The three village houses are located in the villages of Deora, Alai and Jwalabanj. The walking itself is not challenging, and you will have a guide and porters so that you can enjoy every minute. The area is typical of Himalayan foothills, with pine forests and rice terraces. You will pass small villages, well away from the interruption of roads and civilisation. It is a deeply relaxing walk, where you can stop for as many tea breaks as you wish before moving on past a land unchanged for centuries.
All your food and drink (including alcohol) is included and the food prepared is fresh and local to the area. The joy of the Village Walks is that hardly anyone has visited the region – it is a totally fresh and unique experience where the simple interaction with the local community becomes a magical occasion. The communities have had little exposure to tourism and as such they are very interested in welcoming you into their way of life and making sure your visit is wonderful.
The village houses are simple and traditional, yet Shakti have installed exceptionally comfortable beds and linen. There are mostly two rooms in each Village House, and Shakti have installed western toilets (not en-suite) and a shower hut which uses a hot water bucket. It is simple, but the staff make for a comfortable visit and the experience is worth the simplicity.
In short, you feel ultimately privileged to be given this window into the lives of the communities you pass through, a snapshot into the India that hasn’t welcomed hordes of endless tourists, and retains its identity and spirit. You leave wondering whether you should tell everyone about how amazingly untouched the area is, or remain silent in the knowledge that this is one of those secrets best kept closely guarded.
Shakti Kumaon offers 3 Village Houses with two rooms in each. Rooms are simple and traditional with comfortable beds and linen. Western toilets that aren't en suite have been installed and there is a shower hut which uses a hot water bucket. These rooms are in a traditional Indian village house that has been renovated to provide comfort alongside authenticity, and form part of the full Shakti India experience aimed at giving guests a genuine experience of rural Indian life.
Children are welcome from the age of 3 years. Shakti is excellent for their imaginations and the walks are not challenging so they are suitable for all ages.
Facilities at the village houses include western toilets, baths and huts. There are small living/dining rooms and partially covered outdoor eating areas where you can enjoy dinner under the stars with a fire to keep you warm, or breakfast with a breathtaking view. Guides, porters and cooks are provided - all you could want is there for you.
Walking in the Kumaon region is fantastic with stunning mountain scenery and snow capped peaks. The area surrounding Deora, Alai and Jwalabanj is typical of Himalayan foothills, with pine forests and rice terraces. You'll pass other small villages to experience life of the local people for a deeper understanding of Himalayan culture and the spiritual nature of this untouched land. The beautiful wilderness of the Corbett National Park is also nearby where the hills meet the Indo-gangetic plain in the south.
Guides, porters and cooks are provided - all you could want is there for you.
When to travel
Shakti Kumaon is open from 1st Oct – 20th April, the closing date can change from year to year depending on weather.
Almora has a pleasant and cool climate all through the year with the annual average maximum temperature is around 23°C and average minimum temperature is about 11.5°C. Monsoons season from August to October. Best time to visit is between March to June and September to December.
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Location and directions
The Shakti Village Houses are located around the town of Almora in the little known Kumaon region, which lies in the northern hill state of Uttarakhand. The area surrounding Deora, Alai and Jwalabanj is typical of Himalayan foothills, with pine forests and rice terraces.
How to get there
To get here, you need to fly to Delhi (9-hours), then travel to the hill station of Kathagodam by train (overnight). A 3-hour drive, followed by a 30-minute walk will see you at Shakti Kumaon Village Houses.