The road from Ranikhet – as it winds past the ever-changing panoramas of Kausani, Baijnath and Bageshwar – prepares you for the serenity of Vijaypur, but not quite. As you arrive here, you are greeted by the snowcapped peaks of Trishul, Nanda Khat, Nanda Kot and Nanda Devi, imperiously spanning the horizon.

In the days of the Raj, the place went by the name of Ora. It was a tea estate set up by the British over a century ago. Much later, the estate was acquired by Vijay Lal Shah, a Gujarati trader, who renamed it after himself. Only the tea estate, and its Colonial bungalow remain.

THINGS TO SEE AND DO

Vijaypur is a tiny village spread over a few square kilometers with a small market of its own. The only way to get about this place is to walk. There is a rich variety of birdlife here – red-billed blue magpies, orioles, mynahs are easily seen. It is also common to spot kakkars (barking deer) and the occasional leopard. And on clear nights, you will see millions and millions of stars.

Tea and Temple Trail

Visitors are welcome to take a look around the tea estate (but not the bungalow). The Dhauli Nag Temple, dedicated to the serpent god, is a short trek of 1.5 km from the bus station. You have the mountains on your left, and oak, pine and deodar forests all around with birdsong to keep you company. The temple itself is located amid giant oaks on a mountaintop. Dhauli Nag is the local deity of four villages, and two fairs are held here every year.

On the way back, stop by the Naula, a small spring in the forest whose water is considered holy. Note that you cannot bathe in it.

Parth Sanyal
Stunning view of Nanda Devi
Stunning view of Nanda Devi

WHERE TO STAY AND EAT

Chestnut Grove (Delhi Tel: 011-22720676-77, Cell: 09818644050, 09811124222; Tariff: 5,500, with two meals) has nice cottages. This is the only option in Vijaypur.

Chaukori’s KMVN Tourist Bungalow (Tel: 05964-217437, Cell: 08650002542; Tariff: 990-3,000), on the main road, has cottages and dorms, as well as a restaurant. KMVN TRH (Tel: 05964-240852, Cell: 08650002543; Tariff: 700-1,600) at Patal Bhuvaneshwar also has rooms and a restaurant.

In Chaukori and Patal Bhuvaneshwar, you can either eat at the KMVN facilities or wayside dhabas. In Thal, you can have silver carp, a local speciality.

When to go The best season is April to June. The views are best from September to January, but this is also the coldest season Location Vijaypur rests on a ridge overlooking the magnificent Himalayan range, at a height of 6,726 ft in northeast Kumaon Air Nearest airport: Pantnagar Rail Nearest rail: Kathgodam