A laptop, a desk, a hot cup of tea and a serene view from the balcony – that is all one needs for words to flow naturally off a writer’s fingertips. For the creative minds to work in perfect harmony with nature, it is important to leave behind the hustle-bustle of daily life and find some quality time. And Uttarakhand is a state that fits the bill to the hilt.
The state has always attracted literary minds, who’ve come here looking for peace and tranquil surroundings where they could write. Writers, novelists, poets, travellers and adventurers can always count on remote villages nestled in the folds of Himalayan Mountains to bring that sense of calm to them.
Many internationally acclaimed authors have made Uttarakhand at some point in their life, and it reflects in their writings too. Poems by renowned Hindi writer Sumitranandan Pant will often take you to the jungles and hills of Kausani, located in Kumaon region of the state. The terrain featured extensively in Shailesh Motyani, Shekhar Joshi, Shivani’s stories as well. Ruskin Bond, the Anglo-Indian author of many a children’s books, mentions the leisurely life of Mussoorie and Dehradun in his many literary creations.
Ever wonder what writers really need in a place they visit:
- Peace: Yes, they need peace and loads of it too. If the surroundings are not peaceful, any person is bound to get caught up in it. It will simply rob him of his own peace of mind. So for words to flow flawlessly, one needs a peaceful environment – and Uttarakhand is as peaceful as it can get.
- Time: There isn’t much to do which will waste your time up here. High up in the hills, one need not worry about doing mundane chores or negotiating traffic of any sorts. Uttarakhand will give you a lot of time to fine-tune your literary pursuits, which is exactly what a writer (or any creative person) needs.
- Zero distractions: Uttarakhand is predominantly a Himalayan state, and with limited urbanisation, the chances of you getting distracted by ‘city-glitz’ are zero. Writers often escape the city life and come to the hills of Uttarakhand so that no parties, cafe meetings, movies or multiplexes come in the way of their writing.
- Natural beauty: The only exception to the above rule is the fantastic natural beauty which might be a source of distraction. But what is better than an awestruck writer who has all the time in the world to put his experiences on paper. This amazing bonding with the scenic beauty of forests and snow-capped mountains in Uttarakhand will bring immense inner peace to any writer.
- And all this is dirt cheap! General impression that novelists and poets are usually broke is not wrong in most cases. Which is why living in some of the most isolated villages of Uttarakhand is extremely economical as accommodation, travel and food is quite pocket-friendly.
The remote villages in Uttarakhand might not be accessible throughout the year, as heavy snowfall or landslide often cuts-off the roads to these places. In spite of that, there are many places that enjoy good weather throughout the year and are ideal for writers.
Writers’ retreats in Uttarakhand
- Dhanachuli: Rigorously marketed as the writer’s retreat in Uttarakhand, Dhanachuli is a quite Himalayan hamlet with a breathtaking view of the natural surroundings. It is also strategically located from many places of religious and spiritual interests.
- Kalap: A small village tucked away in the folds of Garhwal Himalayas, Kalap is that place where people are content and happy with what little they have.
- Kuflon: This hamlet near Uttarkhashi is just a short distance away from the Asi Ganga waterfalls. Very few families live here and a beautiful cottage here is just what one needs to get rid of the writers’ block.
- Gethia: This tranquil village with a killer view of the Himalayan Mountains is located in Nainital district. It has many homestays and cottages which will appeal to the writer-junta. This place is famous among bird-watchers as well.
- Ramgarh: This block in Kumaon region of Uttarakhand has some of the best budget hotels and accommodations that have a stunning view of snow-capped Himalayan mountains. It is ideal for short treks and walks through the jungle.
- Dunagiri: A host of cottages cater to the specific needs to writers who wish to spend some quiet time here in Dunagiri, near Ranikhet. Dunagiri has its own special place in Indian mythological stories, so the spiritual aura of this village is a treat for visitors and pilgrims.
- Nathuakan: This off-beat place in Nainital district has many hotels and cottages that cater specifically to writers and nature-lovers.
- Sonapani: Another place hidden from the urban culture of Himalayas, Sonapani is situated near Nainital and has the perfect retreat for writers and poets.
- Chaukori: This tiny little gem located in Pithoragarh distcrict of Uttarakhand has a lot of offer to prospective writers. Even if the view of the Himalayan ranges doesn’t entice you enough to start writing, it will still coax you into relaxing in the outdoors with your favourite book.
- Almora: A fairly commercialised place compared to rest of the Kumaon region, Almora has many hotels and cottages built in colonial style which will get your creative juices flowing.
Of course, these are just 10 places which Ghoomigo has shortlisted, there are still a hundred more out there if one takes the pain to explore this state thoroughly. People of Uttarakhand are quite friendly and helpful, so don’t not worry if a spur-of-the-moment trip leads you to a lesser-known village. Just whip out your laptop, hope there is some internet connectivity (even writers need it these days), and get down to writing that novel!