Mountain Heights

Dhamot Home Stay, Dharamghar

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Nearby places

Him Darshan Kuteer (Sarala Ashram)

“Parvatiya Paryavaran Sanrashan Samiti Him Darshan Kuteer, Dharamghar” popularly known as Sarla Ashram is the official nomenclature of the cottage built by Sarla Behn. Behn Ji chose this place for furtherance of cause very close to her heart “Paryavaran Sanrakshan” (environment conservation) after handing over day to day management of Lakshmi Ashram, Kausani to Radha Behn.

The Ashram is located in between Dharamghar - Kotmanya motor road and is managed by one of her disciple Shobha Behn. Here one can go through the various writings of Behn Ji and some of her belongings are also on display.

There is a “Samadhi” (memorial) established in her name over a small hill top in the Ashram where ash from her funeral, Sarala Behn wished her last rites to be performed as per Hindu rituals, was buried. Her birthday, 5th April is celebrated every year at Ashram with people remembering the great soul who once graced this place by her presence.

Sarala Behn born Catherine Mary Heilemann known as two English daughters of Mahatma Gandhi along with Meera Behn chose this place as her final abode after Kausani and lived here from 1975 till her death in 1982.

Sarala Behn was suggested to relocate to the hill terrain of then United Province by Mahatma Gandhi himself because of her deteriorating health in the hot weather of Wardha where she was working along with Gandhi Ji. She setup a training center for rural women and girls of Kumaon region at Kausani in 1946 which came to be known as "Lakshmi Ashram".

She started educating people and spreading awareness about environmental damage being caused in Himalayan forests and started working towards its conservation a cause hitherto unknown. Her contribution in evolution of "Chipko Andolan" can't be denied as Chandi Prasad Bhatt (the man behind Chipko Andolan) along with Sundarlal Bahuguna is among many Gandhian environmentalists who were greatly influenced by Sarala Behn.

Musk Deer Breeding Farm

Himalayan Musk Deer (Moschus leucogaster) also called “Kasturi Mrig” in Hindi is an endangered animal protected by India’s Wildlife Act, 1972.

There are only two Musk Deer breeding farms in India established by Govt. of India, one located at Kanchula Korak Musk Deer Sanctuary in Chopta, Chamoli, Garhwal Himalaya and other one here at Dharamghar.

The farm can be reached after trekking an easy ascent of approximately 2 km distance from the nearest road head at Kotmanya. The ascent is easy and suitable for even small kids, the pathway is well maintained and one can easily reach to the Deer farm without requiring any external help.

Photography is strictly prohibited in the farm area even with your mobile phones so please avoid trying to take pictures. There are staff members to maintain the facility on occasions doubling up as information providers so you can enquire about the Musk Deer, their activities etc from them. The staff members are generally cordial and easy to approach but remember it’s not their primary task to entertain you.

It also important to mention here that please try to limit any kind of distraction and avoid making loud noise there as Musk Deer is a very primitive by nature. By loud noise they get disturb and start jumping up and down at times uncontrollably.

The absence of antlers and possession of long upper canine teeth are the main differentiating factors compared to other species of deer.

The male musk deer has a Musk Gland also called as Pod in its lower abdomen which is the main reason for it to be poached so vehemently that it appears in the Red List of endangered species published by International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN).  The musk gland which has very persistent odour is in very high demand internationally because of its uses in perfume industry and in traditional Chinese medicines.

Tea Garden

Uttarakhand is generally not identified with tea cultivation but salubrious environment and suitable topography provides right ingredients for cultivation of this crop. So tea cultivation has been practiced in these areas from very long but in a very limited manner. In fact the present day Chaukori used to have tea gardens all over its hill top. Nearby town of Berinag also used to have large area under tea plantation but now nowhere to be seen a price paid in the name of development. Now after creation of State, Uttarakhand Govt. has been working proactively to promote and popularise tea cultivation among its peasants. As a result there is considerable area under tea production now.

Dharamghar also boasts of 2-3 tea garden in its vicinity which are established and maintained by Uttarakhand Tea Development Board, a State Govt. Enterprise created with specific mandate of working towards overall development of tea sector in the State. It has a tea manufacturing facility at Kausani where the tea leaves plucked from these gardens are sent for tea making. The one which can be easily reached is at Simgari Village in the route of Sangad temple.

Shikhar Temple

“Shikhar” the Hindi word which literally means the top may be the reason why it is named so. It is the highest hilltop in the surrounding area and has a temple at top dedicated to “Mul Narayan Devta”. Though I am not mentioning Shikhar here for its religious importance among local people but I want to highlight it as a trekking destination with a great view point.

It is a trekking route of 12 km which will require some serious efforts to reach the apex. So if you can dare to climb to this apex not an easy task, you will be rewarded with an unparalleled panoramic view of the majestic Himalayan range. The Himalayan range visible from the top is of almost 1600 if not 1800 a good enough reward to take up the challenge to ascent the“Shikhar”.

Sangad Temple

There is another temple dedicated to “Nauling Devta” in the village of Sangad which is at a distance of around 4 km from Dharamghar. The village of Sangad is now connected with a motor road but the road is not in very good condition as the road is unpaved (kucha road). The road is not up to temple so you will be needed to walk on foot for 2 km which passes through the village of Sangad.

There is a small stream flowing before reaching temple and there is a watermill known as “Gharat” locally. It is a local ingenuity which uses natural power available in form of flowing stream. The flow of stream drives a vertical shaft which in turn rotates two round blocks made of stone attached on top of shaft. The rotation of these round stones which work as mill grind the grains fed into it. “Gharat” once a common site in the villages of Uttarakhand are now near extinction with availability of electricity.

The temple once a small structure now boasts of a much bigger and modern structure built by a Sadhu with donations received from the believers. Devotees visiting temple offer bell as their offering to God so there are bells all around the temple complex.

According to folklore Nauling and Banjain are two sons of Mul Narayan whose temple is at Shikhar. Nauling and Banjain both were sent by their father to kill the two demons terrorising poor villagers of Sangad and Bhanar respectively. Now there are temples in the name of Nauling in Sangad and Banjain in Bhanar village.         

Bird watching and Jungle walk

The dense forest areas around Dharamghar provide an excellent base to go on a bird watching expedition or to see rich flora and fauna it these jungles.

There are also many view points from where you get excellent views of surrounding valleys, the sun set and off course Himalaya which is omnipresent here.