Taking an Offbeat Vacation in the Himalayas is as close to being in a literal heaven, as it can get. The Himalayas are magical, and spending a few blissful days in amidst the mighty serenity of the hills can do miracles to your soul.
An offbeat vacation is generally used for under-discovered destinations – places where people should go visit, but are not on their holiday radar. But according to me, an Offbeat Vacation is something you take to unwind and to appreciate the undisturbed and un-commercialized nature.
Offbeat destinations are not your regular holiday spots – and they have a different effect on every traveler. An offbeat getaway can change you emotionally, will push you physically, and will always challenge your notions about travel — and you return with a new view on life, and about yourself. Exciting, isn’t it?
My offbeat getaway destination is always in the Himalayas, and I particularly love Chakrata because it easily reachable and is every bit offbeat and exotic, with a dash of adventure. Let me tell you how.
Imagine this – a weekend spent gazing at the snow clad Himalayan peaks while you sip hot tea or coffee, eat delicious local Garwali food and if you’re up for it, then trek up and down a few trails to witness a stunning sunset. All this, away from the hustle and bustle of the urban life, away from the insistent ping of incoming mails and of swooshing deadline. Yes, a weekend of pure serenity – what’s not to love?
And Chakrata is just the right offbeat vacation spot in the Himalayas for this experience.
The Chakrata town is one of the oldest Army bases from the British times, and it can easily be seen in the architecture of the place -old, rustic and very elegant. The town is surrounded by thick forest, and has a very interesting market that is famous for handmade woollen items of all kind. Most of the stuff in this market is made by hand by the tribes of Jaunsar-Bawar who inhabit this area. Don’t forget to eat momos and Maggi at Chandan’s shop while you’re here, it is famous amongst tourists.
The highlight of Chakrata is the magnificent Tiger Falls. Take the 2-hour trail and walk downhill from Chakrata if you’re up for a little adventure, and reach Tiger Falls – the biggest waterfall in this area. The water here is clean and cold, and oh-so-refreshing. You can also hire a taxi from the Chakrata market, or simply drive to the closest point of Tiger falls, in case you don’t want to take up the two-hour trek.
If adventure is the kind of thing you are looking for, Chakrata has a lot to offer. From short hikes to longer treks, you can enjoy it all. Also, if River Rafting is your game, there are options available to book yourself for a fun rafting session on the Yamuna. No, this is not the polluted avatar of Yamuna that you see in Delhi. Just an hour’s drive away from Chakrata, you’ll see a crystal clear and sparkling Yamuna that will enchant you. This stretch of Yamuna offers several Class II and III+ rapids – heaven for River Rafting enthusiasts.
For a more Offbeat flavor for your vacation, move ahead to Viraatkhai.
Viraatkhai is about 75km from Dehradun, 25km from Chakrata and is easily accessible by road. The small village is located approximately at an altitude of 1900 meters and boasts of a gorgeous view the Doon Valley. The climate is cool and fresh, all through the year and makes for an amazing stay especially in the summers.
While there are quite a few hotels and lodges in Chakrata, the Himalayan Eco Lodges & Camps are a good stay option for a complete offbeat experience in Viraatkhai. The lodge offers a fun mix of offbeat experience, touch of wilderness and adventure, village interaction with inhabitants of Jaunsar and warm hospitality.
Viraatkhai could be a perfect way to witness the joys of an Offbeat Vacation because it overlooks the spectacular Himalayan range and is surrounded by a number of short trails where you can walk and explore at your own pace. At night, relish the fresh local delicacies while you sit next to a bonfire at the lodge, under a star spangled sky which is a rare sight in our cities.
So, if a stunning offbeat vacation with a twist of adventure is on your mind, Chakrata and Viraatkhai can be your answer. An offbeat getaway in the Himalayas will rejuvenate you, take all your stress off and will fill you with magic and gratitude in return. Away from the WiFi signals and closer to the sense of just being in tune with the nature – there’s nothing more fulfilling than exploring an offbeat destination.
Go, don’t keep it waiting!