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Old 7th July 2009, 15:59   #1
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Cool Trip - Delhi - Chakrata - Kanasar - Mussorie - Dhanaulti - Delhi

Hi guys,

Guess this is my first post on this website. Just thought I will let you know about my latest road trip from delhi last week. Had taken off from office between Wednesday to Sunday. Dint really plan my trip but just went off to Dehradun thinking that I will head off somewhere from there.

I have ford fiesta 1.6S (sports model - aquaris blue), the pictures of which I will post very soon. Its an absolutely joy to drive this car. More so in the hills where you can actually realize how good the road grip, control and response the car gives.

Delhi to Dehradun was not a very exciting journey. Left at 7am in the morning. Roads were quite bad. For every 10 km I drive, there was a stretch of 3km with absolutely bad roads. Could not even maintain a decent speed. Didnt know about any nice eatery on the way, so halted at Nathu's on the highway. Edible food. On reaching Dehradun at about 1pm, we decided that instead of going to Mussorie, we would go to Kalsi. The outlook traveller guide had given a nice picture of the place. Took the route through Herbertpur. Luckily the roads were quite good. On reaching Kalsi we dint like the place so much. It was on a valley and was not cold at all. The river was actually a small stream and seemed like a nullah. So we decided to head off to Chakrata. Again, roads were good for some distance, but then pretty bad after some time. There were sign boards all over stating "foreigners not allowed". I find that quite amusing about not letting foreigners in but allowing Indian citizens. No check point as such to verify the nationality . Apparanetly there is RAW located there which has the special frontier force based out of chakrata carrying on the role of an external intelligence agency. Anyway, we continued the journey to Chakrata. Winding roads all the way. But it was quite exciting. There were those small bridges we had to cross which were supported by logs of wood instead of metal. Army trucks passing by occassionally. And it was a one lane road. So you can imagine how many times I had to go on reverse whenever a truck was approaching.

We reached Chakrata at about 5pm I think. Paid the entry charge at the main market and asked around for hotels. There are only four hotels out there. Found out about snowview hotel. Went in but only one room was available (suite). Well well, dont expect a suite as in a five star hotel. This was just a two bed room thing with one bathroom, small tv and hotwater, with fireplace. We decided we will check out the himalayan paradise hotel which was towards the Tiger Falls. When we reached their finally (we were about to turn back midway since the roads were so bad we thought there could not be any hotels that way) the hotel looked so shady. It was way downhill and overlooked a small hill. No view at all. Not a single soul around. Staying with wife could have been dangerous. So we went back to snow view. Booked the room. And spent all evening sitting outside. It was actually wonderful. Although we did not get a very amazing view due to the mist all around, but you could see the mountain range as far as your eyes go, with not a single spot of light anywhere to be seen. The place was realy wonderful. Food was also quite decent considering that hardly any tourists visit this place (there were only two other families staying in the hotel).

Next day morning we just strolled around inside the forest. Basically, did nothing. Afternoon we left and decided to go to Kanasar which had the largest deodar tree. Gosh, after two km down the road from the hotel, the roads turned into a gravel track. With my ford fiesta I actually wondered whether I could make it all the way. The alloy wheel make you realise the bumps much harder. It was just 28kms, which I thought I would cover in 30-45 minutes. It actually took me almost 1.5 hours!!! But this was the most adventurous drive I have ever had. Most of the distance there were no proper roads. There were not just pot holes but craters. I should have actually taken some SUV. The only cars we spotted were the local balero jeeps catering to the local passengers and some trucks. That also a total of around 10 of them during the entire 1.5 hours trip. There were landslides at a lot of places and so there were these cranes clearing up the roads. Again it was a one lane highway and so it was real risky to drive. There were no barriers on the sides of the roads. A fall would mean about 2000 ft below. My wife actually started crying and wanted to go back. Anyway, just before Kansar there were apple gardens all around. We stopped, roamed around in the apple gardens, plucked a few apples (small and green ones since this is not the season). It was heaven. The best part was that there were no other people around especially tourists. It was just me and my wife hanging out as if we were locals. Kanasar had one single FRH. You had to get a booking done either in Delhi or at Dehradun. There was no one out there except two forest guards sitting outside. There was a small temple next to the big deodar tree. It was superb. Guys, believe me this was just amazing. Amazing rain forest. You can just run around, play hide and seek, sleep on the grass or go to the edge of a hill, and sit and read a book. The view of the small village a little far away (and smoke coming out of a chimney) and the moutain peaks around can take your breath away. Dont expect any entertainment other than some solitude and inner peace. The silence will only be broken by the sounds of a bird or chirping monkeys or maybe one car passing by every one hour!

Since we did not have a booking at the FRH (and we dint know we had to carry our own rations for the guards to cook for us), we had to head back. But spent the best 2-3 hours of the trip out there.

We decided we will head back to Mussorie this time since my wife insisted on going to this crowded place. You know how it works in marriage. I chose chakrata and kanasar, so she chose MUSSORIE!!!

It was a beautiful drive to Mussorie. We did not take the Kalsi route, but there was a bypass which went through the Chakrata bazaar directly to Mussorie (you had to cross the yamuna river about 30kms before reaching Mussorie). By the way, I have to tell you this. We stopped at the local bazaar to eat at this small local joint. We had maggi with rajma curry mixed in it. The local people were buying this small rum bottles (2 pegs in each bottle maybe) and having it just before starting their lunch. It was as if a ritual. They would pour the drink in their steel glass, put some lemon drink in it and gulp it down in on go. Never seen anything like this. Anyway, roads were quite bad once again until about 30kms before Mussorie. It was a state highway which then connected to the National highway near the yamuna river. NO cars were seen on the road for the entire 2 hours drive. But the views on the way were breathtaking. The clouds were passing by us on the road. We got down, got drenched in the light showers, stood at the edge of the hills and shouted our names at the top of our voice (for the echo). There were beautiful small white flowers all around, you could see the goats grazing on the side of the hills (I thought they would fall of!!! ). It was just pure nature and local beauty with not a hint of noisy tourists spoiling the place.

We reached Mussorie at about 7pm. But before that we halted to check out the Kempty Falls. OH my god, they have turned the base of the waterfall into a swimming pool with tourist using floatation devices to stay above the water. People were taking out soft drinks from the pool since the drink was getting chilled in the cold water. There was an artifical lake about 20mts in diameter created next to it and playing loud hindi commercial tracks. It was the most horrible place I could think of going to. Due to the tourist season, we did not get any hotels at Mussorie. Stayed in some place a little futher down the mall road. Decent hotel called solitare plaza which luckily arranged for drops and pick ups to the mall. We finally went for a walk to the mall in the evening. It was absolutely horrible once again. The road was teeming with tourists, videogame parlours and shops selling everyday items that you get at any other local market in a metropolitan city. I could not figure out why would anyone go to a hill station to do the same things that they do back in their city! We finally had dinner at this place called the Tavern which is supposed to be the best eatery and pub in Shimla. Well, do not expect much from this place. Shimla mall was much much better than this place. Atleast Shimla had some identity of its own with antique book sellers, small eating joints selling local food etc. Next day morning we thought of having some english style breakfast with toast, omlettes, sausages, bacon, fuit juice etc. Even at 10am in the morning there were hardly any eateries which had opened. None of the eateries served this kind of food. Finally we had to eat chole bature at Agarwal sweet shop!!! I was trying to recollect those good old days in Darjeeling when we used to have a lovely breakfast at Keventers and Glenarys, stuff our bags with chocolates from glenary's before heading off to a walk around the hills of Darjeeling. There was nothing as such to do in Mussorie. Even the road to Sisters Bazaar was crowded with traffic (had heard about this bakery selling lovely jam and cheese).

Finally I convinced by wife to get out of Mussorie. She agreed and we headed off to Dhanaulti. This was a nice place actually. Rain forest all around, clouds floating by, light drizzle on the roads. Although they have opened this huge eco-tourism park for tourists (which was not really called for), the place still has the feeling of isolation. We drove down halfway to Kanatal before heading back because my wife started feeling unwell.

On the way back, it started getting cloudy. Suddenly I could not even see 50 mtrs down the road. I just parked my car, got out, got drenched in the rain and then headed off once again. We stopped at a shop selling maggi to local people. Had maggi and omlette and tea.

Reached Dheradun at about 6pm. We decided that we would not take the normal roorkee route to delhi. We thought of going through poanta sahib, yamunanagar, kurukshetra and then hit the delhi chandigarh highway on the way back. The Asan Barrage on the way was quite nice. Lots of migratory birds around, water body and boating to do. We will definetely come to this place over a weekend. On the state bypass road crossing Yamunanagar, the road became really horrible. Craters on the road!!! We asked for directions and finally took the route through the middle of Yamunanagar town and crossed the craters to connect to the decent stretch of the state highway once again. Reached kurukshetra and then smooth roads to delhi at 140km/h speed (avg 100km/h). By the time we reached Delhi, it was around 1am at night.

It was a whirlwind trip I know. I would have loved to stay at Kanasar. But atleast got to know the good places around. Now I know where I need to head the next time.

Sorry for boring you guys with this huge travelogue.

Best Regards,

Sourav Kanti

Last edited by khan_sultan : 7th July 2009 at 16:03. Reason: excessive smileys: Only 2 smileys per post allowed
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Old 7th July 2009, 16:26   #2
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Thats me and my ford fiests 1.6S (aquaris blue). Its now about 9 months old. It is a sheer driving pleasure. Much much better than any other similarly priced sedan.
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Old 7th July 2009, 16:34   #3
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Hey Saurav,

I too drove to Chakrata on 12th June. Was thinking of posting my travelogue but have been too busy :-(

I went there with my family (wife and two daughters - elder one is six years and the younger one completed her second month the day we went there). We took the Meerut-Mujjafarnagar-Roorkee-Chhutmalpur-Dehradun-Herbertpur-Kalsi route. Started at 7 AM, and reached Chakrata by 3 PM. We had no prior reservations, and found out that snow view was full, himalayan paradise was too far from town (even snow view is about 1 KM from town, but HP is at least 5 KMs fromt own and truly in the middle of nowhere). Went to town, and found that there were two more hotels, none of them too good. We thought about going to Mussorie but it is 77 KMs from Chakrata, and road is very lonely so decided against that and checked into Hotel Uttarayan.

Chakrata is facing a dire shortage of water and the hotel had no running water, but they supplied us as much as we wanted in pails. By the time we settled in, it was 5 PM, and we went out for a stroll, and the weather changed magically, it started raining and once rains stopped after 30 mins or so, it was really chilly. Thankfully we were carrying enough woolens. There we found a small eatery - Sher-e-Punjab, which had excellent spicy mutton, and ate their for rest of our stay.

We also went to Tiger falls, it is about 17 KMs from town but as you said roads are treacherous and it took us about 1 hour to reach there. To reach the falls, one has to trek about 800 meters, we decided to go for it, and in the hindsight it was a bad decision. I carried my infant daughter easily on the way down, but carrying her back upwards was a task, which made me realize a miilion times, how unfit I am. Anyways Tiger fall itself was beautiful, and a must visit if you are in Chakrata.

The way back to Delhi was a pain. We started from Chakrata at about 1 PM and hoped to be home by 10 PM, but it was not to be. About 8 KMs from Chakrata I saw a very rashly driven cherry colored M800 with a Gujrat number. I immediately slowed down and went to left as much as possible but the b*asta*d still hit the rear-fender of my car, and sped off. I thought of giving him a chase but decided it wasn't such a good idea with me being with family. Got down surveyed the damage - dent in the rear fender and bumper got off it's hooks. Drove slowly upto Vikas Nagar, and got the bumper fitted. Started driving towards Dehradun, had lunch on the way and reached IMA by 5. Filled the tank there and checked tyre pressue and took the road to Chhutmalpur.

12 KMs on that road, I encountered a massive jam, saw many people turning back to take the Haridwar road, I too did the same. This would result in (12+12+30) 54 KMs extra run, but I though I'll still be faster and how wrong I was. The road to Haridwar had lots of traffic on it, and once I entered Haridwar town, I was again stuck in a 4 KM long crawl, crossed Haridwar in 1.5 hours. Once I reached Shiv Muurti chowk, thought of taking the Haridwar-Najeebabad-Bijnore-Meerut road, but again decided against that and stuck to the regular road via Roorkee-Mujjafarnagar. After Haridwar, progress was slow but steady, reached Roorkee at 9:30, Mujjafarnagar at 11, Meerut at 12:30 and home at 2 AM.

My advice to anybody thinking of going that way will be to take the Mujjafarnagar-Saharanpur road and from Saharanpur take the Paonta Sahib road. This is shorter and much less chances of encountering a jam. And better still, if you are coming from west/south delhi - take the GT road, and then turn towards Yamuna nagar and then Paonta Sahib. Avoid the NH 58 as much as possible.

Nitin
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Old 7th July 2009, 19:45   #4
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Trip - Delhi - Chakrata - Kanasar - Mussorie - Dhanaulti - Delhi-dsc04512.jpeg.jpg

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Old 7th July 2009, 19:56   #5
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Old 7th July 2009, 20:00   #6
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Old 7th July 2009, 20:31   #7
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with so many places visited, more pics would do justice to the travelogue...
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Old 7th July 2009, 21:06   #8
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Nice start and great initial teaser pics. Waiting to see more.
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Old 7th July 2009, 21:11   #9
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Whoa! thanks mate! Dunno when you uploaded the remaining pics. When i posted my previous comment, there were only the first set of pics. Simply awesome I must say! :-)
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Old 10th July 2009, 21:21   #10
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Would like to see the pics of Missourie in monsoon...plsshare the same if you have taken it. Nice pics ;-)
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Old 11th July 2009, 21:56   #11
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Nice travelogue, to a couple of uncommon places - Chakrata and Dhanaulti. Have they stopped the gate system on the road from Herbertpur/Vikasnagar to Chakrata? The last time I'd been to Chakrata was around the year 2001, and it was so pristine because of the lack of tourists there.

My first trip to Dhanaulti was in 1997, when there were only two hotels - the GMVN bungalow and a private hotel next to it. When I went back there in 2007, the place looked like a marketplace, and the stench of the manure from all the horses gathered there for the joyrides was unbearable. We drove away quickly.
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Old 11th July 2009, 22:14   #12
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Nice pics.
and i also stayed at the snow view hotel,when i was there in 2007.

@SS traveller, Sir the gate system is still there.
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Old 12th July 2009, 16:09   #13
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The gate system is still there, but no one stops you. You can go past freely. But have heard that earlier they used to allow the vehicles to enter only at very specific times and that also in a convoy. Now they dont have that thing anymore. No one registers your car number, neither do they check the identity of occupants. There were normal barricades (similar to the ones we have in delhi at night) and we zoomed past without any intervention.
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Old 13th July 2009, 17:31   #14
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Liked your travelogue. Had heard of Dhanaulti but not Chakrata and Kanasar.

Looks like you spent about 3 days. What was the total distance travelled?
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Old 13th July 2009, 20:18   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by souravdebiswas View Post
The gate system is still there, but no one stops you.
Hmmm... there was a time when the gates were opened at alternating hours on either end, and vehicles were logged in and out at the checkpoints. If a vehicle broke down on the way, the gate at the other end was not opened till the missing vehicle was tracked and recovered. The road in those days was not wide enough to accommodate two vehicles passing side-by-side - I guess the track would have been widened now, making the need for alternating flow of traffic redundant.
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