“We invite you to stay with us at our quaint mountain bungalow cradled in the Kumaon Himalayas of Uttarakhand, where glimpses of the mighty Nanda Devi, Trishul and Panchchuli peaks and the colours of season will keep you company.”
~ Pradeep & Shubha, hosts at The Dak Bungalow at Peora
The Kumaon belt of Uttarakhand, majestically nestled in the Himalayas, is littered with several small mountain villages with enchanting views of the snow-clad Nanda Devi & Trishul peaks. Peora is one such small Kumaoni hamlet with traditional tiled-roof village huts sparsely scattered on the slopes of its contoured valleys, surrounded by dense pine forests. Mountain life in this region revolves around fruit cultivation, including apple, chestnut, walnut, plum, peach, apricot and pear. In the close-knit community of Peora where everyone knows everyone else, a slow-paced life is interspersed with colourful mountain festivities.
The Dak Bungalow (Bangla) at Peora is a magnificent old British inspection bungalow built in 1905 along the silk route, on what was the Kathgodam-Almora-Bageshwar bridle road. After years of dilapidation, the bungalow was leased by Pradeep & Shubha from the District Board in 2005, and refurbished as a homestay. Its original architecture, walls, fireplaces, wooden ceilings and grand verandas were retained, offering an indulgence in colonial royalty, homely hospitality & panoramic Himalayan views.
Nature enthusiasts, bird lovers & photographers will find enough to feast their eyes on, from the colors of the Blue Magpie, to countryside village walks through colourful pine forests, to the fascinating night sky with myriad stars and lights of the Almora town across the valley. The more adventurous can trek into the surrounding mountains, building their own trails. Various long-term volunteering opportunities are available at Aarohi, a local NGO neighbouring Satoli that Pradeep & Shubha are part of.
Accommodation is provided in two suites and one double room at the Dak Bungalow. Each room retains its British architecture and colonial ambiance, with a fireplace and wooden ceilings. The rooms are spacious and comfortably furnished with double beds & quilts for the typically chilly nights in the region, and a small kitchenette with gas & basic utensils. Western-styled bathrooms are attached, and hot water is provided through a heating rod.
The rooms open up onto a grand verandah, cozily furnished with lounging chairs, overlooking the valley below and the mountains beyond. On clear days, peaks of Nanda Devi, Trishul and many others are amply visible from the verandah.
Shubha is an excellent cook! Simple home-made breakfast, lunch & dinner can be provided on request, and sharing a meal with your hosts while hearing stories of their lives in the mountains in an essential part of the Dak Bungalow experience.
Breakfast typically consists of Indian or continental dishes, and Shubha’s Aloo-Tikki burgers are a specialty. Lunch & dinner is simple, delicious Indian or Continental vegetarian fare, made from seasonal vegetables. Neighbouring orchards are a source for plums, apricots, peaches, pears, and apples in summer, and lemons and Malta orange in winter. Home-made jams and jellies, and fruit leathers are a speciality here!
You also have the option of cooking your own meals using the kitchen facilities available in your room. For lunch, you can walk up to one of the small roadside shops and ask for food, which is prepared freshly on order. A hot plate of Maggi in the balcony of Mama’s shop, overlooking the pine-fringed valley below, is heavenly.
Pradeep brews his own fruit wines, and will be happy to let you try some!
You can treat your stay at the Dak Bungalow in Peora as a do-nothing break; while away time in your verandah, watch the snow-clad mighty Himalayas, spot colourful birds, read, write, paint draw, do the things you love to do but never get the time for
Activities in Peora include:
Accommodation is priced as follows:
Peora is a small mountain village located in the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand. Almora is the closest big town, 28 km away. The nearest railway station is at Kathgodam and the nearest bus stop is at Haldwani. And from these places, Peora is about a 3-hour (80 -85 kms) drive by car, and taxis can be arranged for pickup.
The nearest domestic airport is at Dehradun (approx. 290 km) and international airport at Delhi (approx. 350 km).
Peora is good for a visit all round the year. In the summer, the days are warm and mornings & evenings pleasant, making it an ideal place to escape the city heat and the crowds of popular hill stations. Winters are typically cold and September to March is the best time to soak in the views of the snow-capped Himalayan peaks. It snows but not in every winter.
Monsoon season paints the valley and the forests a lush green, and the smell of fresh wet earth dominates the air, making it a delight to spend time in this quaint hamlet.
The rooms come with a functional kitchenette, and guests are encouraged to cook on their own. Meals can be served in the host kitchen; prior notice is encouraged considering their commitment to the local NGO.
Many of us have pre-conceived notions about rural India. Leave them behind, travel with an open mind, and you'll be pleasantly surprised with what you find.
“Our Kuamon hosts were brilliant, though the mattress at Peora was a little hard for our western bodies. Shubha and Pradeep responded promptly and gave us another mattress. Thoroughly enjoyed our time there with many walks through villages and also some shopping with Pradeep. The food here was delicious.”
~ Judith and Paul, travelled in September 2014.
“We loved the Dak Bungalow; and see ourselves going back there as time permits.
The Guptas are very nice and the property is immaculately kept. One thing to be mindful of is that the food is expensive, relative to what the Guptas are able to prepare. But then their rent rates are quite reasonable. I'd personally encourage guests to cook themselves a lot more. That said, Dak Bungalow is a fantastic place.”
~ Sushil Aaron, travelled with friends in October 2014.
“We did have an absolutely relaxing and wonderful time. There was not one single thing that we liked , but several small things that made it great!! - Shubha's food (she even made chaat on my request as it was my husbands birthday), they organised a pahari meal as we wanted to try that out, organised a trip to mukteshwar, told me where to shop for what and were very helpful and friendly without being intrusive.
Two things we would have liked to know in advance - It takes a full 3 hours from kathgodam station, not 2 to 2.5 hrs. Wish we had known that they encourage people to cook and have no help - would have planned to cook a few meals myself in that case.
Overall experience was of course - fantastic!!!” ~ Mrs Uma Iyer, travelled with her family in May 2013
“I came to the hills wanting to escape the city. But i had little expectations. I came for some solitude and now I am leaving with a little more inspiration.
Your hospitality has been perfect & homely. But more than that, your story & your way of life has been an inspiration. The sincerity with which you both share your home and your lives has been moving.
I sincerely hope our paths cross again. But even if they don’t, I will definitely share my Dak Bungalow experience with friends.” ~ Nicholas Foo, travelled with friends in November 2012
“It was a pleasure to have known such a wonderful place on earth which wouldn’t have been perfect without you both. No wonder this place is difficult to spot online, else all would be lucky to live such an experience.
It has truly been a soul-searching trip for me. I am truly amazed and inspired by the choices you all have taken and it definitely is heart warming to know that there are choices that one could take to bring ourselves closer to being human. Thanks to the both of you – you have showed us the way.” ~ Dawa Pakimo, travelled with friends in November 2012
“We love travelling & meeting new people. Today, we talked to a close friend of ours. He asked us "How is it going?" & all we would say was "we cannot explain how beautiful the place is & how affectionate the people are here. You need to come here to feel it"
Dak Bungalow will always have a special place in our hearts. The birds, the nature, the beautiful sunsets & Shubha ji's delicious food just make it unique & unforgettable.” ~ Gosna & Sargheve, travelled with friends in November 2012
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Pradeep & Shubha moved to the mountains of Kumaon in 2003, to work with Aarohi, an NGO dedicated to the causes of education, healthcare & livelihoods in the region. The Dak Bungalow homestay is an effort to conserve its ancient British architecture, and offer travellers a colonial experience amid the Himalayas. Pradeep & Shubha personally host all guests.
Below are some tips to practice responsible travel while in Peora: