Chaukoriis one of the best destinations in Uttarakhand, perched at a height of 2010 from average mean seal level and is a destination for those people who desire a close tee-t-tee with the Himalayas. Chaukori is a laid back non descript village, which has a magnetic attraction for nature loving tourists, who value it for its quietness and its rural aroma and was also a region where tea was produced in Kumaon. Chaukori is situated in Pithoragarh district of the Kumaon Hills of Uttarakhand and offers a benevolent view of the peaks of Nanda Devi, Nanda Kot and the legendary five of Panchachuli.
Panoramic view of Baijnath temple complex
Fishes in the Gomti river adjacent to Baijnath temple complex
Having gorged on splendor the Himalayan ranges that had unfolded at Kausani and also having had a belly full of beautifully laid out & sumptuous breakfast in KMVN, Tourist Rest House we proceeded towards Chaukori.The first destination enroute was Baijnath, at a distance of 16 kilometers from Kausani,famed for the famous temple complex situated on the banks of the Gomti river in the GarudaValley. This temple complex dates back to the 12th Century A.D and touted to have been built by the Katyuri kings.The complex houses ancient temples of Shiva, Ganesh, Parvati, Chandika, Kuber, Surya and Brahama. The Baijnath Temples are constructed of stone and the temple complex exhibits the amazing architecture of the age. The main temple that houses the beautiful idol of Parvati is chiseled in black stone. According to Hindu mythology, Lord Shiva and Parvati were married at the confluence of River Gomti and Garur Ganga.However, these exquisitely carved idols of Gods & Goddesses are kept in the main ‘Gabha Griha’ (Sanctum Sanctorum) and photography is not permitted by the Archeological Survey of India.
The 'Sanctum Sanctorum' of Baijnath temple complex
Medieval period sculptures in Baijnath temple courtyard
Imbuing the architectural wonder of Baijnath, we proceeded forward and after traversing a distance of about 23 kilometers, hit upon our next stop i.e. Bageshwar.This township is best known for being the confluence to two rivers i.e. Gomti & Saryu and the famed Bagnath temple.However, we had other plans in mind, as the place also houses an Ashram dedicated to Loke Nath Baba and few amongst us being his devotee, had planned to visit the Ashram.But to our dismay, we found that the Ashram, which is located on road leading towards Almora, was under repair and almost impossible to drive through, coupled with this there was only a narrow road leading upto the Ashram, perched on top of a hillock and very difficult to be traversed by old people.We thus had to drop our plans and headed towards Chaukori, only to have a glimpse of the famous Baghnath temple from outside.Bageshwar gets its name form this ancient temple of Lord Shiva set in the heart of the town. According to mythological legends, sage Markandey lived here and the place was visited by Lord Shiva in the form of Bagh or tiger.The township is replete with number of temples dedicated to various Gods & Goddesses like the Bhairav temple, Dattatrey Maharaj, Ganga Mai temple, Hanuman temple, Durga temple, Kalika temple, Thingal Bhairav temple, Panchnam Junakhara and the Vaneswar temple etc..The trekking for the famous Pindari, Sunderdunga and Kafni glaciers also start from Bageshwar.
View of river Saryu in Bageshwar
View of Loke Nath Baba Ashram in Bageshwar
View of the Bageshwar township from the road above
Crossing Bageshwar we headed towards Chaukori and en-route passed through small villages namely Kanda & Vijayapur.The entire distance of 68 kilometers from Kausani to Chaukori was traversed leisurely over five hours and we reached Chaukori at around 2.00 P.M.The weather was fine and after check-in and a quick lunch we plunked into the garden chairs kept outside to soak in the soothing winds.Suddenly, we heard a cacophony of noises and having perched on top of the viewing gallery, we noticed that a marriage procession was on way in an adjacent village.We enjoyed a gallery view of the proceedings and was good to watch the customary dances being performed by the village folks.As the horizons were cloudy we could not get a glimpse of the Himalayas that day.However, the night sky was full with a million little stars that purely takes one breath away.
Figs growing on a tree enroute Chaukori
Another view of the Himalayas from Chaukori
Early next morning having got up on knocking by the waiter carrying the morning tea, I came out and found the full Himalayas in view.Casting away my tea cup, I rushed up to the viewing gallery with my Camera to capture the views for posterity.There is little else to do here besides basking in the heavenly sunshine, breathing in the refreshing mountain air and feasting your eyes on the tremendous surroundings.Here is short clip of the famed Chaukori for the readers –