is rather scarce in the mountains and should be used judiciously.
The courtyard was definitely my favourite spot within the homestay, I basked in the sun and sipped on ginger tea made by the caretaker & cook at the homestay, Mr. Mohan. My tea intake drastically increased while I was there and I didn’t mind it a bit!
The courtyard also offers a serene landscape view of the Himalayan range which is undoubtedly magnificent. It is an idyllic spot to unwind and rejuvenate. Also, you might be visited by the local Gaddi dogs who can be your loyal companions in your journey of relaxation!
Towards the evening, it becomes a bit chilly. You could bundle up in front of the fireplace and enjoy your dinner!
The homestay serves full-flavoured home-cooked meals which include morning/evening tea, breakfast, lunch and dinner with choices of vegetarian and non-vegetarian meals. Although, non-vegetarian dishes are generally served for dinner.
Mr. Mohan’s hospitality was one of the warmest highlights of the trip. He was kind enough to ask what I wanted to eat before every meal just like I am asked at my own home!
I highly recommend the Chicken Curry and Kalimirch (Pepper) Chicken along with the special Kumaoni Daal paired with Rice or Chapatis (Bread). The chicken was fresh, tender and cooked to perfection.
Activities Around the Home Stay:
1. Visit to Farmer’s Home, Ramgarh – It is a Kumaon Village home stay and is approximately an hour away from The White Peaks. This property is under the ownership of Ms. Aparupa Ray Ganguly as well.
You could drop in at the Farmer’s Home for a village style al fresco meal and gather insights about the rustic village lifestyle!
The Farmer’s Home is a one cottage home stay perfect to get back in touch with yourself and clear your mind! There is ample of free space to practice yoga and meditation with a calming view of the mountains! It is an absolute must to visit The Farmer’s Home for a personal yoga retreat!
If you plan to have lunch there, you will get to taste authentic Pahadi Daal which does seem like Kidney Beans (Rajma) but is the speciality Kumaoni Daal in the hills! The food is served in brass utensils giving a very aged vibe to the entire experience.
2. Hike to Jhandidhar Temple –
If you’re visiting the hills, there is always a lot of walking involved. The city life doesn’t allow you to be on foot too much as it is. One should always carry their hiking/running shoes because the scenic views and the weather will definitely allure to take longer walks!
We started from The White Peaks for a short hike to Jhandidhar Temple. It is approximately 2 Kms away from the home stay with a beguiling route through the woods.
Upon reaching the top, we met Yogi Ranganath who is the priest as well as the caretaker of the temple. There is a Durga Temple and a Shiva Temple.
The view from the top is mesmerising to no limits! On a clear day, you could catch a glimpse of the Nanda Devi Peak along with other peaks as well!
Once you’re back from the hike, you could relax and have a cup of Mr. Mohan’s special ginger tea and encounter the sky’s canvas change every few minutes till sunset.
3. Explore Uttarakhands’s Handloom and Handicrafts –
Uttarakhand Textile Development Corporation has setup an official centre in Khutani where they sell their handloom and handicraft products. Their motive it to keep the regional textile and handicraft forms alive and also educate tourists about it.
You could purchase authentic silk products, cotton/woollen handlooms and various handmade brass/wood show pieces.
I purchased several Garhwal Silk scarves and a handbag! With every purchase, the local artisans are motivated to do better and preserve their arts and crafts forms.
4. Return with a bit of the Himalayas With You –
On my way to Kathgodam Station to catch my train back to New Delhi, I noticed a small shop right at the entry point of the home stay which sold organic body care products and edible items. The products were heavenly and produced by a not-for-profit organisation named Aarohi based in Nainital, Uttarakhand.
I purchased the gift pack which included Apricot body oil, scrub and soap! I also purchased a bottle of The Natural Wildflower Honey and Plum Chutney!
You know it’s been a wonderful trip when you’re not in a hurry to get back home, but you are faced with a sinking feeling of leaving. The White Peaks has definitely been my home away from home!
Unplug and relax at The White Peaks!
Address: The White Peaks, Mukta Niwas, Post Office Gagar, Village Gagar,
Dist. Nainital, Uttrakhand, Pin-263132
Phone: 9810050514 / 9810053380
Photography Courtesy: Rahul Lal Photography for Appy Bistro
Post By: Sakshi Deswal / Appy Bistro