Sonapani Himalayan Village in NainitalNainital at the foothills of Himalayas offers many different options for tourists of different tastes. From temples to jungle safari, it has a lot to offer to the tourists. There is one very different option is to visit to a village.
Sonapani is situated in district Nainital at a close proximity to beautiful city of Almora. Standing at the top of a ridge, it overlooks Almora and presents a magnificient 175 degree view of Himalayas. Famous hill station of Mukteshwar is just 8 km away from this village. Situated at 2000 meters of height, the village hosts orchard of fruits of plum, apple, peach and apricot. There is a jungle surrounding it consisting of while oak, pine and rhododendron trees.
At the center of the village, there is an old but natural spring. The water of this spring is believed to have medicinal properties and this quality of water has given this place its name. ‘Sona’ means gold and ‘pani’ is water. The village is spread in 20 acres of land. Here complete organic farming is done and a variety of vegetables and pulses are grown. Also there are plans to start cultivation of aromatic and medicinal plants. The forest is distributed as oak and rhododendron trees on the left side while pine forest towards the right side.
The concept behind this village is to provide a retreat from fast world of today. Sometimes even after vacation, people feel tired and stressed due to the hectic schedule of the tour which does not permit to enjoy the moments of vacation. At Sonapani, vacation is a complete different experience. This place is miles away from the things that you left behind. There are no phones in one’s hands or in rooms and no television. The place offers a complete tranquil in the lap of beauty of nature where one can enjoy the music of swinging leaves accompanied with cool breeze that flow in the mountains. There are walking trails, places to sit and relax, enjoy the scenery or even read and finish the book that was started more than six months back.
Sonapani Himalayan Village in Nainital Accommodation
To stay here, there are 12 cottages that are connected through stone pathways but are separated through flower beds and vegetable gardens, creating a feeling of being in a village. These cottages are built of earth blocks that are compressed, have tinned roofs, the interiors are mud-plastered making it a blend of Kumauni, British and modern architecture. These are attached with modern bathrooms providing a combination of tradition with comfort. Each room is a double room with two beds, a table and two chairs, a dressing area. The windows open towards the Himalayan peak so that view of snow clad mountain ranges can be seen from the comfort of bed. The main peaks that are visible from here are Nandadevi, Nandakot, Trishul, Panchchuli and Maiktoli.
For food, there is a separate dining hall which is also used as a conference hall if needed. It has proper ventilation and ample space and the furniture made up of pine wood is designed in a way that by simple changes in arrangement, the hall can be converted into a restaurant. In front of the hall is the bonfire area where tourists can gather, sit and chat around the fire. The kitchen here serve Mughlai, Chinese and Indian cuisine which is less on oil and feels like home cooked.
While staying in the village one can indulge in many activities, some of which are conducted under expert guidance while others leave you to enjoy on your own. The activities conducted on nearby rocks are rock climbing, rappelling and simulated river crossing. Then there is jungle walk maybe to explore a trail or just to watch birds or climbing to the top of a cliff. One can also go for village walk where one can interact with the villagers and have lunch with them, if asked for. There is an ancient 10th century Kapileshwar temple at 2 hours trek from Sonapani. Right next to it is a rivulet where one can enjoy water splashing.
Having a large open space, the village provides easy opportunity to play games like Volleyball, cricket for which there is separate court and ground. Also if someone likes to fly kite, here no one would object to the age or position.
There is an old stone house that was constructed more than 100 years back by Captain Kushal Singh Burathoki, the owner of this land. This now serves as office and staff quarters.
How to Reach Sonapani Himalayan Village in Nainital
To reach here, one has to reach Kathgodam, either through road or through railway. From Kathgodam, there is 69 km of distance which passes through Bhimtal, Bhowali, then Ramgarh and Nathuakhan to reach to village Satoli. Afterwards there is half an hour walk for Sonapani village or if someone cannot walk, there is a fleet of ponies to carry along. Be careful as there are no shops in the village, so take everything you require.
The cost of one day per person is Rs. 2500 on twin sharing basis. For family cottage, the tariff is Rs. 2700. Extra bed is charged with Rs. 1800. The tariff for children between 5 to 12 years is Rs. 900 while there is no charge for children below 5 years of age. There are package for couples which starts from Rs. 7500.