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Sitting at an altitude of 1760 meters above sea level, Khirsu is a scenic hill station in Pauri Garwhal, in the state of Uttarakhand, India. It's surrounded by a picturesque palette of green paddy fields in mid-spring and a verdant undulating pine, rhododendrons and deodar forest all throughout the year. It boasts a magnificent panoramic view of the Himalayas including the peaks of Chaukhamba and Kedarnath Ranges.
Endowed with lush orange orchards, Khirsu is a small hamlet but considered the center for major activities such as sports matches, political rallies and campaigns, melas, etc.
Facilities/Aminities at Khirsu
Travelling from Khirsu to nearby villages and vice versa is possible through taxi services or Tata Sumo/Max as locals usually call them. Buses are available at particular times. Generally, a bus to Pauri, the nearest town in the area, comes from Srinagar (Garwhal) and arrives in Khirsu at around 1 PM. There are car taxis available for hire as well, and the best people to contact for these services are hotel owners/employees and shopkeepers.
Bank: State Bank of India
Postal Service: India Post
Hospital: Government Hospital (CHC Khirsu)
Schools and Colleges: Private and Government
Various hotels and lodging houses have come up recently due to the increase in tourism at Khirsu. The place is becoming known to national and international tourists.
Here are a few list of hotels and lodgings for your comfortable stay and wonderful experience:
Hotel Taj Himalaya
Located along the highway towards Srinagar road, Hotel Taj Himalaya offers a breathtaking view of the Himalayas when weather permits. The forest surrounding the place is also a sight to behold.
Plus points include:
1. Rooms that are quite spacious with modern furnishings. The overall ambience of the hotel is clean and friendly.
2. Affordability. Room price ranges from Rs.1200 to Rs. 2500. And it varies from floor to floor. The ground floor being the cheapest. These prices fluctuate depending on the season.
3. A balcony that faces a wide, open space so it is breezy and a rooftop that is best for photography.
4. A not so big lawn but can hold a few dozens of people to host a small party or fun activities such as sports and recreation.
5. A market that is a few meters away. If one wants groceries or a snack to bite outside of the hotel's kitchen, they can simply walk through a paved path to the market.
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6. Owner/manager and hotel staff that are friendly.
7. Restaurant that serves meals at reasonable prices.
Negative points include:
1. A parking space that can hold up to 3 cars. Most vehicles can park on the side road, which can be dangerous. But considering the low traffic in Khirsu, this issue is manageable to the extent of nonexistent.
Proprietor: Laksman Singh Rawat
Note: Pay 50% upon booking. Book your stay via Goibibo or MayMyTrip.
Garwhal Mandal Vikas Nigam (GMVN)
GMVN is a government establishment. Situated away from the main market, it is the best place for people who simply want to rest and relax in the lap of nature and listen to the songs the birds sing, be mesmerized by the growls and barks that the wild night creatures make.
The surrounding areas are forested and perfect for nature walks and short hikes. On some days one could get lucky to see a leopard relaxing in a small patch of clearing while in some nights, one could hear their territorial growl. A sighting more often than that of a leopard is a barking deer drinking water in a pond as well as their barking call day and night.
Since they are solitary creatures, they avoid human contact at all times.
GMVN has rooms in the main building and huts that are convenient and offer better privacy.
The rooms can cost you Rs.1500 to Rs. 3000 per night. It has quite a good space for parking, for kids to play and a garden to chill and relax. It also offers a wonderful view of the Himalayas, especially the rooftop. It is the most private/secluded stay among all the hotels available in Khirsu since it is located away from the main market/village.
GMVN is situated next to a Community Health Center (Khirsu Hospital).
Shree Badri Vishal Guest House
Badri Vishal Guest House is located next to Hotel Taj Himalaya on Khirsu-Srinagar Route. It has 6 rooms maintained by 4 staff including a cook who will take care of your meals. Its proprietor, Mr. Bhim Singh Negi along with his family, lives within the building.
Room Type: Single and Double
Price range: Rs. 1000-1500
The main disadvantage of this hotel is parking. You will have to park along the road. But considering the least traffic at Khirsu, you can be assured that no mishap will happen to your vehicle as long as it is parked properly.
Price and comfort-wise, add a magnificent view in front of your rooms and an accommodating and friendly environment -this is a win-win stay. I recommend you to avail their services.
Phone: 8755071784 or 9917132328
Basa Homestay is a government initiative to encourage the people of Khirsu to open up their houses to tourism, local or otherwise. Its aim is to revitalize its local economy while preserving its tradition, culture, and natural landscape. It also provides job opportunities to some of the villagers.
The cottages of Basa are made of stones and mud resembling that of Garwhali dwellings/traditional homes. You can visit their website for more information.
The best thing about Basa Homestay is you can cook your own meals or help the staff prepare them. It is one of the ways to introduce you to Garwhali cuisines so your stay will be a pleasure and a learning experience at the same time.
Room Price: Rs.2500 - Rs.3000 per night including meals.
Note: Some of the buildings at Basa are under renovation so do inquire for room availability beforehand.
Places of Interest
Here are a few places that are worth visiting and exploring if you make your way to Khirsu.
Khirsu Botanical Park
Khirsu park is the main attraction of the place. Locals from the neighboring areas flock here on Sundays and holidays to chill and relax and have picnics with friends and families. The park is almost always empty on weekdays apart from a few locals who do their morning and evening walking routine. At early mornings, you can get lucky to catch a glimpse of a barking deer grazing on lilies or a flock of jungle fowls foraging in the meadows, or a herd of wild boars enjoying their breakfast. At twilight, you can find, however rare, a fox or a leopard passing by. At night, if you are up for an adventure, you can bring a torch or flashlight with you and you can certainly see a reflection of glowing eyes. However, such sighting is indeed extremely rare.
Located a little outside the main market of Chaubatta, this temple is in the forest surrounded by oaks, rhododendrons, pine, and kafal trees. The ascent is short and not that steep so anyone can easily see this temple.
Forest Department Viewpoint
The forest department of Uttarakhand has set up a few viewpoints inside the jungle. However, due to lack of maintenance, many of these viewpoints are no longer safe to climb on. The one located in the middle of the forest on Khirsu-Furkhanda road offers a breathtaking view of the mountain ranges and the Himalayas, but it also suffers from the same fate as others. However, you can still enjoy a walk on a pathway laid with crunchy and colorful leaves.
Located 800 meters above the highway, the climb is stepped and steep, but your trek would be abundantly rewarded with a variety of produce like apple, apricots, pear, peach, and plums among others. While you can eat these fruits as much as you like there and then, you can pack a kilo or two for your loved ones at very affordable prices.
If you enjoy a short drive in a long, winding, and traffic-less road with a view that is wide, open and breathtaking, you must try this route. There are locals hotels and grocery shops where you can grab a bite.
How to Reach Khirsu
There are multiple ways to get you up to Khirsu when visiting.
Khirsu is reachable by air from JollyGrant Airport. From here on, one can go to Dehradun and hop on a taxi or bus to Khirsu. There are taxi services available at the airport itself. Make sure to ask the guards.
Via Rishikesh. From Rishikesh, one has to take a taxi straight to Khirsu either via Devprayag-Pauri-Khirsu or Devprayag-Srinagar-Khirsu. If one is commuting by bus, one has to make a few stops. One at Devprayag and from there a taxi to Pauri and another taxi to Khirsu. Second at Srinagar and then take a passenger taxi to Khirsu.
Via Kordwar. From Kordwar, Khirsu is around 137 kilometers. If one is commuting by bus, they have to stop at Buakhal, which is around 6 kilometers before Pauri town and 13 kilometers to Khirsu. From this junction, one has to either hitch a ride or take a passenger taxi to Khirsu