Vijaypur (Bageshwar) – A village that was once famous for its tea plantations

Mandalshera area of Bageshwar town. Saryu river can be seen in the photo
Mandalshera area of Bageshwar Town and the holy Saryu River alongside

Bageshwar district is in the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand. It finds mention in the Manas Khand of the Skanda Purana and is also referred to as ‘the Kashi of Kumaon’.

The famous Bagnath Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is nestled right at the confluence of the visible Saryu and Gomti rivers and the invisible Saraswati. The temple work was undertaken in the 15th-16th century during the reign of the Chand dynasty (by Raja Laxmi Chand) and a bustling city has now cropped up all-around. To catch a good glimpse of the entire Bageshwar town and the mystic aura that this town beholds, consider taking a short hike to the Bhileshwar or the Nileshwar hill that stands tall in front and behind the temple respectively.

View of the Kumaon Himalayas including peaks such as Nanda Devi, Mrigthuni, Nanda Kot and others
Panoramic view of the Kumaon Himalayas as seen from the Bageshwar – Chaukori highway

The drive beyond Bageshwar town is scenic in its own way. You take any path that originates from here, sooner you will have a direct interface with the mighty Himalayas, and they will continue to mesmerize you for as long as you can embrace them.

Through this post, we discover a small village named Vijaypur (or Bijaypur as its locally pronounced) which is located on the Bageshwar – Chaukori road. The total distance between Vijaypur and Bageshwar is 33 kms and it takes a little more than an hour to cover the distance. The road is narrow but in excellent condition with not so much of traffic. It’s a drive along the Himalayas, through the pine forests, passing through villages with innocent / smiling faces of Kumaoni people greeting you.

What to expect in Vijaypur?

As you arrive in Vijaypur, a signboard will direct you towards a Tea Estate. Yes, you are right, a ‘Tea Estate’. This entire area (since the early 20th century) was known for its tea plantations. Over the years the place got neglected but the recent efforts have given it a hope and it’s getting back to business now. The entire belt from Vijaypur and beyond until Berinag town used to have tea gardens. The brand Berinag Tea is now getting visibility and the products can be found in stores too. Berinag Tea has a unique flavour, aroma and color that makes it unique w.r.t other well known brands.

As you enter the estate, a nice huge bungalow (built in the colonial style) greets you. Historical evidence indicates this area was sold off by the British to a Gujarati businessman named – Vijay Lal Shah who named the town after himself. Later, Mr. Shah sold off the area to Mr. Jamuna Dutt Pant (of the neighbouring Khantoli Village).

What is unique about Vijaypur?

The entire view from the Tea estate is breath-taking. A panoramic view of the Kumaon Himalayas including the mighty and revered Nanda Devi peak stands tall right in front of you. Numerous other peaks including the Panchachuli range is clearly visible from the tea Garden. The chirp of the birds amidst the wide array of trees including Kafal, Pine and Oak and the constant stroke of a gentle breeze, it’s a priceless experience that surely cannot be justified through words.

What else to visit around Vijaypur?

There are plenty to options to explore around. People looking to spend a night in the area can consider Chaukori (18 kms / 30 min drive) , a nice hill station still unperturbed by the urban frenzy. The famous Musk Deer Park is located close to Chaukori and it can surely be on your travel itinerary. Only a handful of musk deer habitats exist in India and Chaukori is one of them.

One can also consider travelling to Patal Bhubaneshwar (2 hours drive from Vijaypur and 53 km distance) and Munsyari (4.5 hours’ drive from Vijaypur and 112 km distance).


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