Shitlakhet – A Hidden Paradise

Alpha

Going to Neverland
Shitlakhet, situated at an altitude of 1828 mtrs is a small hamlet nestled in the hills between Almora and Ranikhet in Uttarakhand, which is yet to attract the fancy of mountains hunting tourists from nearby metropolis and cities. Shitlakhet still manages to holds an old world charm of a hill station unlike its nearest cousin Ranikhet which is barely 30 kms away from Shitlakhet.

Shitlakhet, the name I heard few years back never ringed a bell. I never even bothered to check where it was situated. But off-late I read some simple stories about this place. It ignited a strong desire to visit this place. I tried to plan few time during past few months but it never materialized.

However, I got lucky during Republic Day this year. My usual road trip partners, Praveer, Rahul and Rakesh too were yearning for a road trip. Out last trip together was the Saach Pass trip which we did in September-October 2019. You can read it here Saach Pass – Sa(a)ch me Bahut Mushkil hai.

We decided to take a day off on Monday and visit Shitlakhet. Now, we had a three day window which was perfect for a quick yet refreshing road trip. So 25th to 27th January 2020 was marked for Shitlakhet. We decided to drive Rahul’s Scross instead of my trusted Thar as I was facing some mechanical issues with Thar.

On 25th morning three of us assembled near Akshardham temple and picked up at Rakesh after crossing UP gate. We had to cover almost 350 kms during the day. The day was slightly foggy in the morning but with good enough visibility. We took our first break at Gajraula for breakfast. By 9.30 am we left from Gajraula. The day too opened up and we made good speeds on the highway with Rahul behind the wheels. Son we reached the cut for Moradabad.

foggy start to the day
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first break at Gajraula
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We took the Tanda-Bazpur-Kaladhungi-Nainital route. Though the entire route was a two lane undivided road, yet traffic was sparse except when we crossed the towns of Tanda and Bazpur. After Bazpur, the journey was beautiful with lots of greenery on both sides of the highway as we were nearing the Corbett forest area. At noon time we reached Kaladhungi.

From Kaladhungi, we took a left turn and entered into the forest and headed towards Nainital which was about 35 kms away. It was another leg of a beautiful journey from the foothills to the lofty mountains. After an amazing drive of about 30 minutes we took a chai-maggi break at a road side dhaba. Weather was nippy, perfect for enjoying a hot cup of tea coupled with steaming maggi.

Chai-Maggi break
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After a break of half an hour we carried on with our journey. We stopped here n there just for the misty views the mountains offered. Roads were good devoid of traffic hence we made merry and covered a lot of distance in no time. We crossed Nainital before 2.00 pm. It was almost empty.

misty weather near Nainital
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Shitlakhet was just 60 kms away. We had plenty of day light to spend before reaching Shitlakhet. We stopped for a late lunch at a roadside dhaba before Kakrighat. The dhaba had a lovely river view at its back side. Food was simple but delicious.

lunch time
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river view behind the dhaba
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fulfilling food
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Alpha

Going to Neverland
Bhowali-Almora road after Garampani is wide and relatively straight for most of the part till Kakrighat. One can maintain very good speeds on this stretch of almost 10 kms. We reached Kakrighat in no time. Shitlakhet is about 20 kms from Kakrighat. However, the road bifurcates here. We had to leave the highway to Almora and drive on the single lane narrow road after crossing a bridge. We started climbing up the winding roads. The road conditions were not bad but the roads were broken at places. However there was no tarmac at all for the last 5-6 kms. It was completely a dirt track rolled with stones with lots of bumps. PWD is yet to finish the road construction work for this patch of the road. We had to drive very carefully and slow to negotiate the roads due to the low ground clearance of the car. Even then, we brushed the underbelly once or twice. It took us more than half an hour to cross this section which lasted until we reached Shitlakhet.

road after kakrighat
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a just concluded cricket match
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We checked into the KMVN Tourist Rest House and got ourselves a big room with a beautiful view. A beautiful Forest Rest House was also situated right next to the KMVN TRH. We had tried to get a room there but it was closed due to some restoration work. However, we were not complaining. We had the entire TRH for ourselves as there were not tourists besides us at that place.

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FRH situated alongside the KMVN TRH
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We settled into our rooms and had some tea. Thereafter we went for a walk of the little town. TRH is situated slightly away from the market. However, the market ends even before beginning. It’s a small market with few shops for provisions and snacks. There were two hotels, one of them being OYO and a home stay. There is another premium resort by the name Anant Rasa by Aamod which is little ahead enroute Syahi Devi temple. Apart from this resort there is one good property as well after Anant Rasa. We walked till it got dark and then we retreated back to TRH and confined ourselves to the comfort of our warm beds. The night became quite chilly and the night temperature dipped to around zero degrees.

views from our room
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front view
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back view
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went for a walk
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market begins here
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and ends too..
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one of the hotels in Shitlakhet
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this is right at the start of the town
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enjoying the walk in quietness
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skysat2005

Super User
Wow, Sitlakhet in January, must be very chilly.
Didn't you take the Ranikhet route for this place, it's all tarred and very nicely maintained.
The sunrise is awesome when viewed from the 1st floor rooms.
Cheers...
 

mousourik

Who Am I
An MCQ :
Q : Name a few places in Kumaon not touched by Alok.
A :
1. Don't remember any such place
2. No such place can exist
3. All of the above

Did you attempt to cross the rivulet on the backside of the dhaba? Where there is a makeshift bridge, and a man must have crossed over it just a little while ago? Definitely not. Because you were busy gulping down what would be flushed next morning. :-(

Waiting for the sunrise pics.
 

Alpha

Going to Neverland
Wow, Sitlakhet in January, must be very chilly.
Didn't you take the Ranikhet route for this place, it's all tarred and very nicely maintained.
The sunrise is awesome when viewed from the 1st floor rooms.
Cheers...
yes, it was chilly in the evening however the days were sunny and comfortable.

We chose to go via Almora route and return by Ranikhet side. However, we did not know about the road condition just before Shitlakhet. We stayed on the first floor and next morning were completely floored by the sunrise beauty.
 
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