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Offbeat Luxury Stay in Uttarakhand | Ft. Machu’s Cottage

Nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas is a small village called Mauna. Away from the hustle-bustle of the cities, my visit to this little gem turned out to be a breath of fresh air.

 
Getting there
I drove up to Mauna with a couple of friends from Totam. The entire road trip to the village was mostly by the river Kosi, which made it quite an experience. Munching on peanuts and taking several breaks to just stand and admire the generous day, we finally made it to the offbeat stay in the lap of Himalayas.
 

 

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To reach the village, you can either take a shared taxi from Mukteshwar, Nainital and Almora, depending on where you are travelling from, or drive by yourself. There is no direct bus to Mauna.

 

About the Machu’s Cottage, Mauna

 

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Machu’s Cottage is one of the best places to stay if you are visiting Almora, Kasar Devi or Mukteshwar. The moment we left the road and entered Machu’s Cottage in the village, I could sense the stillness, like everything around me was asking me to slow down a little and look at what surrounded me. So I listened. I took smaller steps toward the chair on the lawn. I looked around and my eyes lit up. From the snow-laden mountains to the vivid sunset, I couldn’t believe I was about to make an abode in heaven for 4 days. I sat there for a couple of minutes, sipped on masala chai and stepped inside the cottage for some warmth.

 

 

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As you enter the cottage, the first thing you’d notice is how it is wrapped in serenity. The small arch at the entrance opens to a stunning view of the cottage with a patio and a garden. The garden hosts various sitting arrangements, each of which overlooks the mighty Himalayas. The cottage’s main door is covered with creepers, giving the view a magnificent frame. This stunning cottage has 5 bedrooms – 2 on the ground floor on either side of the living room, and 3 on the floor above. I picked a room on the ground floor for the view it offered of Nanda Devi peak right from its window. The other 3 chalet-style rooms just made me wish for a bit of snow!

 

 

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The cottage comes with a full set-up kitchen at your disposal or you can have the in-house cook prepare some simple and delicious cuisines made from the local produce for you.

 

Places to see around – Mukteshwar, Almora and Kasar Devi

 
Kapileshawar Temple

Kapileshwar Temple, Mauna, Uttarakhand

Make sure you visit this ancient Shiva temple from the 8th century. To get there, you’d have to drive for about 20-30 mins and walk for 10 mins (the road ahead is broken) It is a protected heritage site situated by the river; a perfect spot for you sit and enjoy the calm vibes. Also, notice that the temple is tilted to its right. Ask the Pandit Ji or locals for the folklore behind it. The one I was told pinned it on a fight between two snakes that eventually resulted in the impact you see on the alignment of the temple. Fascinating!

 
Shopping in the local area
If you are fortunate enough to be visiting in the season time, you’d get an opportunity to spot the local market filled with the goodness of local produce. From organic fruits to pickles and flavoured salts, you can get yourself or your loved ones a few souvenirs with love from Uttarakhand.

 


 

Hiking

Even if you aren’t one with an adventure foot, you can go for an easy guided hike in the orchard or the pine forest trails nearby the Machu’s Cottage. The caretaker from the property would be more than happy to assist you for a nature walk.

 
Almora and Kasar Devi
Almora is a small town about 20 km from Mauna. Honestly, there isn’t much to do in the town area but you can drive ahead to Kasar Devi (also known as Crank’s Ridge) for the views and try out a couple of cafes. Apparently, Bob Dylan, Cat Stevens and Timothy Leary stayed here for quite some time.

 


 

Mukteshwar
Mukteshwar is about 30 km from Mauna and I’d recommend you to keep 5-6 hours in hand for a trip to Mukteshwar.

 
Shiva Temple, Mukteshwar

Shiva Temple, Mukteshwar

Another Shiva temple which is about 350 years old. You’d have to climb up a few stairs for about half a kilometre to get to the temple and stunning view that comes along. The temple also houses the idols of Lord Brahma and Vishnu.

 
Chauli ki Jaali, Mukteshwar

 

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Chauli ki Jali is a cliff right behind the Mukteshwar Temple. According to the folklore, Chauli ki Jali hosted a battle between the gods and the demons and the marks and carvings on the rocks are a testament to the event. It is now quite popular for adventure sports in Uttarakhand.

 
Special Discount for Traversed Lands’ readers
Drop a DM to Machu’s Cottage on Instagram with the code ‘Kopal’ to get a discount on your stay.

You can follow me on Instagram and Facebook. I am quite responsive there. If you are looking for a few hidden gems to explore in India, try reading my blogs on Jibhi, Totam and Amritsar.

Until next time.
 
 

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