The magical spell of the untainted, unspoilt air works wonders on me. Strolling through the astounding green pastures amidst beautiful landscape always feels like a dream. Waking up to melodious chirpings amidst the snow capped mountains never fails to send me into a trance. Maybe it’s the myriad unheard stories I have stumbled upon or the smiling humility of the people which bowls me over.
The eagerness to come back to these tranquil mountains keeps me on my toes. This time I landed myself in the tiny heart of Uttarakhand’s Peora, which is nestled amidst the picturesque valleys of Kumaon region, abounded by dense pine forests and the majestic Shivalik range in the background.
I was more curious to come here after a friend was singing paeans about Peora on his dreamy stay here. He cycled through the secluded trails and feasted amidst lush expanses of green, plucking fresh fruits from apple orchards and stuffing his pockets with freshly fallen pine cones.
I took a Shatabdi till the nearest railway station, Kathgodam, and a cab thereafter to reach Peora, which is located in the district of Nainital and closest to Mukteshwar (10 km) and Almora (28 Km). Also known as the fruit bowl of Uttarakhand, this eco-tourism spot is at a height of 6,600 ft above sea level.
The entire region is clad with sal, pine, oak, buruns, kaphal and rhododendron trees, which are generally found in the sub-alpine zone.
Upon reaching Peora, the breeze smelled so fresh and sweet. My contented eyes turned to notice the fullness of green which made breathing in the environment feel so serene. With the pristine views and wilderness around I couldn’t help but stroll through the forest to the valley below.
I could hear the melodious chirpings in the background as I observed the conventional tiled roofs on the scattered village huts. With people engrossed in their daily routine, I could see that the life in this region revolves around fruit growing, which is the primary source of income.
From apples, plums, peaches to apricots, pomegranates, everything grows here. You name it, they grow it! After my village walk, I sat in my guesthouse enjoying my evening tea. As I watched shades of yellow light falling over the mountains my mind reflected. People here have limited resources to earn but tonnes of satisfaction and contentment on their face.
I wondered what comforts of our modern day life are worth sacrificing to live so close to nature. Maybe someday I would be able to live this dream. Imagine in this close-knit community of Peora where everyone knows everyone else, the only tourist like me seemed like a stranger yet welcomed with wide open arms.
Peora is an absolute paradise for wildlife and bird enthusiasts. I feasted my eyes greedily on the colours of vivid avian guests during my village walk, spotted in the forest and across the country side.
The cover of a star-studded night, wrapped in my blanket and gazing at far off glimmer from lights in Almora town filled me with so much joy. I ate a delicious local meal to end a perfectday. Day treks are also organised to the nearby village to soak in the cultural milieu of the place.
Upon getting up the next day I paid a brief visit to Almora which is the nearest hill station from Peora and quite popular among tourists visiting Uttarakhand. Almora is a lovely primeval town which used to be the capital of Kumaon region during the British era.
Though the old glory is lost in time, Almora still preserves its old-world charm in its architecture. It is a perfect blend of old buildings, churches, tapered market lanes, curved roads – all at one place. Feeling the heat of the afternoon, I decided to take a dip in the Kosi, which means a river. It originates in the middle of Kumaon region arising out of Koshimool near Kausani.
It’s one of the few Himalayan rivers which does not have a glacial source, resulting in much warmer water compared to a glacier river. You can also picnic by the river.
Peora isn’t a destination that comes with a promise of thrilling activities. It urges you to slow down. Relish nature’s sights and sounds in the serene lap of the Himalayas and let your life take another path. Definitely for the ones who want to break free from shackles of city life.