Mukteshwar is a town and tourist destination in the Nainital district of Uttarakhand, India. It sits high in the Kumaon Hills at an altitude of 2286 meters (7500 feet), 51 km from Nainital, 72 km from Haldwani, and 343 km from Delhi.
Mukteshwar gets its name from an 350-year-old temple to Shiva, known as Mukteshwar Dham, situated atop the highest point in the town, on the veterinary institute's campus. Close to it lie the overhanging cliffs, locally known as Chauli-ki-Jali, used for rock climbing and rappelling, with an excellent view of the valleys below. The sunrise point is at the government-run PWD guest house. One can also visit the Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI). Mukteshwar is the abode of a saint - Shri Mukteshwar Maharaj ji - who lived at the Top Cottage Temple where his samadhi is. One of his disciples, Swami Sanshudhanand ji, now stays there. The whole temple complex is a Tapovan and an ideal place for meditation.
IVRI hostels and the PWD rest house were the prominent shelters for ages. Now, Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam (KMVN) operates a tourist rest house (can be booked from Delhi as well as on phone/wireless from other KMVN guest houses). Several other hotels, resorts, guest houses and seasonal tent/hut-based camps come up. Nice scenery can be viewed from Chaulli ki Jaali, where rocks jut out from the hill face at a bizarre angle. This is a great place to observe eagles and other feathered scavengers as they swoop down at their prey.
The IVRI laboratories (experiments on tiny rats, gold-plated books, cattle-sheds), orchards of Central Institutes of Temperate Horticulture-Regional Station, 16 mile x 14 mile wide deodar forest, 22 pristine snow-peak views, and the adventure of living among wildlife like tigers and bears are some of the major attractions of this sleepy town. The charm of visiting Mukteshwar lies in enjoying nature, listening to air gushing through deodar forests, bird watching, meditation, and seeking peace. The cleanliness, solitude and nature can bore people who like urban excitement.
Mukteshwar is rich in scenic beauty, with magnificent views of the Indian Himalayas including India's second-highest peak, Nanda Devi. Because of the hilly topography, agriculture in the area consists chiefly of potato fields and fruit orchards on terraces cut into the hillsides.
Mukteshwar has a subtropical highland climate. The pattern of seasons is similar to that in other parts of northern India, with distinct summer, monsoon and winter seasons. However, due to its high elevation, Mukteshwar is spared the intense heat of lower-lying towns and cities. Summers are warm with moderate rainfall, while the monsoon season is slightly cooler and features much heavier rain. Winters can be quite cool, and temperatures below freezing are not unusual.
There is a 'Renewable Park' developed by TERI. The renewable park uses solar electricity for most of its electricity needs. Recently, the town has experienced some construction activity and townships have begun to mushroom in and around Mukteshwar. Many people are buying holiday homes here to escape large chaotic cities.
The nearest airport is at Pantnagar and the nearest railway head is at Kathgodam, 65 km from the town, from where vehicular transport is easily available from neighbouring towns of Bhimtal, Bhowali, and Nainital.