Stay in a Traditional Kumaoni House: Alhito Cafe, Kasar Devi

How 2 days had flown! I was already past my first destination in the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand (Rosewood Dhanachuli Retreat) and still the sight of the Himalayas had eluded me.

Would I be getting any luckier at Alhito cafe, my next abode located in a small hamlet in Kasar?

I was really looking forward to my stay at this unique quirky cafe in Kasar right from day one – one because it was to be my first stay at a traditional Kumaoni styled cafe overlooking some of the biggest Himalayan peaks of India and two because it just sounded unique – the name “Alhito” and so different that I was eager to check it out! 

Alhito Cafe - Kasar Devi Uttarakhand
Alhito, in the Kumaoni language, means ‘Let’s Go’. Let’s go ... to a place where you can meet yourself. 


TRADITIONAL KUMAONI ROOM – FIRST IMPRESSIONS!

Hilltop Alhito cafe, Kasar Devi Uttarakhand
Alhito Cafe - as seen from the road.

Way to our traditional Kumaoni room at Alhito Kasar Devi Uttarakhand
Way to our traditional Kumaoni room in Alhito Cafe.


We climbed a couple of storeys to reach our room ‘Chaukhamba’ – a simple yet cosy house perched atop their signature cafe. The room was rustic and charming, built in the traditional pahadi style or mountain style, using a lot of natural elements like wood and stone in its architecture.

Sunset at traditional Kumaoni room Alhito Kasar Devi Uttarakhand

Traditional Kumaoni house - Kasar Devi Uttarakhand
The room was clean and quite spacious for a couple.


As soon as I entered the room, I felt all warm and toasty with the tastefully done decor but it was not until I stepped out that I realized how truly priceless this stay really was going to be – the room overlooked the entire ethereal Himalayan range - Trishul, Nanda Devi and Panchachuli peaks to name a few, promising a stunning view of the mountains.

*Panchachuli peaks are not seen in the below picture as they are towards the lefter side - I have still done the naming so as to give an approximate indicator of its position.

Stunning view of the entire Himalayan range Alhito Cafe Kasar Devi Uttarakhand
Himalayan peaks like Trishul, Nanda Devi and Panchachuli peaks
are visible from the window of my room in Alhito cafe.

Hygiene was well maintained with washed linen and clean bathrooms with all the basic amenities provided. My request for a heater was promptly taken care of which instantly put me at ease and made my nights much more comfy and relaxing!


THE PANCHACHULI, TRISHUL AND NANDA DEVI PEAKS FROM THE TERRACE.

I looked out of the room window and what I saw left me spellbound, almost speechless.

Misty sunrise Alhito cafe, Kasar Devi Uttarakhand

Straddling between the Kumaon and Garhwal districts of Uttarakhand, deep in the Himalayas, stood five supremely magnificent and terrifyingly intimidating stretch of mountains that  looked so close that I felt like I could touch them. They looked even closer from a few steps high up that took us to the terrace of the cafe.

The wind here, on the terrace, was chilling, my hands were shivering but that did not deter me from admiring these citadels of rock and ice that seemed like having descended straight from the heavens above.

Trishul and significant peaks Alhito Cafe Kasar Devi

A long range of steep angled faces - Trishul and Panchachuli peaks -

punctuated by frosty whites teasingly hidden by a cloudy cover.


Gaurav, the house manager pointed us one peak after the next and regaled us with the local folklore that we heard with great relish. One among them was about a nuclear reactor getting lost in Nanda Devi which till date, has not been recovered!

Nanda devi peak - the second highest mountain peak in India
The second highest mountain of India named after the patron Goddess of Uttarakhand – Nanda Devi


A vague sense of mysterious awe washed over me as I gazed, and gazed, at the second highest mountain of India named after the patron Goddess of Uttarakhand – Nanda Devi, the Mountain being her temporal abode.

He suggested us to come up again first thing in the morning for the best mountain viewing experience.


ALHITO CAFE: BREAKFAST WITH A VIEW AND TRADITIONAL KUMAONI FOOD.

Lovely cafe Alhito Kasar Devi Uttarakhand

Breakfast with the BEST view in Kasar:

Alhito cafe is known for having the best scenic Himalayan views in Kasar, and rightly so. The feeling of sipping Ginger lemon tea and enjoying bites of sandwich and pohe in the chilling winters with the view of the majestic mountains in the distance is something that is not easy to describe, especially for an urbanite like me. It’s priceless!

Stunning mountian views at Alhito Kasar Devi Uttarakhand

Breakfast with a view at Alhito cafe, Kasar Devi Uttarakhand

Alhito Cafe – the cafe sits atop a hilltop and offers delectable food with exceptional panoramic views!

Traditional Pahadi Cuisine – Kumaoni Thali.

The cafe itself was small and cosy with tastefully done interiors adding a quirky catch to the place. There was a lot of creative wooden art all around the cafe, walls and corners decorated with beautiful Kumaoni show pieces outlining the rich culture and heritage of the region, and antique artefacts adding to the charm.

Alhito Cafe - one of the best cafes in Kasar Devi Uttarakhand

Quirky interiors at Alhito cafe, Kasar Devi Uttarakhand

Even though I am tempted to say that the views at Alhito cafe were the best but it was the Kumaoni thali that really was the cherry on the cake. We were served up a traditional Kumaoni thali on the final day of our stay. The thali consisted of little known regional delicacies like Bhatt ki churakani dal,  Bhang ki chutney (chutney made using hash seeds), Ghot ki dal, Palak ka Kappa, Kumaoni cucumber Raita with grated cucumber alongwith Mandua ki Roti and Basmati Rice.

Traditional Kumaoni thali at Alhito cafe, Kasar Devi Uttarakhand
Comforting flavours of Kumaoni cuisine to warm our body and nourish our soul.


Most of the dishes were new to us but the staff was kind enough to point out and describe the specialties of the different delicacies. What was really impressive was the use of seasonal ingredients, local fresh produce and regions indigenous spices and herbs like jakhiya, faaran, mustard, fenugreek and coriander for tempering lentils and curries, lending a distinct taste to the quintessential Kumaoni cuisine. It was simple but undeniably scrumptious and highly nutritious, each recipe a culinary gem, offering an earthy calming flavour in the chilly weather of Uttarakhand.

A MOST BEAUTIFUL SUNRISE OVER THE HIMALAYAS.

That day was the last day of our stay at Alhito Cafe. It was very cold and tiredness weighed heavily on me. I had to gather all my strength to come out of the blankets at 6 in the morning. It was still dark outside. Soon enough, geared up in my winter wear, I .. nah.. We (I had woken up my hubby as well) were racing at the terrace of the cafe, to glimpse what was to be one of the most beautiful sunrises we have ever seen.

Early morning sunrise at Alhito cafe, Kasar Devi Uttarakhand

The air was still, and for the first time in our Uttarakhand yatra - clouds were absent so that the peaks were clearly visible even from a distance. The sky was gray at first but gradually, it was kissed by a kaleidoscope of colors.

Brethtaking sunrise over the Himalayan peaks, Alhito Kasar Devi

Orange, yellow and pink – the colors stretched from one corner to the other reflecting on the top of the peaks like gold. The peaks seemed closer than ever, and I was left in total awe. To be blessed by a clear sight of the Himalayas was a real treasure, making our last day in Kasar truly memorable. 

Snow clad Hmalayas at Alhito cafe, Kasar Devi Uttarakhand
You can’t not feel calm standing here looking out over the hills at a sunrise.

Himalayan peaks sunrise at Alhito cafe, Kasar Devi Uttarakhand
A most beautiful sunrise I hope to never forget

 – the locals later told me it was one of the most beautiful sunrises they had seen in Kasar for a while!

SUMMARY:

Staff at Alhito cafe, Kasar Devi Uttarakhand

  • Simple yet cozy, comfy rooms, built in traditional Kumaoni fashion.
  • Warm and inviting cafe, with a quirky art decor and a nutritious traditional Kumaoni thali made with locally sourced ingredients.
  • Awesome views from both, my room and the cafe - perhaps THE BEST in Kasar!
  • Brilliant room service – I could often see the boys literally running up and down the steep stairs, to attend to the guests.
  • Always ready to share stories and tips – got to know a lot of things about the region from the property manager.
  • Walkable distance, around 15 minutes, from the Kasar Devi Temple.

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Check out my complete Uttarakhand Yatra (Dhanachuli, Kasar Devi, Jageshwar Shiva Temple, Katarmal Sun Temple, Almora, Jim Corbett) by clicking the link here: My Uttarakhand Yatra Diary 

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Himalayan Stay with a View Kasar Devi Pinterest Graphic


Comments

  1. Your narration is as beautiful as the Himalayan ranges. I just felt I was with you when you went up the terrace to see the Sunrise view. Really it has made me cheerful. Thanks Arti!.

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  2. Thanks for your visit and valuable post.

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  3. Beautiful Alhito Cafe, Very informative post.
    Amazing views.

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  4. Wonderful narration. What is the cost of one day stay at this hotel?

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    1. Hey! The cost depends on the season but approximately it should be around Rs. 3-4K. You can email me should you need more details and I will be happy to help! :)

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  5. Very well defined post captured the essence of kumaun.

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  6. To come to the high peaks and see such a beautiful sunrise was truly a blessing. I had to smile at you shivering in the cold, Arti. Those bedside swans weren't cold at all! I love the photo of the stone steps leading upward and, of course, all the photos of the mountain peaks.

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  7. As I wouldn't have made it up all those steps thank goodness I have you to share all these wonderful photographs. That they are accompanied with your thoughts/useful information is a bonus.

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  8. Lovely narration, inspired to see the sunrise🌅 from Athilo

    Soon be planning

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  9. Amazing post to read. I will surely add this to my bucket list and this article will surely help me out there. Thanks for sharing this.

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  10. Hi , A very nice blog about Alhito Cafe, I ll ensure that I visit next time
    Thanks

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