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Old 23rd August 2011, 00:22   #1
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Default Long weekends in Uttaranchal

A essay of 2 trips to uttaranchal over a week-

1) Aug 13-15, 2011 - Delhi to Lansdowne, to Satphuli, to Khirsu, via Kirku

2) Aug 20-22, 2011 - Delhi to Dhanaulti


Me and my friend Karthikeyan were completely undecided about whether to head to Tirthan valley, or Khirsu the night before. I made the stupid mistake of staying up late in the night, finishing all plans of getting up early in the morning and driving. Karthikeyan was also up late into the night at office. That is how we got stuck in the horrendous Modinagar-Muradnagar Rakhsa Bandhan traffic at 11.30 am, where we covered 4 km in 3 hours. Absolutely holiday sapping event. We checked with google maps, it said to go to Lansdowne (which was the revised target holiday place), one could go through Meerut and through to bijnore, or one could take off from Khatauli. I was not prepared to deal with Meerut after the MM (muradnagar-modinagar experience). Ended up going through some absolutely 3 grade backlane of Khatauli (we were not allowed to go through the town after a point). To Bijnore, Najibabad, and on to Kotdwara as evening fell. The absolutely delightfull spell from Kotdwara to Lansdowne next to a river, in medium darkness, only interrupted by a helpful delhi cabbie who said there were no hotel rooms left in Lansdowne. We went on regardless, had a great desi chicken meal in Lansdowne, checked and found that there was no place for 2 guys to lie down, found that my army contacts were all asleep, found that satphuli is the closest place next which has guesthouses. Reached Satphuli at 12 pm, found there were no hotels rooms there too. Pulled up next to a river around 5 kms further on and slept in the car with legs extending into the boot from a flat rear seat.

Roads? No roads? Wrong roads?

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Woke up in the morning, to a raging river, and headed on on to Khirsu. Except everyone we asked thought we wanted to go to Khirku. So leaving behind a crucial unmarked turn, we headed on through landslide, and blinding rain and fog, and stuck-in-mud car to Khirku.

Karthik
Attachment 597929


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me

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On being gently directed to Khirsu at Khirku, we trudged on. And reached Khrisu after an extra 50km at 10 am for breakfast at the GMVN, which also incidentally did not have any free rooms.

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We finally got some tents in the Eco Park there. And some rest. and some peace of mind. and some greenery. and some more greenery. green. soothing green.


Long weekends in Uttaranchal-288786_10150356994340993_528005992_10132972_6678556_o.jpg

Last edited by manolin : 23rd August 2011 at 00:34.
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Old 23rd August 2011, 01:36   #2
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Default Re: Long weekends in Uttaranchal

Chaukhamba not having shown herself, the next day we set off in the late afternoon for a leisurely drive down to Srinagar, through some really quiet roads. Onto Devprayag through Baleno suspension wrenching landslided roads. Me playing guide to my south Indian companion regarding dev bhoomi’s mythologies regarding each of its towns on the pilgrim route, we reached Rishikesh and got caught in traffic. On reaching Roorkee at 9 pm, we decided to call it a day, rather than risk going off the road due to my car’s really bad headlights and blinding rain. Hotel Centrepoint at Roorkee.
5 am we headed out to Delhi, and then Ghaziabad showed its colours and we reached home at 10 am, already late for office.
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Old 23rd August 2011, 07:29   #3
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Default Re: Long weekends in Uttaranchal

Nice start and some really cool pictures.

So wish that I was near the mountains

Looking forward for more
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Old 23rd August 2011, 12:01   #4
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Default Re: Long weekends in Uttaranchal

A very nice travelogue.

Does your iternary covers "Valley of Flowers" also ?
I have heard a lot about that place.
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Old 28th August 2011, 23:55   #5
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this is a video of the drive back. from srinagar through devprayag to rishikesh. There were lots of landslides on the way, and the river was mighty full. The Baleno is too low for these roads during landslide season.

This was the third time that I was going on these roads, and due to monsoons, this was the most beautiful one.
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Old 29th August 2011, 21:00   #6
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Default Re: Long weekends in Uttaranchal

Dudes, next time sync with me. Am game for anything to escape Delhi.
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Old 16th November 2011, 11:35   #7
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Default Re: Long weekends in Uttaranchal

hello everyone

I am planning a road trip with 3 other friends to Landsdowne. We are planning to travel from 26th December to 29th December and i am a bit skeptical about the weather and driving conditions.
We are planing to take polo 1.6. I just wish to know is it recommended to go there in dec-end. Will there be snow? We will be self driving but do not have much experience in driving on the hills.

thanks in advance!
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Old 16th November 2011, 14:09   #8
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Default Re: Long weekends in Uttaranchal

Great pictures , the ones where the cloud cover is seen looks terrific. Hope you had an amazing time there. Share some specific details on the stay and whats around?
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Old 16th November 2011, 14:38   #9
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Default Re: Long weekends in Uttaranchal

Were the signages through Khatauli town good? Or do you have to keep asking everyone?

Where is the account of the next drive, Del;hi to Dhanaulti?
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Old 16th November 2011, 15:42   #10
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Default Re: Long weekends in Uttaranchal

Quote:
Originally Posted by WDM007 View Post
A very nice travelogue.

Does your iternary covers "Valley of Flowers" also ?
I have heard a lot about that place.
VoF is if I remember right about a 2 or 3 days trek from where the road ends.

One question, how good or bad are the roads now, after the disaster of 2010 floods.
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Old 28th January 2012, 03:50   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WDM007 View Post
A very nice travelogue.

Does your iternary covers "Valley of Flowers" also ?
I have heard a lot about that place.
Thank you. I did not go to Valley of Flowers. From what I understand, its a trek from a point which comes on the way to Kedarnath.


Quote:
Originally Posted by krazydriver84 View Post
Dudes, next time sync with me. Am game for anything to escape Delhi.
Sure. Haven't really been sightseeing around delhi after the monsoons. Will remedy that soon, and will contact you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AnkitPrashar View Post
hello everyone

I am planning a road trip with 3 other friends to Landsdowne. We are planning to travel from 26th December to 29th December and i am a bit skeptical about the weather and driving conditions.
We are planing to take polo 1.6. I just wish to know is it recommended to go there in dec-end. Will there be snow? We will be self driving but do not have much experience in driving on the hills.

thanks in advance!
I am really sorry that I couldn't reply in time. Hope you had a good trip. I don't think there would have been any snow at Landsdowne as it is at a fairly low altitude, but it must have been awesome for walks. I love the drive from Kotdwar to Landsdowne, especially at twilight time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aravind84 View Post
Great pictures , the ones where the cloud cover is seen looks terrific. Hope you had an amazing time there. Share some specific details on the stay and whats around?
In Khirsu there is a reasonably big GMVN, but it needs to be booked in advance around public holidays. As with all GMVNs, it has the best view. Other than that there is a botanical park, slightly higher up, where there is tented accommodation available. The tents and beddings are of decent quality, with attached toilets, and are generally more fun. There is also one private hotel, but I can't recall the name.

In general, if faced with a no room situation, one can always drive to Pauri which is a fairly big town close to Khirsu.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
Were the signages through Khatauli town good? Or do you have to keep asking everyone?

Where is the account of the next drive, Del;hi to Dhanaulti?
Sir, there were no signages in Khautali for this route. When coming from Meerut, one should take the road into Katauli from the bypass, and go through the town. When we went, the route through the town was blocked, and we had to take a tiny complicated village road immediately after entering the town. To answer your question, yes, it is basically an ask and find out (there should be a team bhp abbreviation for this - AFO) route in Khatauli.

Apologies for neglecting this thread. I will post the other half in the next couple of days.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sgiitk View Post
VoF is if I remember right about a 2 or 3 days trek from where the road ends.

One question, how good or bad are the roads now, after the disaster of 2010 floods.
Parts of road from Landsdowne to Khirsu were in very bad shape due to landslides. From Srinagar to Rishikesh, which is on the route for VoF, was also the same. But it is doable in most vehicles.
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Old 28th January 2012, 04:20   #12
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Some more snaps. This time by my friend Karthikeyan on his Nexus phone.

The snow mountains are supposed to be where the clouds are in the horizon.

Long weekends in Uttaranchal-img_20110814_175919.jpg

Some sunshine

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I should have gotten my eyes tested after this trip.
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taking a short walk on the roads around the village. The GMVN can be seen on the top centre.

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A monsoon swollen Alaknanda at the S-turn it does at Srinagar.

Long weekends in Uttaranchal-img_20110815_191840.jpg
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Old 28th January 2012, 05:43   #13
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Delhi - Dhanolti trip.

We had a hired Innova for this trip. So one could afford to try out different routes. And what a good decision it was. We went to Dhanolti via Rishikesh, Chamba, Kanatal - a route far superior to the Shahranpur, Dehradun, Mussorie route (we came back through this). There is an alternate route which goes from Rishikesh to Dehradun, and then follows the regular route via Mussorie.

The road from Rishikesh to Dhanolti is super. There was a landslide at one place, but it was being cleared as we went.

As you leave Rishikesh and go higher, the plains split open behind you into the green expanse of the Rajaji National Park on one side and Rishikesh/Haridwar on the other.
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And then suddenly you enter Chamba, which for one of the lowest hill stations, is beautiful in the rains.

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The famous Ananda spa is located here, rated as one of the world's best.
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The road is winding, and dotted with Vaishnov dhabas from time to time - it comes on the pilgrim route to Yamunotri.
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In no time, you reach Kanatal. This is a better hill station than Dhanolti, which is 15 kms further. Dhanolti has become a destination. Kanatal keeps its charm behind a facade of being a small village en route.

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No wonder that the high end boutique hotels are all based in Kanatal.

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But then Dhanolti ain't too bad. For it is ranks ahead of its bigger sister, Mussorrie.

It has some picturesque log cabins, a well kept private hotel, and some fixed camps offering good accomodation. It is also fairly high and cold, and it does snow consistently in winter.
Long weekends in Uttaranchal-img_9616.jpg

The GMVN in Dhanaulti was quite a let down from normal GMVN standards (which is not too great anyways to speak off, considering their high rates).

There are nice walks around Dhanaulti. The views are great, if you are not in the monsoons. The village goes to sleep early. Its quiet. There are a couple of small stalls which sell reasonably priced parathas and eggs on the road. And the entire places measures 500m from one end to the other.

And sometimes, you chance upon your dream house.
Long weekends in Uttaranchal-img_9653.jpg


For another time, this is the same route which leads to the Tehri Dam - a dam whose experiences (regarding relocation, rehabilitation of displaced, and power generation) will govern the way Uttaranchal develops in the next decade: Uttaranchal plans to dam multiple times every river flowing through it.

From Delhi one can't do much better over a holiday in Dhanaulti-Kanatal over a long weekend.

Last edited by manolin : 28th January 2012 at 05:49.
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