Spread across a large area starting from the main Badrinath Road to far up to the last waterfall on the left, the upper Tapovan is famous among travelers who, over the years, have formed communities to barter food and share knowledge. Places like Devi Music Ashram hold weekly musical evenings for Sitar and Tabla for those who wish to acquaint themselves with Indian Classical music and Secret Garden offers various teachings such as healing and mantra chanting sessions. Up the road, you can unwind and cool down in one of the three waterfalls that can be reached from this long stretch of road. They are just a short hike away from many guest houses, so try to visit on a weekday when things are quieter with fewer weekend travelers.
The area is most sought after among tourists young and old. One can stay at Ira’s Kitchen for around 18,000 rupees or $225 USD a month, in one of its eight big-sized rooms for long-stay travelers equipped with refrigerators, good WiFi, and a beautiful garden cafe that offers a mix of Indian and western cuisine. The owner, Gautami, and her lovely daughter, Ira, give this place a very home-like feeling. All the staff and the guests make one little family, eating together on most nights. One can also stay at the Nishant Garden at a lower rate of around $150 USD a month, which houses the famous secret garden cafe run by an Indian-Austrian couple. Nishant Garden is popular among western tourists and offers a quiet stay among nature, away from the otherwise hustle-bustle of the town. The cafe and the surrounding lawns offer a perfect place for remote workers, who like to work out in the open.
Cheena Kapoor is a Delhi-based independent journalist and photographer focusing on a broad range of topics, including travel.
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