Chalkot Nature Camp Secluded Retreat in The Woods

Lodge based trekking is a an upcoming trend in India and Himalayan eco lodges have embodied this style of mixing comfort with adventure throughout their campsites and lodges.

During my recent trip with GIO Adventures, I had the opportunity to spend two nights in their brand new fixed nature camps at Chalkot in Uttrakhand. This was also the base for our epic snow trek from Chopta to Tungnath and Chandrashila.

Having these cozy, comfortable rooms waiting for us after a long tiring day of trekking in the Himalayas was a real treat. This made me an instant fan of lodge based adventures.

Why opt for a lodge based camp option?

  1. Comfort – Instead of camping at high altitudes in an Alpine tent, you have a comfortable warm bed waiting for you after a hard day of trekking and adventure. I would suggest to mix it up with camping to enjoy all sorts of sleeps while on the road.
  2. No hassles of packing/unpacking – This is one of the worst parts about travelling for me. I hate to have to unpack and pack too often so having a base camp to come back to is a luxury in itself.
  3. Easier for family holidays – It can be an ordeal to manage treks and camping with kids. As a family, you need space and proper beds. You can unpack all your essentials and lay them out properly, without having to worry about room.
chalkot nature camp

The awesome chalkot campsite amidst jungles and mountains

Chalkot was my absolute favorite camp site since it is located right in the middle of the jungle. We could hear the chirping of birds, flow of the spring running nearby and other sounds that make the jungle come alive, all around us. Since I am a big time wildlife enthusiast, this was the perfect setting for me.

Village Life in Chalkot

During my jungle walks and birding sprees, I was often invited for a cup of tea by the kind local villagers in the area. A tête-à-tête and a peek into their humble abodes was inevitable and rather interesting experience.

chalkot village life

A kind villager who invited me to her house for tea

chalkot village

Exploring abandoned houses in the villages of Chalkot

Birding in and around Chalkot Nature Camp

The forest surrounding the camp is a undiscovered mecca for birders. I was the only one spending hours every morning trying to spot lifers and other feathery friends.

chalkot campsite

Searching for my featured friends in the woods surrounding the camp

I was lucky enough to have spotted few lifers like Himalayan Black Bulbul and several common birds like Verditer Flycatcher, Rufous-bellied Niltava, Plain-backed Thrush and more.

Apart from birds, this forest is also known for leopards that haunt the campsite at night. I was told a lone leopard comes every evening to pay homeage to the temple on Chalkot campground – which was barely a few feet from our dining area.

Out of curiosity, I picked up a torch and headed off in the direction of the temple one night. As soon as I flipped the torch on, I saw glimmering eyes right in front of me. Nervous and excited, I  called other travellers and guides to where I stood, asking them to verify what I just saw.

“It’s a leopard, 100%”,  said one of the guides as soon as he saw the eyes.

Till date, I wouldn’t know if it was a Leopard or a stray fox, deer or dog but the guide swears it was a wild cat and that was enough to keep us awake all night.

If you want to know for sure..  head to this adobe amidst dense woods yourself and look for eyes at night around camp. If you do spot a pair, don’t forget to share your story with me.

17 Comments

  1. It’s great to see such a focus on nature and wilderness in India. I think there’s a lot more room for many more such destinations. Those birds look beautiful.

    • India is one of the best places in the world for wildlife and birding 🙂 I prefer the dense jungles of India to the savannahs of Africa (though for game watching experience, Africa is the best).

  2. Truly, this is really a secluded nature cam. There’s always a complete fulfillment of happiness when you see yourself commune with the innate state beauty of our mother nature and this place is one of it. Thank you so much for sharing about this one.

  3. Looks really interesting Jyo. The next time I visit India I will try the lodge based camp, I didn’t even know there was this concept. Thanks for sharing. Also, Chalkot Nature Camp looks so beautiful. It goes on my bucket list.

    • Yeah you need to visit this place Raksha. I know you love adventure so you can enjoy the lovely snow trek to chandrashila.

  4. I don’t mind regular camping, but I wouldn’t say no to a fixed camp with actual beds. Chalkot looks gorgeous. I coudn’t identify birds like you can, but it still seems like fun to watch for them.

  5. That’s so cool that you got to see a leopard. The nature camp does sound very convenient and comfortable. And it’s so interesting that it’s a great place for birding too.

  6. I’ve never gone camping before so I think lodge-based camp is a good start for me. Chalkot looks like a wonderful campsite, where you can connect with local villagers and get close to nature!

  7. Wait.. how far was this leopard from you?!? I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have been calling anyone but would have been backing away very slowly had I seen anything like a leopard’s eyes.

  8. Such a beautiful place. The view of secluded nature in all it’s natural and wild glory is a delight to the eyes and soul. I love such trekking places where one can connect with untouched nature. Chalkot holds the promise of some serene moments.

  9. This sounds like a special place! I enjoy camping but nothing beats sleeping in a comfy bed at night! I love being close to nature but with a couple of home comforts too.

  10. This looks like an awesome experience! How kind of that woman to invite you in for tea and show you a bit more of her culture. Nothing like hanging with locals to get a feel for a place !

  11. This looks amazing! I love that you have a comfortable bed to go back to but you’re right in the middle of all this nature <3

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