Homestay in Pokharkhal – An Offbeat Village near Rishikesh

Homestay in Pokharkhal – An Offbeat Village near Rishikesh

Offbeat Village near Rishikesh for Homestay was planned by a local friend – Double.

We started our journey by Royal Enfield Thunderbird Twinspark motorbike at 3:30 pm. After crossing Laxman Jhula and a left turn we were on Rishikesh Neelkanth Road. On the way, we stop our motorbike and had a look at rafting guys jumping from the cliff on the other side of the Ganga River. Interesting to watch. Neer Gaddu – The location said Double.

After driving an almost empty road covering approx. 17 km picturesque route we reached the band of Neelkanth Mahadev temple. We don’t have to turn right – said Double. Continue driving straight passing via Diyuli village we stop at Naltura village to purchase chicken. The former gram pradhan (village head) is running a small chicken farm (right-hand side) in the basement of shops.

One kg for Rs. 180/-. Paid.

In between Double enhanced knowledge by showing Rajma plantation. Though I have eaten Rajma many times it was the first time I was watching its plantation.

We were offered tea and a query – whether we are interested in getting it cooked.

We said yes, but not at this moment.

Few more km drive we reached Pokharkhal.

The total distance covered from Laxman Jhula, Rishikesh to Pokharkhal was 27 km approx. – Two hours journey. Road condition OK if not good. The heavy rainy season just finished a few days back.

Pokharkhal is a tiny village having 10-12 village homes situated in the Pauri Garhwal district of Uttarakhand. An inter-college nearby and only two grocery shops. Fewer homes, less population, No traffic, and mountains and greenery all around. Far on the other side of the mountains, you can watch a few more tiny villages and a beautiful temple on top of the hill which was very picturesque during nighttime due to the lights installed. I am very much sure during full moon night Pokharkhal is more interesting to visit and stay in.

Very very quiet place in short though it is on State Highway 9 connecting Lansdowne another beautiful hill station.

I saw a vegetable never seen before – Iskus. It is made similar to Bottle Gourd or Lauki – Knowledge enhanced by the grocery shopkeeper.

Satendra Singh Rawat is the owner of the grocery shop and the village home and is a friend of Double. Upon query about room availability, the reply was – Yes. We walk close to his shop to have a look at the room. He is having only one room for guests to stay in.

Two cots – one is made of wood, one blanket, one bulb, one small wooden window, one wooden door, a wooden ceiling, and enough space to park a motorbike outside the room. That’s it.

Fantastic – said I.

The toilet room is there but outside. And for water use hand-pump install outside the inter-college.

We requested Satendra Singh Rawat for chicken preparation. He asked – with Roti or Rice?

Roti, we said with a few sliced onions.

It was time for tea after the journey and talking with the villagers and roaming around.

Around 8 pm Satendra closed his grocery shop and requested us to visit his home where he stays with his family.

Dinner was served. Excellently prepared along with roti, onions, and pahari kheera (cucumber). He said he added cherry tomatoes to the chicken. It is said cherry tomatoes are good for the kidneys.

What I like the most about having dinner with villagers are the atmosphere and surroundings. The cool breeze blowing.

After dinner, we again went outside and at that time a baba – Ram Giri was there also preparing falahari food on a wood fire as Navratri days is going on. He prepared Aate ke Meethe Gulgule, boiled potatoes, and tea.

We were a total six-person had talks, and bhajans till midnight and then sleep at our respective homes. Baba stayed outside the shop only.

We didn’t lock our room doors. Just a push to close the wooden doors. After switching off the lights it was completely dark.

4:30 morning hours we were awake. Complete sound sleep. No sound of vehicles, people, or anything was there. Just complete silence. Thoroughly enjoyed. I was not interested to leave the bed as it was so relaxing.

Early morning it was a little rainy. After two cups of tea and payment, we started our journey back toward Rishikesh.

Do you know how much we paid?

Rs. 220 was the total bill amount because Satendra is a Double friend. Thank you, Satendra and family. Maybe we will come some time again soon because Yamkeshwar Mahadev is not too far from Pokharkhal and thought to visit to offer prayers.

Thanks again. It was relaxing, peaceful indeed.

Upon query about various modes of travel, I was told there is numerous sharing jeep available in the morning for Rishikesh. And from Sabzi Mandi, Koyal Ghati, and Rishikesh there are sharing jeeps available for Pokharkhal. Fare Rs. 60 per person. There is a bus also but only one though sharing jeeps are many.


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