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Why you must visit this ghost village of Uttarakhand

Why you must visit this ghost village of Uttarakhand

By Soumya Pawaskar

12 Jun, 2024

Picture this: You’re in a remote village of Uttarakhand, walking along the empty streets with a cute pahadi dog by your side. It’s snowing lightly and everything’s shut. The doors of the old wooden houses are locked and there’s hardly anyone in sight. The only sounds you hear are your footsteps on the snow and a temple bell ringing in the distance. Pretty spooky, right?

You can experience this eerie yet peaceful feeling in the tiny, secluded village of Bagori, Uttarakhand. Situated on the banks of Bhagirathi river at the Indo-Tibetan border and surrounded by the beautiful Harsil valley, Bagori is often referred to as the ghost village of Uttarakhand.

Are you someone who loves thrilling experiences and exploring offbeat locations? Then pack your bags and get ready to know more about Bagori, the winter ghost village of Uttarakhand.

Why is Bagori called the ghost village of Uttarakhand?

Situated at an altitude of 648 meters above sea level, the usual temperature in Bagori village ranges from 15-20 celsius. However, during the winter season, the temperatures drop down to sub-zero levels. This drastic drop in temperature causes water lines to freeze, making it difficult to access water and disrupts the day-to-day activities in general.

In such a situation, the residents of Bagori village move to lower and warmer towns of Uttarkashi district, like Dunda, leaving the entire place deserted for almost 6 months. The residents typically return during the hotter months, from May to November.

With the empty lanes and no soul around in the vicinity, Bagori truly lives up to its title of the ghost village of Uttarakhand. The continuous gusty winds and echoing sound of bells, add more eeriness to the atmosphere.

Deserted Bagori village in Uttarakhand during winters

Deserted Bagori village of Uttarakhand during winter season (Credits-joyclubsunil.wordpress.com)

Best time to visit Bagori, Uttarakhand:

Due to the harsh climatic conditions in the winter season, the best time to visit this ghost village of Uttarakhand is during spring and summer i.e from the months of March to June, when the weather is pleasant.

How to reach Bagori, Uttarakhand?

There is no direct transportation available to Bagori from any major cities in India. To reach this ghost village of Uttarakhand, you’ll need to travel to the nearby Harsil village, which is just 5 mins away.

By Air: The nearest airport to Bagori Village is the Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun. From the airport you’ll easily get cabs or buses up to Uttarkashi and from there, you’ll need to take another bus/taxi for Harsil.

By Train: The nearest railway station is the Rishikesh railway station. It approximately takes 7 hours to reach Harsil valley from Rishikesh. From here you’ll have to take local cabs or buses up to Uttarkashi and from Uttarkashi, you’ll need to take another bus/taxi for Harsil.

By Road: Harsil is well connected with major destinations of Uttarakhand like Rishikesh, Dehradun and Tehri by road. Direct buses to Uttarkashi are also available from Delhi.

Places to visit in and around Bagori, Uttarakhand:

Though Bagori is a tiny secluded village hidden in the Harsil valley, it has a number of places to explore and offers a truly unique experience to the adventurers.

Here are some must-visit places you should visit on your next trip to Bagori:

1) Harsil village

Situated in the beautiful Harsil valley Uttarkashi and towered by the majestic Himalayan Peaks, Harsil village is just 5 mins away from Bagori. Harsil has numerous tourist attractions such as the famous Gangotri Temple and Wilson cottage. The latter was built by the British Army deserter, in loving memory of his wife. If you’re up for an adventure then don’t miss the Lama top trek in the Harsil valley. It’s a beginner’s level trek which is about 3 kms long. The top view point offers stunning views of Bagori Village.

Scenic view of the bridge that connects Harshil to Bagori village

The old bridge that connects Harshil village to Bagori

2) Bhagirathi river

The pristine Bhagirathi river runs along the sides of Bagori village. Sometimes, the only prominent loud sound you’ll hear while in this ghost village is the sound of gushing water. Simply find a spot on one of the rocks by the riverbank and unwind. Dip your feet into the crystal-clear water and let its soothing touch wash away all your worries.

3) Tsechen Khakyab Ling Buddha temple 

This ghost village of Uttarakhand is a perfect mix of Garhwali and Tibetan culture and it’s reflected in the temples of this region. Visit the beautiful Tsechen Khakyab Ling temple dedicated to Buddha and attend meditation prayers in the serene surroundings. The colourful fluttering prayer flags, Tibetan architecture and scenic views of Himalayan peaks adds to the serenity of this small Buddha temple.

4) Apple gardens

The fresh, crisp mountain air and pristine waters of Bhagirathi river make Bagori village an ideal place for cultivating red, juicy apples. Tourists can take a tour of the apple orchards grown right in the backyard of Nelong and Orchard view homestays. With the sweet aroma of apples and the vibrant pop of red colour, it’s truly a sight to behold. And don’t forget to try some super delicious apple juice, freshly made right in front of you by the garden owners.

5) Explore ancestral wooden houses

Bagori village has approximately 150 houses, most of which are 100 years old and constructed entirely out of wood. These wooden houses are specially made to withstand the harsh climate of this region. These one-storey ancestral houses represent the unique architectural technique of Uttarakhand, popularly known as the koti banal. This construction technique is heavily influenced by culture, geography, history and climatic conditions of the region.

6) Gartang Gali hanging stairway

The 150-year old Gartang Gali is a thrilling adventure that consists of a 136 meters long wooden bridge hanging from a cliff. This famous tourist attraction is just a 35 mins drive from Bagori village. Traditionally this route was used by both Indian and Tibetan merchants and traders, it’s now become a favorite destination for adventure lovers.

A view of majestic Gartang Gali stairway

Old Gartang Gali stairway in the Nelong Valley (credits - travelandleisureasia.com)

While you’re here you can also explore the beautiful small villages near Bagori such as Mukhba, Sukki, Dharali, Jhala and Purali.

Interesting facts about Bagori, Uttarakhand:

  • Bagori village in Uttarakhand is awarded as the “cleanest village of India”

  • The late actor Raj Kapoor was so mesmerised by the beauty of Bagori and Harsil village that he extensively shot 1980’s superhit movie “Ram Teri Ganga Maili” in this region.

  • This small village in Uttarkashi district is so remote that it is accessible only by foot or on 2-wheelers from the adjoining village of Harsil.

  • The people of Bagori identify themselves as Jadh Bhotias, literally meaning “people from the north”. It is said that the Bhotia community migrated from Nelong Valley, Tibet in 1962.

  • The villagers of Bagori are experts in preparing a beverage called Kacchi, a Barley based distilled liquor which has a higher concentration of alcohol.

While winter ghost villages are common in Uttarakhand, Bagori stands out as a complete package that holds historical, religious and environmental significance. The scenic Bagori and nearby villages can be explored in 2 days. While you’re here check out our hostels in Uttarakhand. Add this hidden gem to your bucket list today and experience something unique on your next trip to Uttarakhand!

Note: The feature image has been generated through AI (Images copyright- Freepik) 

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