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Nainital - Nathuakhan - Dhokaney - Mukteshwar

Looking for a place for stay a little away from hustle bustle of Nainital town I came to know about Nathuakhan, a quaint, beautiful small village. It was the month of April in 2019. We reached there in the afternoon. After reaching Nathuakhan I realized it was the best place to stay near Nainital. The hospitality of the staff at Family In The Hills camp was truly worth remembering. Spacious luxury tents, local food and a small hike to the nearby jungle in moonlight... everything was amazing. 

Nathuakhan is around 35 - 40 KM from Nainital and perfect place for a family stay if someone is looking for a quite place. The nature, greenery, peace and view of snow clad Nanda Devi mountain are at best here. 

To spend a day with family the facility manager suggested Dhokaney water fall. Its a beautiful water fall in a remote location in Dhokaney village and its not crowded around 30 KM from Nathuakhan. If you are a good confident driver then you can drive down from the main road to reach nearby waterfall. Otherwise its a small walk downhill to reach there. On the way one drives through beautiful peach and plum orchards. We were lucky to visit during the flowering season and it was amazing. After spending few hours playing in the water with kids and having a plate of maggi we proceeded to Mukteshwar dham. 

There is a 350 year old Shiva temple in Mukteshwar Dham situated on top of a hill. It is believed the lord Shiva killed a demon here and granted him salvation (Mukti), hence the name Mukteshwar. The forest is lush green with tall deodar (Himalayan cedar) trees. One gets a wonderful view of the Himalayas. Chauli-ki-Jali, the overhanging cliffs is a beautiful attraction for rock climbing and rappelling and an amazing valley view below. Its also known for an amazing sunset view. It was almost dark when we started the journey back to the camp.  

Among the local foods one can try chutney made of Cannabis (भांग) seeds and a dish prepared from Stinging Nettle leaves (बिच्छू घास). Stinging nettle leaves if come in contact with skin produce itching, redness or swelling. But it is a rich source of many vitamins and minerals and traditionally used in treatment of arthritis, lower back pain. Also used as an antioxidant and lowers blood pressure. An amazing drink to try is made from red bell shaped flowers filled with sweet nectar known as Buraansh (Rhododendron arboreum), state tree of Uttrakhand. Its refreshing and acts as an appetizer. It also antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and good for heart and liver health.
At Nathuakhan one can buy jams, jellies and pickles from local shops. Buraansh juice, Plum Chutney, Peach Jam are worth trying. One can also buy local produce like kidney beans, dried organic turmeric, various herbs (Chamomile, Mint, Stavia etc.)

Next day we visited Nainital zoo. Kids liked it very much but there was too much of waiting time in the queue for tickets and then traffic jam while returning. So, entire day was spent there. In the evening enjoyed a boat ride in Naini lake which again was amazing for kids.

On journey back to home we took the Haldwani - Kathgodam route which was not a good decision because of huge traffic and jams on the way. Overall, it was 3 days well spent and well enjoyed!

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