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The Mystery Of Guardian Ghost In Jeolikote Uttarakhand
By Sohini Chaudhary
27 Mar, 2023
When you search online for activities to do in Jeolikote, you may come across various articles listing delightful pastimes like butterfly catching and floriculture, which may pique your curiosity about this quaint village.
Located at an altitude of 1219 meters, Jeolikote is a destination that can be visited year-round. Unlike the nearby lakeside towns where winters tend to be harsher, Jeolikote offers warm sunshine even during the colder months. For generations, Jeolikote has been a favoured holiday spot, first for the British who sought refuge from the chillier neighbouring hill towns, and later for hoteliers who transformed the old British bungalows, providing a glimpse of the bygone era for travellers visiting the area.
Haunted Warwick's Bungalow (Source: Tripoto)
Jeolikote was a favoured hill town among the British seeking to experience the joys of European summers in India, along with nearby towns like Nainital and Bhimtal.
During the late 19th century, Lt Col Warwick arrived in Jeolikote village near Nainital, where he fell in love with a young local woman, creating a romantic story that sounds straight out of a Bollywood movie. After getting married, Col. Warwick had a mansion built in the area, complete with a church and hospital, where they could live happily ever after. These structures, although in a state of disrepair, still stand in the area today.
After his wife passed away from an illness just two years into their marriage, Col. Warwick lived alone in the massive 20-room house. He maintained a colonial mindset and prohibited servants from entering the house, treating local villagers as trespassers. He mostly kept to himself, living like a loner.
Following his wife's death, villagers began to notice something peculiar. Every night, they saw a woman riding a horse around the village, galloping loudly. Some curious villagers discovered that it was Warwick Sahab himself dressed up as his wife, riding his horse around the village every night. This eerie phenomenon became known as the "Ghost of Jeolikote”.
Aerial view of Warwick's Bungalow (Source: Wayward Wayfarer)
There are varying beliefs regarding the reason behind Lt Col Warwick's habit of dressing up as a woman and riding a horse at night. Some speculate that it was due to the despair he felt over losing his wife, while others suggest it was a manifestation of his sexual awakening. Nevertheless, the villagers of Jeolikote accepted their Sahab's behavior and began to see him as their protector at night, not just from dacoits but also from wild animals.
Even after many years, those who believe in the Guardian Ghost of the Village still claim to hear the sound of a galloping horse at night and see the figure of Warwick dressed as his wife riding on horseback.
What To Do In Jeolikote?
If you're in Jeolikote, you'll be in close proximity to several lake and hill towns known for their breathtaking mountain views and diverse wildlife. There's no shortage of activities to enjoy and day trips to embark upon. Here are some suggestions:
- Observe wildlife and go bird-watching in Pangot.
- Take a lake tour to explore Nainital, Bhimtal, Sattal, and Naukuchiatal.
- Experience the thrill of paragliding in Naukuchiatal or Ghorakhal.
- Visit India's oldest 18-hole golf course located in Nainital.
- Explore the butterfly museum at Jones Estate Bhimtal.
- Take a day trip to Hairakhan, a riverside temple.
Directions for Getting to Jeolikote
By Air: The nearest airport to Jeolikote is Pantnagar Airport, which is located 55 km away. Flights from Delhi to Pantnagar operate on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. A taxi ride from Pantnagar to Jeolikote costs between Rs. 600 to Rs. 1000.
By Rail: The closest railway station to Jeolikote is Kathgodam, which is approximately 20 km away. Taxis can be easily found outside the railway station.
By Road: Buses run daily from ISBT Anand Vihar to Haldwani or Nainital. You can take either bus and alight at Kathgodam. Jeolikote has located 20 km from Kathgodam on NH 87, and taxis are readily available to take you to your destination.
Where to stay in Jeolikote?
Reading nook at The Hosteller Jeolikote
Discover the stunning Kumaoni Himalayas with a stay at The Hosteller Jeolikote. Our vibrant backpacker hostel in Jeolikote offers breathtaking views of the grassy hills, a serene atmosphere, and lush greenery. Nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts will find the perfect hub for exploring this beautiful region just a stone's throw from Nainital and Bhimtal Lake. Our indoor café provides a relaxing spot to unwind after a day of exploring, while the garden with outdoor furniture is ideal for taking in the natural beauty of the area. For those seeking to socialize, our lively terrace on the second floor offers plenty of comfortable seating and a welcoming atmosphere. And with bright blues as the main colour scheme, our local decor pays homage to the sparkling water bodies surrounding our space.