Welcome to ‘Birdwatchers Paradise’. A small village tucked away within the Kumaon hills, magical forests echoing the songs of hundreds of colourful birds with little trails that disappear into sunlit glades – that’s Pangot for you! Although just 15 kilometres away from Nainital, Pangot definitely deserves more than just a day trip away from the bustling town. Nearly 580 species of birds have been recorded in Pangot, considered among the finest birding areas in India. Lammergeier, himalayan griffon, blue-winged minla, rufous-bellied woodpecker, rufous-bellied niltava and khalij pheasant are just a few of the winged wonders that can be spotted here. Mixed forests dominated by thick ban-oak, pine and rhododendron cover most of the area and surrounding hills. A large part of the landscape is characterized by dense vegetation with numerous perennial creeks and streams that crisscross the area. Life here in Pangot is tranquil and quiet, offering a perfect antidote to the hustle and bustle of city life.
un[travel]’s Top Picks
Trek to Naina Peak
A fairly long hike through a trail cocooned by vibrant rhododendrons, deodars and cypresses, the peak is a spell binding vantage point of the surrounding views not to mention the beautiful snow-capped mountains. Known for its variety of birdlife, you also get to enjoy the chirps and fluttering of countless beautiful species that call this forest their home.
Zip-lining at Pangot
Pangot Adventure Activities
Pangot has picked up as an alternative to the ever-growing Nainital. Keeping up with its promise of being an adventure destination, Pangot offers activities like rock climbing, rappelling, zip lining and the Burma-Bridge. Try your hand at rock climbing, after some basic guidelines on how to get started; a fantastic test of mental and physical endurance, you’re bound to get back for more. Rappel your way down using fixed ropes for an adrenaline rush like none other. You could also zip-line through the forests with stunning landscape backdrops; the Burma-Bridge is also worth a shot here.
Red Rumped Swallow
A birding paradise, if there ever was one, Pangot is a celebration of winged creatures both big and small. Our expert naturalist will accompany you on this 6- hour birding spree that is guaranteed to leave you an avid birder, if you weren’t one to begin with. You will be given a short basic course in bird spotting and details about every species you could encounter.
Mixed forests dominated by thick ban-oak, pine and rhododendron cover most of the area and surrounding hills, and are a perfect abode for over 580 recorded avian species. Lammergeier, Himalayan griffon, blue-winged minla, rufous-bellied woodpecker, rufous-bellied niltava and the khalij pheasant are just a few of the winged wonders that you could spot here. While on the trail, you will be provided packed lunch and refreshments. Watch colourful birds play hide and seek, as filtered rays through tall trees momentarily blind you, before you search for them again.
March to June is the popular tourist season when the weather is perfect for outdoor activities and quite pleasant. If you’re the type to lace up your adventure boots, this is the time to visit here with paragliding, trekking, camping and rafting all up for grabs. July to September sees heavy rainfall and quite a drop in visitors. On the up side the rains make the hills more luxuriant and if you’re the kind who prefers dripping weather and lonesome hikes, this time has your name all over it. October to February gets chilly and January brings in snowfall too. Although Pangot is a year-round destination, the activities open to you may vary based on when you visit. So, plan accordingly.
un[pack] That Bag
Pack as light as possible given the amount of road travel involved here. • Cotton clothing for summer and a light jacket would work for when evenings get cooler. If you’re un[travel]ling in winter, warmer clothes complete with thick socks and warmer jackets. Carry your windcheater and umbrella if you’re here in the monsoons as well. • Sturdy walking shoes, mandatory if you’re hiking, make sense given the amount of walking involved here. • Sunscreen, especially if you’re going up to the higher reaches. Usual prescription medications. • Mobile and tablet electronic chargers.
un[travel]’s Top 5 Places to Stay
• Jungle Lore Birding Lodge • Kafal House • The Nest Cottages • Mountain Quail Lodge • Camp Mehi