Pangot, a tiny hamlet in Uttarakhand that hosts hundreds of variety of birds and very few humans

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Pangot, a tiny hamlet in Uttarakhand that hosts hundreds of variety of birds and very few humans
Silhouette of Himalayan BulbulDhiman Mukherji
  • For the traveller who cares not for boat rides or tacky souvenirs, there are a few (very few) places that are both easily accessible and provide for respite from the heat and the crowds — and Pangot is one such place.
  • Around 334 kilometres from Delhi, Pangot in Uttarakhand is a quiet village where the sheer population of birds outnumbers humans.
  • While Nainital is loud and bashful, Pangot is its calm and composed sister. And, that is where the magic is.

The heat is upon us, and like the Britishers, we too need to flee from the scorching plains and make a beeline for the hills during the unbearable summer months. Luckily, there are plenty of hills one can visit, particularly around Delhi, but alas, most of these destinations are so well-known that, at times, they can get more crowded than the very city you wanted to escape.

Thankfully, for the traveller who cares not for boat rides or tacky souvenirs, there are a few (very few) places that are both easily accessible and provide for respite from the heat and the crowds — and Pangot is one such place.

Pangot, a tiny hamlet in Uttarakhand that hosts hundreds of variety of birds and very few humans
Sunset in PangotDhiman Mukherji

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Around 334 kilometres from Delhi, Pangot in Uttarakhand is a quiet village where the sheer population of birds outnumbers that of humans. Pangot is just 17 kilometres from Nainital, and that is where the comparison ends. While Nainital is loud and bashful, Pangot is its calm and composed sister. And, that is where the magic is. This is a sleepy little place where travellers have nothing to do and nowhere to go, and the quiet is only disrupted by birdsongs and a bunch of cheeky monkeys who enjoy stealing the towels you leave outside to dry. Nestled within a lush green forest, a few streams and a beautiful walking trail, Pangot makes for an idyllic getaway.

This tiny hamlet is surrounded by slopes covered with green and silver oak, rhododendron, pine, and local kilmora and kafal berry trees. This birders’ paradise boasts over 350 species of birds, including shiny blue verditer flycatchers, maroon orioles, spotted forktails, pheasants, woodpeckers, partridges, thrushes, finches, warblers, brown wood owl, among many others. And should you be fortunate, you may chance upon a few barking deer and mountain goats.

Pangot, a tiny hamlet in Uttarakhand that hosts hundreds of variety of birds and very few humans
Rufous treepie, PangotDhiman Mukherji

As we have made abundantly clear, there is nothing much to do here, and that is the beauty of the place. But if birding is your jam, grab a picnic basket and your camera and head to the almost perennial stream ( nala) that is an ideal place for a picnic as well as capturing a variety of birds, including but not limited to, spotted forktail and the long-billed thrush on camera. While heading from Pangot towards Kilbury, you will cross a bridge after a kilometre, from there turn right on the path going up from the bridge along the stream.
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Birdwatching is especially rewarding if you visit between October–November and February–March. A simple walk in the woods will reward you with bird sightings like the rufous sibia, black-headed jay, streaked laughing thrush, striated laughing thrush, blue whistling thrush, Himalayan bulbul, the green-backed tit, and more.

Pangot, a tiny hamlet in Uttarakhand that hosts hundreds of variety of birds and very few humans
Mist engulfs the forest cover, PangotDhiman Mukherji

You can also trek to Kilbury (around 3 kilometres), from where you can get an excellent view of the Nanda Devi mountain range from Naina Peak or Tanki Band, especially if you are there between October and March. Kilbury features reserve forests, views of the Bhabhar plains on one side and Himalayan peaks on the other. All you need is a book, a picnic basket and a mat to lay on the floor, and you have yourself a great day.

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Should you be itching to shop a little, you can visit the Ramakrishna Sarada Mission in Pangot that has a welfare project for local women who make some excellent woollen sweaters, shawls, socks, hats and more.

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