Tired of hearing about the same conventional places to explore in Uttarakhand on the content mills, social media ? Let me give fresh perspective and list down some offbeat places to visit in Uttarakhand.
My aversion for touristy places usually lead me to experience the lesser known delights of Uttarakhand. And based on my recent travels let me help you to visit some actual lesser frequented places in Uttarakhand.
Offbeat Places To Visit In Uttarakhand
Most of these lesser-frequented gems would be from Garwhal and that to specifically from Rudraprayag, Chamoli & Uttarkashi. But trust me there is so much to explore in all the districts of Uttarakhand.
Chaumasi – The Alternative Route to Kedarnath
Thanks to excessive social media coverage of Kedarnath, The holy shrine of Shiva has lost its charm and sanctity. The hordes of crowd, results in unpleasant experience for travelers and pilgrims seeking solitude.
But did you know there exists a village in Rudraprayag which acts as an alternative route to Kedarnath. Yes the rustic village of Chaumasi is exactly that.
This typical garwhali locale acts as a base for two alternative routes. One via 4000 m pass called Hathni Col and other is a relatively easier route which drops at Rambada on the Kedarnath trail.
Apart from that, experience the typical garwhali lifestyle at Chaumasi which is the last village in the Kalimath valley and take it slow.
Byunkhi – One Of The Best Unexplored Places To Visit In Uttarakhand
Byunkhi is a perfect example of a nondescript village of Garwhal. Located in Kalimath, valley this village kind of acts as a midpoint to the hike Kalisheela from Kalimath valley.
The village is quite scenic and is around 3 km from the Kalimath town. Although the road has reached the village, but I would still suggest you to hike from Kalimath and if you are going to Kali sheela, you are anyways going to pass through there.
Kalimath – The Abode of Goddess Kali
When it comes to Pilgrim places in Rudraprayag district, you have 3 out 5 Kedars which receives a lot of pilgrims during the Yatra season. But did you know there exists a Shakti Peeth near Guptkashi, which is centuries old.
Yes, the temple of Kalimath is an ancient temple dedicated to goddess Kali located along the banks of River Kaliganga which is one of the tributaries of Mandakini.
Perched at around 1000 m, the town of Kalimath is not a great visual sight with all the concrete structures, but again Kalimath is a place of great religious importance and of course provides access to other pretty villages of Kalimath valley like Chaumasi.
Kalisheela – One Of Best Hidden Places To Visit In Uttarakhand
Located at an altitude of around 2300 m, Kalisheela is another place of great religious significance in the Kalimath valley. Its basically a cliff with rock dedicated to goddess kali.
The panoramic views of Ukhimath and Guptkashi is one of the other reasons to embark on a pilgrimage.
The hike to Kalishila has two approaches, one from the village of Kalimath which is a Shakti peeth and other from Raulek village in Madhuganga river valley.
There is also an ashram atop the cliff, where there are provisions to stay. The hike is around 6 km from Kalimath, but mind you is very steep and there is altitude gain of at least 1000 m. So try to leave early if you are attempting from Kalimath.
Ransi is another lesser-frequented village of Rudraprayag when it comes to conventional tourists. But Ransi, receives a lot of pilgrim footfall due to it being the base village for Madhmaheswar, the second Kedar.
I personally would not call Ransi too, but again a lot less people reach here then lets say Sonprayag, Guptkashi or Kedarnath. So I would consider it kind of offbeat but not too much.
Barsal, Giriya – Witness The Mighty Chaukhamba From These Locales
If you are looking for alternative to popular touristy villages in Sari for a quaint stay in Rudraprayag district. The villages of Barsal and Giriya are one of the offbeat places to visit in Uttarkahand.
Not too far from the main town of Ukhimath, Barsal and Giriya are your typical Garwhali villages with way less footfall of tourists and travelers. The distance of Barsal and Giriya is around. Chaukhamba peak
So if you are looking to escape the crowd, head straight to these villages and have an authen
Urgam – Rustic Villages, Ancient Temples, Pristine Vistas
Located in Chamoli district, Urgam valley is a relatively popular place thanks to it being the abode of Kalpeshwar. But apart from Kalpeshwar Mahadev, there are several other off the beaten places you can visit in the whole valley.
There is no dearth of picturesque rustic villages like Gera, Bansa, Bargana, Pilkhi, Harkia are quite nearby. Plus apart from the famous Kalpeshwar Mahadev, there are a couple of other pilgrim hikes to Bansi Narayan and Fyula Narayan.
Bansi Narayan is one of the most picturesque and the difficult one with a total distance of 20 km both ways from Bargana village which passes through Gera and Bansa villages along with Mulla Kharak, Berjik Dhar, Nakchuna Dhar.
Subbiah – The Gateway To Bhavishya Badri
With the existence of Joshimath in grave danger, the prophecy of Bhavishya Badri could very well become a reality.
According to prophecy of Bhavishya Badri, One day the main temple of Badrinath will disappear and the Bhavishya Badri will take place of it.
Subbiah village is located right at the base of Bhavishya badri. The village is a typical garwhali village, but with scenic views of lofty peaks like Baratoli and Sona peak.
Tugasi – Perfect Base For Himalayan Adventures
Perched at around 2400 m in Chamoli district, Tugasi has to be one of the most of picturesque villages I might have witnessed in the Himalayas. One of the main reasons being the might Dronagiri Peak being right in front of you, wherever you are in the village.
The other lofty himalayan peak visible from Tugasi include, Baratoli, Bethartoli. Also, Tugasi is the base village for two of the more popular treks in Uttarakhand, Kuari pass and Pangarchulla trek.
Niti Valley – One Best Lesser Explored Places to Visit In Uttarakhand
While Niti valley is gaining popularity but it still remains one of the more lesser-frequented places in the Garwhal. Like the most high-altitude valleys of Uttarakhand, Niti valley is inhabited by Bhotiya people who used trade with Tibet back in the day.
Picturesque villages, scenic vistas, eccentric culture and festivals are some of the highlights of Niti valley in a true sense is an unexplored haven with hardly any tourist footfall.
Niti valley is accessible from Joshimath and is located in Chamoli district. With current sinking of Joshimath making the headlines, the danger of Niti valley being cutoff looms large.
Tihar – Admire The Lofty Himalayan Peaks From This Rustic Hamlet
Tihar in Bhatwari block of Uttarkashi is district can be certainly termed as one of the best unexplored places to visit in Uttarakhand.
Perched at an altitude of around 2400 m, Tihar just received road connectivity a few years back. Thanks to its extremely scenic setting, this village is straight out of fairytale. Of course living as a local is such a remote village altogether different story.
Although its counterparts like Raithal and Barsu have more tourist footfall to Dayara bugyal, but Tihar anyday beats them in terms of vistas.
Jhala – One Of The Best Offbeat Places to Visit in Uttarakhand
Jhala village in the picturesque harsil valley is one of favourite villages in Harsil. Yes you might be surprised to find out that Harsil has several villages and its not a single village. In fact harsil is cantonment area and not even a village.
Jhala village can be reached on foot from Harsil and the distance is around 7 km, but the trail is quite enjoyable along Bhagirathi river with scenic views.
Jaspur – One Of The True Hidden Gems of Uttarakhand
Jaspur is a scenic locale and one of the best offbeat places to visit in Uttarakhand. Although there is a road, but I would suggest you to hike from Bagori village.
You can visit this village along with the others villages nearby like Jhala, purali from Bagori. The total distance should not exceed more than 15 km.
Mukhwa – The Winter Abode of Goddess Ganga
Perched at around 2600 m, with surreal views of lofty peaks in the backdrop lies the winter abode of Goddess Ganga, Mukhwa village.
Apart from being the winter seat of goddess, the village has fair share of traditional homes, local deities and local festivals. Mukhwa is also pretty accessible and is around 4 km from Harsil cantonment area
Cholmi – Perfect For People Seeking Solitude
Cholmi is one of the best unexplored places to visit in Uttarkahand. The village of Cholmi is located just 2 km above Harsil, Uttarkashi and is truly a breath of fresh air.
Even those who visit Harsil, might not venture into this picturesque, but you should in case you are looking to escape the more conventional places.
Dhatmir – This Dreamy Locale Will Mesmerize You
Dhatmir in the Har Ki Dun valley is one of the my favourites and one of the best offbeat places to visit in Uttarakhand. Although Har ki dun is quite but these villages are miles away from the clamour of any touristy destination.
Dhatmir can be approached by 6 km hike from Taluka in Sankri region Uttarkashi. The village is quite scenic and to this day you’ll find that almost all the houses in the village are traditionally styled houses.
Gangad – This Village Of Uttarakhand Is Stuck Back In Time
I’m sure those who been to Har Ki Dun, might be aware of this pretty local. But those who have not and love exploring offbeat places in Uttarakhand, should definitely venture here.
This village lies on the main trail to Har ki Dun trek is certainly one of my favourites. Sea of old styled houses, snow-capped peaks, beautiful temples are the real highlights of this village.
There is only thing to note, like Dhatmir, Gangad is also accessible on foot and is around 10 km from Taluka village which is the last road head.
Har ki Dun valley has no dearth of hidden places to visit in Uttarakhand is Dharkot is certainly another gem which is completely off the grid.
This rustic village can only be reached on foot and has to approaches, either from Dhatmir village or from Gangad village. In either cases you’ve have to hike around 10 km to reach this beautiful village.
Jakhol a sizeable village near Sankri is one of the biggest villages in the region and certainly a pretty one.
In case you are on a lookout to escape the conventional crowd at Sankri, Jakhol can be a perfect base for hikking, trekking, village explorations.
Jakhol is around 16 km from Sankri and there is even a bus service to this beautiful.
Beyond Jakhol lie at least 4-5 villages that are completely off the beaten and border the Dodra-Kwar region and Kinnaur region of Himachal.
The village of Fitari is one such village some 7 km beyond Jakhol. With road connectivity in the recent years these villages have become relatively easier to reach.
Kasla is another offbeat places to visit in Uttarakhand that will blow your mind. Although its your typical mid-himalayan hamlet but the scenic vistas, the hospitality of people and eccentric culture makes it absolutely worth the visit.
Despite it remoteness, a road connectivity to this village has made it really easy to access. Kasla is around 14 km from Jakhol and also act as a base for Bharadsar lake which is actually in Himachal.
Offbeat Places to visit In Uttarakhand – My Wishlist
Here are some offbeat places in Uttarakhand I really wish to visit in the near future. Of course there are a lot of such unexplored especially in districts like Pauri Garwhal, but these are my personal wishlist places.
Darma valley is a remote high-altitude valley now accessible by road in the Pithoragarh District under the shadow of Panchachuli.
Johar valley is another picturesque high-altitude valley not accessible by road is located in Munsiyari Tehsil of Pithoragarh district.
Thanks to rural tales youtube channel, I was able to know about this beautiful mid-himalayan valley in Chamoli, which was part of lord curzons trail from Gwaldam to Tapovan.
Several remote villages of Nijmula valley like Durmi, Irani, Panna, Pagna etc were not accessible road, Some are still not but slowly and steadily they will be connected.
Again I got know about these villages from rural tales youtube channel. These villages are perfect bases for several treks and are located in Chamoli district.
While on my trip to Supin valley i.e Sankri, Jakhol, I also wanted to visit the far-flung villages of Rupin valley in Uttarakhand side.
The villages of Kalap, Hadwari, Duni, Satta, Masari are high on my wish list. Let’s see when it materializes. These villages are located in Mori block of Uttarkashi district
Dumak is another one of the remote villages in Chamoli district and is accessible via a long hike from Urgam village. Although a road is getting constructed now.
Thanig is the base village for Chenap valley trek and has recently received road connectivity a few years back.
Apart from the Yamunotri Dham, Barkot tehsil in Uttarkashi district is home to a lot of unexplored rustic villages like Nishni, Sarnaul, Sar badhiyar
Although locals visit this place frequently, but there still not many outsiders visiting this place. Benital is located in Chamoli distict
Liti is one of the remote villages in Bageshwar District which I really wish to visit someday.
This is the base of village of Pindari glacier trek in Bageshwar district and there several such remote villages and beautiful trekking around around Khati.
To conclude, I hope this list of offbeat places to visit in Uttarakhand inspires you to tread on off the beaten path and explore Uttarakhand in its true form. Also travel responsibly too such remote places and yearn for authentic experiences.
In case you have any further questions on offbeat places to visit in Uttarakhand, do drop them in the comments below and I’ll be happy to help.