24 July, 2021

Kumaon Charisma

Travel entrepreneurs cash in on the hills' pristine environs

Kumaon Charisma

WITH Kashmir militancy-ridden and Himachal Pradesh saturated as a tourist destination, Kumaon in Uttar Pradesh is emerging as the latest meal ticket for travel entrepreneurs forever in search of new Shangrilas to sell. "Kumaon has everything—proximity, beauty, tranquility," exults Veer Rawley, general manager of the Delhi-based Rath Travels that has aggressively sold Kumaon destinations to Delhiites for the last two years."

A five-hour Shatabdi train journey takes the mountain air seeking summer traveller to Kathgodam, from where taxis whiz him away to assorted hilltop destinations—some like Bhimtaal and Sattaal within 45 minutes driving distance; others like Almora, Mukteshwar, Pithoragarh three to 12 hours by road. Each destination on virgin pine, oak, teak plantation terrain, each offering reasonably priced hotel accommodation. Deliciously pristine, non touristy.

But not for long. Over the last three years canny travel operators have rushed in to cash in on this untapped hill haven. Like the owners of...

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