For me, the mountains have always attracted more than the beaches! Mountains offer tranquillity and peace of mind and Pangot is one such place that has become a popular bird-watching destination in India and gaining popularity world over. It offers nature lovers a serene lush green thickly forested space with plenty of trekking options and is an ideal destination for all age groups.
Pangot is a small mountain village located in the Kosiyakutoli tehsil of Nainital district of Uttarakhand, India. Located just 15 km from Nainital. Relatively free of the crowds even during the summer break, Pangot is a photographers and bird watchers delight and has a fantastic palette of more than 580 species of Himalayan birds!
Go Trekking: Pangot has some easy walks through rich oak and rhododendron forests along with numerous perennial creeks and streams! One popular walk through the woods is from Pangot to Kilbury forest resthouse. A long trail (15 km to and fro) leading up to Naina peak at 8,563m offers a picture-perfect view of snow-clad peaks of Nanda Devi, Trishul and Nanda Ghunti, to name a few.
With a laid-back charm that attracts tourist all year round, Pangot also has its share of snowfall during peak winter months, attracting a lot of people from the cities.
Sightseeing in Pangot
Jeolikot: Jeolikot is a little town located 18 km short of Nainital (Nainital-Haldwani Highway) and en route the Kilbury bird sanctuary which is home to over 500 species of birds and butterflies.
Bird Watching at its best: Look out for Himalayan Blue Tail Male, Grey-backed Shrike, Black-faced Warbler, Yellow-browed Tit, Grey Bushchat male/female, Blue-capped Redstart, Whiskered Yuhinia, Slaty Blue Flycatcher, Blackheaded Jay and the Khalij Pheasant to name a few. Hari Lama is one of the renowned birders in India and owns his own Birder’s Den
Birder’s Den is an eco-resort, nestled in the lap of nature close to the Naldamayanti Tal and is just a short 10 minutes drive from Sattal. Click HERE for Pics
Ramakrishna Sarada Mission – Pangot: Being an ideal location for solitude and healing, Pangot was one of the chosen destinations for meditation experts like Guru Swami Vivekananda and Shri Aurobindo who spend a reasonable amount of time here in the hills.
The Ramakrishna Sarada Mission, Pangot was established in the year 1989 by Janet (Jenny) Cochius, Jeanne Bakker and Sujata Leemans of Holland to assist women in being independent and help develop their spiritual lives. Today the place offers a Cultural-cum-Retreat Centre for devotees. Click here to know more.
Interesting Facts to Know:
- Jeolikot has a colonial past that is worth exploring by checking out its old ivy emblazoned cottages and cemeteries found tucked away in hidden corners and pathways.
- Among the more popular cottages is the House of Warwick Sahib, a retired major of the British army who lived in Jeolikot. What made Major Warwick more than a footnote in Jeolikot’s history is the fantastic secret hung on, till death, that he was actually a she!
- Another bungalow with an interesting story of a lady – a direct descendant of Napoleon Bonaparte – who came visiting Jeolikot and then fell in love with a local boy and stayed on.
Stay Options in Pangot
- For those looking for budget options visit: Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam
- The Nest Cottages Birds Valley is located on the Kilbury Road, Pangot and is quite a decent place to stay with average amenities but excellent service. But keep in mind, that the restaurant only serves pure vegetarian meals (eggs included), in keeping with the resort’s philosophy of environmental coexistence.
- The Oak Trails Eco Lodge: Just a 1 km walk (15 minutes) up the road takes you to this little but lovely hilltop cottage located in Haryal Village. A perfect place to unwind amidst nature, the site is owned and managed by Bobby, a dog lover who is friendly and would go that extra mile for your comfort. The location offers splendid views of snow-clad Nanda Devi Peak.
- Jungle Lore Birding Lodge: Surrounded by thick Oak & Rhododendron forest on 3 Sides, this lodge offers the best stay option especially if you are travelling with family. Click here to know about exciting DAY TREKS offered by the Jungle Lore Resort.
- Mountain Quail Birding Lodge: This lodge is run by a couple, Siddarth Anand and Bhavna Anand, both passionate adventure travellers. The lodge commands a panoramic view of the hills and adjoins a forest teeming with birds and wildlife. The accommodation consists of 4 comfortable cottage-style suites, 3 mountains log cabins and few safari tents for outdoor camping fun.
- James Cooks Cabin, Jeolikot: Situated in the laps of nature, this is a charming stone heritage cottage built more than 100 years ago. The place offers solitude and soul healing! The accommodation offers a choice between 4 bedrooms with attached bathrooms, a dining room, bar and a study area. Another option is of a 2 bedroom unit that has its own kitchenette and dining area.
- The Cottage, Jeolikot: Originally established as a health resort during the Victorian times, the place has been owned by Bhuvan Kumari since 1994. It is a family-run guest house designed to cater to all your comfort needs with tradition and embraces the Raj era in each of its 5 bedrooms Spend some picnic time at the tiny river just below the cottage or visit the little secret places in Jeolikot with your own local guide. Don’t forget to carry your binoculars and butterflies guide book. The site shares its fence with a Government-run Apiary and horticulture dept, where you can buy fresh fruits like Kiwi, Mushrooms, Olives and Strawberries and yummy fresh wildflower honey!
- Bada Bungalow, Gethia is a beautiful serene premium boutique resort located in Gethia Chinkuwa. It offers twelve beautifully-crafted and elegantly-furnished guest rooms.
Each resort/homestay or camp is at a different hight of the hill and expect different experience and views. Most of these places offer home-cooked meals made using fresh farm vegetables and freshly ground spices sourced directly from the nearby villages. Few also have an option to request for a ‘picnic lunch’ that can be carried on your treks!
- Kamp Land, Sigri: located just 22 km away from Nainital, Kampland is a quaint luxury resort that’s well connected and easily accessible by roads. Open all year round, the camp offers picturesque views and flourishing with a variety of birds and wildlife too. A fantastic weekend getaway for city people needing relaxation and fresh mountain air!
- Kampland Nature Resort is one of the best places to camp out in the middle of a lush green valley, surrounded by dense forests and yet it has all the modern-day luxuries, including a swimming pool! Offering 7 luxury Cottages on double/triple occupancy with attached bathrooms, the camp has a well equipped recreational room and even includes a pool. Pets are allowed. The location of the camp is on a cliff offering an unbeatable spectacular view of the high mountains and valleys beyond. Connect with Somriti Mitra (Owner): +91-8826657657, +91-9599224657
- Sigri Camp: Sigri Jungle Camp is situated at an altitude of 7200 Ft (2194 meters) above sea level and is just 16 km from Kilbury Forest and Pangot. The drive to Sigri itself is worth it as it drives through the forested area of China Peak Range via Snow View Point and Kilbury, the main habitat for an amazing range of exotic birds. Sigri offers 8 swiss cottage tents with attached toilets. Tariff: 1150/- onwards
- Camp Mehi: Camp Mehi was started in the year 2008 to increase and highlight adventure activities in the Kumaun region. Tariff: 2300/- INR onwards
The camp is perfect for schools and corporate camping trips and has lots of activities to choose from. Contact Person: Sanjay Budhalakoti +91 9012063669, 9012589415, 9456763669 Camp phone:- +91 9682701879
Pangot from Nainital: 15 km (Approx 40 minutes)
Pangot from Haldwani: 48 Km
Moradabad to Pangot: 138 Km
New Delhi to Pangot: 304 Km (Approx 5.5 Hours)
Pantnagar Airport to Pangot: 75 Km
NH24 to Rampur via Hapur, Gajraula, Joya and Moradabad
NH87 to Jeolikot via Haldwani, Kathgodam and Ranibagh
Best Time to Visit:
Pangot can be visited at all seasons. While winters can be really chilly, summer is cool and cozy. Do try to take a trip during March to April as that’s when the whole valley is rendered in crimson red of the blossoming Rhododendron!
March to June: Summer holidays so expect high tourist season
July to September: Heavy Rainfall but the valley is breathtaking and perfect to capture nature at its best
October to February: Evenings are chilly, and January brings in a bit of snowfall
November to March: Best season for bird watching
Sky Lark Dhaba: Approx. 9 Kms from Garhmukteshwar, Ganga River
Punjabi Potli, 22 km ahead of Rampur (just 8 km short of Bilaspur)
Himalayan Birding Experience an interesting article by Caesar Sengupta
saleeltambe.blogspot.in Saleel Tambe tells you interesting tips to travel to Pangot.
The Pangot Adventure! Blog by Ankhi Bhattacharya