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Old 29th June 2015, 00:38   #1
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Default Chakrata & Tiger Falls: That fragrance of a quaint li'l town & fall(ing) prey to a Tiger!

How often have you been left completely mesmerized by an impalpable something, like a sweet fragrance?!

One that leaves you enchanted, so much, that it indelibly gets etched on the mind and comes alive in the senses every single time you go down memory lane, imagining those sacred scenes!

So hey, let's just rewind a li'l bit and take our nostrils back to the lovely winters of '14!

It was the extended weekend around 2nd of October and Delhi weather was not yet up to what it would usually look in its winter guise. As the case would be, it was time again for some wandering!

Had been discussing with my confidante over some small & lesser known places she had explored up here and was willing to recommend them for their simplicity and peace, taking one away from the hustle and bustle of the city and its lights.

Meandering through the course of our talk, we finally took a halt at a pretty sounding li'l place in Uttarakhand, named Chakrata.

Now, the plan was charted amidst the buddies and we decided to leave on the morning of Friday, 3rd October, to return by Sunday, thus utilizing the long weekend completely.

Friday was the last day of Navratras and we were supposed to leave early in the morning. But who would ever refuse the offer of having a hearty poori-choley breakfast before embarking on the journey! A was stubborn on doing the pooja and savoring the delicious meal his mom would be making, and we happily gave in and let the plan of a really early morning departure take the backseat!

At A's home, doing the Navratras ending pooja, called 'Kanjak'. Small kids, mostly little girls, are invited from the neighborhood and served with poori-choley and some ah-so-sweet halwa, receiving loads of blessings and chanting in return!
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We joined the bandwagon & hailed A's mom for enriching our ever hungry tummies with all the love filled goodies!

Fully 'fed'-up, all set and in complete holiday mood! From L-R, S, A, TheLinea & V.
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We took the NH-1 and were in Panipat in around two hours of drive. Going through the city was a must on the cards for a particular foodie reason! We deliberately made the hunger pangs knock again so that we could accomplish our mission of attacking some more poori-choley for the day, albeit with the aim of also quenching the thirst this time with what has been one of the most phenomenal Lassis we've come across till date.

This place is highly recommended for the stupendous breakfast it offers. The name is Chiman Lal and the small shop resides in the tight lanes of Halwai-hatta near the Old Bus stand. The narrow lanes and the maddening traffic could easily force anyone to give up and go back half-way, but a li'l persistence and patience will bring a quintessential experience to the taste buds.
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We'd rate this place 5 stars for some serious stuff being fried & brewed! Here's a look!
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They say, the way to a man's heart is through his stomach. Well, rightfully so! See the grins after the sumptuous second round of breakfast!
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Leaving from Panipat, we kept on the NH-1 until Yamunanagar and joined the NH-73A thereafter. Once here, the journey is nothing short of a splendid drive through the dense Kalesar forest, with curvy tarmac and the beautiful Tyndall effect playing hide & seek with the flora.

The wonderful drive through the forest!
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The forest leads to the much renowned Paonta Sahib Gurudwara from where we took the NH-123 to Vikasnagar and finally begun the up-hill drive.
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But not before lazing around for a while at the foothills to delve in the beautiful scenery!
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The climb ranges around 60kms and the roads get rougher and narrower with the altitude.
With some amazing music playing, the air becoming cooler as we rose, it was a truly enjoyable experience all this while!
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As we inched closer to the base, a distinct fragrance had begun to set in. The air became extremely chilled and it had this marvelously delightful fragrance!

Aah! 'That' fragrance!

It was divine! So rich that we were hallucinated by its sweetness till the time we were there and even more so till today! It was most likely from the Pine trees which were aplenty around the place.
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We reached the main town and it was a small, quiet place with only a couple of Hotels and Guest-houses doing duty, a handful of shops, a small Army Mess & Residential quarters. Nothing fancy, a very simple and peaceful place.

It was 8:00 p.m and having skipped lunch after the double-barrel breakfast, the guts were screaming hunger by now. We could see a few shops already on the verge of closing and we had a bit of a task to complete before we could think of grabbing any bite! And that was to look for food for the car!

The last fuel pump was 60kms earlier at Vikasnagar and we had started with more than half a tank of Petrol from there, contemplating we could go and come back without a hitch. The tough ascend took its toll on the consumption and we were left with only one-fourth of a tank when we reached the top. We just wouldn't be able to go around Chakrata in the morning and definitely not return with this much of fuel alone.

Frantic search in the market got us to a two-wheeler mechanic, Naushad, who was about to close his humble garage. Luckily, he had petrol and we bargained hard to finally get it cheap at Rs. 90 per liter! He gave us two jerry cans and a funnel which ended in a pipe to be put into the fuel filler.

None of us had imagined that filling just ten liters of fuel would be such a daunting task! It had to be done very slowly otherwise the petrol would return due to the small diameter of the end pipe and would spill over. It was taking a lot of time and seeing the rate at which things were shutting down, A and I decided that the two of us meanwhile head out to look for suitable options to check in for the night.

We checked one guest house and each of the two hotels and finally agreed for the top-floor room in one of the small hotels, which was nicely done and would throw us a lovely view in the morning.

We headed back to the car, thinking S & V would be done with the pit-stop session by now, but alas! It still wasn't over! With a lot of patience, shivering, some melodramatic dialogues from V and a plethora of muscle aches later, we finally ended up the re-fueling after a total of forty five minutes! Went back to return the cans to Naushad, who himself was in a dilemma if we'd already fled!

Dropped the bags in our nice hotel room and immediately reached to the shop next door for dinner. Chakrata is like a small neighborhood, with people knowing everyone and peace and calmness all around.

Ate a homely meal and returned to the hotel to chatter some and then finally dozing off into dreams, with an underlying pinch of aroma making them even sweeter!

The next morning saw us waking up to a cold weather outside. Without taking much time, we were ready to get going for the day. But, first things first, had a fulfilling breakfast of Omelettes and Maggi at a tea shop!

We had to go to the 'Tiger Falls' nearby, which on inquiring with the hotel guys lied about 18kms away. Perfect, we thought to ourselves. It would be done in 4-5 hours after which we thought to take the journey to Ambala to indulge in some more fabulous food, which had become a norm on this trip hitherto!

So, we packed up and got moving. We were enjoying the weather and the beautiful landscape!
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The roads like they had been till now, were decent with rough but picturesque patches, like this one, coming up in between.
Me and the lovely Lady!
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As we were moving ahead, the quality of the roads was deteriorating dramatically. Many stretches seemed to have bore the brunt of some serious landslides and at a lot of sections, the surface was absolutely non-existent. We were utterly cautious so as to not let the low lying under body of TheLinea take any major hit. The sump guard was working at its best all through. We were also getting down every now and then to pick up the rocks and put them aside to create a passage.

The path was getting more and more challenging and the drive was becoming absolutely indulging with every passing stone!
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Due to the plying of Utility vehicles on these rocks and stones, which have a considerably wider track, the middle area on the road had become higher than that on the sides. To avoid the belly from getting hit, we had to keep the car on just one side, such that the tires on either of the sides are always over the middle area on the surface below. Now due to this, all four of us were working hard all across to avoid any possible hit from the rocks protruding out from the sides.

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Many a times we felt that we've fallen prey to the mighty Tiger, but never did TheLinea nor any of us gave up and this experience was one of the most spellbinding in terms of man-machine interaction and perfect team work! We, simply loved it!

Standing tall in all its Glory!
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There was negligible traffic and many a cars which were following returned midway seeing the rocky mountains ahead! Little did they know there was a miracle waiting at the other end!

After three hours of this captivating journey, we finally landed at a spot where we could see a swarm of cars parked, but still no sight of the waterfall! The Tiger, it seemed was trying to hide away since morning! We could clearly hear him roar and were all so excited to see the beast in flesh!

We had to trek down a kilometer to arrive at this marvel! It was quite a steep trek involving a few water crossings along the way.
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And when we actually reached the spot, it was a sight worth everything! We went awestruck! The water fell from quite some height and it was pristine and absolutely a sight to behold!
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People were in active water sports mode and were playing in the pool created by the splashing water. We had all our phones, cameras and belongings with us, but just couldn't resist getting down and dirty! In pairs, we went inside the water and enjoyed to our heart's content! We just let ourselves free and dived in the atmosphere! Heck, we tamed the mighty Tiger!

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Having enjoyed thoroughly, it was time to trek back through the steep incline. After all the fun, we were now struggling to keep up with the slope! We managed to reach the parking, gained some breath, dried ourselves up and entered the sole tea shop there for some much needed lunch.

Now, it was time to head back and we had to trace the same path all the way to the town. It took a little less time while returning and we were in Chakrata by 6 in the evening. The plan of going to Ambala for dinner was still on the mind and we were keeping hope that we could still somehow manage to reach there in time.

It was around 8 when we reached Paonta Sahib and Ambala would have easily taken 3-4 hours more, considering we had to cross a little hilly section on the way as well.

We decided to skip the idea, keeping it for the next time and headed home through the same Yamunanagar route. We were starving crazily and just at the right time, stumbled upon this restaurant which seemed to be a Non-vegetarian's paradise! How?! Well, the sheer number of cars lined up outside at this hour would put even a good service center to shame on its busiest day! It was a take-away joint named 'Zaika'.

We managed to find a spot a li'l distance away and as luck would have it, this place came out to be a revelation with absolutely amazing dishes! On inquiring for future purposes, got to know that it starts only after 6 in the evening.

After the brilliant dinner, the next halt was home at 3:30 in the morning with a total of 750kms undertaken over the past two days.
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Having scaled paths which were treacherous and as thrilling as they could get, this was a remarkable journey, teaching us patience and bringing us back with our lungs filled with 'That' fragrance of a lifetime!

Last edited by forester : 30th June 2015 at 04:44.
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Old 30th June 2015, 07:02   #2
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Default re: Chakrata & Tiger Falls: That fragrance of a quaint li'l town & fall(ing) prey to a Tiger!

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section). Thanks for sharing!
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Old 30th June 2015, 16:16   #3
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Default re: Chakrata & Tiger Falls: That fragrance of a quaint li'l town & fall(ing) prey to a Tiger!

A light hearted, well narrated and experiential read. The food at Chiman Lal got me hungry while I was still eating! You guys had quite a great experience, and though that 45 minute pit stop would have been a pain, stories like that never get old.

Thanks for the share.
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Old 1st July 2015, 08:55   #4
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Default re: Chakrata & Tiger Falls: That fragrance of a quaint li'l town & fall(ing) prey to a Tiger!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tushar View Post
A light hearted, well narrated and experiential read. The food at Chiman Lal got me hungry while I was still eating! You guys had quite a great experience, and though that 45 minute pit stop would have been a pain, stories like that never get old.

Thanks for the share.
Thanks a lot Tushar. It indeed was a wonderful experience. Loved the little bit of OTR stuff we had to encounter!

Though it took such a long time to re-fill, but once that 'Magical' petrol was in there, it did last for quite a long distance! Even as we trundled through all the rough terrain, the needle wasn't in a mood to budge! There was something in this tonic! Some really nice memories for us.
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Old 1st July 2015, 12:13   #5
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Default Re: Chakrata & Tiger Falls: That fragrance of a quaint li'l town & fall(ing) prey to a Tiger!

Thanks for sharing a lovely and crisp travelogue

On a side note ,Is Zaika somewhere within Yamuna Nagar?

Will explore once i go there next.
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