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Uttarakhand: Chaukori and Patal Bhubaneshwar - A Traveller's Guide
Chaukori is at a distance of 47 kilometers from Bageshwar,and takes about 3 hours. It is also connected from Almora, Kaushani and Pithoragarh.
Like Kaushani, Chaukori also offers a panoramic view of the Himalays, but at a much closer distance. In fact, some of the snow covered mountains are only at a distance of 30 kilometers from here. Various peaks like, Nandaghunti, Chaukhamba, trishul, Nandadevi, Panchchulli etc seems to be at a touchable distance from here.
Other than splendid nature, Chaukori also houses one of the three Kasturi deer firm research centers. One has to take a bus or trekker for 3 kilometers to Kotmanya and then trek for 1.5 kilometers to reach the firm at a height of 2275 meters, where about 22 Kasturi deers live.
Stay at KMVN's Tourist Holiday Resort, which is shaded in Oak, Pine and Rhododendron (Phone: 05964 217347). There are Quite a few hotels too, Check our hotel booking links at the end of the page.
Patal Bhubaneshwar: You should keep this a must in your itinerary, if you are traveling anywhere near the area. Reach Guptori from Chaukori, which is at a distance of 30 kilometers. It is en route Pithoragarh. From Guptori, take a jeep for Rs. 200 (may vary) for a return journey to Patal Bhubaneshwar. After traveling for 8 kilometers, you will reach the ancient caves, the home of Seshnag and Lord Shiva, Patal Bhubaneshwar. And what beauty beholds you!
The cave is shaped like a hood of the giant serpant, Seshnag and is about a kilometer long. You have to descend stairs. . Inside the cave, thousands of Hindu Gods and Goddesses have come into shape from forming stalactites and stalagmites over centuries. You will find the panch pandavas, Ganesha, Garur, Shiva, with Ganga flowing by from His hair, Kamdhenu, the divine cow, and many many more. The place will leave you spellbound, and you will stand back to think “ Can this be possible?”. Remember to carry your own flashlights, to make up for the inadequate lighting inside the caves. Also, hire a guide.
If you start very early in the morning from Chaukori, then you can comfortably complete Patal Bhubaneshwar and return by the evening. However, it is advisable to stay here for a night. KMVN has a tourist rest house here too (Phone: 05964 – 290652).
Gangolihat: 6 from Guptori is Gangolihat, known for its Mahakali temple. 2 kilometers from Gangolihat is Mankeshwar temple, and the ruins of the Mankati king's fort. One can cover Patal Bhubaneshwar from here too, if you choose to stay for a night, and then move to Pithoragarh.
Berinag: Situated at a distance of 7 kilometers from Chaukori, and 19 kilometers from Guptori, is Berinag, known for its Beninag temple. The Panchchulli peak is best viewed from here.
Tripuradevi: 14 kilometers from Guptori is Tripuradevi, which is called the place that is even more beautiful than Chaukori. There is a temple of Tripura Sundari here. Not many options of stay though. A good place is Uttarayan Rest N While.