Mukteshwar is a village and tourist destination in Nainital district of Uttrakhand. It sits high in the Kumaon Hills at an altitude of 2171 meters above sea level. Surrounded by Indian Himalayas including India’s second-highest peak Nanda Devi and scenic beauty, Mukteshwar carries a historic religious belief among locals and visitors.

The town owes its name from a 350 year old Lord Shiva Temple situated in the top of the cliff named Chauli ki jali, the name Mukteshwar means path of salvation, so it is also known as “ Land of Mukti”. Mukteshwar was previously known as Muktesar, the name changed after 1947, but still in some areas people call it Muktesar in regional language. Every year on the auspicious occasion of Maha Shivratri a big fair is organized by locals for the devotees visiting temples from around the world for worshipping and praying. It is said that a hole in cliff Chauli Ki Jali holds religious beliefs of visitors and women worships that hole for good health and wealth of their kids and family.

In the year 1893, Mukteshwar was selected for serum production to protect animals from cattle plague. In early 90’s Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI) was introduced here, which later moved its headquarter to Izzatnagar, but Mukteshwar still serves as the hill campus of IVRI, including facilities such as Foot and Mouth disease department and experimental Goat Farm. During a hard time of pandemic, IVRI Mukteshwar volunteered as Covid 19 testing lab for kumaon region.

The noted Nobel winner scientist Robert Koch visited this place and the microscope and other historic documents used by him are preserved by IVRI in its museum. Jim Corbett, a well-known author, and hunter visited Mukteshwar and dedicated a column of his book “ The Temple Tiger and More Man-Eaters of Kumaon” to Mukteshwar. The cottage used by Jim Corbett is now the Mukteshwar branch of State Bank of India.
Mukteshwar is home of many buildings built during the British era which includes a hill-carved cold room used for storing biological materials, a British library on the IVRI campus, guest houses, and cottages named after the British officers and the post office founded in the year 1905. Even today many buildings with red roofs, stone walls, and beautifully crafted wooden windows showcase the beauty of British architecture.
Mukteshwar was centre of attraction because of British officials working and living here. It was a transportation and marketing hub for more than 20 nearby villages. People used to visit Mukteshwar for selling and buying products and for traveling as well.

In early 1950’s first government high school (now inter college) was founded in Mukteshwar , noted Indian academic, food critic and historian, Padma Shri Dr. Pushpesh Pant is one of the famous and renowned alumni of this school.

Fruit orchards coniferous forests, lush green trails make Mukteshwar a special destination for trekking, camping, and paragliding. One can easily find Himalayan Bulbul and woodpecker calling from forests. It is also considered a paradise for bird watching. Apart from tourism and wildlife adventure people also visit Mukteshwar for mental peace, meditation and Yog.

Originally published at https://pahadiconnect.com.

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