My friends and I were crestfallen to see black billowy clouds over the dreamy KMVN rest house upon our arrival at Chaukori, a languid hamlet tucked amid lofty Kumaon Himalayas in Uttarakhand. Though it provided for a dramatic setting, we could not help but feel disappointed since we had carefully chosen our stay at the KMVN rest house, situated in a bowl-shaped valley, solely for the wide vistas of the gorgeous Nanda Devi, Nanda Kot and Panchchuli mountain peaks. Risking getting caught in a storm we headed out to the nearby forested area, and our travellers’ luck slowly turned. First the clouds dissipated to reveal the full arches of a double rainbow over a verdant meadow. We were only taking in the magnificent sight when a local passerby excitedly indicated that we should look behind us. As we watched on, the dark clouds over the mountain ranges gradually parted and glistening snow peaks emerged in all their glory. The elation we felt at the magic nature revealed to us that day, and the lesson on how quickly situations change on the road, has stayed on since.
Chaukori is a 173-km drive from Nainital. The closest railhead is Kathgodam, at a distance of 180 km, and Pantnagar Airport is 205 km away. The author and her friends stayed at the KMVN rest house (kmvn.in), currently shut for tourists due to COVID-19, and tentatively set to reopen after March 2021. Doubles from Rs1500.
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